Gender bending rock God iOTA is back in a brand new, sexy as hell rock show that he has directed, and which he has scripted with his long time collaborator Craig Illot.
The award-winning star of international smash-hits Berlin (with Sydney Dance Company ), Smoke & Mirrors, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and The Rocky Horror Show amongst others, iOTA brings his signature rock ‘n’ roll, vaudeville style to his new show.
The somewhat confusing and convoluted plot concerns the story of a young woman, Rachel (Blazey Best), who has a mass of problems and challenges including an unhappy relationship with a fiery-tempered husband played by Ashley Lyons. In order to cope she manufactures a kind of fantasy world to slip into.
In this world she reigns supreme as the gender bending glam rock superstar, Clifford North played by iOTA. Rachel’s two worlds do not go together well.
At times the show is very dark with allusions to domestic violence. There is also social and political comment in some of the songs. At one point in the show North gets into philisophising, pondering the meaning of the chorus lyric to Kris Kristofferson’s famous song- Me and Bobby McGee- ‘freedom is another word for nothing left to lose’.
The narrative is told in domestic vignettes acted on the forestage, yet when the band jumps in and iOTA appears there is little attention to storyline.
The production has little dialogue, the show often seaguing seamlessly from song to song, reinforcing the feeling that this is more a concert than a musical.
The exuberant, almost overwhelming energy from the cast is impressive.
There are plenty of amazing, dazzling special lighting effects,– at times the stage is gently dappled. At other times it is blinding with a rock concert look.
The set comprises mostly the stage for the quartet of sensational musicians, and then a slightly raised stage- three steps- for the huge and the huge lighting and sound rig. There is also a platform that rises and a window, table, chairs and lamps, at either side of the stage, representing the ‘real’ world.
The band is brilliant. They are all dressed in white costumes- think late Elvis- and wear bizarre long hooded masks. A Kabuki style influence can be seen in the use of blue ribbons as tears from the eyes. There is a sizzling hot electric guitar solo and the keyboard player also deserves special mention.
As Rachel, Blazey Best gives a dazzling performance. She is already on stage as the audience comes in to take their seats. She is acting enigmatically, crouched in an armchair, alone in the room. As the house lights dim she walks slowly across the stage to turn on a light.
As rock god Clifford North iOATA is amazing . He struts, prowls, prances and poses chameleon like in his blue and silver suit with ostrich feathers. Other features of his appearance are his eerie blue make-up, his tattoos, his high platform boots and his white wig with blue streaks.
His voice ranges from a whisper, in the ballads, to a rock God scream, and then everything in between. – to the Rock God scream and everything in between.
B-Girl was created by Lunar Hare Productions, a company founded by Craig Ilott, iOTA and independent producer Phil Bathols.
Running time 80 mins (approx) no interval.
B-GIRL runs at the Playhouse until the 21st June.
For more about B Girl, visit http://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/whatson/b_girl_2015.aspx?gclid=CPX59IWHgsYCFdgnvQod9YwAkQ