Photos – Daniel Purvis
Burlesque by Force is persistently provocative, munificent and shrewd.
I am normally wary of performances doubling as a fundraiser for anything, but this collection plate for marriage equality – coinciding with the results of the postal plebiscite, is an almost total triumph. Brodie John brings a wiry magnetism to his role, Marissa Bennett and her designer Stephen Moylan, have also transformed the Nexus Arts theatre into a type of intimate confessional where John deliberates on issues of prejudice that plague society.
The most obvious point to make about the John’s one-person show is how uncannily topically relevant it seems. It is part cabaret, part expose, and part allegory and part performance art. With John delivering his feelings as only a true sufferer of prejudice can achieve.
He keeps the focus strictly on his sexuality and injuries at the hands of less enlightened people. And as the tales unfold it becomes more condemnatory and critical.
As a critique it hits several targets dead centre; sexuality, stigma, equality and marginalisation. It captures our changing times easily. But John’s success lies in articulating rage and persuading people to open their minds and think.
This is very much John’s play, with his haunting presence. It’s a tremendous performance enhanced by the subject matter. In essence, Burlesque by Force delivers a gut-wrenching – and essential – dramatization of a tragic chapter from Australia's present that is also vivid, demanding, and designed to shake you out of complacency.
2017 Feast Festival
Burlesque by Force
by Brodie John and Marissa Bennett
Director Marissa Bennett
Venue: Nexus Arts Centre | Cnr North Tce / Morphett St, Adelaide SA
Dates: 15 – 18 Nov 2017
Tickets: $20 – $15