Tuesday 2 April 2019

Glittergrass - Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

The Fringe Wives Club return to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with Glittergrass, a feminist explosion of music, comedy and storytelling. The original Wives - Victoria Falconer, Tessa Waters and Rowena Hutson – are now joined by two new members in Laura Frew and Sharnema Nougar. Together they open conversation on a variety of issues around feminism but as this is a show about acceptance and inclusiveness, the Wives don’t focus on people holding them back but rather how they can learn from and support each other.

The talented quintet shares the leads in the musical numbers in both instrument playing and singing, and under the musical direction of Falconer, charm us with their tongue in cheek humour and their matter of fact attitude. In one song, the Wives (along with the audience and the onstage musicians) are asked to check their privilege - with Nougar confessing she is a fortunate home owner in Fitzroy - and another acknowledging the representation and the intersectionality the five performers cover within the scope of feminism.

The five are dressed in an assortment of white outfits decorated with sequins and shine. Despite the flashiness, there is still very much a folk aesthetic to the costumes and it sits in line with the positioning of the band and instruments and the few props they use. Their mannerisms, from the way they sit, stand and speak, are all reminiscent of the typical behavior you would expect to see at a hootenanny.

With folk music having close ties to bush music and this being a show about feminism, it is fitting that there be a song dedicated to Jessie Hickman, otherwise known as The Lady Bushranger. As the name suggests, Hickman was an Australian bushranger who was the leader of a gang of cattle thieves in the 1920s. Just like Hickman, the song is forceful in reminding the audience that strong women have existed for centuries and while many of them have been forgotten by history, it is never too late to gain strength from them today.

Apart from being wildly entertaining, Glittergrass is also an extremely open and welcoming production, with Falconer stating at one point that “you can have a dick, just don’t be one”. There is no hate or bashing of anyone here, rather it is an intoxicating wakeup call to everyone on what feminism is fighting for and how we can all play a part in this.


Venue: Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt St, Southbank
Season: Until 21 April | Tues - Sat 9:45pm, Sun 8:45pm
Length: 60 minutes 
Tickets: $$32 Full | $28 Conc | $25 Tightarse Tuesday
Bookings: MICF website

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