Dunstan Playhouse, Sat 10 Jun.
All the adjectives that are typically used to describe Bridget Everett (bold, brash, bawdy) don’t quite seem to add up to what she is. The New York comedian slash alt-cabaret star has been touted as ‘the most exciting performer in New York City’ (Village Voice). Her performance is energetic, daring, brazen. Her voice is pitch perfect and her range impressive. That she was able to create moments of tenderness in a performance that was entirely geared at challenging perception was extraordinary. The tenderness was a contrivance, of course, part of the performance, but you could have heard a pin drop as she sang mournfully about her alcoholic, absent, white-trash father as he lay on his deathbed.
Watching Everett is an experience in being unsettled. She pushes boundaries and tests how far she can go. Can I put this person’s face in my bare beaver-tail titties? And this person? And this person? Can I sing cheerfully about child neglect? My father’s genitals? Having sex with my brother? Can I get an old person to yell ‘DICK!’ into the microphone?
Does she go too far? I would say for some the answer is undoubtedly yes, but that is the whole point. And for the largely adoring audience at the Dunstan Playhouse on Saturday night, she could have pushed them to the moon and back and they would happily have gone on that ride with her.
And that is her great talent; taking us with her. Where else can a woman described as ‘super-plus-size’ put her foot up on a speaker, pull up her already short skirt, revealing her wobbly thighs and ample leopard print nanna knickers, and be received with a roaring cheer? It is liberating just to see a woman’s body (of a type that would normally be shunned and shamed by all corners of our media), on a stage, unhidden, and completely unashamed. Couple that with a singing voice that could hold its own amongst cabaret singers all over the world and the ability to make punters laugh while they wince, and you have a cabaret act that ticks all the boxes.
But please, stay away from the front rows if you don’t want to pound it!