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Adelaide Fringe Review 2017 – Becky Lou’s Real Woman

It is rare to attend a burlesque show and find one is in fact witness to a journey akin to Inanna’s Descent Into the Underworld. Just as the Goddess of Love, War, Fertility & Wisdom is forced to shed garments the deeper into the chthonic realms she descends, so too Becky Lou’s “Real Woman” sheds the accoutrements of her Art to face a climatic realisation of self-knowledge.

Burlesque may be glamour, but the root meaning of glamour also pertains to illusion. For many, the illusion is important (and valid) because it is aspirational fantasy. And clearly amongst the burlesque sorority (and emerging fraternity) bonds are made between performers of rare strength. But what happens when one achieves reputation as a strong powerful woman, independent, free and artistic – but emotionally your innermost being still feels like a stage kitten, picking up after the main act?

Becky L

Real Woman is therefore not a burlesque cabaret performance as such, but it is a show about burlesque – in so much as it has been an important way point on a bigger expedition.

She openly reminisces on the projections ingrained into young women as teenagers through to their thirties, which may trigger your own memories about how you learned sexual realpolitik, the power imbalances in gender, and how you overcame the societal programming. Or maybe you didn’t? Or maybe you were on the other side of that equation? On the turn of an anecdote we frequently slid from hilarity to deep introspective thought. Or tears. Our silences were the bookmarks between her time-travelling chapters.

Let it be said, Becky is a cabaret psychopomp who never carelessly played with our emotions, but gave us our own informed opportunity to engage with them. And I hasten to add, that she refused to leave us in the underworld. Kicking and screaming we were regularly dragged from melancholy into rapturous delight, a seasonal & cyclical re-emergence into the upper world.

Expect this show to make you laugh and cry simultaneously. And it is going to feel awkward. That may be something to be thankful for.  There is an excellent run of shows left over the remainder of the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

Posted by Jonathan on Mar 8th 2017 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,People,Reviews,Theatre | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe Review 2017 – Baby Got Back

If you are parent to a child around 6 or 7, you will be familiar that to the sub-juvenile mind, butts are the funniest damn things on earth. You can hit them like drums, they can make rude noises and parents seem to flounce in embarrassment when you say bum loudly in front dear old Aunt Ethel who is going on 92.

Somewhere, as we grow up, we lose appreciation of body based humour and become exponentially more embarrassed by the one thing we all have alongside our opinions.

BGB

Think of Baby-Got-Back as a childhood regression therapy for anal retentive adults. From the opening projected sequence, we realise our youngest years of cartoon viewing from Warner Brothers to Ren & Stimpy, we were saturated with booty shaking. But somewhere in time the appreciative elegance and self-ownership of the human body changed into something to be hidden, suppressed and controlled by others.

Following the warm up we are assailed with Punk Pussy Power from the cast – which following the sounds of Prez Trump promoting white cis-male entitlement – forms the basis of an ongoing theme throughout the night, one I think well stated and reiterated by host Memphis Mae. That shaking-what-ya-mamma-gave-ya can be about celebration, spectacle and empowerment, but it should never be an assumption of nor misconstrued as an invitation. Consent culture needs to cast out the old poor-Pavlovian excuses.

What then follows under the curation of the BGB all-stars – Frankie Valentine,Bella deJac, Vesper White & Jane Doe – is a rollercoaster ride of Brazilian Carnivale excess, choco-hole gluttony of Brando-esque proportions, feminist bum puppetry and an Vagina Dentata monster that plays into the phallocentric nightmares of the entitled-male psyche. This is not a by the numbers burly show. It has nuggets of magic, comedy and social commentary amongst the arse-tistry.

Opening night was a sell-out crowd. Take that as a warning that your opportunity to get your bum on a seat (and in an Instagram post!) could be limited.

Posted by Jonathan on Mar 1st 2017 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,Reviews | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe Review 2017 – That’s F#@$d Up Gorelesque

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Gorelesque is one of those curious sub-genres growing in popularity, but by no means the only sub-genre when one considers nerdesque, super-heros & other cos-play are also setting new staging grounds for the burlesque art form.

