Catch Jazida with Jazida and Artemis Seven.
Presented by Jazida Productions. Courtyard Theatre. Canberra Theatre Centre. February 10-12 2023 and at the Adelaide Fringe March 14-19 2023 in the Empire Cabaret Theatre at Wonderland Festival Hub. Hindmarsh Square. Bookings: 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au
Reviewed by Peter Wilkins
Jazida is Canberra’s High
Priestess of the art of Burlesque. Her latest show Catch Jazida, performed to a full house of enraptured acolytes is a
colourful showcase of her remarkable talents. Exotic and erotic, Jazida is a
bewitching enchantress, titillating and
scintillating as she teases and tantalizes in full control of her art and her
audience. Her fan dancing is a tour de force of mischievous allure. Her fire
routine and fire eating hots up the show to a sizzling display of impending
peril. Jazida is always in control, an exemplification of female empowerment,
confident in her body and her burlesque performance. Her artistry is
mesmerizing and her talents captivating. It is impossible not to be transfixed
by her dance and her performance with attitude. The grace and beauty of her
naked fan dance with illuminated feathers conjures images of classic sculpture
in adoration of an Aphrodite. The timing is skilfully measured. For Catch Jazida, the Courtyard Studio has
been transformed into a mysterious Speakeasy under spinning displays of intelligent
lights, a colourful circus of whirling rainbow ribbons, a dimly lit nightclub
and a smoky film noir setting behind Venetian blinds designed by Diore.
Less successful is the execution of the concept that strings the exquisite display of Jazida’s talents together. In Catch Jazida, a private detective (Artemis Seven) is employed to track Jazida down as she leaves a trail of theft behind her from one performance place to the next. A video news report reveals her escapades and the detective sets out to catch the thief. Seven is the show’s inept clown, a stumbling bumbling gumshoe outwitted by a much smarter criminal. Her physical business lends the show moments of humour but her vocal delivery of an unremarkable script is at times inaudible in its breathiness. The audience delights in her characterization of the incompetent clown but the narrative is too often lost in translation. Seven would have been better advised not to be miked and to develop a more articulate vocal technique. I have no programme so I am unaware whether a director has been credited, but the show appears not to be tightly directed. Jazida’s excellent moments in dance and song are too often not maintained through the manner of the transition to the next scene. A director would have a stronger sense of preserving the continuity of the show. At an hour, it is still too long and needs to be tighter in its story line and concept of incorporating Jazida’s performance into the storyline.
Catch Jazida as it is is primarily a showcase for Canberra Critics Circle award winner Jazida and audiences will be entranced by her performance. I remember how much shows like Hot Brown Honey and Blanc de Blanc improved at subsequent Fringe festivals after they were developed and helped by more experienced professional companies.They then went on to international acclaim. Catch Jazida is being presented at the Adelaide Fringe in the Empire Cabaret Theatre at the Wonderland Festival Hub in Hindmarsh Square and I urge anyone at the Fringe with a love of Burlesque, Comedy, interactive theatre and dance to visit Catch Jazida during the last week of the Fringe from March 14 to 19. Jazida is a world class burlesque artist who deserves a larger stage in time to parade her talents. She is a performer with a bright future and not to be missed.