IF THERE’S NOT DANCING AT THE REVOLUTION, I’M NOT COMING…
Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland
23/02/2016 - 27/02/2016
Basement Theatre Studio, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland
02/09/2015 - 05/09/2015
BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site) Understudy Bar and various outdoor locations, Wellington
12/04/2016 - 16/04/2016
13/10/2017 - 14/10/2017
Summerhall, Edinburgh, Scotland
04/08/2016 - 28/08/2016
Repertory House, 167 Esk Street, Invercargill
09/05/2018 - 10/05/2018
SOUTHLAND FestivaL of the Arts 2018
This is feminist experimental performance at it’s best. An anarchic collision of theatre, dance, comedy and live art.
Created by the anarchic theatre minds of Julia Croft and Virginia Frankovich.
Julia Croft is a performer and theatre maker who has worked with some of New Zealand’s top theatre companies including Red Leap, Indian Ink and Auckland Theatre Company. She has recently returned from 9 months studying with Anne Bogarts SITI Company in New York City.
Virginia Frankovich is a graduate of Auckland University and has studied with acclaimed clown teachers Philippe Gaulier and John Bolton. She has acted and directed for professional theatre and presented her own work in New Zealand and Europe.
If There’s Not Dancing at the Revolution, I’m Not Coming…. is a rich contemporary performance collage of film scripts, pop songs, pornography, advertisements, elaborate costumes and dance all stretched, teased, shattered, and reassembled challenging the treatment of women’s bodies as spectacle in popular culture. If There’s not Dancing uncovers the collective fantasies underneath these bodies, intervenes and explodes them into Feminist Confetti.
This is a work to wake us up a little. This is a tiny little call to arms. This is a party. This is a poem.
Basement Theatre Studio
2nd – 5th September 2015 | 7pm
Return Season 2016
Basement Theatre Studio
23 – 27 February
12- 16 April 2016
$20 full, $15 concession, $30 for both (this + TITLED at 6.30pm
Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016
Summerhall (Venue 26)
Aug 4-21, 23-28
NELSON ARTS FESTIVAL 2017
“I loved it with a vengeance. I want to join her revolution.” TOTAL THEATRE EDINBURGH
“… a riotous collision of cultural touchpoints, from Titanic to Psycho and Taylor Swift to the Ying Yang Twins, and it swings from moments of tear-inducing comedy to skin-crawling confrontation.” GATHER&HUNT
✮✮✮✮ THE SCOTSMAN
✮✮✮✮ THE LIST EDINBURGH
✮✮✮✮ THREE WEEKS EDINBURGH
NOMINEE – Most Original Production, 2016 Auckland Theatre Awards
NOMINEE – Most Original Production & Best Performer, 2016 Wellington Theatre Awards
Fri 13 & Sat 14 Oct, 8pm
55 mins, no interval
GROUP OF 6+ $35pp
(Group bookings only available at Theatre Royal Nelson)
PLUS TICKETDIRECT SERVICE FEE
Southland Arts Festival 2018
Wed 9 May, Thu 10 May, 7: 30pm
Book: TicketDirect (service fees apply)
Theatre , Solo ,
A riot – in every sense
Review by Sarah McCarthy 10th May 2018
When Julia Croft’s If There’s Not Dancing at the Revolution, I’m Not Coming ends, I’m stunned into silence. I sit in the theatre long after everyone has gone out into the foyer, and I’m trying to sift through my feelings. I’m sad, I’m mad. I’m cheated and cheapened by my own cultural touchstones. Is my gender a lie? Am I more than just my breasts?
The man next to me leans in before he gets up to leave. “She’s so very brave, isn’t she?”
I think, “Buddy, you have no idea.”
A larger audience than I expect greets Julia Croft as we file in; she is standing on stage, eyeballing us as we sit, while the swelling, thrilling music that usually accompanies different movie production companies and studios’ logos at the beginning of a film fills the theatre.
If There’s Not Dancing … is a riot – in every sense. Presented, in its most understandable form, as a series of vignettes, loosely linked together in the form of recognisable songs and movies, it lurches joyfully between dance, theatre and performance art.
Julia is by turns coquettish, hilarious, breathless, terrified, exuberant, joyful, sultry – and throughout, she is angry. Her anger is the anger of a woman asked to make the coffee at a meeting but who has been taught that she should be nice. Her anger is the anger of a woman who looks at her own precious body through the filter of toxic masculinity. Her anger is my anger. It smiles and says thank-you but keeps you awake in the night.
