‘Gender Spanner’ is all about labels that don’t stick. Jessica McKerlie takes you on a journey of labels that have been adorned on her over her life, how she found who she is and the experiences that led her there.
Prior to the start of the show, Jessica greats audience members and, after asking a question or two, gives you a label. ‘Diligent flosser’, was my label. How did she know? Okay, okay – I wish…it’s like when the dentist asks if you floss every day, you say yes, and then they ask why you lie. Anyway, I loved that she said hi to audience members individually. It reminded me why independent productions tend to give something more.
The cabaret performance includes song, dance, theatre, and what I’m going to dub ‘spinning plates of destruction’. Jess takes you from her struggle to ‘break free’ during a Cyndi Lauper-backed piece (you can’t not love this), to a Stepford wife number where she demonstrates her strong vocal talents, and then to a well-thought-out silhouetted number.
The end of the show sees Jessica reclaim her labels. She moves around the audience and you literally stick the labels on her mostly naked body. As she lulls you through one more song, the labels, fittingly, start falling off.
‘Gender Spanner’ has a short production run during the Midsumma Festival. If you’re after an evening of cabaret and something different go and check it out.
Co-founder of The Plus Ones, Rukmal lives and breathes events.
Gender Spanner runs from 19-23 January at Gasworks. Check the website for session times.