Fear and Aussie Loathing

Pulpshow (Leah Shelton)

Brisbane Powerhouse, Turbine Studio

December 10 – 13

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Australia is a big and potentially scary place – to be celebrated and feared, and “Pulpshow” walks a fine gore-filled line between the two notions. The work, which is perhaps best described as a hot mess mashup of music, movement and cultural iconography, features dance routines and lip-sync to some of the country’s most memorable advertisements, songs and movie moments, each with dark undertone, from the pulse of AC/DC to the serenity of the search for Miranda at Hanging Rock. As such, it relies on repeated familiarity of recognition, so could be alienating to those audience members without the cultural experience or vintage to appreciate all the Terror Australis references (because it is nearly 30 years since “Crocodile Dundee”).

The often ocker theme is apparent from the one-woman show’s opening moments, which feature esky, VB and hills hoist. And use of hanging washing upon which to project AV images add aesthetic interest, despite being largely unclear amongst the crinkle of sheets. However, the prop becomes more distraction than device when moved so hanging sheets block any view of a series of the show’s routines for those audience members unluckily seated at the wrong end of the front rows.

“Pulpshow” plays with an interesting idea of fear and loathing in our great southern land and its brash approach certainly suits a late-night festival slot, however, there is little subtlety to its tone or time for thematic contemplation within its execution. With a pumping patriotic soundtrack of diverse Aussie classics from Sherbet to INXS, there is much energy to the show’s pole dance numbers in particular, however, although it is short on running time, more of the same would perhaps be too much discomfort.

Photo c/o – http://brisbanepowerhouse.org

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