Glory Box: La Revolución (Finucane & Smith)
Brisbane Powerhouse, Powerhouse Theatre
December 2 – 13
According to the wisdom of Wikipedia, a glory box is a place for storing odds and ends, which makes it the perfect title for Finucane & Smith’s latest work, appearing as one of the headlines of this year’s Wonderland festival, given its irreverent lack of unifying narrative and, rather, random series of short scenes.
More specifically, its blurb reveals that the show is a cocktail of circus and sideshow, dance and burlesque, live music and live art exotica, vaudeville, comedy and more. It’s the kind of mix that we’ve seen often of late in the works of Hot Brown Honey and in Brisbane Festival’s “Velvet”. More experience than traditional show, “Glory Box: La Revolución” is all sorts of quirky.
The circus acrobatics are, as to be expected, astounding in strength and skill, as Rockie Stone lithely balances on chairs and soars into the air for blindfolded trapeze tricks and rope work that includes fashioning a noose from which she will dangle by the slightest of limbs. The burlesque is an appropriate mix of sashes, chiffon and skin and showcases some astounding vocal skills in a range of numbers, varied in type and tone to enhance ongoing audience engagement. When Clare St Clare, performs a traditional take of Edith Piaf’s ‘La Vie en rose’, it is all sorts of sultry, but also appropriately uplifting. However, the highlight of Act One has to be co-creator Moira Finucane in guise of bogan male in hilarious performance of ‘I Touch Myself’. The eclecticism of the show’s soundtrack is another selling point with music ranging from Donna Summer to Jack White.
Act Two amps things up even further with the best ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ lip-sync you will ever see, courtesy of Azaria Universe and also an unmentionable act with a loaded corkscrew, from Molly Bashful. With its sometimes strange subject matter and plethora of nakedness, “Glory Box: La Revolución” will certainly not be to everybody’s liking. But, as Finuncane notes in her opening welcome, this is the nature of artistic exploration, and keeping this in mind is perhaps key to any holistic appreciation of a show that has parts that morph from rewarding to weird in the blink of an eye.
Finuncane is a case in point. She commands the stage at every appearance, especially in delivery of interesting, lyrical and comical monologues about initial topics as diverse as roses and bicycling in Paris. However, her most memorable moments involve covering herself (and almost some of the audience) in what appears to be tomato soup, and later, milk. And her appearance in a nail-studded bikini popping a babble of balloons serves as dramatic exclamation point to the show’s strangeness.
“Glory Box: La Revolución” is a debaucherous blend of burlesque, circus and the lavishly outrageous. Certainly it is not all risqué and writhing, and through its crafted rhythm and feel-good fun, the undeniable skills of its performers are obvious in every number. As such, it is perfect festival fodder – not everyone’s thing but sure to get folks conversing about the glory of art in all of its different guises.