But there is possibly a broader palate available when engaging strong horror themes such that it can be as deadpan serious & sexy, or as camp and comedic as takes the performers fancy – so the audience is rarely subjected to a heavy onslaught in only one hue.

Straight up – That’s F#@$d Up Gorelesque is a monster of a show clocking in over 2 hours with an intermission, so be prepared to settle yourself in for a movie marathon of boobs, bile and blood in the vein of Russ Meyer, under the hilarious scream queen custodianship of GI Junk and Hazel Nuts.

Velvet Chase gave us denim & grease Tradie Burlesque, all hot hammer bumps and angle grinds, as she bought childhood games to life by constructing a 7 foot tall version of Operation. Of course those slots need the appropriate bones & organs, and she has the tools for the job. Her second act was a sensuous Tribal Bellydance burlesque, which conveyed a narrative of willing submission and sacrifice to the gods in order that sacred gnosis can be danced and known.

Diana D’vine is a queen of whacky characters and gave us two spellbinding routines – the first her Mad Professor -exposed in fragile mind and shaking body, all in the name of Science. Her second was a brilliant homage to Evil Dead I can only describe as necronomilicious !

The inimitable Sarina del Fuego also graced us twice – first with her signature smoking routine which balances subtle desire & cool disinterest within a restrained delivery, and then second with an art piece where she bared all while tracing bodily curvatures & prime cuts in paint, likely in anticipation of going under the knife – for a surgeon or butcher is a question unresolved.

There were a number of memorable one off acts as well. The Viper Scoria duo gave us hot sapphic submission and Bathory-worthy bloodletting before proceeding to almost burn the motherf@cker down, while Ginger Pop expertly delivered the mental anguish and primal School Prom horror of Carrie in buckets.

One of the highlights was clearly duo Bell & Moss who have now defined the new genre of Psycho Drag, which was equal parts athletic erotica and OTT ham. But have no doubt – there was murder on the dance floor.

There is a rotating roster of performers throughout the rest of season to ensure a return attendance is a fresh affair. Let them break your heart. Or carve it. Sauteed with onions.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 28th 2017 | Filed in Burlesque | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe 2017 Review – The Little Death Club

I love a good vulgarian, and Bernadette Byrne brings it in spades. Admittedly I was a little confused to whether she was Weimar-era German, or East European Roma ‘Gypsy”, or transiting France – her accent seemed to shift with her particularly dirty ditties – but it is nice to know many profanities are truly universal. And her songs have a certain Gogol Bordello euro-punk energy to get your toes tapping or monkeys spanked.

As host of the orgasmically alluding “Little Death Club”, she is the ring-mistress to a changing stable of Fringe performers unlikely to be purveying their particular post-9pm wares on the public Rundle Mall stage.

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On this particular evening we had Asher Treleaven – a bookish thespian invoking prose from a no-doubt black-label Mills & Boon. Treacle thick words like aural Viagra are dispensed with good humour and instruction, lest any gentleman caller be unsure how to ring a fair lady’s doorbell.

Physical comedy clown Dimitri Hatton could have been regarded as a walking volume of that 1970’s classic – The Joy of Sex – albeit without the intellectual distance, artistic form or a suitable partner. However, filled with joy he was, and keen to pour it over unsuspecting audience members.

Gypsy Wood was Miss Teen South Carolina – all drawl and glitz as she interpretive danced her way across stage in a manner that left us periodically cringing from the punch line to her routine.

Jess Love is a wonderful mixture of hilarious apathy, surliness and high skill on hula hoops. Having seen her before in previous years, it was a treat to see her circus skills in high rotation once again.

Fortunately this show is a long run Royal Croquet Club fixture, meaning you have the rest of Fringe to find an available show among the near daily offerings, and with the rotating line up, you can probably go more than once – which gives you a chance to learn Bernadettes Beer Hall anthems to hedonism.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 27th 2017 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Music,Reviews | Comments (0)

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