Photos – Stephanie Bailly
The LoveBirds pays homage to the 'Cockettes' a sexually aggressive cult theatrical troupe formed in San Francisco as part of the bohemian psychedelic 1930s. The 'Cockettes' feature in a documentary made in 2002 but broke up back at the end of the 1960's. This production carries a PG (Parental Guidance) rating self proclaimed by the company and it isn't really a show I would bring children along to, largely because the program includes one male character strutting around with his penis proudly exposed at the end of a solo number – possibly not the best thing for some kids. The four characters – each an exotic bird – is desperate to get some sexual action, so the whole show rests on a great deal of bumping grinding and hip swaying – some kids will find this amusing I suppose, but for the parents sake, I'd leave the kids at home.
I found the psychedelic show with live music a little difficult to swallow. It's the sort of entertainment that people are likely to either love or hate, and I'm afraid it left me feeling indifferent most of the time. I have no doubt that the singing and musical accompaniment are top form, but the actual characters left me cold.
The material is sharply focused on the mating rituals of birds, which in itself is an amusing area to explore with the variety of strange rituals and behaviours involved there, but the overt gaudiness which is probably an accurate portrayal of the 1930s 'look' didn't gel for me at all. I couldn't cut through and reach any of the characters; the shiny, sequin covered plumage seemed a coat of emotional armour I simply couldn't penetrate. It has a few very funny moments, but overall the love life of birds is far more classy and witty than this homage allowed.
That's where the complicated context starts to stretch credibility for me a little. The show is billed to be about a troupe who performed this type of material back in the day, and the material is about the way birds go about their mating habits. The actual performance doesn't dwell on any documentary information about the 'Cockettes' at all really – it simply presents the homage to their work, so instead of any cultural context it's just a show – that for me didn't rock my socks. Lovers of the glitz and glam of drag and old school jazz are likely to love it. The professionalism of the production and slickness of the presentation is beyond question. For anyone into the lurid and lusty, The LoveBirds is a magnificent masque beautifully presented with lavish lasciviousness.
Strut & Fret
Venue: The Spiegeltent | Rundle Park, Adelaide
Dates/Times: 17 Feb - 14 Mar (excl. 20 & 27 Feb. 5 Mar) at 8.30pm & 16 - 18 Mar at 7pm
Tickets: $42 (Conc & Tue $37 /Group $40
Bookings: FringeTix 1300 FRINGE (1300 374 643) | www.adelaidefringe.com.au