Tag: Krishna Istha

Review: Gender Euphoria

Flipping gender dysphoria on its head

By Ross Larkin

Never before have I known so little about what to expect from a show as I did entering the world of Gender Euphoria.

Part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival, I suspected perhaps an array of colour, a healthy dose of music and dance and certainly plenty of diversity. What I didn’t necessarily expect was to laugh raucously, be moved to tears more than once, and to feel utterly inspired and uplifted. 

Touted as Australia’s biggest line-up of Trans and gender-diverse performers, the ensemble of ten hail from multiple walks of life and all areas of the globe; and as diverse as they are, they most certainly all have one thing in common – talent. 

Director Maude Davey and musical director Ned Dixon bring a flamboyant and dazzling array of burlesque, song, dance, comedy, circus art and poetry, which are woven seamlessly together in a non-stop thrill ride of comedy, heartbreak and exhilaration. 

Mama Alto is not only the perfect charismatic hostess, but her voice is to die for and she had the audience in the palm of her hand with gorgeous interpretations of two classic songs by The Pretenders. 

Nikki Viveca and special guest from the UK, Krishna Istha, were also highlights, with their beautifully hilarious and poignant routines, as was the guest of all guests, Tiwi Islander Crystal Love, whose moving, yet uplifting segment had the crowd transfixed with awe and admiration. 

There’s no doubt about it, Gender Euphoria absolutely flips gender dysphoria on its head with charm, style and inspiration.

By the end, the packed house was on its feet cheering for more, and there was a sense that not only had we been part of something utterly moving and entertaining, we had also witnessed a groundbreaking and vitally significant and important piece of work.

If you’re able to somehow see this show, then do what you can to make it happen, as this is one event not to be missed. 

Gender Euphoria was part of the Arts Centre Spiegeltent Tent Melbourne International Arts Festival.

Photography courtesy of Alexis Desaulniers-Lea

 

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Malthouse Presents WILD BORE

Frightfully funny

By Caitlin McGrane

Where to even begin with this one? My best friend and I have this long-running joke where we text each other photos of slightly out-of-place objects, like an abandoned sock on the ground or a lonely piece of graffiti on a wall, alongside the caption, ‘but is it art?’ I’m not sure quite how this started but it never fails to make me laugh. And this week while I watched Wild Bore at The Malthouse I was reminded of this joke because it seemed as though the creative minds behind this project may have been in on it as well.

Wild Bore Tim Grey Photography.jpg

The production starts with bottoms. Gloriously unfiltered female derrières proudly presented to a somewhat bemused audience. This is a show about answering your critics (or is it?) and the opening (pun 100% intended) sets the tone from the start – this is going to be fun and deeply bonkers. Zoë Coombs-Marr, Ursula Martinez and Adrienne Trustcott led us up and down on a wild, wild ride. The show is extremely visual, with most of the show a long-running graphic joke about sticking stuff up your bum. It also features probably the most wonderful and well-executed knob gag I’ve ever seen. It was amazing. I loved it.

After years of writing about film and theatre, wanting to tear my eyes out with rage and disappointment at yet another ‘sad heterosexual white boy’ play about a moody woman who just. won’t. love. him, I was practically punching the air with joy at the end of Wild Bore. I can’t count the number of times I’ve wanted to stand up in a theatre and scream ‘WHERE ARE THE WOMEN?’ and this show seemed like the perfect, jaw-achingly funny reply to this question, which is that we’re here, and we’re not fucking going anywhere.

Happily, the show didn’t feel like it had a paucity of representational identity politics, Coombs-Marr, Martinez and Trustcott spoke for themselves, on their own terms and with their own real voices. They were joined all too briefly by Krishna Istha who lit up the stage with their dazzling consciousness-raising speech demanding better treatment and representation of people of colour, trans and gender non-conforming people in the arts. I was utterly blown away by this show and am beyond thrilled to see Coombs-Marr, Istha, Martinez and Trustcott setting the bar so high for truly interesting theatre.

The show was well-supported by set and costume design from Danielle Brustman (I want a pair of those bum-less trousers to use in reply whenever men tell me to smile), sound design from Raya Slavin and lighting design from Richard Vebre truly helped sustain the laughter, while stage manager Harriet Gregory made some excellent deliberate dramaturgical decisions.

This show deserves support not just because it includes better gross-out humour than Bridesmaids but also because it makes no apologies for doing exactly what you’re ‘not supposed to do’; by answering and gently mocking critics, the performers allow us to see how ludicrously seriously we sometimes take ourselves, including the impossibly high standards we set for performers, especially women. Tearing down expectations is not the same as tearing down critics, and this show demonstrated how wonderful that can be.

Wild Bore is now showing at The Malthouse until 4 June. Tickets and more information: http://malthousetheatre.com.au/whats-on/wild-bore

Image by Tim Grey Photography