Distilling one of the hottest topics of the age into a sharp, thought-provoking show takes courage and talent in equal measure, but The Hiccup Project, who were back in Hereford last night with their third show, Lovely Girls, are more than up to the task.

Once again, Chess and Cristina have created a piece that is laugh-out loud funny and breathtakingly energetic as they explore the female experience to ask what exactly it is that women are expected to be, and ask how much careless condescension and shunting into corners they have to withstand before saying ‘enough is enough’!

With the help of a hat stand loaded with props, and some intricate choreography, the contradictions and demands placed on women were hilariously demonstrated as, with each prop, from an anorak and a feather boa to cat’s ears and a sanitary towel, they added to the list – sexy, glamorous, adventurous, sporty, chilled, chief cook and bottlewasher – punctuating every addition with ‘more’ – a brilliantly realised illustration of many women’s reality.

The clever analogy of the role of the paperclip in a world of paper – there to keep paper sorted, but if the clip bends out of shape or gets loose, easily replaceable – was inspired, and led seamlessly into Cristina’s story of being a lone paper clip out in the world doing her own thing, only to encounter the kind of comments that cause a rage to burn in the gut … cue another pyrotechnic piece of physicality!

But Lovely Girls is also about finding a voice, a voice that does say ‘enough’ and says ‘no’ to being sidelined and kept in the background and says ‘yes’ to doing what we want, when we want and on our own terms. Time to construct a world in which 50% of its inhabitants aren’t treated as a minority to be patted on the head and patronised, where they don’t bend themselves out of shape and constantly feel the need to say sorry!

It's an important, relevant and urgent issue, and the joy of the Hiccup approach is to make all that crystal clear at the same as offering audiences a brilliantly entertaining, skilled and engaging show.

A fascinating post-show talk expanded on the theme, as Chess and Cristina revealed how intense an experience it had been creating a piece of work aimed at reaching the heart of an issue they’ve experienced first hand themselves, and vicariously through students in their workshops. Surely, they asked, it’s time for young women to ‘dance like nobody’s watching’, to dance for the joy of dancing, unafraid of being judged.