But this is funny. It is silly and ridiculous and knowing and sly. And then it is a sucker punch, a sharp intake of breath, a funhouse mirror that somehow shows the truth. And then it lurches back into hilarity again.
It’s a multi-media performance, which is fun. There’s tricksy sound and great use is made of a screen and a tiny camera – but then great use is made of a piece of chalk and the squeaky wheels of a drinks trolley – at no point does the technology over-ride the experience.
Lighting design (Calvin Hudson) deserves a mention, here. I’m one of those dreadful people who generally only notice lighting when it is bad, but I am thrilled to bits by the lighting; light is a secondary character and deepens and enriches the entire experience. One particular vignette is so craftily lit that it is one of the enduring images of the show for me: a woman, murkily lit and scantily clad, terrified for our entertainment.
It’s not for everybody. This is plain. I speak to someone afterwards who says they “80 per cent got it” and that they feel it was too “artsy” for them. And I get that, I really do – but I think the point of If There’s Not Dancing … isn’t to be fully understood. That said, there is a programme available before the show that helps to frame the experience, and I would encourage anyone to read it before they go in.
If you get 80 per cent then, great. It’s not linear, and it doesn’t have a narrative. Much like the trailers before a movie, it is more a supercut of the feminist experience – and in no way does this diminish or lessen its impact. But performance art isn’t about necessarily telling a story, and the same goes for this – If There’s Not Dancing … filters one woman’s experiences and understanding of herself and her sexuality through the harsh lens of popular culture, and then presents it to us as it is. We are free to take what we need from it.
I take courage and solidarity, and strength. I take chips that I find in my bra while slumped on the couch. I take Swan Lake by way of violently, weirdly sexy hip-hop. I take the taste of Malibu in my mouth. This is a messy, loud, triumphant, joyful lament. I loved it.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
Uplifting despite harsh message
Review by Melanie Stewart 14th Oct 2017
I had absolutely no idea what I was going to when I arrived at the Suter Theatre for this performance. The arts festival programme gave away very little. To be honest I am still not 100 percent what I just saw. I do know that whatever it was left me elated, intrigued, educated and made my heart sing.
The performance confronts the images of women that we are subjected to every day through popular media. With the use of multiple costumes, projected film clips, dance, and voice, both live and recorded, Julia Croft presents us with a tapestry of scenes that interweaves images which both entertain and challenge the audience to question the objectification of females in some of our most popular movies.
Nothing about this performance is subtle. The multimedia production is jarring to the senses, the music loud, the pace electric and the images leave no holds barred. There is a point to be made and no one is left doubting the message that is delivered.
Early on in the piece, as she peels off one layer of costume after another, I have a sudden flash back to Shrek declaring that Ogres are like onions, they have many layers (all the more ironic given the appearance of an onion later in the performance). The peeling of layers of clothing could give the impression that women are often portrayed in movies as one-dimensional and that the layers are rarely explored. Croft, however, gives you very little time to ponder the deeper meanings as she peels off yet another layer of clothes and races into a new scene, a new scenario.
This piece of theatre is nuts. I find myself laughing at the absurdity of the performance one minute while being unsettled by the reality of the images the next. It is also slightly disconcerting being reminded about how we are manipulated by popular media as to how we perceive ourselves.
Croft is a master of her craft. She explores and manipulates dramatic conventions with outrageous energy. To leave the theatre feeling up-lifted by a show that delivers such a harsh message is a tribute to the skill and commitment of Croft and her director, Virginia Frankovich.
This performance will stay with me for a long time.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
Politically powerful and brave
Review by Sally Woodfield 17th Aug 2016
As we enter the Summerhall venue Julia Croft is standing statue-like, wearing a strange assortment of clothing: a ball gown over a green army style top with a showgirl-like headpiece. A text message on the screen pops up: “Imagine you desire me”.
So begins this extraordinary dance theatre work which takes us on a roller coaster as Croft challenges our thinking and ideas around women in society through the images we are fed in film and media.
She changes character stripping away layer after layer and performing scenes from different films. A scene between Rose and Jack from Titanic includes all the camera shots. Coquettishly smiling, she taunts the audience inviting us to “Look at my body. It’s a good body don’t you think?”
Scenes from Titanic, Pretty Woman, Notting Hill, Blue Velvet and Psycho are played out and on screen scenes include THAT scene from Basic Instinct – the most blatantly sexual scene in the show. But it’s the more ‘ordinary’ scenes which throw me – the ones where I’ve found myself so accustomed to the way women are depicted on screen that I hadn’t considered them as objectifying women.
