Worship – The Gilded Edition – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A star-studded dream team of the sexiest weirdos in Perth have banded together for the third time as Worship, and after collecting myself I am ready to review The Gilded Edition. Let’s get stuck in.

Essie Foxglove – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Essie Foxglove is the producer that we must thank for bringing this Frankenstein’s monster to life. She is also to be rewarded for somehow managing to be so unsettling and attractive at the same time. Her performances are consistently otherworldly with a threatening aura surrounded by beauty and magnificence. She reflects our innermost darknesses and makes them sexy. Each number is elaborate and thought out, nothing she does is careless and all the energy put into everything she does always shows. Essie Foxglove is an event and I religiously adore her work. In the context of the story I found lining Worship, she is our benevolent matriarch. Moving with elegance, with purpose, and dressed as something we’ve only ever imagined. Foxglove Productions has brought us something that exists outside of the daylight, and I am honoured to have witnessed this show that I thought could only ever be imagined. She should be very proud.

Ginava – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Ginava is something else that I have yet to understand. I may never understand Ginava, and that’s okay. They are a visual feast, a talented spectacle, skilled with a sewing needle, and all around one of the best Perth has to offer. Ginava played both the servant and the master tonight, with a third in between performance that was just strange, to put it simply. The first performance was eerie and almost menacing as they creeped around the stage, hissing and ranting to an audio track. The second performance was the beginning of life to the end in well under five minutes. I was in too much of a trance to keep track of time but it was a very short space to showcase birth to death, in one of the most elaborate costumes I’ve ever seen. The third performance was connected to the original, an anti-thesis. We saw Ginava go from a place at the very bottom, to suddenly being the most powerful figure in Worship’s story. It was truly stunning in the most literal sense.

Matthew Pope – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is not my first encounter with Matthew Pope and I fear the day of when it will be my last. The first routine had me in a trance as we saw him as an entirely new species. The routine was something to behold, something truly interesting and unseen. The final sound effect brought all of the mysterious together in half a second and it was very impressive. The second performance was totally unrelated and showcased exclusively new feats in Matthew’s arsenal for this evening. Every tableau expressed something new about his character’s state of mind. The whole idea was just incredibly impressive and takes a grand amount of skill to pull of successfully. He truly surpassed my every expectation.

Darla Harland – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The audience were undeserving of the unmatched vulnerability that Darla Harland blessed us with tonight. Her overall thesis was around image and externally showing yourself as the definition of perfection, and how it feels to return to yourself intimately and alone. Her two acts we’re almost more like an extension of eachother, the first is like a night out and the second is the shower at the new dawn. The rise up and the come down. Darla has given us a visual essay on perception of the self, and for a topic so many frequently try to grasp, none have been so successful as Darla was tonight.

Smokey LaBare – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Ms LaBare began as a goddess. Her second performance took life as the altar. The costumes, the artistry, the skill involved in everything she did was top quality. I was both confused and dazzled with every step she took as an animalistic idol. Her fire stunts would’ve been terrifying instead of beautiful if her control and professionalism hadn’t made us feel so safe in her capable hands. The entire image was a dreamy kind of perplexing. The candle performance where she became the altar was elegant, somewhat somber, and incredibly strong. That image is burner into my mind and I am very thankful to have witnessed it.

Owen De Marchi – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Our songbird of the evening was also the closest thing we had to human. In the beginning, he was the one the audience could latch onto as a safety net of something familiar. By the end of the performance, he took the comfort we found in using him as a vessel in the show and underwent a possession that separated us entirely and, at the same time, completely submerged us into the twisted reality of Worship. At first I want sure if he fit with the extravagant numbers we viewed, but after leaving I realised that this was the perfect way to ease us into the show and let us down back into the real world. Owen De Marchi is our Charon as we cross the Styx into and out of the land of Worship. He’s also a phenomenal singer, but everyone already knew that part.

Even the Acolytes, our faithful stagehands, had a stage presence and a strong character that was considered and defined rather than an afterthought. Each version of them setting up or packing down the stage had an atmosphere all of its own that took the place of a host. It was unexpected but surprisingly enough, the non-verbal transitions into the next act were a brilliant way to simultaneously let us linger on the previous performance while warming up for the next. Many of the performers also took a place as Acolyte at one point or another but I’d like to credit Bobbie Apples, Coyotee, and Camden Champagne for being especially mysterious.

A quick tangent about Camden Champagne. In a previous show she was an underwhelming host, but clearly I was not seeing her in the correct setting. As all the Acolytes were, Camden was mysterious, engaging, sexy, scary in a way the show required. Queen was a different vibe that didn’t quite fit, but tonight Camden was able to create an aura with her teammates that was breathtaking, and I’d like to recognise that specifically. Let’s continue.

The tech was perfect, and not only because every cue was hit with precision, but also because of the ways they used technology to their advantage as an art form. It was something entirely new. To use smartphones and streaming to enhance live theatre and create a commentary on the worship of media – genius. To have somebody balancing on light switches and create an entirely unique experience in which the acrobat is also the tech is also the actor – inspired. The light shining from the mouth to create a myth we only see in movies forcing us to question what is real and what is possible in the realm of theatre. The lighting and sound was great, thank you Megamouth. The fog wasn’t overdone which is tricky to accomplish. All of the props and temporary sets were special and memorable. There is just truly nothing like this and it is difficult to put into words.

I keep thinking I’ve seen the best show this season and Perth continues to raise the bar to dizzying heights. I don’t know where we could possibly go from here. I am happy to say right now that this cast is the crème de la crème of Perth, and I suppose I’ll see who tries to top them next week.

Gratefully,

The Velvet Card Critic

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