If you are a regular theatre goer and are yet to engage with Sydney’s cabaret and burlesque scene then you are really missing out. Missing out on people-centred, often female but inclusive performances, talented artists and louche shows with deceptively loose structures. On tour from Melbourne, Sophie deLightful is a home town Sydneysider here for a short season of her ANATOMY OF A POWER PUSSY.
First question to ask, naturally, is ‘What is a Power Pussy?’ This is not the show to be prescriptive about what anyone should be. Right here right now, it’s authenticity, strength in vulnerability, uncompromising boldness in “fucking couture”! And Sophie deLightful is all that and more.
It’s very personal work, the openness of the character is heartbreaking and absorbing as discussion and conversations with the audience introduce Sophie’s songs. Seldom still, Sophie walks among the crowd when speaking to us and sharing with us. It’s a warm experience, especially when the artist is so generous and solicitous. She even cleverly gives a trigger warning to the show just in case her musings on love and gender and sexuality in an “open space” show, bring up issues unbidden in the audience. An audience which she knows well having, preshow, wandered through several times, greeting and asking questions before taking on her role as performer and host. Her genuine enthusiasm and curiosity banks audience engagement in the show and inspires trust in the raw, feisty and genuineness of this gorgeous, gutzy gal.
The show is lightly scripted, deceptively so in fact, as our host speaks from the heart to introduce songs that are just a joy to hear. For me, it will always come down to the voice, I loved it. Rich in timbre Sophie chooses songs which speak to the audience and her themes, rather than showboating her indisputable range. But her diction and clarity and those delicious lows in the funk number are wonderfully crafted. ‘Love the Way You Lie’ sits gently with ‘Fell in Love With a Girl’ in delightful arrangements with a very well-engineered, mainly piano, backing track.
Also a producer of sorts, Sophie brings together other artists from the scene. Accompanying her on the night we attended was Marlena Darling and Liberte LaFemme. Two artists who extend the thematic concerns of being a Power Pussy, both of them subverting the phallic in highly entertaining ways.