This multidisciplinary work presented by Laser Beanz Productions was an unapologetic statement about the unrealistic expectations some women endure in relationships. (language warning)
Performers Cat Scobie, Mahla Bird, and Amy Broomstick explored relationships, power, identity, gender, and attention-seeking in this eighty-minute work. They theatrically addressed masochistic attitudes such as, “show us your tits” and “take the compliment you stuck up bitch”, all-too-common phrases that get thrown around to objectify females.
The work featured confrontational scenes of women bound and gagged, and lighter segments about beauty standards. The symbolism of woman as a Piñata was a hard-hitting representation of domestic violence, featuring another too familiar throwaway line, “if she didn’t want to get hit, then why is she dressed like that?”
It was more than just circus and physical theatre with a live punk band dressed in black and white accompanying the entire performance. The three piece band was lively and engaging as they worked their way through a series of covers with hand-picked lyrics used to elicit their political statements.
Guest circus performer Maggie, of Vertical Insanity Circus, gave another wonderful performance (I reviewed her performance in the show Hand in Hand earlier in the Fringe season). However, the sound mix was unpleasant and uncomfortably loud for The Empyrean and my sensitivity to sound affected my enjoyment of the show.
Elements of exotic dance were questionable given the feminist slant of the production and some of the nudity seemed unnecessary. Though evidently entertaining for some members of the audience, the striptease segments somewhat contradicted the powerful message of strong-willed women standing up to harassment and violence, particularly in light of aforementioned masochistic one-liners.
One can only reconcile the need for baring all with the scene by the character Samantha who explored gender issues and made the statement, “we come into the world naked”. It is evident that the actresses were comfortable in their skin; it takes a lot of courage to perform to an intimate audience completely exposed.
The actresses were very striking and skilful and they even showcased their singing with Broomstick (a.k.a Bam Bam) having the most pleasant voice of all the cast. Her rendition of the song Crazy was a particular highlight, as was the aerial work in this number. The physical theatre between Scobie and Bird demonstrated intense core strength and flexibility and received great admiration and applause from the audience. This show captured the spirit of the Fringe in its combination of zany, quirky, and controversial.
Reviewed performance: 10 March, 2018
Season: 6 – 18 March, 2018
Time: 9.50 pm
Venue: The Empyrean, Gluttony