Confession time… with 700 shows across 30 days for Fringe World this year, I had a really hard time picking and choosing my battles. Time isn’t exactly on my side having taken almost a month off, so I’ve needed to pace my approach to Fringe and be a tad more selective than previous years.
Truth be told, I almost said a big fat ‘NO’ to FEMINAH based on the promo picture (above), suspecting that the performance might have been a little too vulgar and Fringe for my liking.
It’s safe to say, Charlotte Otton had me from the minute she walked on stage. FEMINAH is a breath of Fringe fresh air, albeit laced with vulgarity. A show where you leave the theatre wanting to write home about it. Well, in my case, more than write home about, given I’m actually there to review and write home about the show. I could easily see myself heading back for seconds and bringing a few friends with me. Again… time. Not on my side.
A cabaret piece about the vulgar women of the world; the women that embrace all things trashy and beastly and that celebrate their intrinsically hideous selves. FEMINAH is a power ballad for women too scared to unleash the beast within and let her wreak havoc. A solo show created by Perth’s staunchly seductive powerhouse Charlotte Otton, this is an ode to women that censor themselves for the sake of being professional, tasteful or – heaven forbid – cute!
FEMINAH follows one woman on a war-path to dismantle every structure set in place to keep her calm and appropriate; she’s here to destroy the town, and maybe take you with it.
The talented Joe Hooligan Lui, the director/sound designer of the eye-opening production of MEDUSA that I reviewed last year, accompanies Otton on stage with his guitar. He is thrust more prominently into the performance on a couple of occasions, helping Otton make her mark.
From someone who should have joined over-sharers anonymous when I took up over-sharing blogging way back when, I can appreciate how much over-sharing is needed these days to get your point across. Still, I have filters. Lines I’m not prepared or game to cross. Lines society, my audience and largely my little family have set that stop me crossing a quintessential line that in turn keep me in line. Still though, I somehow manage to be my authentic, albeit filtered down self in the public arena. To a boxed-in point. That’s my choice. Or is it?
While it would seem Otton in FEMINAH is in over-sharing mode when it comes to this performance, it’s executed so brilliantly that it’s more of an awakening and a lesson in time, rather than a performance served up for shock value. Yes, there is an element of vulgarity throughout that’s delivered with a side serving of charm. There’s also partial nudity by way of one enormous nip slip (more extended than enormous… as in I’m not describing the actual tit in question here… now where were we?) but strangely enough and unlike other shows where I’ve questioned if this approach to the performance is truly necessary, it more than works.
I walked away from this show buzzing and a little bit in love with Otton. Wanting to head back with my favourite girls for more and full of questions… so many questions!
Can you be your authentic self with filters? Could I ever be brave enough to remove the last remaining filters myself? In an online sense, with this space here in mind, would my audience run for the hills? Would it matter?
Is society really ready for a warts and all approach? I know for a fact social media is in two camps. A picture-perfect one and another that much like myself recoils from that fakeness of it all and craves something more real.
Do we really need to be picture-perfect to make it in this world?
Finally, is it actually society that dictates we should struggle into shapewear to contain our larger than life selves, applying a filter of sorts so we look the part or is that a self-imposed existence that we’ve become too accustomed to?
If you aren’t recoiled by vulgarity or an impressively long nip slip (again not describing the tit in question) and you don’t mind someone telling it like it really is (for them), I’m guessing you are going to love this show. I know I did! I’m equally interested to see an apparently more toned down Otton in her next show LET ME FINISH, also showing this Fringe World.
The Studio at The Blue Room Theatre
18 – 26 January at 9pm