BABY GOT BACK Brave, confronting and positively joyful

Babygotback

BABY GOT BACK
Lunar Big Top at The Pleasure Gardens (for Fringe Festival)
Friday, February 10, 2017

7/10

A brave, confronting, and positively joyful celebration of booties and everything about the female body, with all its joy and wonder, Baby Got Back is an hilarious, butt-shaped jewel in the sparkling showgirl pasties of Fringe. Self-proclaimed ass-clowns, dancers and comedians unite in this all-female spectacle of comedy, dance, stripping and skipping as they shake and shimmy their derrieres into our hearts.

A body-positive, ribald ride from the outset, a series of butts are projected onto the Big Top before the beautiful, charismatic MC Memphis Mae leaps upon the stage and audience as she proceeds to lead us into temptation. So much more than just a compere, Memphis brings her irrepressible brand of cheeky wit to the stage as she goes above and beyond to entertain us with magic tricks, belly laughs and literal body art, as she gradually undresses before each entrance to finally reveal a vajazzle that will stick in the mind for some time.

The trio of fierce, feral pussies are a magnificent way to shove us face-first into what’s in store. It’s a brilliant combination of genius costumes and provocative dance which serves to set tone instantaneously. Almost naked lady-bodies ensconced in giant monster vulva masks are a wonder to behold. We know we’re in for a challenging, powerful time. The feral pussies don’t lie.

Miss Jane shows us her peacock in a bodacious, bootylicious take on a traditional burlesque number, curves a-popping as much as our eyeballs. This wonder woman of burlesque will make hearts and pants flutter. She’s backed up by some serious food fetishisation by the fabulous Vesper White. I’ve seen burlesque, I’ve seen strippers, but I’ve never seen donuts devoured in such a way. Food combined with body positivity in sexy hedonism is all win.

Vagina dentate by Belle de Jac is the stuff made of MRA nightmares. A literal vagina with teeth, dancing as its being flossed, would bring the hardest man to their knees. The costuming is perfection, the dancing an odd juxtaposition of erotic beauty against the ultimate horror show for the misogynists. It screams to the audience to dare come at women, because we are more powerful than you realise.

But the impeccable jump-rope act is the piece de resistance. As a woman, seeing naked women joyfully jump rope, in all their bouncing glory, was a welcome moment of sacrament to the beauty of the female form. We bounce, we have curves, but we’re glorious. The message is loud and clear, and so very, very welcome in this world of unrealistic Instagram-filtered beauty ideals. Women are beautiful in every form, and that’s the very important message conveyed by this show in every moment.

In the same vein, Frankie Valentine’s beautiful moves work as a vehicle to deliver a powerful message – just because she’s a stripper, does not imply consent. Just because she’s a stripper, she’s more than just a body. Just because she’s a stripper, she’s still a human worthy of respect of her boundaries. She’s magnificent.

A spot of political, feminist butt puppetry that begins with promise but unfortunately falls a little flat is the one disappointment in the show. Firing jokes at Pauline Hanson, Tina Fey and Lena Dunham could be sharper and more deadly. Lip sync-ing comedy is always going to be fraught with difficulty as you can’t gauge audience reaction and therefore land the jokes just right. Some input from a professional stand-up comedian wouldn’t go astray to tighten it up perhaps, because the premise is again, brilliant.

Overall, a truly beautiful piece of body-positive art disguised as sexy showgirl realness. If this show returns, add it to your hitlist for femme comedy.

NATALIE GILES

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