One of my favourite things to do in any piece of provocative art, is to turn and observe the faces of the audience around me.
Mouths agape, eyes wide, legs crossed tightly protecting the groin, leaning forward, leaning back, moving nervously, masses of spangled laughter, the occasional burst of unrestrained guffaw… Betty Grumble sure knows how to get an audience’s attention.
Adults only, take no prisoners, leave no lover behind; this fucked up take on cabaret starts in a tip and ends in a furnace. It is scandalous, it is shocking, it is… political? Totally political. It’s debonair, it’s filthy, it’s fucking weird. It’s proper wired.
The strange and fabulous thing about this show was the way she moved fluidly between clown / cabaret darling / straight guy / hot mess / grotesque sexual charisma / proving her point. Just when you think you’ve seen it all… you haven’t. But you will.
There’s some incredibly strong imagery in the show, made all the more intense by the sheer volatile frivolity that sandwiches the powerful environmentalist punchlines.
There is something thoroughly enchanting about a fully empowered female performer. We are living in the future, and performers like Miss Grumble can and will do what they want. Let’s burn all the staid, conservative art on the pyre of rampant good times. This is her stage. You have paid good money to come to this, and it’s on her terms now.
I think I liked it. But I wouldn’t want to admit that in proper company.
Fuck it, I even bought the teeshirt.
Betty Grumble played at Brisbane Festival September 2017 at Theatre Republic.
Creator/Performer: Emma Maye Gibson & Betty Grumble
Music Designer: Emma Maye Gibson
Set & Costume Designer: Emma Maye Gibson & Ash Bee
With special thanks to Jeff Khan, Victoria Spence, Eamon Dimmitt, Candy Royalle, Stephanie Brotchie, David Quirk and Aaron Manhattan.