Review | Showgirl: Deconstructed, a horrifying look behind the curtain

Showgirl Interrupted | Ibis Palace |   ½

When asked the question of ‘How many microphones can you fit on your person?’, Carletta The Great answers, ‘One more if you’re willing to strip that far’.

It’s one part psychedelic photo manipulation, one part ear-splitting audio, and another 10 parts of amazing performance on the part of Carletta as she guides you through the hellscape of modern performance. A showgirl deconstructed was a difficult show to watch. It’s exactly what it says on the packaging, and yet nothing that I imagined.

Brilliant, powerful, and horrifying in a ‘Black Swan’ kind of way, the performance piece has extreme weight to it, it made me feel quite uncomfortable as a reviewer and exceptionally engaged as a woman.

It’s a half empty room on opening night and I’m not sure if that’s more telling of the message she’s sending than anything else. The venue feels like the back room of a hotel (it sort of is) and she’s already on stage humming eerily out of key when you walk into the venue.

From there the female body fluctuates between picturesque and grotesque, with a much thinner sequin line than you would ever expect. We watch her build everything from scratch and tear it apart, with all the more meaning for us knowing what went into it. Piles of discarded costumes begin to litter the stage and some of the audience.

Suddenly the shining nails look dangerous and the careful caress of skin seems like a warning. A good five minute sequence was put into simply putting on thigh high black latex boots, an awful look at the pain that goes on behind the glitter curtain.

The show holds it’s tension for just a bit too long, and that’s absolutely perfect. Anyone who’s seen season three of Twin Peaks will know what I’m talking about.

Like Twin Peaks season 3, you also won’t know what the hell is going on half the time. There isn’t one with a plot to follow. Everything is in impressions, in quiet painful looks or contortions of the face. In a weak smile or a little too tight corset. Taking to glamour out of the glamour business, and it’s incredibly altering to see.

I would say pick your day to see this when you want some introspective time. A Showgirl: Deconstructed is a shock to the burlesque system and should be treated as such. But if you get the chance, take a break from the glitz and glamour of Fringe to get a second opinion.

Especially people within creative scenes themselves, go and see Showgirl: Deconstructed. Have a think about your own accountability within a creative scene, and how the external image you are putting out is different from reality. It will change how you view burlesque shows in general.

Annique Cockerill

Showgirl: Deconstructed is on until the 18th Feb. Get your tickets at the Fringe World website.


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