Review: “Fuck You! You Fucking Perv!” a provocative piece on the trauma of sexual abuse

Leslie Baker's one-woman show plays through October 21st at La Licorne

Leslie Baker
Leslie Baker in “Fuck You! You Fucking Perv!” (Photo courtesy of The Bakery)

Originally presented in Studio 303’s Edgy Women Festival and later at the 2013 Montreal Fringe and 2015 Wildside Festivals, a refined production of  “Fuck You! You Fucking Perv!” returns to Montreal at the La Petite Licorne theatre from October 10 – 21, 2016. Presented by The Bakery in codiffusion with Théâtre de La Manufacture, Artistic Director/Performer/Creator Leslie Baker delivers the goods (or bads) in this dark, contemporary comedy of a bruised woman’s battle with mental illness and pre-mature sexualization.


When you’ve been corrupted and robbed of immaculate youth and neither police nor doctor can provide merciful care, what more sincere and unrestrained response can there be than to address your perpetrator with the utmost profanity?

“Fuck You! You Fucking Perv!” is but one of countless nights in the life of an unnamed schizophrenic woman held captive by her fears and struggles as a victim of childhood sexual abuse. Featuring frank depictions of pedophilia and self-destructive behaviour, solo performer Leslie Baker creates here a madhouse of playful joke-telling, tap-dancing, and push-pull games that toy with the psyche and test the edges of experimental theatre.

Between blackouts and flashes of bright, blinding lights, we see fragments of the damaged protagonist’s varying emotional states: mania, elation, fury, and dread – all of which are presented through a series of short vignettes and manifested through heightened, fully embodied character expressions. We hear shattering glass, sirens, chainsaws, lawnmowers, barking dogs…all of which, in their aggravating nature, bring the multiple facets of her borderline personality to surface. Narratives of harassment, neglect, and self-harm paint the portrait of a deeply wounded survivor, black and blue in more than just frumpy wardrobe and spiralling hair. She bleeds still underneath.



More disturbing than the retold moments of violence, however, are perhaps those of sweet, untainted hope: watching Baker gleefully shuffle-ball-change her way through 40’s hit tune “Accentuate the Positive” by Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters, we’re reminded of the whimsical things we’re driven to do sometimes in the aftermath of trauma in order to cope.

While Baker’s solitary performance is a tour de force on its own, Peter-Cerone’s incredibly immersive sound design, Cédric Delorme-Bouchard’s wonderfully out-of-the-blue lighting design, and Frédéric St-Hilaire’s clever projections make “Fuck You!”… a fully fleshed-out, spine-tingling piece of interdisciplinary theatre. (A nod also to Angelo Barsetti and Julio Mejia for the costume design; most effective was the use of fabrics to devise a beastly, vulture-like predator.) The integration of multiple sensory elements creates a rich, bizarre world – one in which the lines between reality and fiction are blurred – and awakens us to the sensitivity (and paranoia) of those that experience it in extremes.

With the exception of a few issues in synchronizing the video with the live action (the play is presented in English with French surtitles, but the translated text has been creatively integrated into the performance) and the distracting appearance of a stage hand or two, the execution of the parts comes close to seamless. The 60-minute piece moves at a stimulating pace and Baker doesn’t miss a beat.


Leslie Baker in "Fuck You! Fucking Perv!" at La Licorne. (Photo: Suzane O’Neill)


“Fuck You! You Fucking Perv!” is vulgar only in title, rest assured. It’s aggressive, certainly, but in the exalting spirit of a courageous soldier fighting for their life – or, perhaps more accurately, of a war veteran trying to pick up the delicate, broken pieces of what’s left of it. While a dark one-liner slips into the erratic script here and there, the underlying gravity of the statements lends itself in making the irony forgivable. Twisted battles of the body and mind are not a laughing matter, but Leslie Baker’s sophisticated humour fills our hearts with compassion – particularly towards the end of the play where the animalistic and cartoonish give way to the more human.

Provocative, unorthodox, and frankly – if we may use the language – f*cking weird, “Fuck You! You Fucking Perv!” gets our undivided attention, and in all the right ways. It’s a cry on behalf of the women (and men) who have been marginalized by systems and societies and are painstakingly mending the fractured pieces. We’re listening.

Review by Montreal Theatre Hub Editor-in-Chief Camila Fitzgibbon


Fuck You! You Fucking Perv! plays through October 21st, 2016 at La Licorne (4559, Avenue Papineau, Montreal H2H 1V4). Tickets are $25.45 – $37.45 and can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 514-523-2246.

Approximate running time: 60 minutes, no intermission

Presented in English with French surtitles


Created and Performed by LESLIE BAKER
Text by JOSEPH SHRAGGE
Translated by FANNY BRITT
Sound design by PETER-CERONE
Lighting design by CÉDRIC DELORME-BOUCHARD
Costume realization by ANGELO BARSETTI and JULIO MEJIA
Integration of surtitles and video by FRÉDÉRIC ST-HILAIRE
Puppets by MICHEL RICHARD
Dramaturgy by JOSEPH SHRAGGE & SUE JANE STOKER
Original Compositions by SAM WYLIE

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