Posts Tagged ‘strip


Apocastrip WOW!

Apocastrip Wow!

Judith Wright Centre

Saturday 3rd March

Reviewed by Mel White

I have a confession to make.

I sent this review to Xanthe a little late.  Actually, it was very late but at no point was this intentional.  If I can be perfectly honest with you here, it was because of this:  I just didn’t know where to start.

This is by no means due to a lack of experience in writing reviews; as a Secondary Drama teacher, I see my fair share of shows and I have drafted, marked and even written too many reviews than I care to think about.  No, I didn’t have the faintest idea where to start because – and here’s some brutal honesty – it took me a long time to decide how I felt about this show overall.  And since I’m laying down all the cards here, I’ll go one further and say this:  I STILL don’t know how I feel about this show in an overall context. Of course, I have feelings towards every item that forms this unique showcase, and I intend to share them here, but to form an overall opinion?  Well, I’m yet to partake in that delight.  So with that in mind, allow me to share my conflicting opinions…

Writer/Performers Mat Fraser (aka The Freak) and Julie Atlas Muz (aka The Showgirl) have created a performance that is, by their own admission, “the best send-off show for the end of the world”.  Operating under the premise that the apocalypse is coming in 2012, Apocostrip Wow attempts to validate its existence by suggesting that we should “go crazy and do anything we want”, since we are in our last year of the world as we know it.  Indeed, Fraser and Muz lead by example in what can only be described as a roughly hewn showcase of poor taste.

The show begins with a flurry of fast paced (and, subsequently, incomprehensible) voiceovers, roaming spotlights and a dancing entry from Fraser and Muz, which more resembled a pair of drunks walking home after a big night at the pub.  Much to my chagrin, this kind of talentless choreography would appear frequently throughout the show, serving as a linking device between acts; a very underwhelming linking device at that.

From this point, for a good proportion of the show, the 2 performers mostly alternate in appearance:  he to intrigue the audience with his considerable skills that hinge on his disability, she to perform her stunning strips.  Being a thalidomide baby, Fraser, who performs under the stage name “Sealboy”, is affected with phocomelia, leaving him with arms that resemble seal limbs.  Whilst it is certainly fascinating to witness the many skills Fraser has acquired over the years (the way in which he shaves his face was a highlight), it is his singing that truly deserves applause.  Throughout the show, Fraser is continually upfront about his disability, frequently resorting to humour and fact recitation in order to alleviate potential awkwardness about his physical appearance.  Whilst this is initially intriguing, it also gets old very fast and this leads to, in my opinion, the show’s undoing.

Towards the end though, the sprouting of factual evidence gives way to audience interaction and this always forces you to take notice as, if you’re like me, you’re hoping like hell they don’t pick you.  As it turns out, I’m rather thankful that I wasn’t plucked from the raucous audience, as audience involvement has never been more lunatic than what ensued.  Six audience members are firstly asked to bare their rear ends and two are then chosen as the best “asses”.  These two audience members then engage in a beer drinking game set around the need to have virtual beer sex in a hostage situation.

After the audience interaction madness dies down, Muz commences a nude interpretative dance, complete with child-like slip ‘n’ slides across the stage whilst Fraser sings ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’.  It was at this point that I began to accept the madness for what it was and I found myself simply taking joy in the stupidity.

Getting naked for naked’s sake doesn’t really appeal to me and this is what I found Apocostrip Wow to be:  just an excuse to get naked with no real reason behind it.  I’m certainly not a prude – I did enjoy some moments within this chaotic display of “talent” – but overall, I still feel mixed emotions about the impending doom that is Apocostrip Wow.