24
Feb
14

Black Faggot & Mario: Queen of the Circus Presents His Crown Jewels WTF14

 

WTF 2014 Brisbane Powerhouse

 

February 13 – 23 2014

 

Brisbane Powerhouse

Visy Theatre & Turbine Platform

February 19 – 23 & 14 – 22 2014

 

Reviewed by Meredith McLean

 

It seems WTF doesn’t so much strive to inspire audiences with the diverse culture of other nations, as it inspires absurd culture and ideas making crowds say, “WTF?” At least, this was my experience for the two nights I got to enjoy the festival.

 

blackfaggot_B&W

 

Last Friday a friend and myself were lucky enough to see the aptly titled Black Faggot. Hailing from New Zealand this kiwi duo produced by Multinesia Productions consistently made us laugh and cry and gasp. Not just myself, but those in the audience too.

 

This series of different monologues and skits tell tales of the “undercover brother” trying to convince his family he is straight. There are funny moments with dance floors and fabric wallpapers, and touching moments with brothers, mothers, friends, lovers and those we don’t quite know what to label. Because love is complicated and unique, it is also why love is the same for everyone. We all struggle with love, and it is so rewarding when we finally do find it. That’s what Black Faggot shows us; when it doesn’t make us laugh our asses off.

 

 

After that we accidentally stumbled upon the outdoor show, Wedhus Gembel, a collaboration between Melbourne’s Snuff Puppets and independent Indonesian performers. We watched strange creatures and puppet-made monsters skitter around the front entrance to the Powerhouse before deciding it was time to go. That’s when a strange, evil looking chicken, obviously waiting to join the scene in Wedhus Gembel, started to follow us. He posed and stared us down while I took a photo (everyone loves Instagram) and that’s when things got weird.

 

We started to walk on and he started to walk on. We walked a little faster and he walked a little faster. Without warning we were running and he ran with us. He caught up to my friend and hooked his beak into her arm. Half screaming, half laughing, we bolted for New Farm Park and when we finally reached a safe shaded spot on Lamington street we could stop, catch our breath and exclaim “WTF?”

 

There was a lot less running the next night. But don’t think we got off that easy. To make up for it there was quite a bit of singing greatest hits from Queen and cheering on poor audience members brought on stage to help out.

 

BPH_WTF_Mario_Queen_Of_The_Circus_1_2014-1177x663

 

I’m talking about Mario: Queen of the Circus presents his Crown Jewels.

 

Mario’s performance is a wonderful balance of frivolity, vulgarity and absurdity.

 

Mario’s talent for all kinds of circus trickery is impressive and some of his jewels, talented young women from near and far, can be awe-inspiring.

 

Awe inspiring for their tender moments and stunning beauty but sometimes they are awe-inspiring simply for the strange, strange manners of some of the acts. Helen Cassidy’s performance as Julia Gillard is truly bizarre. Though her mimicry of the accent is impeccable, what happens when she takes her clothes off is startling and cringe-worthy. Other acts, similarly, stunned the audience into silence. Kellie Vella’s performance showing off her flexibility is slightly off-putting and eerie.

 

But not all of the show is like this. Tiger Lil, a West End girl, comes back for more than a couple acts in this strange present day vaudeville show. She is enchanting and hilarious as she haphazardly spins around the stage performing hoop tricks, magic acts and even demonstrating her flirtatious skills with power tools.

 

Alex Mizzen creates a hand-balancing act that doesn’t draw to mind circus tricks. It is so peaceful, and her entire performance is emotional and angelic. The crowd watched silently not because they were bored or disappointed, but because it was incredible and no one wanted to stir a ripple in this beautiful moment.

 

Mario was the perfect MC for this line-up of lovely ladies. He closed the show seamlessly with a rendition of another of Freddie Mercury’s great hits. It’s one we all knew the words to. I think you might guess it. After the reception this show received at the end of this weird and wonderful festival, there’s no doubt we hope to see Mario back again soon.

 

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