Delivering one of the most demanding performances I’ve ever seen, Julia Croft explores the portrayal of women in media with her confronting one-woman show, If There’s Not Dancing At The Revolution, I’m Not Coming.
Engaging, provocative and unapologetically antagonising, this political show is the brain child of Croft and is directed by her Not Pyscho co-star, Virginia Frankovich. Starting in the foyer of the Basement Theatre, the show begins with Croft entering the waiting crowd; layered in so many costumes, she becomes reminiscent of the michelin man. Armed with a megaphone and movie music, Croft leads us into the upstairs theatre and we are soon greeted and seated onto the rows of cushions. This interactive touch continues throughout the whole play, getting more and more aggressive with progression. Audience members are moved aside in search of jewellery, victims of party poppers and even served suggestive cocktails.
If There’s Not Dancing At The Revolution, I’m Not Coming, uses “stretched, teased, shattered and reassembled” popular culture to both convey and defy contemporary portrayals of women. Croft represents the impossible modern woman. She’s the young and naked muse, the beautiful dead fatale, the willing submissive and even the burger-eating bikini model. Croft takes these many forms through her own talent, as well as through clever costume and staging. Laden with her many attires, Croft hastily transforms in every scene change. What starts as amusing difficulty, soon morphs into a threatening visual metaphor, representing the unfeasibly-faceted modern female. This all comes to a head at the end of the play, with all the costumes piled onto Croft’s head as she stands before us completely naked. Rather than a cheap trick or shock value, this nudity is completely justified. Staging consists of many mirrors, allowing the audience full view during this moment. Stripped bare, Croft shows us both what is expected of woman, and the ramifications of this expectation.
The play’s inter-activeness allows for potential mistakes, which undoubtedly occur multiple times throughout the show. However, Croft’s talent shines through, as every unfinished scene change and dropped bottle becomes part of the story, providing humour and again highlighting the unachievable nature of this ideal woman. If There’s Not Dancing At The Revolution, I’m Not Coming focuses on a single message, and that is its success. Rather than becoming convoluted with countless meanings and voices, Croft’s masterpiece is singularly a well-developed challenge to the way we currently look at women.
Enlightening and enjoyable, If There’s Not Dancing At The Revolution I’m Not Coming is an mature play that every adult needs to see. Catch the “feminist confetti” for yourself at the Basement Theatre until this Saturday. Tickets are available here.