As the show reaches its climatic end, a sweet song plays while on screen are the shockingly awful lyrics of a song called ‘Wait (The Whisper Song)’ by the Ying Yang Twins.
And Croft returns nude but for her costumes piled on her head: the weight of the characters she has played while she stands naked before us … It feels uncomfortable to watch but she draws attention to her breasts and pelvic area by encircling them in red.
Ever-provocative, Croft still has one more visual message. Having left the ‘stage’, I expect her to return to take her curtain call in a robe, but she joyfully skips back in grinning and naked. “This is me,” she seems to say.
Politically powerful and brave, Croft is sending a strong message to men and women in an age where women are judged on their bodies, but we’re becoming increasingly numb to this latent objectification.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
A politically powerful performance infused with positivity and joy
Review by John Smythe 13th Apr 2016
The title is attributed to Russian writer, feminist and anarchist Emma Goldman who emigrated from the part of the Russian Empire we’d now call Lithuania to the United States in 1885, aged 16. Wikipedia tells us, “She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the 20th century.”*
If There’s Not Dancing at the Revolution, I’m Not Coming was born, last year, of creator/performer Julia Croft’s anger that “powerful men feel so much ownership over a woman’s body that pulling a woman’s ponytail is ‘just joking around’.” She “wanted to investigate the complicated territory of navigating my own sexuality when that same sexuality is used to sell burgers and cars.” She wanted to add her voice to a feminist conversation with a beautiful work that gives us a great time. What Croft herself describes as a “mad, messy and anarchic” show – directed by Virginia Frankovich – certainly delivers on its promise.
She greets us on a pedestal, in an orange tulle frock adorned with gold sequins, a showgirl/show pony feather in her hair. Structurally, the next 55 minutes will see her strip from bulky and lumpy to nothing but skin. And at each stage we are treated to vivid reminders of how constantly and consistently women are objectified and sexualised.
Our involvement comes not only from our watching in silence (does this implicate us?) but also in actions some of us are invited to complete. As with Nisha Madhan’s Titled, there is a dichotomy in our desire to meet the apparent needs of the performer and our awareness that our actions may make us complicit in the social crimes implied.
Should one oblige her clear desire to don a lost-and-found high-heeled shoe or suggest she takes the other one off? And if I, as a man, suggest such a thing, will that be seen as an attempt control or liberate? Likewise the diamond necklace, so freighted as it is with ‘romance’: is it a generous gift or a choker?
Even as we marvel at the ingenuity with which Croft has freighted her own costume with diverse props, we get to play ‘Guess the Movie’ with scenes quoted from shooting scripts of such iconic films and find ourselves reassessing them in the context of her implicit feminist critique. (I recognise some and jot down quotes to later Google, thus identifying Psycho, Titanic, All About Eve, Notting Hill, Pretty Woman and Blue Velvet.)
You have to have been living under a rock or deep in a cave not to get the point, which comes through all the more powerfully for not being explicitly articulated. Not that there aren’t explicit images, like the infamous Sharon Stone leg-crossing interrogation scene from Basic Instinct, and a chase and bloody murder scene from a splatter movie I’ve never seen and never want to either.
Oh and there is dancing. Swan Lake morphs into an anguished jiggle to the questionable strains of ‘Hey Mama’ by David Guetta and Nicki Minaj. But the most horrified collective audience reaction is reserved for what I will call ‘the sliced onion moment’: see it and weep!
As Croft sets the stage for her party-party finale, complete with vulva-like cheerleader pompoms, a sweet, sentimental love song plays – but what we read are the execrable lyrics of a song called ‘Wait (The Whisper Song)’ by the Ying Yang Twins. Who knew such stuff was even out there?
But hey, we’re here to party and wow, do those pop-poms pop!
The publicity image suggests the final moment, where personal identity is buried under a mangled tangle of the paraphernalia she has divested herself of, while the naked body remains for us to gaze upon. It feels illicit to do so, as she literally draws attention to her private parts.
And yet when a smiling Croft romps in au-naturel to take her bow and enjoy the hugely deserved applause, an equilibrium is restored. She has claimed her right to herself and we are her happy witnesses.
