Review By Bradley Ward
Most shows are content with containing themselves to the theatrical space. A few tasteful headshots in the foyer provide your only real insight into what is to come, and the show exists only between the rise and fall of the curtains. Every now and then you get a completely different kind of show, whose personality is so large that it spills out beyond the theatre doors and infects the world beyond. Fuck Fabulous is this kind of show. It only takes a few steps into the foyer to notice the advertising: a looped video splayed across the wall of barely covered bouncing asses. After navigating through the haze of colourful disco lights that have taken over the Seymour Centre you arrive at the York Theatre, outside which you find a board with all the performers headshots, listing every creative’s pronouns as well as a personal description of them being ‘… as fuck’ (‘horny as fuck’, ‘mad as fuck’, ‘hungry as fuck’ etc.). Before you’ve even walked into the theatre, Fuck Fabulous prepares you for a night of inclusivity, irreverence and fun. And it does not disappoint.
Before the first number is over you’ve listened to both an Italian aria and Joan Jett, you’ve heard more swearing than a Martin Scorsese film, and you’ve seen quite a bit of skin. The stage and unoccupied seating banks are trashed, the audience are treated to a passionate monologue on the nature of being fabulous, and the show barrels on into its first solo act without taking a moment to breathe. As Fuck Fabulous continues through its line up of versatile and unique cabaret acts, it quickly becomes obvious that this show’s major strength comes in its ability to surprise. Whenever you think you know what is about to happen, this show takes great pleasure in subverting your expectations. While I won’t go into specifics about what happens, as that would do a disservice to the experience that these artists have built, I will say that the sequences involving mini-trampolines, a live rendition of ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’, and a visit from Scott Morrison are among some of the more delightfully unexpected events of the evening.
It would be very easy to accuse a show like this of trading in shock for shock’s sake, and I am sure some of the more confronted-looking audience members around me would agree with that summation. I believe that this show is engaging in something much more important though. Fuck Fabulous presents its audience with bodies. Queer and confident bodies of all shapes and sizes engaged in all kinds of activities. Bodies that move gracefully and bodies that bump and grind. Bodies covered in neon or meat, and bodies spread open and vulnerable. Bodies that move, twist, bounce, stumble, and leap. Fuck Fabulous is here to remind us that the glamourous, media friendly queerness championed by the RuPaul Generation is not where queer expression ends. Some shows would choose to preach and monologue about inclusivity and body positivity; Fuck Fabulous instead allows their audience to spend a couple hours living in their inclusive, unapologetic and body positive world.
Of course, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. Fuck Fabulous operates with such an unbalanced chaotic energy that at times it cannot help but spill over. Voices were often lost within the large space that is the York Theatre, leaving audience members occasionally confused as to what exactly was happening, and on one occasion an audience member was almost struck with a wayward shoe. Also, when you are dealing with such an eclectic variety of acts, some performances cannot help but feel a little bit anti-climactic when compared with the one before it, with a polished act often highlighting the less-rehearsed nature of those around it. However, I would be lying if I said I didn’t find myself smiling at least a couple times during every single act, won over by each performer’s enthusiasm, sincerity and bravery.
This show is full of talented artists who all deserve applause for their amazing work, but particular notice should be given to Koko Ma$$, who stopped this frenetic show in its tracks with a heartfelt poem and video about identity and history during the second act. While this show is full of heart, Ma$$ brings a moment of quiet heartache that could be clearly felt by most of the audience. In some shows this sudden change of pace might feel forced, but the creative minds behind Fuck Fabulous handle it gorgeously, giving it the perfect amount of space and seriousness before kicking back into its signature blend of colourful, musical chaos. Fuck Fabulous is inclusive, anarchic, joyous and one of the most interesting pieces of theatre you will see this month.
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.