FRINGEWORLD 2018 | Power Ballad | 4 stars

Review | Laura Money



What is language? A force that shapes us – yet is not isolated from us. It is intrinsically shaped by humans. The language we speak is coloured by the history of misogyny, fear, hatred, power and love that is present in the inflection given to each word. Even body language can tell a story. Artist Julia Croft makes one of the most memorable entrances in theatre – backwards crab-walking, nude from the waist up, long wig draped wildly over her face, eyes and portions of her body. She demonstrates the powerful world of semiotics as she uses her body (sans hands) to manipulate the microphone – playfully and sexually moving it all over her writhing and bucking body.

Croft then approaches the microphone in a more conventional fashion. Still not saying anything – yet saying everything – she taps and blows into the mic. She licks and teases it. She encompasses it with her mouth. She begins the guttural, embryonic sounds of llllllaaaaannnguaaaaaageeeeeee, distorting the way sounds are created to render them useless – not dissimilar to a child repeating a word over and over until the word sounds strange and alien. Language is deconstructed – theatre, FEMINISM – FEMINIST THEATRE! – as Crofts uses her inflection to create an impression of meaning per word. Theatre is positive, posh, refined. FEMINISM is angry, barbed, poisonous. FEMINIST THEATRE! is dangerous, politically charged, subversive. The fragmentory shouting of words creates a lexicon of terms for the intimate audience gathered.

When you think of feminist music, 80s power ballads don’t usually spring to mind – they are usually steeped in misogyny, largely tales of masculine sexuality and the coveting of unattainable women. Yet, Croft utilises many hidden gems from singers like Annie Lennox and Patti Smith to put female voices firmly back on the frontline. Singing along is optional, however, I defy you to not belt it out when the words are right in front of you. Power Ballad is brave, clever, and damned epic. It takes language and rips it bodily from the patriarchy. It’s angry, it’s funny, it’s confronting – and it’s powerful.

WHEN: 27 January – 3 February 2018 | 7:30pm

WHERE: The Blue Room Theatre | Fringe Central | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $20 – $24 | Duration 50 mins | Nudity | Recommended 15+ | THEATRE







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