‘Boyles and Waters in LEOTARD’ was golden.
If you’ve ever awkwardly covered yourself at the back of a ballet class in a baby pink cotton leotard, danced at the local eisteddfod in a less-than-age-appropriate costume or rocked an outlandish outfit on a night out, then debase productions’ latest show is the perfect treat for you!
Returning for an encore season, ‘Boyle and Waters in LEOTARD’ fits perfectly within the Metro Arts space; a multi-disciplinary venue nestled in Brisbane’s West End. The space is fresh – and that is exactly how this production makes audiences feel with its comedic storytelling and fashion choices.
‘Boyle and Waters in LEOTARD’ follows Neridah Waters and Bridget Boyle as they don colourful and charming leotards and morph into the owners who once inhabited them. It is an electrifying amalgam of physical theatre, documentary, comedy, storytelling and musical theatre, and showcases exactly why new works need to be centre stage in Brisbane.
Woven through Boyle and Waters’ slapstick and parody acts were stories from real women about their own leotards, which hung proudly from a wall of colourful, sequin lycra at the back of the stage. Videos of these women played from a circular screen and showcased their heartwarming experiences in a leotard. This was the perfect addition to the show, grounding it in reality and bringing a sense of community through the embarrassment and empowerment that so many of the videos spoke of.
The stage design felt very vaudevillian, almost as though the audience was privy to some campy family act. It was both a marvel to look at and very practical as it served as a device to convey story elements.
Lighting design by Christine Felmingham was wondrous, giving drama and focus on the performers at exactly the right moments. A spotlight was also utilised to bring each leotard to life as its story was told.
Direction by Lucas Stibbard was biting and perfectly incorporated the physical comedy that both Boyle and Waters are known for. The three worked in harmonious tandem, and it is so clear that an abundance of love and respect for each other exists among the small cast and crew of the show.
The show felt as though you were watching two friends reminisce on memories from their childhoods and all the way to their adulthood. Many of the stories were hilarious, absurd and outlandish, but still encapsulated the real, honest experiences that femme-presenting individuals, particularly those who grew up in the performing arts, experience. Addressing issues that so many young (and older) people have to face, the show navigated topics on body image, self-confidence, family relations and many more. The true comedy and the reason why the audience was in stitches was due to the fact that from the moment Boyle and Waters stepped onto the stage everything they did and said was relatable.
Seamlessly blending a myriad of comedy and performance modes, ‘Boyle and Waters in LEOTARD’ strikes a perfect balance between joy, truth and heart. It encourages audiences to leave as changed people with a newfound love for playfulness and, well, leotards. Silliness is nothing without substance-and this show is a substantial hit.
‘Boyle and Waters in LEOTARD’ performed until Saturday, 18 December at The New Benner Theatre at Metro Arts. For more information visit Metro Arts.
Photography by Stephen Henry.