Despite being self-proclaimed as Melbourne’s least professional water ballet squad, The Clams have certainly vaulted to be the city’s most popular. Their debut show Crimson Tide had only a short run over a weekend, though the 25 ballerinas certainly made a splash with their period piece selling out all four performances. The lines were very long outside the Melbourne City Baths, and it is hard to think of another Fringe performance that generated that kind of buzz.
A ‘history of the menstrual cycle told through the medium of water ballet’, was almost-riotously fun. The moody red lighting, the steamy windows and vaulted ceilings of the 150-year-old baths, and little touches as the posters decorating the walls and corridors, and gorgeous manifesto/collection of essays handout complemented an altogether festive experience.
An MC broke the ice, cringingly sharing her first visit of aunt flow, and the very public delight of her mother to the bewilderment of a table of foreign guests. Ceremonies out of the way, the packed bleachers cheered on the gorgeous red swimwear fitted ladies, swirling tampon props, with a medley of choreographies to pumping tunes from the classical Satie to pop Beyoncé.
Very regrettably, it was a short spectacle. Maybe a quarter of an hour of actual water ballet, though all of it looked fantastic. We can only hope that The Clams will continue rehearsing and expand the show, as they have clearly built a large fan base, and many more missed out on tickets.
Christian G. is an international man of mystery; lover of books, cats and the performing arts; moonlighting as a finance professional by day.
Read our guide to Melbourne Fringe Festival 2017.