Thursday 21 September 2017

How to Kill the Queen of Pop - Melbourne Fringe Festival review

When How To Kill The Queen of Pop outrageously describes itself as a murderous, drag reimagining of the 2000 Olympic Opening Ceremony, it's comforting to know that this is exactly what it delivers. Written and performed by Tom Halls, Adam Ibrahim and Samuel Russo, this is the sordid story of a pact between three best friends to destroy the Queen of Pop by murder most fab.

Halls, Ibrahim and Russo revel in their roles as Tiffanee D'Brie, Tulfah Ali and Tami Thompson respectively, as they undertake their scandalous plan to commit the unthinkable during Sydney's hosting of the Olympic Games. While they all take to their characters like a drag queen to make-up, Ibrahim in particular is highly entertaining to watch having to deal with the fact that Tulfah deal with the subtle - and not so subtle - racism she experiences.

The three have clearly worked hard at developing this show and know it inside out, so when a plastic fingernail unexpectedly breaks off, their acknowledgement and incorporation of this into the scene shows the confidence they have with the script and their characters. The flashbacks to their childhood - including scenes of them as young girls in their local church choir - are original in their re-enactment with some very clever use of props.

Simone French is perfect as Vanessa Amorosi, with a well-matched fringe and two-piece tracksuit outfit. She also shines later in the show, where despite having most of her face obscured, delivers some brilliantly convincing impersonations of several other well-known stars.

The script is littered with hilarious moments and fires off jokes involving every pop culture reference of the 00's that you can think of thick and fast, but because of this, the story doesn't have the opportunity to fully develop into what it could be: a biting critique on Aussie culture and the Olympic Games. While the narrative comes full circle and ends in dramatic fashion, the conclusion feels unsatisfying and needed something more cutting.

How To Kill The Queen of Pop is a unique look at Australian pop culture and what influence this had during the Sydney Olympics. While its irreverent humour might not be for absolutely everybody, it is definitely worth having a look at for the laughs and jokes that Halls, Russo and Ibrahim riddle this comedy with.

Show Information

Venue: Arts House, 521 Queensberry St, North Melbourne
Season:  until 30 September | Tues- Sat 10:15pm, Sun 9:15pm 
Length: 50 minutes 
Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Conc | $18 Cheap Tuesday 
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival

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