Review | Ginava brings all of themselves to Split Lip

Split Lip | Deluxe | til 10th Feb | ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Gendermess founder and Perth’s resident drag monster Ginava brings their first solo experience to Fringe World this year.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the local avant-garde drag performer, Ginava has made a name for herself with her fabulously monstrous self-made costumes – which have even been worn by Irish pop sensation Roisin Murphy – and she brings a unique dedication to her lip-syncs that make her one of the most captivating performers in town.

Entering the intimate space of the Deluxe spiegeltent in Yagan Square, it appears there will be no shaggy surreal creatures on the stage this time around. Ginava sits at a desk, writing intently in a note book. She is wearing simple white make-up and hospital gown, her hair framing her thoughtful face as she considers her notes.

We are introduced to the premise of the evening by lip-sync, as the audience is transported to a psychologists office. Audio from film and television, as well as a few original pieces, have been spliced together to tell Ginava’s story, as she uses other people’s words to tell her story and introduce the crowd to four different personalities – which seem to have manifested during particular times, or as the result of particular events, in Ginava’s life.

The concept is solid, engaging and well-executed. Lighting, audio and movement cues guide the audience through the frenetic performance as Ginava brings the drug-addled Snort, archetypal mean girl Vapid, overzealous Godwarrior and the tragically self-deprecating Boiler to life with four incredibly engaging lip-syncs. The numbers are connected by the aforementioned mash-ups of famous TV and film dialogue, a brief window into Ginava’s internal stream of consciousness as she struggles to reconcile these personalities with her true (?) self.

What really shines here, at the risk of using a sorely over-cooked RuPaul’s Drag Race-ism, is Ginava’s vulnerability. There were no monster costumes to hide behind today.

Each of the performances are full of passion, as she becomes each persona and truly embodies their mannerisms from head to toe – and you truly believe she is living in that moment. The audience knows she is drawing from a well of truth, and that’s a true testament to her abilities as a performer. As the performance comes to a close we meet Blake, Ginava’s most vulnerable form, who delivers a self-affirming monologue that certainly struck a chord with me.

There were a few lighting moments where a few screws could be tightened, but they were barely loose to begin with. Ginava lets her performing chops do all of the talking, and I was listening to every single word. Don’t miss your chance to see this incredible local talent before the Fringe season ends.

Split Lip will be at the Deluxe in Yagan Square until Sunday 10th February. Tickets and more information available from fringeworld.com.au

Leigh Andrew Hill

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