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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 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.

Bernadette_Byrne_800x800_RGB

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)

Adelaide Fringe Review 2017 – Burlesque Idol

Hannie+Raegan+Burlesque+Idol

 

One of the most pleasing things about Burlesque Idol is that, year on year, the standard of individual performers is just getting exponentially better. It is abundantly clear that routines are being polished and workshopped amongst peers and mentors – not to say such competitions can’t be a lab bench to experiment with new idea’s, but it is more so satisfying when previous proof-of-concept creative is laid out as a finished opus.

 

But the other growing trend is the number of fella’s getting into the competition – and the night kicked of with Kaiju-stylin boylesque, Gingzilla. A Fire-Giant killing it on-stage with an operatic Brynhildr vocal range and a pair of heels so high that they could only have bought hir closer to Valhalla.

 

No stranger to our previous reviews, Audrey Addiction was a melting pot of all the right elements – strong audience connection, a sense of humour, drum tight synchronisation, but keeping the pace slow & sexy so that individual components flowed from one to the other with just the right continuity.

 

Senorita Desert Rose was armed & dangerous, a bandit-Saint Nuestra Dama de la Danza. Under her flowing ruffled dress, her heels fired like Smith & Wessons on the stage. Her demeanour switched between demure and defiant in a drum beat, while she delivered sharp dance technique from a broad range of disciplines.

 

Diana D’vine was the Hero we had been holding out for as she channelled her inner Linda Carter over 80’s Steinman pop anthems, bringing our favourite Amazonian to stage. I personally find good burlesque comedy is as much 90% facial communication – you can dance with shtick all you like, but if your lips & eyebrows aren’t doing a conga line with your hips, you lose the audience. No danger of that from this Wonder Woman.

 

Ira Luxuria may have come on stage in all classic burlesque adornments, but any fears of a unambitious by-the-numbers affair were blown out of the water when she rocked out a take-no-prisoners routine to high energy Glaswegian pop-punk. A thoughtful juxtaposition of hard attitude with delicate appearances, she brought together the best of old & new burly smarts.

 

Marilyn Mocktail undertook an alchemical endeavour of transmogrification on stage, with an archetypal Crone finding her inner Maiden alive and well. There were some clever plays on popular burlesque stripping tropes, the mandatory glove peel taking on a much more visceral fleshy delivery with handy prosthetics. What underpinned her performance most of all was her smile – it was omnipresent , pervasive and persuasive, and invested us in her performance.

 

Miss Curvella, Miss Burlesque SA 2016, juggles elegance and swagger in a way that reinforces just why she won the State title last year. Her lips & eyes are deployed like weapons of mass hypnosis. Her routines are deceptively athletic, delivered gracefully and measured, but executed such the physical demand is well concealed, the mark of a professional.

 

Holly Wouldn’t transformed the stage into the realm of an Ice Queen – her eyes batting shyly, but only to ensure we approach enough to be ensnared. Regal & resplendent, adorned with light and diaphanous wings, she delivered a symphonic-driven tease that used the mystery of her veils for a slow shedding of form to magnificent effect.

 

Wayne Carter has possibly forever ruined father-son movie time for me by devising Minion Boylesque. But far from despicable, he bounced, twerked, bumped & grinded like a Black & Decker on the stage and on unprepared audience members. And a valuable lesson that the stage extends past those floodlights, and sometimes audience connection is not just psychological – but a very physical thing!

 

Lastly, Ziggy Charms was literally the kid in the candy store. Frequently bearing a resemblance to a Richard Simmons aerobics workout while on a corn-syrup bender, he bought a rainbow of colour & emotions to the floorboards. What was pleasing was the Burly Poindexter routine wasn’t just a play on traditional routines, but had the simple joy of a 6 year old rocking out in their underpants to Saturday morning music vids.

 

The big winner on the night, deservedly so, was Senorita Desert Rose. Burlesque Idol continues its national journey in coming weeks up the East coast of Australia throughout March.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 25th 2017 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Events,Reviews | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe Review 2017: The Redhead Cabaret

 

From little things big things grow, so the song goes.

I prelude this review with this statement because I can see a lot of fast developing talent, and great ideas. Have no doubt, the crowd loved it – practically a capacity house.

But what I think I saw was a lot of good individual performances that have all the more capacity to be further woven together, and intermeshed, to make something greater than the sum of its parts.

I was simultaneously excited & disappointed that host- Miss Demeanour – fingers of fire on piano, accompanied by sultry Laveene Du Pearl on vocals and a take-no-prisoners drummer, Steph Fitzpretzel, were only musical interlude pieces. Seriously – I think they could, nay, should be used to underpin many of the danced performances too! These performers are not a mere counterpoint to the main show, to my mind.

red head

The show also delves into the mythological & archetypal power of the Red Head. For example, the role of antediluvian Adam’s first wife – Lilith – as a powerful symbol of feminist empowerment, was undertaken by Ivy Fox in her sensuous stage performance. There are two sides to Lilith – that has been reclaimed by women through self-empowerment, and that projected by men in both desire & fear. I think if you are met with a nervous audience who are yet to give it all – then there is a broader palette of emotions to play with to get the response you need and deserve as a performer. But it must be acknowledged that it is no easy thing to channel such a demi-Goddess.

There was a lot of polished technical work – Scarlett Fatale & Harlot Rose demonstrated restraint, poise & balance, showing that seduction can arise through minimalism & pure suggestion. Dulce Esperenza similarly expressed a callisthenic bond with a pair of feather fans that operated as a true extension to herself.

Porcelain LeBon was the embodiment of “switch” – in a routine that cleverly topped from below as she moved to suggest supplication, but cleverly not relinquishing control to those not worthy.

Sirena del Rossa blended sociopathic revenge with sensuality – because the lines between sex & death have ever been thin – and pulls off a body in barrels trope that South Australians would viscerally enjoy. In the wash up she also snubs her nose at occupational health & safety risk by performing worthy balancing acts of visual elegance on slippery surfaces, which we can only thank her for.

barrel

I’m going to mention boylesque perfomer L’Homme Blayze last. He provided the required comedy relief within what could be seen as a heavy programme – but I am going to openly question whether parody routines is the required manifestation of his presence. There is also a psychological gravitas to the male ‘Ranga – and in a show that delves into the Jungian forms that permeate our conscious & unconscious world, I see great opportunity to explore the notions of masculinity under the rulership of this colour – Mars/ Ares, the Irish Dagda…why even Erik The Red since Vikings are all the rage!

Good tribes stick together over time, and I hope this is the case here – because I think there is something more to be discovered in this production. This may be as much an unfolding for the performer as it is for the audience.

There are two more performances of The Redhead Cabaret at Nexus for Adelaide Fringe 2017 season.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 19th 2017 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Reviews | Comments (0)

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