27
Apr
14

Spoilt

 

Spoilt

deBASE Productions

Powerhouse Visy Theatre

April 24 – 26 2014

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

 

lizskitch_spoilt 

 

Five spoilt women unravel as the worlds of a reality ‘star’, celebrity trainer, botoxed celebrant, small-dog loving PR consultant, and bridezilla collide. Skitch flips the dark side of narcissism and self-improvement sunny-side up in this electric comedy masterpiece.

 

Direct from Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Spoilt premiered at La Mama as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival 2013 and is proudly supported by the Knox Arts Centre.

 

Trained at the school of Philippe Gaulier, Skitch is an expert mimic, clown and bouffon. Always looking for something or someone to satirise, it was a glossy inflight magazine on a budget airline that was the starting point for the show.  Skitch recounts, “I felt like it was yelling at me to ‘treat’, ‘indulge’ or ‘spoil’ myself.  Why? How?! I don’t have the money to spend on a haircut let alone a weekend getaway day spa package!! Then I stumbled on an article which described ‘Miss Universe Australia’ as ‘incredibly down to earth’ and knew I had found my first victim.”

 

Holding a mirror up to contemporary self-obsession, Liz Skitch presents five women who seem strangely familiar – they’re the reality television versions of the worst kind of social media oversharers (the women we avoid in real life but follow on Facebook because parts of their lives resemble a fantastic rainy day B-grade rom-com). To bring these vastly different divas to life Skitch turns the art of satirical mimicry into an extreme sport, and employs strategies that are probably supposed to challenge us to disbelieve and disengage. Instead, as she slips off one pair of shoes and steps into another, as she swaps fabulous wigs, basic wardrobe pieces and props, we are fascinated with the on-stage transitions between characters. The pace of each character’s piece runs extremely well, and she doesn’t miss a beat with most of the hecklers, but the transitions, as interesting as they are to observe, create a clunkiness that the show can do without. The same can be said of the final 20 minutes or so – at around 70 minutes it’s not a long show but at around 55 minutes it would be a helluva lot slicker.

 

Once the weird wedding, which is attended by all five women, is done and dusted, the characters each take their turn at the on-stage equivalent of drunk texting and embarrass themselves with overindulgent confessions and the continuation of all we’ve already heard; they’re the exhausting and exasperating last-to-leave-the-party people. And I acknowledge that they really are, as the wedding winds down, but even so, while this appeals to some, it feels a little laboured to others. Also, it’s a shame that such an intelligent artist feels the need to opt for a crass, cheap (a-hem) trick thrill to finish. No, I won’t describe it here. But the warning is clear: always know where the animals are… And how much you’ve had to drink… But it’s not even a moment of real Rocky Horror Show sort of crude hilarity and it leaves me wondering whether or not we need to go quite…there. In complete contrast, the interpretive dance that precedes the final image is a masterstroke, a genuine highlight, reminding me of Lucy Hopkins‘ extraordinary energy and comedy. Skitch, like Hopkins, is a fearless and very funny physical performer.

 

 

Spoilt is not a safe show. Don’t expect to go and sit and not be seen. Audience participation appears to be mandatory – and to make it a more personal experience you can even write your own nametag to wear into the theatre – and Skitch will practice every persuasive tactic to succeed in coaxing you to join in. I was quietly grateful not to be involved on opening night. I admit, I’m not the most forthcoming audience member. The Naked Magicians discovered that much during their first Visy visit, when I refused Mike’s invitation to join him on stage for a trick. (I apologised after the show!).

 

With a few savvy cuts and some smoother (or slightly speedier) transitions, Skitch and Director, Fiona Scott-Norman, would have an even funnier, faster and sharper deBASE show to take to the rest of the world! Skitch is such a committed performer, so full of intense, vibrant, vital energy, that she deserves to keep this show on the road.

 

 

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