‘Ginava’s Messy Friends’: still up to their fabulously arty disruptor antics
Three blue raptors are up on stage delivering flawless choreography to Busta Rhymes’ Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See. This outrageous aesthetic is made even funnier by the fact the dinosaurs don’t have eyes. Occasionally they bring their forearms to the front of their faces and suddenly reveal silver-painted eyes on the palm of their hands. Call it a new brand of Dada performance art or critique it as just plain ridiculous; either way I can never get enough of this number by Perth drag troupe, Ginava’s Messy Friends.
I first saw Ginava and her Fringe art disruptors dressed like vivid Muppet-style characters at a media preview of Fringe Week, 2017. The group was then dubbed Mâche and dressed in what could only be described as acid drag: costumes that looked like they’d been made from fabric left over from a Teletubbies-meets-Drag Race convention.
Some folks in the crowd were wondering what drugs the performers might be on, or indeed what drugs might be needed to truly ‘get’ the kooky spectacle. This year I smoked a full joint so as to try and fully ‘get’ what this kooky troupe was trying to say. Suffice to say, the joint only made the mad scene look crazier.
This is one very eclectic production with a music selection to match a way warped series of drag shows and crazy-fun visual skits. Much of the music was recycled from last year, with only a couple of brand new performances rounding out the set and definitely some touching up in the wardrobe department (were those dinosaurs wearing fabric-covered Crocs last year?).
Still, I can never get enough of every one of these acts, each artist lip-synching to an inch of perfection – even when they’re wearing giant papier mache heads.
There’s not a slick finger point, not a fierce glare, not a robotic dance gesture out of place, with every move adding to a potent lyric or general sentiment of any given song.
Flamboyant artist Bobby Knox delivers her best robot gestures to Bjork’s Human Behaviour, her wardrobe of shiny alien bodysuit eventually removed to reveal a ‘meatier’ internal human guise. If Gaga had taken an acid trip, her meat antics still wouldn’t look as fabulous as this.
Then, Danisa Snake takes to the stage, slinking her way out of a snake-charmer’s basket to give good seductive reptile. Danisa is followed by Flynn V and his sexy sacrilegious moves to the soundtrack of KLP’s insistent Heater, and Mary Lamb O God gets trussed up as a pageant queen on her way to a blind date – literally blindfolded and staggering her way in a striptease all across the stage.
Ginava herself is just as unique in her storytelling and camp gesturing. Being the host of the show, it’s great to see there’s none of that grabbing of the mic with wig akimbo to chat out of breath to audience members in between performances. Instead, as the show’s director, she has stuck to the clever tactic of playing pre-recorded interviews with her co-stars on-screen, helping to keep audiences engaged while the artists are changing costumes for their next numbers.
One of the wildest costumes is that of Ginava’s notorious character, Bulimia. While the mascot’s name might be offensive to some, Ginava insists that Bulimia – who spends half of his act eating odd things then throwing them up into a garbage can – was created to address the trauma associated with eating disorders in the gentlest way possible.
“It’s presented in a way that’s not making fun of said issue,” Ginava recently told ABC News. “It’s still got some kind of commentary, or lesson to be learnt from it, or just something to start a conversation.”
I’ll say it again: despite the ‘Messy’ part in this troupe’s name, everything about Ginava’s Messy Friends is carefully choreographed and polished to the point of perfection.
If you’re tiring of the same old competitive drag and are looking for something more, let’s say gender fluid from the artform, you’re going to get a kick out of this show.
I’m set to go a third round, but please throw in some new songs – hopefully performed by the exact-same fabulous cast.
‘Ginava’s Messy Friends’ is on until February 2nd at the De Parel Spiegeltent, Perth Cultural Centre, Northbridge. Tickets are available from www.fringeworld.com.au.
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