designed, directed and performed by Jazida.
Arts Centre until 12th February.
last few years Canberra has seen a surge of interest in burlesque, a form of
entertainment which at its best combines striptease, nudity, circus skills and
spectacular costuming of the type spearheaded by Moira Finucane and Jackie
Smith with their lavish “Burlesque Hour”
and “Glory Box” revues.
this art form has been enthusiastically embraced by Rachel Reid, who works
professionally as Jazida. In addition to performing professionally around the
country, winning business awards with her own Alternate Performing Arts Hub,
Flazeda, Jazida continues to develop her own performing skills for she has
twice attracted government funding from ArtsACT .
Hynotica” is the result of her second ArtsACT grant, and is an extraordinary
achievement. Essentially a one-woman show, but with a supporting cast of eight
members of the Fabulous Fan Dancers, who in addition to contributing
spectacular routines with fans and Chinese silks, also move scenery and clear
away discarded costumes.
|Jazida and The Fabulous Fan Dancers
The title of the show refers to an imaginary wellness clinic which offers hypnosis as service to help clients become the person they’ve always wanted to be. Thankfully though, the show doesn’t actually include any actual hypnosis and except for one short song, any audience participation.
Instead the clinic staff appear in filmed
segments and interact with Jazida, providing the show with an engaging
through-line, which with an excellent script, allows Jazida to address the audience directly
with thoughtful comments about her own pathway, acceptance, body image and
the show Jazida displays an amazing variety of skills. She sings while performing hair-raising
fire-eating, performs acrobatics in a suspended hoop, flirts with a sword,
strips away her elaborate make-up, and later re-applies it with extraordinary
finesse in full view of the audience. She performs rap songs, interacts with
the TV screens in sketches, all the time changing from one eye- popping outfit
to another even more so.
are lavish, and her props excellent. The show features original songs, including
a couple of catchy ones which she wrote herself. She made many of the costumes,
edited the video, built the fog-screen and collaborated on the set design with Craig Dear, who was
also responsible for the excellent lighting. She even directed the show herself,
and not surprisingly, the strain of all this showed in the messy finale.
“Exotic Hypnotica”, Jazida has created a superb showcase for her many skills
which she performs with admirable finesse and style. This is a show that could
easily tour. However it now requires the skills of an experienced director
familiar with the genre to tweak and sharpen the presentation to lift it to the
professional level it deserves.
printed program Jazida thanks, among others, Maude Davey, Moira Finucane and
Jackie Smith with whom she collaborated for dramaturgical support and advice.
Having got the show this far, perhaps a little more collaboration in this
direction would do the trick. The show is certainly worth the effort.
Photos by Tobias Price
This review published in the digital edition of CITY NEW on 10.02.22