Friday 26 January 2018

KillJoy - Destroy the Fantasy - Midsumma Festival review

A woman is out dancing with friends and having a good time. She walks home alone. Most people can guess what happens next. However KillJoy are here to change that narrative. Presented by a trio of feminist performers as part of Midsumma Festival, Destroy the Fantasy is a circus and live art exploration of what being a woman means and the issues still facing them.

With an array of eye-catching and colourful costumes, KillJoy (Mahla Bird, Cat Scobie and Amy Broomstick) present a variety of acts focusing on feminism, equality and the different forms of violence against women. Each act makes a strong statement with regards to what it is drawing attention to, where even as a male, I am able to empathise and understand what it must feel like for a woman to live in this society.

A highlight of the evening is a fire-twirling act where a story of a young girl's dreams and hopes that end in both tragedy and joy is narrated to us. The accompanying music by the live band (Zak Pidd, Rin McArdle and Jade Stevens) creates a dreamlike atmosphere during the performance, which is decidedly different to the rest of the acts.

The adagio routine, while displaying the physical prowess these performers have, explores the strength women need to support each other, but also the "baggage" they must carry to survive in this world. The show concludes with a powerful call back to one of its opening numbers that encapsulates exactly what KillJoy is about and what their show wants its audience to understand.

Each night a special guest joins the trio and opening night was fortunate enough to have performance artist Lisa Pellegrino on stage. Pellegrino performed the second rendition of Tina Arena's "Chains" that I've seen this Midsumma, although this time with a naughty twist. We are informed that these are the original, racier lyrics that are not quite radio friendly but were definitely audience pleasing.

As a white male, Destroy the Fantasy is an important reminder of the bullshit that women have to put up with. The perception that women are the weaker, needier sex, the daily objectifications and the threats of violence are all brought up through unique and engaging circus acts and performances that have you questioning if you're doing enough to put an end to it. Judging by the female response in the room, the show was also a resounding call to arms to fight back and demand respect and equality. 

Despite their name, there is much fun to be had at Destroy the Fantasy. It's a fresh and entertaining show with some great performances by KillJoy that will have you thinking about your own actions (or inactions) and questioning what's happening around you.

Venue: Melba Spiegeltent, 35 Johnson Street, Collingwood
1 - 3 February | 8:30pm
Full $32 | Concession $25

Midsumma Festival

Photo Credit: Kira Puru

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