Meteor Theatre, 1 Victoria Street, Hamilton

30/10/2019 - 31/10/2019

Tron Fringe 2019

Production Details

Watch Hot Girl On Girl Action get dissected reasswembled and resurrected by Two Hot Femmes!

In Feminine Hygiene, Two Hot Femme Babes Virginia (The Lady Garden) and Marika (A Symphony of Sloths) go beyond the unicorn to smash the male gaze and present their findings of what it means to be Hot Femme Queer on their own terms.

Venue: The Meteor
Date: 30th & 31st October
Time: 7:15pm
Entry: $10 / Concession $7
Buy tickets here.

Theatre ,

Successfully muses over the gender and sexuality debates of our modern era

Review by Jan-Maree Franicevic 31st Oct 2019

Fringe Festivals are great. I got my start in fringe festivals – a welcome place for me to do my time, at a time when Kiwi comedy was really in a fledgling stage of development. These festivals are a turangawaewae for those arts practitioners who dwell on the fringes of the mainstream, a welcome place to house those ‘hard to define’ genres of performance. They also draw out non-traditional theatregoers – so I love watching audience members as much as I enjoy seeing the shows.

Hamilton Fringe has always presented a varied programme of treats and gems, and as this is likely one of the only events I will get to this year, I am super amped to see what Virginia Kennard and Marika Pratley have in store for us.

Both performers come with high credits to their name. Wellington’s Marika Pratley, AKA The Babe of Babylon, is a sonic artist, composer and sloth appreciator. No surprise, then, the acclaim for her work A Symphony of Sloths – her website tells me that she is currently seeking crowd funding for her documentary The Healing Power of Sloths.

Virginia Kennard is a choreographer, dance writer, producer, live artist and self-proclaimed ‘local naked girl’, well known for her installations including The Lady Garden and You Occupy My Body By Looking and is recently minted a Master of Arts from Leeds Beckett University.

The programme tells me that in Feminine Hygiene Kennard and Pratley, “both hot femme babes, will dissect, reassemble and resurrect hot girl on girl action, going beyond the unicorn to smash the male gaze and present their findings of what it means to be Hot Femme Queer on their own terms.”

From the time I enter the theatre I am enraptured. The stage is set like a messy girl’s bedroom: a mirror, a pile of what in the half-light looks to be sparkly clothing, knick-knacks and shoes, a rack of hanging clothes, a shrine like installation festooned in fairy lights, a couple of chairs and a tea trolley of assorted items including what I believe is a small Deluge – a groovebox made by Kiwi sound guru Rohan Hill of Synthstrom Audible. There is so much to look at!

Kennard and Pratley are on stage, busy with warm up rituals – stretches and the like. They welcome audience members with calls of, “Welcome,” and “Kia ora.” Each seat has a place card, each with a different written statement, mine states, “F***ing or Loving”, next to me, “Big spoon, little spoon or switch”. Many arriving audience members ask whether the seats are reserved; it is a group effort as numbers build to educate the newcomers.

The show starts and from the onset it is mind-blowing; a rap/spoken word dedication, ‘My C**t’, which is followed by the very dissection, reassembly and resurrection which is promoted in the programme.  

This is a variety show spectacle: spoken word, talk show send-up, spooning role play, a question-card session, original soundscape and music, biographical storytelling and interpretive dance. 

Kennard’s spoken word is on point; well written and heady. I can relate to her knack for words but not so much for memorising them; she references her journal, slotting in a promo for Bird of the Year voting which sparks lively banter with us – there is little of a fourth wall for the duration, as many members of the audience enjoy a flow of discussion with the pair. It’s refreshing and lovely and makes the nature of the piece resoundingly realistic. 

Pratley’s compositions are sensitive and masterful, she is a master on the Deluge, and uses her voice well. She smartly winds her music as a cloak around the herstory of whanau which she shares. I connect with this deeply as the granddaughter of migrants from Eastern Europe. The laughs come easily as she recounts the irony of being the direct descendant of a Lesbian (her great grandfather migrated to New Zealand from Lesbos) but also – as good comedy does, highlights the epic struggle of migrants in contrast to the societal struggle of those who sit outside of mainstream definitions of gender and sexuality. 

The whole show successfully muses over the gender and sexuality debates of our modern era, with nods to the past and how all of this has shaped their current hot femme queer plight. I commend their strong femme rhetoric; 45 minutes of solidly crafted, unapologetic nakedness, tuna eating and various creative and confronting pastiches.

Bravo to this dynamic duo, who are in their way arguing, explaining or examining cis/hetero-normativity, queerness, femme power, familial congeniality and power in dark corners of minority. Kennard and Prately very charmingly empower minority – times are changing, but there is still a long way to go.

Note: There is an R18 rating and a content warning for the show. Both Kennard and Pratley are experienced life models, so very comfortable being naked on stage and use their bodies well to add value to the debate within the work.


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