Taylor Mac’s The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac breaks with tradition from the onset. Mac’s drag character is eager for the audience to come along on this journey, so the shows starts with houselights up and a meandering humorous introduction to the performance. It sets the scene, we laugh, we listen and we realise this show and Mac in his finery, have performed to audiences that were far tougher and less accommodating than what had amassed at the Brisbane Powerhouse on a Sunday night.
Mac’s current performance is a hybrid of a number of shows he has performed, spliced together in a delivery which makes the audience laugh, stop, think, ponder and imagine; theatre and theatrics at their best. His pieces traverse through the social, sexual and political landscape and looks back at the ramifications of a life lived under the Bush administration post September 11 and forward to what may come under President elect Obama. But this is no 60 minutes documentary, it is Taylor Mac’s personal and poignant piercing of the audiences reality. Through sheer tragi-comedy talent, a soothing voice and ukulele strummed song, he grabs your attention and spotlights the brave, sad, ridiculous and fearsome moments in life. It can be exhilarating and dangerous territory, laugh out loud at your own peril for you might then ask yourself, why are our tragedies so amusing? In Mac’s own words, “… if it wasn’t so ironic, it wouldn’t be funny”.
Mac’s over the top make-up and sequins work wondrously, the kaleidoscope of colour and chaos allow for sharp turns in focus and mood. The mask of make-up, frocks and props force you to look deeper and try to find the silhouette of the performer - the face behind the mask. Its pure brilliance and mastery at play, Mac opens up his life and thoughts to the audience as the audience leans forward into his artistry, eagerly engaging with all that he is offering.
Taylor Mac opened with a clear message, he wanted the audience to engage with humanity The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac does more than that, it compels the audience to take the experience beyond the theatre and into the personal - some of the best live performance I have experienced in years.
Brisbane Powerhouse presents
The Be(A)st of Taylor Mac
Venue Powerhouse Theatre
Date Sunday 23 November
Tickets $39 (f), $29.50 (s/g)
Bookings 07 3358 8600 or brisbanepowerhouse.org