Courtney Rose Brown
Croft begins the show by holding a megaphone to her mouth, lip-syncing pre-recorded sentences about her appearance. She then performs monologues or scenes from popular films and media, interspersed with audio and visual clips. Croft strikes a remarkable balance between the lighthearted and serious moments, presenting some of the harder content (negative presentations of women in media) first as undercurrents before driving it home in a dynamic manner. As a result the audience members are giggling after the climax (streamers, confetti, wine) until the themes are brought to the forefront through sexually explicit media.
Croft handles the use of space well, unafraid of audience interaction, using the stairs and the whole stage, but it is when she uses less space that she creates some truly powerful moments. In one scene, Croft moves slowly around behind the open doors back stage, coming in and out of view as a scene was transcribed through audio clips about sexual violence. In another, she completely leaves the stage, with the juxtaposition of romance from Taylor Swift’s song Love Story, which played beside sexually violent lyrics that were projected on the wall. Without her body on stage and the doors shut, the audience had no choice but to listen and read the opposing lyrics, where we had to actively acknowledge and engage with how mindlessly we consume idealised and triggering pop songs. This presentation lead to strong audience responses, in particular, the person I was watching with burst into tears.
Calvin Hudson’s minimalistic lighting design created a strong sense of the atmosphere. In particular, his use of side light (which often was reflected in the mirrors) and torch light, which drew attention to specific areas of the body. Stephanie Croft’s audio, visual and graphic designs aided Julia’s performance beautifully, creating clear transitions (along with Hudson’s operation).
The costuming was a standout feature in the show, leaving the audience in awe with how many layers she could wear, move and perform in. Costuming was cleverly used to provide strong characterisations, where what she was wearing linked to the presentation from media that she was performing. This also aided the idea of femininity being a performance alongside the visual metaphor of stripping back the layers of the male gaze where she removed costume pieces. Moments of surprise were always welcomed with moments of reveal as she pulled out props from unexpected places.
If There’s Not Dancing at the Revolution, I’m not Coming, is a brave, wild and important piece of theatre that is definitely worth seeing. If only to see Croft’s committed energy. She is a delight to watch.
The season runs until the 16th of April at 8.30pm at BATS Theatre in the Propellor stage.