Julia Croft continues to bring extraordinary talents to every level of her astonishing creativity in a politically powerful performance infused with positivity and joy. Not to be missed.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
*Wikipedia also reveals:
In 1973, feminist writer Alix Kates Shulman was asked by a printer friend for a quotation by Goldman for use on a T-shirt. She sent him the selection from Living My Life about “the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things”, recounting that she had been admonished “that it did not behoove an agitator to dance”. The printer created a statement based on these sentiments that has become one of Goldman’s most famous quotations, even though she probably never said or wrote it as such: “If I can’t dance I don’t want to be in your revolution.” Variations of this saying have appeared on thousands of T-shirts, buttons, posters, bumper stickers, coffee mugs, hats, and other items.
More quotes from Emma Goldman:
“I demand the independence of woman, her right to support herself; to live for herself; to love whomever she pleases, or as many as she pleases. I demand freedom for both sexes, freedom of action, freedom in love and freedom in motherhood.”
“We are in need of unhampered growth out of old traditions and habits. The movement for women’s emancipation has so far made but the first step in that direction.”
“It is a tragedy, I feel, that people of a different sexual type are caught in a world which shows so little understanding for homosexuals and is so crassly indifferent to the various gradations and variations of gender and their great significance in life.”
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
Funny, ambitious and provocative but …
Review by Dione Joseph 24th Feb 2016
Julia Croft is a talented performer. Her physical presence is commanding and she presents a no-holds barred 60 minute analysis of female sexuality that is funny, provocative and entertaining.
Better still it’s also smart. If there’s Not Dancing at the Revolution I’m not Coming is an unadulterated and unyielding exposé of how women and our bodies are experienced through a variety of media that gaze, consume and systematically practice forms of violence against the female body.
The work begins with the familiar 20th Century fox theme music and you might as well grab your popcorn and drink because the next hour is a kaleidoscope of film, audio and lyrical mashups. The pacing is for the most part fairly good and we segue from familiar filmic visuals to the latest pop songs, all the while punctuated with a slow and deliberate revealing of Croft’s body in various little theatrical vignettes.
Decked out in a flamboyant ostrich feather-trimmed hat and multiple layered costumes, Croft is like a magician with a bag of tricks. Our solo performer brings out a veritable array of props that have the audience in bouts of delight and wonder as to how she remembers where everything is hidden beneath layers of tulle, silk, taffeta and who knows what else. Nevertheless she has everything you would expect from a ballerina in Swan Lake to Kate Winslet’s signature jewellery all ready for her nudie pin up to burgers and coke, and everything in between.
The commentary is pervasive throughout: the missing shoe is found in the audience; the juxtaposition of Taylor’s Swift’s music with the Ying Yang Twin’s lyrics to ‘Whisper’ is one of the most powerful moments in the work; the flagrant use and abuse of women’s bodies by commercial giants such as Coke and also white women doing their best at twerking to rap.
In some ways the show could be a dissection that film critic Laura Mulvey would heartily endorse – it combines visual pleasure and a narrative of self, and does so confidently and unapologetically. But is it enough?
There are some moments that are brilliant, others that just drag on a tad too long and at some point it does feel like a massive cultural appropriation – obviously making the point that women’s bodies have been appropriated for generations and in multiple contexts … but then what? The show exemplifies the flaws of institutionalised culture in all their tawdry glamour but pointing out the flaws doesn’t make them disappear.
In addition, it’s a commentary on a particular type of feminism. What did white feminism ever do for black women? Or Asian women? Or Indigenous women? Is there room in this work for those voices or are we expected to be sated with an assault of dominant images because they are recognisable? For some individuals, yes, this will be true, but not for all, and certainly not while the discourse is still dominated by a mise-en-scene narrative that is largely reflective of a particular demographic, language and physicality.
Interestingly, the set is largely constructed around mirrors and these are not used anywhere as much as they could be to flatter, question, reflect, interrogate the various selves that women perform and equally the various lenses through which we are perceived. There is some good work with webcams and multiple wonderful puns and plays on close-ups (both verbal and visual) and a plethora of smart engaging innuendo – but it just doesn’t have the ballast to go further.
Similarly, the show doesn’t quite rise to its lofty ambition of giving voice to a ‘call to arms’. Anarchy? Hmm … Again in its current incarnation it just doesn’t quite achieve the ambitious goals it sets itself.
Virginia Frankovich is a solid director and the work does everything it should: makes good use of the space, has effective lighting and Croft herself is undeniably a chiselled actor. But the work has to do more to de-institutionalise itself first and foremost before it can truly unsettle its audiences.
