Fringe World Perth 2015

Teasing Talkies!, Fringe World Perth 2015

0 Comments 21 February 2015

Film & Multimedia                                         The Jaffa Room                                                 February 18

Tucked behind old factory warehouses and a stone’s throw away from Claisebrook station the Jaffa Room, a private cinema, offers a minor escape from the Perth summer heat.  From the outside, the venue is completely isolated from Fringe hysteria, fitting perfectly within sedated suburban streets, an ideal location for a grindhouse theatre.

Yet as I opened the door to anticipate the embodiment of the seedy underbelly of Perth, I was greeted by a party of burlesque dancers. I realized that fragments of Fringe World could appear in every nook and cranny, even in the most unexpected parts of Perth. Dollar Dazzler (the burlesque host) ushered me inside the small theatre to where I would sit for amongst an audience comprised of two people (I assumed the rest of them got lost). From its description I expected Teasing Talkies! to be a showcase of gritty bump ‘n’ grind and Bettie Page style pornography, yet as I saw the Warner Bros. logo projected over a red velvet curtain accompanied with a vinyl recording of a brass band, I assumed I was in the wrong theatre.

Gypsy (1962 dir. LeRoy), a flamboyant musical, was not what I anticipated. For two and a half hours I slouched in my seat dazed by the over-saturated colouring and gratuitous singing and dancing. The film depicts the story of an overprotective and ambitious mother, Rose Hovick, who is determined to thrust her unwilling children onto the stage to become acclaimed Broadway stars.

Admittedly, (as cheesy as the film was) it was refreshing to watch an independent mother caring for her daughters (even if it was smothering) and rejecting the pursuits of any man that attempted to control her. This in particular, seems revolutionary for 1960s Hollywood; taking the perspective of a woman, portraying her as completely manic yet self-driven throughout the duration of the film. Nothing tied Rose down.

Burlesque was finally mentioned. However, it was not the gritty and kitschy striptease I was eager for. It was portrayed as something as far more refreshing. The art form was shunned by conservative onlookers, yet became increasingly appealing to Rose’s androgynous and ‘talentless’ daughter, Louise. As Louise explored burlesque, it was treated with respect; presented as just as legitimate as any performance art requiring vast skill from the performer, rather than involving witticisms of slander and vulgarity towards the burlesque dancers. It is what I would imagine what a Hollywood films today would produce involving nightclub strippers, only today, the account would take a more conservative approach and far less singing and dancing.

Teasing Talkies! runs for one more session on Saturday the 21st of February. You can find tickets via the Fringe World guide here.

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