Blog | Body Slam

Body Slam

By admin | August 10, 2017
In Lilith: The Jungle Girl, Ash Flanders, a man, plays a girl from Borneo—while slathered in pink clay. Photo by Monteith Hodge.

In Lilith: The Jungle Girl, Ash Flanders, a man, plays a girl from Borneo—while slathered in pink clay. Photo by Monteith Hodge.

by Colin Thomas

Body Slam

“A girl can have a penis. A boy can have a vagina.” So says Jo Clifford in her one-woman show, Eve. Clifford is a trans woman who has opted not to have surgery.

Kate O’Donnell, on the other hand, has had gender surgery. In her solo offering, You’ve Changed, an audience member reads aloud post-op FAQs about horse-riding and aqua aerobics, and O’Donnell’s vagina, “neatly framed in a little proscenium arch complete with red curtains,” answers them.

Eve and You’ve Changed are part of an emergent focus on embodiment at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

Adam, adds the experience of an Egyptian trans man to the mix. And Prom Kween is about a gender-fluid teen who wins the tiara at their high school.

But it’s not all about gender. Gutted takes on another form of visceral precariousness: living with ulcerative colitis. In Salt, Selina Thompson dons safety goggles and smashes a large, pink salt crystal with a hammer as she explores what it’s like to be in black, female body in Europe. And, in Lilith: The Jungle Girl, the queer Australian company Sisters Grimm tells the story of a girl who is dragged from Borneo to Holland in the 1860s to be “civilized.” Playing Lilith, Ash Flanders, a man, is slathered in pink clay. The stage floor is covered in plastic. This combination makes things… slippery.

Aryo Khakpour steals the mic from emcee Milton Lim in Foreign Radical.

Aryo Khakpour steals the mic from emcee Milton Lim in Foreign Radical.

Radical Acts

Vancouver’s Theatre Conspiracy is also storming the Edinburgh Fringe. The company is presenting Tim Carlson’s Foreign Radical there as part of an initiative called Canada Hub, which is showcasing Canadian work.

This review in The List hums with appreciation. The Scotsman turns up the enthusiasm to a five-star whoop. And The Skinny’s interview with Carlson adds harmonics.

Less happily, Vancouver Fringe Festival favourites Die Roten Punkte, a faux punk duo made up of faux German siblings Otto and Astrid Rot (Australia’s Daniel Tobias and Clare Bartholomew), arrived safely in Edinburgh, but, thanks to a glitch in British Airways’ computers, their custom-made instruments did not follow them. How is Astrid supposed to bang her drum if there’s no drum?

Goodnight, My Someone

Broadway legend Barbara Crook died on Tuesday (August 8) of respiratory failure. She was 89. In one of the most touching online tributes, Kristen Chenowyth wrote, “We all just wanted to be you.”

In 1957, Cook won a Tony Award as the original Marian the librarian in The Music Man. Cook also starred in Candide and She Loves Me, and in revivals of Carousel, The King and I, and Showboat.

As an ingenue, Barbara Cook was the first to sing The Music Man's “Goodnight My Someone” on Broadway.

As an ingenue, Barbara Cook was the first to sing The Music Man’s “Goodnight My Someone” on Broadway.

She also struggled with alcoholism, depression, and obesity. In an interview with The New York Times, she said that by the early ‘70s she was “virtually unemployable.” But she staged a triumphant Carnegie Hall comeback in 1975 and went on to become a beloved concert singer.

The videos on Broadway World bear witness to some of her most memorable performances. Listen. With tissues nearby.

My Besties

Director Scott Bellis’s innovative staging of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, pulls the rug out from under these two happy sexists (Nadeem Phillip as Valentine and Charlie Gallant as Proteus).

Director Scott Bellis’s innovative staging of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, pulls the rug out from under these two happy sexists (Nadeem Phillip as Valentine and Charlie Gallant as Proteus).

Mary Poppins, who is strutting her stuff at Theatre Under the Stars until August 26, is still my girlfriend. And The Winter’s Tale, Much Ado About Nothing, The Merchant of Venice, and The Two Gentlemen of Verona are all still worth seeing at Bard on the Beach.

Can’t wait for the Vancouver Fringe Festival, which unleashes itself on the city on September 7!

Sister Act

If you’re enjoying Colin Thomas’s Fresh Sheet, check out her sister publication, Vancouver Green Room.

While Fresh Sheet offers the most thought-provoking theatre coverage from around the globe, Green Room is all about the Vancouver theatre community.

Meg Roe directed Moya O’Connell (above) in Middletown—and critics are thanking her for it. Photo by Emily Cooper.

Meg Roe directed Moya O’Connell (above) in Middletown—and critics are thanking her for it. Photo by Emily Cooper.

This week’s edition includes items on local director Meg Roe’s success at Ontario’s Shaw Festival, and a hot—HOT—lead on affordable housing for artists. Applications for that housing are due TODAY, August 11, so act fast!

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