It is a funny, ambitious and provocative work but it’s still a fringe show that needs to be taken up a substantial few notches to deliver the punches it promises.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
Audacious, liberating, outstanding
Review by Lexie Matheson 03rd Sep 2015
Julia Croft, artiste extraordinaire, describes her new, hour-long, chamber work thus: “a rich contemporary performance collage of film scripts, pop songs, elaborate costumes and dance all stretched, teased, shattered, and reassembled to challenge the treatment of women’s bodies as spectacle in popular culture. If There’s Not Dancing uncovers the collective fantasies underneath these bodies, intervenes and explodes them into feminist confetti.” She adds “contains nudity” and there is, and “adult themes” which there are.
Artists, in describing their own work, sometimes miss the point of what they themselves have created but not so Croft: she’s right on the button! So much so that I could stop right now, leave you with Croft’s own words, and say no more. But I won’t because I want to write about this extraordinary and passionate piece; because it’s the best 60 minutes I’ve spent for quite some time. It’s intellectually challenging, the imagery is rich and expansive, the literacy is exact and the performance, while loose and engaging, is also smart, smart, very, very smart.
When I arrive it is raining and has been for some time. I am wet and to say I am not in good humour could well qualify as the understatement of the year. I’ve had a right day of it and I’ve had enough! I’ve read Croft’s ambitious description of her work; read the quote so often attributed to anarchist Emma Goldman that Croft had purloined for her title:
If I can’t dance, it’s not my revolution!
If I can’t dance, I don’t want your revolution!
If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.
A revolution without dancing is not a revolution worth having.
If there won’t be dancing at the revolution, I’m not coming.
I am ready to do battle. I sit on a low seat next to the piano by the box office and am surrounded by the hoots and howls of the hoi polloi above me, a roar that I have to say never lets up until well after the performance is over. I need, I decide, to experience some vision, some passion and, please god, more than a little imagination.
It doesn’t start well. The show is going to go up late. I’m told it starts in the foyer. Has it already started and I haven’t noticed? Suddenly there’s the sound of the 20th Century Fox movie theme, anthem-like, all drum rolls and blasting horns, and when I stand up there’s an almost unrecognisable Croft with a megaphone, surrounded – as any young starlet might be – by her adoring fans.
It’s all illusion of course, as it’s really just the audience – a full house – gathered around her in a small space with nowhere else to go but it’s a more than effective metaphor for what’s to come. My intimate personal space is, I suspect, about to be invaded. Nice though, because these are two artists whose work I trust. Virginia Frankovich, the director, is clever, I remind myself, and Croft, well she, it seems, can make anything work. We are, I imagine, in safe hands.
I’ve read that there are great costumes – and there are – I just didn’t expect the actor to be wearing them all at once! It is a shock. An unexpected and unconventional body-image jolt can do that, and it occurs and reoccurs endlessly throughout the evening, right up until the final delicious frame.
Croft leads us, like some ragamuffin, street-urchin Pied Piper, up the red-lit stairs to the theatre space where we seat ourselves on cushions or on the shelf-like steps and prepare ourselves for goodness only knows what. It’s a super feeling when expectation departs, taking with it the day’s stresses, and leaves only joyous anticipation. I like that more than anything.
The set is mirrors – lots of mirrors in all shapes and sizes so that whatever the actor is doing is visible in a kaleidoscope of fractured images – and there is no escape, no hiding place, for her or for us. Everything is fragmented, disengaged, detached.
Croft is wearing a white ostrich feather in her hair, a blingy pink dress with oodles of tulle and, underneath, what looks like a green shirt thingie. There’s obviously more clothing to come but just exactly what is still not visible and Californian film maker James Broughton’s A Long Undressing comes to mind along with his advice to movie makers that they should “follow their own weird”. I’m not finding Croft’s ‘weird’ particularly peculiar but it’s certainly different and in a very good way, and this is just the beginning.
There’s some pre-recorded stuff through the megaphone which is clever and a whole lot of shtick with a shoe and suddenly she’s among us, dressing, and I’m holding her arm – “it’s a good arm” – while she slips her foot into a shiny black shoe with a ribbon tie that the man behind me is securing for her. It’s wonderfully intimate and more than a little disturbing because I’m loving it all and I’m not sure whether I’m supposed to be loving it or not.
Laura Mulvey is screaming at me in one ear and Andrea Dworkin in the other while Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema is whispering “just lie back and love this languid daughter of Eve” and, frankly, I don’t give a damn. Croft has broken the fourth wall and not for the last time either. She’s invaded our ‘sit in the dark and gaze’ space and it’s disconcerting and arousing at the self-same time. Certainly all vestiges of my crappy day have melted into the mists of actor-induced pleasure and I’d pay big backs to be able to replicate this whenever I want.
