The world came to a standstill when this powerful iconic woman recently passed away. It was a national day of mourning in virtually every country. Everyone had a story or opinion about her life. It was a unique life and one that no one else will ever come close to experiencing. I am, of course, talking about Juniper Wilde, who accidentally committed her own suicide. Presented as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, Alex Hines resurrects her alter ego Juniper Wilde in Juniper Rising.
There is one word to describe this show and it is looooooose. SO loose. But Hines thrives on it. She THRIVES. She feeds off the chaos and crazy like a soul-sucking demon feeds off humans. Like a demon in hell. Where Juniper finds herself. But behind all this, there is craft, and it is clever and stupid and absolutely hilarious and frenetic. Hines can take a ridiculous idea and make something hysterical out of it or she'll make a drive-by comment and move on. You never quite know what's going to happen next, and sometimes, you get the feeling that Hines isn't even sure. But it works so brilliantly in Juniper Rising.
The set design and the costume are true Juniper's aesthetic vibe, full of sparkly and bright coloured items while also having some mystical or religious connotations to guide Juniper's soul searching journey. The shrine dedicated to Juniper displays how loved and adored she is - at least by her. Well matched lighting and sound design bring to life this influencer's descent into the afterlife and work hard at ensuring they keep up with Hines and her antics.
Hines remains fully committed to the character and as someone she has been performing as for a number of years, she has the freedom (and the confidence) to just risk it and see what the outcome will be. There is still a structure and there is a story about Juniper trying to un-kill herself but you can see Hines out there taking risks and while not every joke lands, most do and they land right on target.
Juniper Rising might not be for everyone, especially sensitive souls - and also best to read the content warnings - but Hines has created a character that is so completely and utterly different to what you might have seen before, and definitely what is been performed at Fringe this year. Juniper Wilde may thrive from her Wildlings adoration, but with Juniper Rising, Hines is the real star and deserves all of our adoration.
Click here to read our interview with Alex Hines.
Venue: Trades Hall, Cnr Lygon and Victoria Sts, Carlton.
Season: until 22 October | Tues - Sat 8:15pm
Duration: 50 minutes
Tickets: $20 - $35 Full
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival
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