Review by Stephanie Lee
Devastating Beauty is exactly as the title suggests, a mixture of the beautiful and the devastating intertwined with each other. It is about heartbreak, wanting to be anyone but yourself and finally allowing yourself to be free from the persona’s you created to hide behind.
Christopher Fieldus’ hour-long cabaret show mixes poetry with music to create a beautiful expression of longing and self-discovery. Taking the audience on a journey, the poetic monologue of the show is broken up with musical numbers that punctuate the different shifts well.
Fieldus’ voice sounds like a blend of soul, rock and Broadway as evidenced by the broad spectrum of songs selected from Celine Dion to The Killers. Their unique vocal quality has a rough beauty to it that hits you affectively.
The lighting and sound of the show created a nice, intimate feel which suited the poetic confessionary style of the performance well. In particular, the frequent use of darker coloured lighting added ambience that supported Fieldus’ mood heavy performance. Entering the space, the audience was treated to some classic piano music played live, which set the tone for the poetry heavy evening.
While there were some moments of stumbling over lines, on the whole Fieldus is a lovely performer with a voice well suited to the poetic turn of phrase they utilised throughout the evening. Personal recounts of heartbreak(ing) mixed with mythology create an epic style of storytelling. I couldn’t help but feel that as the story unfolded so too did the performer unravelling layers to reveal more of themselves- both literally in removing the extra dazzling layers they started with and also metaphorically in their monologue’s journey to discovery.
Although perhaps unintentional, Fieldus relaxed into the performance after a few slip ups and seemed to let more of themselves slip through their well-constructed performance persona. Joking with the audience about losing track of a page number when playing the piano and forgetting a line of poetry invited us into the performance more, allowing us to share in the humour of the moments.
Although Fieldus puts on a glamorous front with incredible silver sequined shoes and a rainbow sequined gown, it is the heart with which they share with the audience that makes them truly dazzle. Devastating Beauty was humorous, personable, heartbreaking, and joyous to watch, led by a performer that guides the audience through their journey of finding themselves amongst the facades they have built in everyday life and performance. This is Christopher Fieldus just as they are, and they are wonderful to watch.