She’s pert, pretty and ain’t afraid to get her gear off. She has the innocence of an angel yet talks dirty as if it were easy as breathing. With the voice of a diva, and a cute offsider on piano, she’s not afraid of bananas, either. Who is she? She’s Aubrey Flood, and she’s telling us about the six wives of that rotter Henry VIII, in the lively cabaret ‘Tudor Roses‘.
But it’s not all about Henry. She exposes the cruel double standards these, and modern, women live under. Women are losing their minds, underpants — and often lives — when conscribed to living up to men’s expectations in the oft dangerous game of amour.
Flood parades the stage in a red-sequinned jumpsuit or bra and undies. She loves her audience and has a winning way with words — and history. This is the most informal telling of Tudor history you’re likely to have heard and it’s all the more moving for it. There is an A3-sized folio ‘Book of Bad Bitches’ centre stage which she uses as teaching tool and prompt. Flood chats with us as if we were best friends in her bedroom. She also includes the audience with a Renaissance court dance, and chants of ‘Close the wage gap!’, and ‘the Snapchat you want to last forever’.
She links her own fetish for flirting, singing, and picking up with the private lives of the women handpicked by HRH for his folly called ‘marriage’. Flood rips through the stories of Henry’s girls’ as if they were New Weekly features. She summarises each’s pitiful demise as she changes costumes. These range from nighties, to school uniforms, dressing gowns, to pearls and then lace (don’t ask about the muffin outfit).
Singing Top 20 tunes done different, like a good cabaret girl, she brings tender moments and dark undertones to happy songs. We were transported by her voice of liquid elegance.
Attraction, dating, and mating are all the territory she treads in her ‘search for fresh Queen[ly] inspo’. This show is bold, courageous, unique and funny.
Sarah W. is a dance-trained theatre lover with a flair for the bold, and non-traditional performance platforms. On-the-street or in the box seat, she is always looking for quality works that push the envelope!
‘Tudor Roses’ runs 24 September to 1 October, 10:15pm (55mins) at at Fringe Hub, Son of Loft – The Lithuanian Club. Book tickets.
The venue is not wheelchair accessible.
For more Melbourne Fringe 2016, check out our guide and all our reviews.