Then it’s drinkies time and a sweet young thing in the front row gets a glass of effervescence from a bottle secreted somewhere around Crofts person. It looks like tonic and the bottle is as shaken up as the audience is. It fizzes in a somewhat ejaculatory fashion and dribbles and drips down the glass in a way that has the audience in fits.
Croft next produces a tiny bottle of gin from somewhere in her knickers and slops that into the glass to the sounds of unabashed hysteria. But wait, there’s more, and the coup de grâce is delivered when the actor produces a lemon from her bra, squeezes it liberally into the glass and stirs the concoction sensuously with her ostrich feather. It’s fantastic stuff, and we all feel just a trifle over-exposed.
Soon she’s against the wall beside me, languid in her spotlight, talking to herself, to the audience. She is object, we are subject, Mulvey lives. There is a soundtrack. I feel her spit on my cheek, visceral, appropriate, and she moves on again, never settled, never still.
There is a scene where Croft draws the outline of her body in thick white chalk three times on the black walls of the space and another where, to the accompaniment of the CSI television theme, she is suddenly dead on the floor in a brilliant red dress, again with the tell-tale chalk body shape around her, and these images are left to haunt us for the duration of the evening while she again moves rapidly on.
The music throughout is carefully chosen, evocative, often in spontaneous snatches. It underpins everything. Then there are the film clips. There’s a voice over of Norman the voyeur and the hole in the wall – always there is the voyeur and the gaze – but also there is the never-ending piss-take humour. It’s wry, droll, self-effacing and as cutting as the slashing moves in Croft’s first dervish-like, dance-like, movement piece.
There’s the classic scene from Basic Instinct flickering on the back wall where Sharon Stone turns the Mulvey gaze right back on her interrogators and all the while Croft is shedding garments like confetti while we get the picture.
Croft has crafted an elegant text: a snapdragon of a thing that whips, flashes, cuts and burns like a lightsabre. As well as her own words, it’s peppered with intelligent quotes and none is better, nor more appropriate, than Margo Channing’s classic from All About Eve (1950): “Funny business,” she says, “a woman’s career. The things you drop on your way up the ladder so you can move faster. You forget you’ll need them again when you get back to being a woman.” Croft makes it her own with a worrisome and effective repetition of Bette Davis’ evocative conclusion, “slow curtain, the end”. It’s a special moment.
If There’s Not Dancing at the Revolution, I’m not Coming is a work that goes beyond the thoughtful into the sublime and occasionally to the surreal. There’s all the rhetoric of cheap sex. Phrases like “spread your legs”, “Daddy’s coming home” and Ddon’t you fucking look at me!” pepper the evening along with the food and drink and the shedding, always the shedding, of clothing.
There is so much to talk about that would border on spoiling so I won’t go on any further – but beyond what I’ve told you there are many treats aplenty. There’s great fun with glitter and confetti cannons and a giant vagina or two but you’ll really have to take the time to experience the show yourself to find out just what. Suffice to say I’m still laughing, but I’m a tad troubled too. Not an issue though, feminism can have that effect on transgender women. We love it, commit to it, but do we really belong?
It’s a big work with loads to say and Croft doesn’t hold back. She says in her programme notes that she wants to engage with questions about how we look, how we look at women, how women are often reduced to bodies and how looking is a political act. She nails that totally. She also says that she wants to add her voice to the feminist conversation and she’s there with Eve Ensler, banners aloft, shouting to the stars.
Croft also says that she wants me to have a good time. I do. I have a great time, and I’ve been raving to anyone who’ll listen to me ever since. I wrote and created a work once that ended with the woman protagonist naked having stripped away all the vestiges of her sexual abuse. At the final dress rehearsal the actress told me that whether she stripped completely would depend on how she felt the audience had received the work. They had, she said, to earn the right to that level of intimacy. It was an extraordinary statement and we agreed that that’s what she should do. The nudity in If There’s Not Dancing at the Revolution, I’m not Coming is on the same level. Anything less gratuitous you will never experience. Anything more beautifully integrated is hard to imagine.
It is a party, Ms Croft. Thank you. It is a poem, Julia. We love it. And it’s much more than a tiny call to arms. It’s audacious writing, liberating direction and all embodied in a simply outstanding performance.
Slow curtain, the end. Applause.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer