Following the overwhelmingly successful vote for marriage equality, are we seeing, experiencing, and creating new images of ourselves?
Scoping one of the greatest and biggest accessible-culture events on earth—Adelaide Fringe—is a good way of seeing how things might be evolving.
This ranks LGBTI informed shows, from the unapologetically queer to the ‘straight acting’ yet still subversive.
With so much to cover, our survey concentrates on shows that project a well-developed look and sound. This tends to leave out the large number of stand-up comics at Adelaide Fringe.
At the unapologetically queer end of the spectrum, two shows stand out.
In Diffusion, Cazeleon takes his audience on a noirish ride through a vampy, fantasy-strewn kaleidoscope of projected imagery, drawn from the aspirations and nightmares of a Hollywood imagination.
He ultimately establishes a pared down reality based on his own terms.
“[Diffusion] hypnotised this reviewed from the very beginning,” wrote GLAM Adelaide.
“A polished and self-actualised mix of theatre and cabaret that truly brands Cazeleon as a star,” wrote FEST Mag.
Meanwhile, Cazeleon has a ‘gal pal’ in the seven foot, frizzy redhead Gingezilla in Glamonster vs. the World.
In it, Gingezilla bites off some seriously searing sexual politics. Her vain attempts to scale the heights of post-war womanly perfection, result in nothing but enfeeblement and humiliation—and good old fashioned bashing.
But liberation beckons as she transmogifies into a ’70s style glam rocker. Go girl.
“It blurs the lines of traditional gender roles and sexuality, the likes of which I haven’t seen before,” wrote Adelaide Now.
“You won’t want to miss watching Gingezilla own that stage,” wrote Weekend Notes.
The big production show favourites at Adelaide Fringe are the many reimagined contemporary circuses on offer. They have long incorporated acrobatics, modern dance, cabaret, and burlesque into their traditional arts.
They are now a world where all sorts of queer re-imaginings and allusions are always possible.
Rouge, a festival hit, is a gorgeous and sumptuous wonderment. One you don’t want to end.
Its male performers throw each other quiet, sexually charged flirts, while its women revel in the glories of fully liberated hula hoop dances or reach the heights of operatic achievement through masturbatory stimulation.
“A circus for adults in the way we’ve come to know, love, and slightly lust after,” wrote the Advertiser.
Driftwood is a more subtle offering, giving up its secrets over subtle seductions and a less familiar soundtrack.
The women take on the strong-person roles, while playing out intense personal relationships over the high trapeze. “Letting go” has never been so literal.
The men let us into some particularly tender and touching moments.
In the wake of the vote, the two men who devised this routine became legally married. You won’t doubt why.
“[Driftwood] has a strong conceptual idea that flows throughout the piece, that humans are human together,” wrote The Clothesline.
Once the main shows for the evening are over, and good people are in bed, the scandalous and boisterous After Hours Cabaret bursts into life. It calls on a floating potpourri of acts sourced from other shows.
Particularly memorable is Tara Boom, moonlighting from Rouge. She shows just how extreme a drag show can be. In advancing the genre as a woman, she is all the more subversive.
One could imagine her gay torch standard “This is My Life“ as a gay stag-night, staged for a musical version of Boys in the Band.
Tragedy has never been so simultaneously trashy, loveable, and divine.
“Enough sass, charm, and decadence to power a moonshine distillery,” wrote artsreview.com.au.
Damien Warren-Smith’s first post-NIDA theatrical review appeared in the Star Observer ten years ago. He has returned from London to introduce his nightmarish alter ego, in Garry Starr Performs Everything.
Starr has been dismissed from the Royal Shakespearean Company for the suitably topical offence of wilful and indecent exposure.
He now embarks on a vain-glorious attempt to resurrect his career by demonstrating his mastery of every known genre of acting.
Throughout an unblinking dash through ridiculousness and low farce, Starr retains his trademark Elizabethan neck ruffle; even in the face of some gloriously, silly nudity.
“Poking fun of the elites of theatre while simultaneously celebrating them is not an easy task but Garry pulls it off,” wrote the Upside News.
Chris and Mike, a pair of buffed boys who present the Naked Magicians, are also thankful to the Star Observer—the first media to run pictures of them at work.
There is not much more I can expand on beyond what is already so efficiently encapsulated in the title.
Sure, this show is a screaming hens night hit. But they do it without body-shaming and or Chippendale-esque preening. Their happy show leaves us less buffed souls feeling totally charmed and less than inadequate.
Enjoy it on a boys night out and normalise the space while you’re at it.