Settling into my upstairs, mid-row seat, I felt secure in the knowledge that it was highly unlikely that I would be selected for the audience participation element that features so frequently Meow Meow performances. Still, she has been known to enter from the rear of the theatre before, so there were one or two nervous glances over my shoulder.
But Meow Meow made, by her standards, a somewhat traditional entrance, and all was good in the world. As a sobbing Meow Meow told us that tonight was to be a night of happiness, this reviewer took out his notepad and pen in preparation to takes notes, then promptly put his chin in his palms and allowed himself to be once again seduced by the wonder that is Meow Meow.
There is really no need to write a detailed review for established Meow Meow fans; that she has a new show is reason enough to go see it. She is at her finest in Little Mermaid.
So this is a review for the uninitiated, one for the future fans.
What to expect if you have never experienced Meow Meow... in this case expect a reasonably crazy interpretation of Hans Christian Andersen's story The Little Mermaid. Read the story or at least a plot summary if you haven't before to get a better idea of what's going on, but at the same time it's not really necessary. The story is pretty clear, if a little surreal. Essentially Meow Meow goes deep into her own psyche in an attempt to understand the nature of love and her ongoing quest for it, with the story told about the mermaid who – in her quest for love – trades her voice and mermaidiness for legs and a human soul.
Also expect, you Meow Meow noobs, laughter. Lots of laughter. We are, after all, inside Meow Meow's mind, a place of mesmerising chaos. It's also a place of lust and yearning and more than a little loneliness, and knowing this, it will surprise you just how much you will laugh. Because Meow Meow's humour – physical, intellectual, sophisticated, lewd, bendy and shouty – is superb. She is funny when she is abusive. She is funny when she is in love with herself (therefore, she is funny all the time). She is funny when she is awkwardly tangled up in things. She is even funny when making cheesy double entendres.
Expect shininess and bubbles.
Expect a wide variety of music. Most of this show is made up of original songs by the likes of Amanda Palmer, Megan Washington, Iain Grandage and Kate Miller-Heidke. And my God can this woman sing. In the past she has sung in German, French and even Cantonese, so wide-ranging is her talent, but this was the first time she revealed that she can also sing in Dolphin. You do not want to miss such an experience as Meow Meow singing in Dolphin. Also expect a gorgeous rendition of Radiohead's Fake Plastic Trees. And the live backing band is, as with all things Meow Meow, excellent.
Expect crowd surfing. Never seen a diva (damn it – said I wasn't going to use that word... still, it seemed the most appropriate one. Still, I disappoint me.) in a sequins and heels crowd surfing? You haven't lived. It's hilarious, and the trust she shows in her audience is, as with all things Meow Meow, impressive.
And although you constantly fall about laughing, also expect to be moved. Meow Meow's voice will get inside you and it will poke and prod at your emotions, but so will the story itself. Meow Meow's heart appears to be a big old lonely thing, and there is an unexpected subtly underlying the whole big, shiny, brash affair.
Above all, you future Meow Meow lovers, expect world class entertainment. She trots the globe endlessly in her sequins and stilettos, audiences the world over falling in love with her, and now for a brief time she is here in your town, waiting for you to fall in love with her in her magical underwater world at The Malthouse Theatre, with a brand new, glittering show. Do yourself a favour and MAKE AN EFFORT!
Malthouse Theatre presents
Meow Meow’s Little Mermaid
Director Michael Kantor
Venue: Malthouse Theatre, Merlyn Theatre
Dates: 28 Jan – 14 Feb 2016
Perth International Arts Festival, Octagon Theatre UWA
24 – 28 Feb 2016