Tag: Maude Davey

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


REVIEW: Anni and Maude Davey Present RETRO FUTURISMUS

Fabulous fashion but short on thrill

By Myron My

There wouldn’t be – or shouldn’t be – anyone with an interest in the arts who is unaware of Maude and Anni Davey. Working in theatre, burlesque and circus for decades, the twins have certainly left a name for themselves. In Retro Futurismus, they join creative forces with Anna Lumb and Gabi Barton to present an evening of vaudeville entertainment with a sharp referential nod to retro science-fiction film-noir pop culture. Sound like a whole lot to take in? Well it is.

Retro Futurismus

Aesthetically, this show is brilliant. The costumes are all eye-catching, and time and time again I caught myself admiring at how much effort would have gone into creating them. In terms of the performances themselves though, I was left feeling somewhat disappointed with most of the twenty or so acts seeming to lack a climax or crescendo to excitement.

Having said that, performance artist Leah Shelton stole the evening with her TV and movie homages, ranging from Hitchcock’s well-known moments of suspense to a particular heartbreaking scene from Bambi. Using the original audio (sound effects included), Shelton created her own interpretations of these iconic moments. Her miming was completely in sync with the audio and her Twin Peaks-inspired Chinese-pole dance was enthralling to watch. Sadly she is only a guest performer for the first week, as other artists are then invited to participate.

The sultry tones of singer Stella Angelico were also very enjoyable to hear but yet again, she is only on for the first week. What is on every night is Maude’s brilliant musical performance in the second half of the show, which was also the musical highlight of the evening, creating some tender and emotive responses from the audience. Similarly, the succeeding act by Anni was a touching, poignant moment which fuelled introspective thoughts.

I’ve seen some of these performers do amazing things on stage and was incredibly excited to be seeing them again, but I walked out of Retro Futurismus thinking that for all the bang and pop and retro aesthetics, it needed some more substantial ‘wow’ moments to really draw me in. Hopefully the future guest artists will be able to match or even exceed the brilliance displayed by Shelton and Angelico.

Venue: fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Season: Until 28 June | Wed- Sat 7:30pm, Sun 6:30pm
Tickets: $38 Full | $30 Conc
Bookings: fortyfivedownstairs or 9662 9966

Image by Ponch Hawkes