After my first Woman SRSLY showcase last year, it’s fantastic to see how the platform has retained its friendly community feel, continued to be bold and vibrant, and expanded its reach to welcome a greater variety of acts. Last July was excellent and focused heavily on words, theatre, and a smattering of dance, but this instalment was a veritable festival of music, comedy, movement, performance and poetry.
Rebekah Ubuntu, coated in silver glitter and a shimmering outfit, got the night off to a sparkling start. Their Afrofuturist performance combined a sci-fi-esque background video with synthy music for a magnetic experience. With an astonishing voice and chilled-out power, they had me dreaming of a longer set.
Rukeya Monsur matched Ubuntu’s creativity with a dance performance on a raised platform. Her movements flowed into one another to create shapes which were captivating to watch, although these lost some precision once they came down from the platform into a less focused space. Monsur is an assured yet uninhibited dancer whose performance melded with the music to beautiful effect.
The first half ended with a pole/dance/theatre/ performance – ‘Pigs’. Part of a larger piece about the Daedalus myth, this confounded genre but enchanted the audience. The two pole performers, one in a pig mask and the other in a plastic face mask, had real chemistry in their show. The fact that this was only an extract meant that the plot remained rather fragmentary. But it was nonetheless an effective piece with sensual performances flowing round the pole, interspersed with statuesque positions.
Noa Carvajal brought the audience back after the second half with an evocative song, accompanying her gorgeous voice with an acoustic guitar. She brought plenty of soul to her performance, along with a relaxed charm that immediately had the audience onside.
Katie O’Brien followed this with ‘The Catch 22 Years’ – some storming character comedy playing a sixteen-year-old drunk woman after a night out. Precise with her physicality, quick and funny responses to the audience, plucking a man from the crowd and tucking him up in her bed, she brought everything you could want to make your ribs ache.
Woman SRSLY’s resident dance troupe ‘The Yonis’ finished off the evening with a striking but incredibly ambiguous performance, commanding the stage with toothbrush and paste – cleaning their teeth until the white foam dribbled down before spitting on the floor. What would normally be a private activity worked well as an expression of staunch defiance enhanced by the group’s sheer confidence.
The individual performances were often brief, but the format works well in creating a packed and varied evening that darted by in a flash of imaginative pieces.