Monday, 29 October 2012

New Queer Cabaret?

As part of Glasgay!'s restless programming - and emerging from the Buzzcut promotion stable - Tranny and Roseannah's cabaret at Rose and Grants reaffirms a core values of Glasgay!'s identity, an interest in presenting new work and new ways of understanding LGBTQ performance. Although Tranny and Roseannah's secret identities are familiar to Live Art audiences - they follow on from Fish and Game's successful double act in Strange Hungers in the fusion of drag humour and political intelligence - their cabaret format is far looser and their bill (on Thursday night) shows less focus and more eclecticism.

Tranny and Roseannah hold together the proceedings with their parody of TV reality show lifestyle gurus: their guests, Dame Fanny Dayglow and Foxy (from human-animal hybrid duo Foxy and Husk) come from diverse ends of the spectrum. Dayglow is a classic drag act - failed and delusional celebrity and sad old lady by turns - while Foxy's mimed meditation on relationship break ups is devoid of kitsch and manages to sail into emotive waters despite the comic appearance of a woman-dressed-as-a-fox.

As a cabaret evening, it does not hang together: Foxy's finale is far too intense after the playful makeover tease and Dayglow's parody of the celebrity audience, leaving Tranny and Roseannah slightly tongue-tied. The switch between moods is too abrupt - and Foxy's Solo is quite clearly not designed to be part of a vaudeville night, having even emotional power and serious content to stand alone.

Dayglow's routines are far more adaptable to the format - although the Talking Heads styling of her central monologue is filled with pathos and undermines the slightly easy and cheerful humour of the other two - and Tranny and Roseannah begin the evening with a very funny extended skit on fashion.

All of the acts are strong on their own terms - T&A feel like a work in progress but their banter is well developed and their co-dependant relationship touchingly and hilariously fleshed out - and Foxy smashes up popular cultural, oddly sexual fancy dress and an obsession with milk  and misery into a coherent, if sometimes meandering slap at romance and failure.

Dame Fanny Dayglow exults in kitsch humour - again, context is important, and getting a laugh from an old song that uses "gay" in a funny way is far more vaudeville than the rest of the evening. She also suggests that her fatuous faux celebrity routines hide a talented actor: again, that central monologue being both moving and wryly humorous.

If the structure isn't quite perfect, it is clear that T&A are trying to draw connections between queer identity and performance art - itself "queer" against the normative model of theatre - and the slightly awkward shifts in tone are reflective of a project in its early stages. Certainly, this is an imaginative tale on the potential of the cabaret format - a format that has been explored through Itsy's Kabarett in Edinburgh, or in Scunner's Spangled nights, but here given a more explicitly social and political intention.

1 comment :

  1. Hiii,,
    i would like to appreciate on the effort which you have taken......queer cabaret