I saw Penny Arcade when she was last here over 20 years ago, performing Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore! She made an impact on me of the most liberating kind back then and thankfully this new show doesn’t disappoint.
Longing Lasts Longer made me laugh, cry and dance, all with relief. Now that everyone it seems wants to get married and have children, it’s so good to have Arcade, still the real deal, still rude, robust and remorselessly alternative, yelling at us to not be such psychological sooks, to be authentically non-conformist, to remember the value in challenging aspirational culture and social norms, at least in order to preserve our own collective senses of irony and adventure, if not our individuality. The quest for emotional wholeness, shiny lives and beautiful homes costs us all in terms of humanity and complexity and compassion, according to Arcade, tough old bird, sex-positive sister and seeker still. Longing Lasts Longer is also a lament for New York City which appears to have forfeited that zany edgy energy of the streets and of the night it so supremely once owned in favour of cupcake shops. To Arcade cupcakes represent cultural infantilism and gentrification at their worst. So much fucking complacency, comfort and niceness! What has happened to post-midnight wildness, to all the creatures of the dark, when young queers are demanding that nightclubs become ‘safe spaces’?
Now 65, Arcade has lived outside the mainstream her entire adolescent and adult life; her performance artist/ cultural commentator/mouthy baggage career commenced in the 1960s with John Vaccaro’s Playhouse of the Ridiculous and with Andy Warhol’s Factory. Arcade’s friends include Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, and the late ‘English stately homo’ Quentin Crisp, whose recorded voice we hear in measured response to a few hard questions about love and life put to him by Arcade. The snow is accompanied by a killer soundtrack of samples from artists including John Lennon, Al Green, Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley.
If you’ve reached an age where it seems like you’re the only person you know who hasn't settled down, the only one left without money in the bank, a house, a partner/kids or a proper career, and if you’re still wondering what you want to be when you grow up, then Arcade’s the woman for you. She's very funny ("I don't trust anyone who isn't depressed and confused. It means you're human!") and if you've not already seen her perform her show will be something new. Misfits get on your feet and boogie. Now.
Theatre Works and London Artists Projects in association with Soho Theatre present
Longing Lasts Longer
Venue: The Famous Spiegeltent at Arts Centre Melbourne | 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
Dates: March 24 – April 3, 2016
Tickets: $40 – $30
Bookings: 1300 660 013 | www.comedyfestival.com.au
Part of the 2016 Melbourne International Comedy Festival