Review | Laura Money
I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: Carletta The Great lives up to her name. A Showgirl: Deconstructed is literally a dismantling of the whole burlesques scene – with the poise and allure hidden behind smoke and mirrors in traditional cabaret, joyfully and honestly exposed.
Carletta is already on stage when you first enter the room – her back to you, wearing an outfit that wouldn’t be out of place in a mid-century beauty pageant – Grace Kelly hair and all. There is a disconcerting humming and nervous breathing issuing forth from the speakers – I wait for the horror movie jump-scare, as it is reminiscent of those ‘possession’ type of B-movies.
After an amusing dance using microphones – amplifying her body in a memorable strip tease, Carletta sits back, puts herself into the corner to watch the most detailed piece of multimedia in FRINGEWORLD 2018! Seriously, this is intricate work that deserves all the praise it can get. Part Monty Python’s Flying Circus, part B-movie, it’s a montage that attacks traditional standards of beauty and women’s roles by taking the images (mostly 1950s beauty) and rendering them grotesque. At several points, Carletta inserts herself into the image – creating a juxtaposition between Edwardian glamour and her 21st century parody of contemporary beauty norms.
I’m going to be honest – I’m a little afraid to write a review for this show. A bitchy, burlesque bouncer appears up on the screen – huge face judging the vulnerable Carletta as she tries to get into a club to perform. The bouncer becomes a giant pair of lips that alternate between throwing out phrases to describe Carletta (possibly lifted from reviews) and licking its lips complete with wet-smacking sounds. I love that – I absolutely love how surreal and bare this performance is. Carletta’s desperate eyes appeal to the audience in apparent confusion, wounded by the words, yet she still centres herself with a confidence borne out of someone who actually doesn’t want to fit in – a cheeky avant garde burlesque baby.
The rest of the act is brave – Carletta exposes the other side of performing – she strips down further than she would in a traditional performance, and inventories her qualities for the audience. She strips back the tease element of her show by getting dressed in front of you – although the payoff is enormous as you realise what’s going on during the strip. Carletta happily parodies herself, the industry and the very nature of performing – she will entertain you with the dual elements of old-school tradition, and contemporary brashness. There is plenty of overlap, I can assure you!
Carletta takes what is an obvious passion for her craft and puts an edgy, contemporary, feminist and fabulous spin on it. A Showgirl: Deconstructed is one of those smaller FRINGEWORLD 2018 shows that you should absolutely take a punt on. She gives everything to her performance and is damned entertaining. It’s a subversive, intelligent and empowering night out.
WHEN: 6 – 18 February 2018 | 7:30pm
WHERE: The IBIS Hotel | Palace Society | PERTH CBD
INFO: Tickets $20 – $25 | Duration 60 mins | Suitable 18+ | Contains nudity | CABARET