Freak, Mat Fraser was born with phocomelia of both arms, a deformity caused by a medical bungle of the era when his mother (among many others) was given a drug called thalidomide to help cure morning sickness. Instead of lamenting his disability, he jokes "at least it stopped the morning sickness, so it's not all bad". Matt has a luxurious singing voice and his warming, gently performed rendition of "Born Free" seemed out of place among the "lips" of Bob Marley film and the beer soaked orgy.
The Showgirl (Julie Atlas Muz), an award-winning US burlesque artist, did a couple of clever burlesque routines that were more modern than the traditional 1950s style we see a lot of. Her props were ropes and glow in the dark paint, and she incorporated techniques more commonly seen in Thailand, focussing more on the strip than the tease.
A series of skits ranged from the very cute to the unashamedly smutty. They took a dig at politics and gave prejudice a nudge. One of my friends commented: "You're bludgeoned senseless with a raunchy/weird stick and you're taken so far outside of your comfort zone... once you figure out what the hell you're watching, you either love it or hate it."
Fraser is a golden example of determination and creativity overcoming adversity, and Atlas Muz presents as a gorgeous, self empowered woman. However, there was plenty of content included purely for titillation and shock value and lacking in the truly impressive "wow" moments. The Apocalyptic storyline was tenuous at best.
The Freak and the Showgirl preach a message of reckless abandon, loving who you are and accepting all comers. This show may make you rethink your boundaries and your definition of fun, and that's what makes good theatre, right?
The Freak and the Showgirl present
Perth Fringe World
10, 12 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 February 2012
The Gershwin Room
21, 22 February 2012
The Gaelic Hotel
29 February, 1 March 2012
The Judith Wright Centre
3 March 2012