Te Auaha - Tapere Nui, 65 Dixon Street, Te Aro, Wellington

21/02/2023 - 25/02/2023

NZ Fringe Festival 2023

Production Details

Choreographed and performed by Bonnie Curtis


Subverting The Body Beautiful.

*22 February’s show will be a relaxed performance*

LIMITS shares the story of a Grotesque Creature navigating the world through a stereotypically “hot-body”. As The Creature tries to live up to the world’s expectations, she is sabotaged by insecurity, self-hate and her own limitations.

Choreographed and performed by Bonnie Curtis, LIMITS wrenches audiences into the world of a Grotesque Creature struggling against her inner limitations and societal expectations. Audiences are asked to confront how visible disability challenges ideas of beauty as it plays out on stage. Sabotaged by her internal limitations, audiences experience the manifestation of her insecurity and self-hate.

Described as “outrageous, comedic and thought-provoking” by Sydney Arts Guide, Bonnie draws on her own experiences with invisible disability and functional impairment to create the powerful performance that shows how quickly we judge the exterior.

“There’s this idea that dancers can’t have a disability because they can’t dance, and to be a woman with a disability is to be some kind of hideous creature. Unfeminine. Unwomanly. That’s the idea behind making the work (Limits). To express the other side that people don’t see at first glance.”

LIMITS is a hard-hitting dark comedy that challenges perceptions of beauty, perfection and disability.

“4/5 smashed Barbies… ideas are expressed with the maturity and grace of a committed artist” – Kate Gaul, Theatre Now

“Engaging, funny, dangerous.” – Audience Member

Fast becoming known for its combination of performance styles, this solo work, part of the month-long festival program, will captivate and challenge audiences. Jeni Wilson, of Weekend Notes Melbourne described Bonnie Curtis Projects work as, “unique and clever combination of dance styles, theatre, satire and comedy… interactive, provocative and relatable.”

Te Auaha – Tapere Nui, Level 1, 65 Dixon Street, Te Aro
February 21 to 25, 2023
Relaxed Performance: Wednesday 22 February, 2023
7:30 pm

Content forecast: Misogyny 

Comedy , Dance ,

1 hr

Proximity of humour and menace is cultivated well

Review by Leila Lois 22nd Feb 2023

What happens when the patriarchal gaze is internalised? What kind of grotesque
self-consuming beast is created? These questions are posed by Bonnie Curtis’ solo
show, LIMITS, which has its New Zealand premiere this week at NZ Fringe. We walk
into the auditorium, into a private moment of contemplation, as Bonnie is in a seated
position, facing a dresser and mirror, back to the audience. Rock music blares as the
lights dim to zero-in on Curtis applying lipstick and moving about the stage in
strained movements, sucking in her stomach, creeping gingerly across the stage and
grimacing, while making low goblin-like grumblings. Audible are snatches of phrases
such as ‘skinny waist’, ‘nice boobies’ and ‘very flexible’, revealing the underlying
themes troubling the waters of this piece, body shame and inner torment.
The movements are not hugely varied or expansive but highly controlled for this
segment of the work, as Curtis continues to writhe around, punctuated by tweaks
and twitches in her body and visage. The work develops when she returns to face
her dresser, arranging nude barbie dolls, her shrill voice commanding them to “Sit
PLEASE”. She manipulates their bodies into the splits and draws the ‘ideal’ body on
the mirror with Blutack. The character Curtis has created is maniacal and cruel, a
grotesque caricature of patriarchal body ideals, both disturbing and amusing. This
proximity of humour and menace is cultivated so well by Curtis, as she leaps into the
last section of the work, frantically dressing up in pink frippery under violet lighting,
hair wild, sashaying across the stage like a pitiable pageant. The music intensifies
the eeriness of the work, with Vivaldi’s Winter swelling into a crescendo, creating
pathos for this wretched creature of internalised shame. The pace of the piece is
perhaps a little drawn out in parts, but there is plenty of animation and action where it
is needed.

It almost feels strange to clap at the end of the performance, as Curtis’
characterisation is so menacing, however, the skill and thought-provoking nature of
the work certainly merit a hearty applause.


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