It’s never been so good to witness three unstoppable Australian women belt out feminist anthems while making consistent reference to vulvas. Fringe Wives Club: Glittery Clittery feels defiant, but it shouldn’t. It feels empowering, because it is.
It goes without saying that comedy has not always been a comfortable or easy place for women to inhabit; all you need to do is peruse Google for ten minutes to realise how issues of misogyny and abuse have plagued the industry. That’s not to say that all is fixed and these issues don’t abound today but with shows like Fringe Wives Club: Glittery Clittery, you feel like superwoman-style high-kicks are delivering powerful blows to break down these barriers. And in sequins. How fab.
We open with three women solemnly entering the stage dressed in clothes similar to that of Medieval monks, but it quickly becomes apparent that it isn’t any religious order they’ve dedicated themselves to but the cause of breaking down taboos around and myths about the female anatomy. And specifically vulvas. Over the course of the far too short 60-minute show, the women of Fringe Wives Club: Glittery Clittery, Victoria, Tessa and Rowena, put on a comedy cabaret act that just keeps climbing in terms of hilarity, cleverness and musical prowess. Using the conventional structure and devices of various music genres, though largely pop, the three performers address a myriad of themes centred around feminism, the patriarchy and experiences of being a woman today.
The Furies’s show has so many high points it’s a challenge to only call out a select few. It’s an extravaganza of joy, song, humour and glitter. Engagement with lighter topics, such as the historical absence of pockets on women’s clothes, were joined side-by-side with more substantial subjects – including the non-existence of a complete anatomical write up of the vulva in a medical journal until 1998. We went from songs about the appearance of a new and insidious type of ‘Feminist Fuck Boy’ to #MeToo monologues. These three female powerhouses managed to keep the audience constantly engaged and entertained, and not just along the lines of a typical comedy cabaret show either; there were unexpected moments of weight and power in their treatment of feminism, the patriarchy and inequality. An example of one such moment was the poignant ending to a song dedicated to Robin Thicke and Justin Bieber. With the rousing and jovial beginning of the show, this song pivoted on the audience’s assumption of an inevitably positive ending and made subtle movements to change the song’s course to close on an unexpected, though wholly sincere and poignant, moment.
Another highlight of Fringe Wives Club: Glittery Clittery, housed upstairs at the Assembly Roxy, is seeing the talented performers share the applause as they each have individual moments to shine while also excelling as a collective. These women were *ON* from the very moment they set foot onstage; I don’t know where they found the time to intake air, let alone change costumes, instruments and accents. Whether it was their fiery commitment to *NSYNC inspired dance moves, their improv in between sequences or their myth-busting game show that featured an epic costume change, they gave every moment all the feminist fire-power fury they could generate.
I’ll wholly acknowledge that I am the definition of the target audience for this show, however I was delighted to see plenty of audience members that were outside my demographic and outside the presumed show-goer I expected to see at one entitled Fringe Wives Club: Glittery Clittery. Perhaps this says much more about my own narrow-mindedness (if so, it’s thankfully received a significant hit since seeing the show’s audience), however, I call it out to encourage anyone who is considering getting a ticket to this cabaret to go for it. It’s never been so good to witness three unstoppable Australian women belt out feminist anthems while making consistent reference to vulvas.