Provocation at play

Other Women (Charming Rebel and Wax Lyrical Productions)

Brisbane Powerhouse, Turbine Platform

November 25 – December 3

Cabaret can change the world and with Lizzie Moore at the helm, it can do so by reminding us that what we do has consequences, that change is possible and that we all matter. This is not the Moore of “On A Night Like This – The Erin Minogue Story”, as she shares early in the provocative “Other Women” a sultry, lingering ‘Cherry Bomb’, stripping away the hard rock sensibilities of its story of a girl who is lots of trouble, to present The Runaways’ signature song as a slow burn. It’s a sizzle that continues as she struts about the show in burlesque corset, complete with sexy purr and perfect poise. Her timing, too is flawless as sexual double standards are exposed in more interactive moments.

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There is no fourth wall here as the important feminist questions are asked, such as ‘if a man is a stud, what is a woman?’ Audience participation takes Moore into the crowd to illustrate the misogynist double standards of song lyrics. Delivered in spoken word, out of context, these are surely shocking (especially from The Beatles), but still, the segment goes on a little too long past the last point having been made.

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The message of “Other Women” is clear in its communication without the need for over-zealous production elements. Yet, the circus-cabaret still entices with a live three-piece band, circus soloists and burlesque cheek. And Freyja Edney, Rosie Peaches, and aerial artiste Eliza Dolly are all wonderful in their respective roles.

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Contemporary circus artist, Edney, for example, goes from demure 1950s housewive to hoop performer, each absolutely entertaining, while burlesque beauty Rosie Peaches leaves a lasting impression with her final solo act, which is a lingering striptease number to Etta James’ ‘At Last’.

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The show features a diverse mix of songs from artists like Burt Bacharach, Peaches and Prince that not only showcase Moore’s vocal versatility, but facilitate exploration of promiscuity and our contradictory views towards women and their sexual behaviour. From her take of Goldfrapp’s ‘Ooh La La’, filled with glitter lust playfulness to her sassy belt of Joan Jett’s ‘Bad Reputation’, Moore’s vocals are outstanding in every eclectic instance.

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While, by her own admission, Moore cannot speak for other women, she can speak to them, and men too. As such “Other Women” becomes proof of how a more than a century old artistic form can still resonate with audiences, even when ‘full of dirty words’. Although ‘preaching to the converted’ Wonderland Festival crowd, its celebration of pussy power is certainly empowering in its message that she’s not your competition or your property but, rather, just another woman.

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