VERY OUT THERE
Eli Joseph – MC/Producer
Hans Landon-Lane – Reverend Splitfoot/Musical Director
presented by the Industrial Burlesque Collective
at Bodega, Wellington
From 2 Oct 2011 to 6 Oct 2011
Reviewed by Greer Robertson, 6 Oct 2011
This brand new voodoo revue was definitely outrageous, daring and fun!
With the varying degrees of understanding and standards of Burlesque that has recently appeared in Wellington, I go along to this performance not knowing what to expect.
Blissfully and unashamedly, I am happy to report that it is refreshing to finally see a show that is on the right track albeit bizarrely entwined with a humorous pseudo sickness, as straight in your face, no holes barred, with blatant reference to decaying corpses and zombies. It is very out there.
On a small budget, but with a big heart, this production of over 20 performers raved in a nightclub bar, saying and portraying what they wanted to.
Not your general cup of tea during the week? I didn't think it would be mine, but with it's cleverly thought out themed plot, very alive dialogue and passionate delivery from all who took to the stage, it had me smiling and the crowd about me jeering and cheering. One couldn't help but be taken on a journey of twisted perversion, temptation and silliness.
With an array of arrangements from the very talented and very exuberant live band, to well known recorded songs and an occasional lip-synch, the music is interwoven to produce quite a variety. Blues, experimental, rock, and country, it had it all.
Minor tweaking of staging and production details and this could be possibly held as a repertoire piece, worthy of being resurrected at a later date with sustainability. Correct even the smallest of details with all the mostly naked female performers wearing nipple adornment and the show stays as one of Burlesque. If not, it crosses quite abruptly into the strip show side of things. Unfortunately I found the intricacies of the lit candle gymnastics in the final act unnecessarily tipping it into this bracket.
But there was unsurpassed talent in other areas. The double up roles transfer well as the enigmatically vibrant Musical Director; Hans Landon Lane, plays a pivotal role not only as the very energetic frenetic conductor but also as the dastardly and devious frocked Right Reverend Dr Splitfoot. What a voice and personality as he commands a presence in “I've got a spell on you.” In this scene he is forever memorable and to be highly commended!
The skulled eloquent Narrator, Eli Joseph also sang with great gusto as Mr. Snake Eyes. And not to be outdone by all the scantily clad females around him, he finally offers himself as the only male specimen to disrobe, just stopping in the nick of time before his own possible embarrassment sets in.
Silliness aside, clever choreography was seen from Sam McLeod and the image and dancing of the four Mortuary Dolls grotesquely undulate and enthrall at all times, never letting their characterisations slip for a split second. Bizarrely they are very credible. Other themed solo acts appear with varying degrees of experience and belief.
But the operating theatre scene, complete with naughty nurses and a sensual disemboweling of the semi dead corpse on the operating table was black humour at its best.
Was the mock offal that was flung into the audience eventually landing in my lap a sign?
But what for, I wonder?
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Jonathan W. Marshall