A body, carrying weight. The weight of frocks and feathers and furbelows. Centuries of feminine adornment.  Cue megaphone: This is Julia. This is her body. It’s a good body, a valuable body. A very rare diamond.

Onscreen, shots of a phone screen, texting/sexting. Or something. Close-up shots of her eye, her tongue, her foot, some other bits of flesh.

Cue: a play. Or maybe its a film script. There seem to be two characters in the scene, Rose (an artist’s muse) and Jack (an artist). Oh hang on, I’ve got it – Titanic!  ‘I want you to draw me like one of your French girls… wearing this… wearing only this.’ Close-up on Rose’s face. Dissolve.

Cue song ‘Je ne veux pas travailler’. Cue pink satin kimono, cue green mini dress (plus champagne and willing audience member), cue 80s leggings and a slash of red lipstick that turns into clown make-up, cue the ubiquitous, the inevitable red dress, and a chalk body outline drawn on the floor. A tutu. Swan Lake. More films. More film scripts.

On screen, a recipe for a cocktail: The Leg Spreader. On stage, the noisiest hostess trolley in the world rattles through. There’s more. Twerking in a black catsuit. A sweet pink dress, and ‘I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her…’ Oh shit, what’s that one? I know it, of course I do. Fail. I have to look it up afterwards. Notting Hill – of course.

I could go on, you get the gist. It’s a game. A spot-the-pop-culture-reference game. It’s a spectacle about the casting of the female body as spectacle in contemporary culture. It is the critique of the thing and the thing itself.  It’s of course about the male gaze and the female response to the gaze and the objectifying and politicising of the female body and… and I haven’t even mentioned the pom-poms or the purple tights, or the pop music. Pretty Woman. Blue Velvet. And something modern, with very rude lyrics. I couldn’t possibly repeat them here.

And it is all Julia Croft! The creating, the performing. The performing! She has us in the palm of her hand for the hour. It’s like a marathon, a triathlon of costume changing and lip synching and exuberant dancing. Because, remember, If There’s Not Dancing at the Revolution, I’m not Coming.

Postmodern performance art meets power pop politics – powerfully delivered. I loved it with a vengeance. I want to join her revolution.

 

 

Dorothy Max Prior

Dorothy Max Prior

Dorothy Max Prior is the editor of Total Theatre Magazine, and is also a performer, writer, dramaturg and choreographer working in theatre, dance, live art and street arts. Under her alter-ego Dorothy’s Shoes she creates performance work that both honours and usurps the traditions of popular dance and theatre, and plays with the relationship between performer and audience. Much of her work is sited in public spaces or in venues other than regular theatres. She is also co-director of street theatre/dance company The Ragroof Players.

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