Bang! Bang!

 

What a way to finish my role as a Brisbane Festival Citizen reviewer.  Bang! Bang! Rhonda Burchmore’s delicious, high energy show that is made from her wildest fantasies (mostly men showing a lot of skin).

The Courier-Mail Spiegeltent is a “tent” where the audience is seated in a circle around the stage and cat walk. The circle a traditional form to gather and turn your back to the outside world and enjoy a show, there are mirrors and stained glass windows as a feature in the tent, wooden flooring and mirrors surrounding the tent poles, there are booths tucked away along the wall of the tent and the alcohol flows from the bar. This is where Rhonda’s alter ego Ruder along with her guest star Rob Mills danced, sang, and tap danced down the cat walk while the live band played classics like Tom Jones and contemporary music like Miley Cyrus – they are so talented.

We sat in our fourth row seating with electric anticipation at seeing the show, Rhonda and her talented party spread their energy and enthusiasm through the whole Spiegeltent. The seventy minutes of the show flew by as the audience clapped and danced in their seats along with the classics and the mash-up of songs. There was wolf-whistles and appreciation for all of the delicious people on the stage (Rhonda’s words). Bang! Bang! Is a sexy production with plenty of six packs and skin on show. There was sequins sewn on to the most magnificent costumes that sculpted to perfectly fit and toned performers bodies, there was men in cowboy chaps and women in tiny leotards, there were sparkly high heels that danced with perfection all over the stage and cat walk, fantastically fun hats, glitter bombs and bubbles. The audience was treated to dancers in concert at floor level within the reserved seating next to the stage.

Rhonda Burchmore is the epitome of professional and talented after 30 years in show business. Australian audiences love her and the Brisbane Festival audience was screaming their appreciation to her as well.  I was in awe of her fitness and energy, she is so much fun and of course her legs that go for miles. She completely owned the Spiegeltent stage. Bang! Bang! was a perfect party atmosphere. So grateful to have seen the show thanks to Brisbane Festival.

 

 

Betty Grumble : Love and Anger

The award winning, Betty Grumble, surreal showgirl, obscene beauty Queen, and Sex Clown, brings to the Brisbane Festival.

Betty Grumble Love and Anger.

Love and Anger the show, is an excessive assault on the senses with Betty stripping all the way back to, the two, most powerful human emotions. Love and Anger.

The book, The Scum Manifesto is the thread that weaves its way through the show.  The book written by Valerie Solanas and published in 1967. The book centres on valid social concerns centred on patriarchy. Valerie wrote:  Men have ruined the world and it is up to women to fix it. Betty in her own wild approach to Valerie’s views, highlights that; women are still grappling with the same stories, conversations, and fears 51 years later. Betty Grumble is a conversation starter.  Conversations you never thought you would have. These dialogues are shocked out of you through various forms of expression.

On entrance to the Block at QUT’s Theatre Republic the room is a cloud of incense. Betty is quietly standing at the front of the stage a book covering her face, surrounded by suitcases and a white backdrop with scribbles of black writing. Betty welcomes the crowd and lulls us into a sense of community – that we belong in this space. She takes the time to assure us that all reactions are welcome and if our senses are overwhelmed there is no judgement in having to exit.  Betty is enthusiastic, and excited to share her show and so it begins. Betty Grumble Love and Anger, draws philosophies from The Scum Manifesto, Betty recites passages of the book through out the show, venting through an in your face, shocking and confronting communication of women’s liberation, the worship of the divine feminine and a woman’s body as a political playground. In an extravagant way Betty shows how movement, creativity and art is used to heal and expand the spirit of woman. A stripping naked of all barriers and exposing vulnerability in a safe womb like space. A singing vagina. A touch of magic. Cabaret dancing. The show involves science experiments, painting, and flower arranging in the extreme. Conversations on relationships. Relationships with yourself, Mother Nature and the environment, patriarchal relationships, mother/ daughter connections, bonds with your siblings and the weight that you each carry.

By the end of the show, the full frontal nudity was not so shocking to my friend and I that sat through the 60 minute show. Our drive home was an explosion of hilarity, tears from laughing and shock and at one stage chest pain. The conversations and questions that were screamed hysterically through the car were a testament to Betty and the boundaries and comfort zones she pushed within us.

 

Romeo is not the only fruit.

 

Romeo is not the only fruit was staged at the Theatre Republic – The Loft, QUT Creative Industries as part of Brisbane Festival. I was gifted the two tickets as part of my role as Citizen Reviewer. It was not on my wish list, however, I was looking forward to seeing a show that I hadn’t even glanced at.

The loft was kitted out with simple cardboard cut outs as the set for the show, oversized cardboard cut outs for the props as well, the costumes were plain (there was sequins at the end) and the main focus was on the script with a side of singing, dancing, and a dead lesbian chorus who manage to show Juliet who she really is and to embrace it.

The show is a modern romantic comedy based on Romeo and Juliet’s tragic story. It was a show of stereotypes; a romantic comedy, with lesbians that were up against cultural and racial barriers, discrimination and oppression. The show traipses over each stage of a coming-out story and in a comedic way is literally a big “fuck you” (that’s the closing song) to the “normal” white, heterosexual public who have their head up their ass (The mother said Juliet had her head up her ass about her ambition to be a pilot, and not wanting children) and don’t take notice of the multicultural, diverse world we actually live in.

Juliet (Margot Tanjutco) meets the new neighbour Darcy (Louisa Wall) and from there blossoms their romantic relationship. Juliet and Darcy are put through a series of trials, all stereotypical including Julie’s lesbian awakening, and family dinner with the overbearing Asian mother, a marriage obsessed G-Ma encouraging Juliet to settle down and marry a man and give them grandchildren the normal way, a night out at a gay event, and eventually attempted murder.

Some of the comedy went straight over my head, however, the crowd of maybe fifty thought it was hysterical. During the dinner of pasta made by the Asian mum, I found myself thinking of cooking the same meal for my family this week, and was trying to remember if I had the ingredients. During a tutorial with a cob of corn I was put off because I won’t be able to look at corn the same way again.

I am grateful for the experience to see of all these diverse shows that Brisbane Festival bring to the city and the people of Brisbane to enjoy.