HomeTheatreREVIEW: Jean Paul Gaultier's Vogue Freak Present on the Roundhouse

REVIEW: Jean Paul Gaultier’s Vogue Freak Present on the Roundhouse

After I first stumbled throughout a Jean Paul Gaultier documentary as a younger theatre child in Australia, I used to be entranced by his creations. I sat glued to the TV watching how they advised a narrative, embraced the eccentric and evoked a tradition that I used to be excited by. Simply as his work imprinted on me, Gaultier has given permission to numerous folks all around the globe to dream, provoke and categorical themselves by way of vogue. Every of his items is a efficiency, stuffed with motion that may change the house it exists in. It, due to this fact, appears solely proper for him to reach at his newest masterpiece, Vogue Freak Present, a full-blown stage spectacle that includes his iconic couture as a automobile for dance, circus, clown, burlesque and video. It is a visceral expertise to not be missed and as this grown-up theatre child, sits within the London Roundhouse theatre many, a few years later since her first encounter with JPG, surrounded by an eclectic mixture of fabulous folks, it could possibly solely be described as a surreal and iconic second to delight in.

The present is the story of JPG’s life, the tradition he has skilled and usually an perception into how he sees the world, which unsurprisingly, is basically by way of vogue. Nonetheless, what’s so enchanting about this idea is that we additionally get an perception into the uncooked inspiration that has impressed him for therefore a few years. From The Folies Bergére who he was launched to by his grandmother as a younger boy to Josephine Baker, The Rocky Horror Image Present, gender-challenging rockstars reminiscent of David Bowie, Boy George and Grace Jones, the British Punk scene, sexual liberation and extra.

The efficiency is damaged up into 4 components. It begins by introducing us to a 9 years outdated JPG adorning his beloved teddybear Nana, his first transgender heroine, with a cone bra (that’s proper Madonna was not the primary to put on it) after which takes us on a wild journey by way of his early runway reveals, moments of affection, occasion days, scandal, the AIDS epidemic and common craziness which is all, after all, signposted by his iconic seems to be. In between epic dance and musical numbers are interludes which embrace the style Police, a French Anna Wintour who ensues her commentary and affect over JPG’s work (a beautiful clown second) and video cameos of notable French celebrities together with Catherine Deneuve and two songs by Catherine Ringer who was the primary individual to put on certainly one of JPG’s corsets within the video for Marcia Baila in 1984.

The general message embedded into the present is that everybody is gorgeous and it being press night time, on the finish of the present, the person himself got here on stage to reiterate simply that. I went with my brother to the present and he stated one thing very attention-grabbing after. As a CIS male who doesn’t ascribe to the final tropes of masculinity, he felt so included. As a feminine feeling the identical in direction of my femininity, I can actually say the identical. It was humbling to see somebody with such success, preserve a ardour for making an viewers really feel so seen. As we made our approach dwelling, the pair of us had been buzzing about that. 

JPG transcends all stereotypes, together with gender binary. A stand-out scene that demonstrates that is throughout a homage to Josephine Baker. We see a Joséphine emerge with the power of the feminine icon, topless and carrying her iconic banana skirt. She is then joined by Joséphin dressed precisely the identical. The pair oscillates between the masculine and female as they turn out to be each and neither. A burlesque act carried out by Maud Amour is an instance of a girl who owns her sexuality and in the course of the numerous runway sequences, gender-bending outfits will excite everybody, belief me!

Choreographer Marion Motin has labored for names together with Madonna and Christine and The Queens. She is a more moderen addition to the JPG crew however it’s secure to say a kindred spirit to his thoughts. She brings the tableaus that exist in JPG head into actuality and encourages high quality of motion parallel to the standard of the materials of his creations. The structure of the garments influences the motion and character of the dancers which lends itself to masks and extra bodily theatre over conventional dance. The dancers themselves are all solid completely and never afraid to embrace and discover magnificence in every part, together with the grotesque. That is notably highlighted in the course of the plastic incredible interlude which resembles bouffant. It feedback on cosmetic surgery and the obsession with perfection by way of grotesque costumes and mask-like constructions to disfigure the performers.

The manufacturing, typically, is of top quality with the Roundhouse appearing as an ideal host to listen to the music organized by three-time Grammy Award winner Nile Rogers. The set and video design by Justin Nardella and Renaud Rubiano circulate collectively properly as does the lighting design by Per Hording. 

That is an sincere piece of labor. It’s indulgent as all hell however on the identical time so beneficiant. For anybody who’s a fan of Jean Paul Gaultier, it is a passionate journey into his thoughts however, finally, this present is for even those that know little or no about his work. On a private stage, it was very particular to me, nonetheless, attempting to be as goal as doable, I stand by my five-star ranking as a result of I can’t think about it being something lower than what was meant to be and it’s executed with the standard of a grasp designer.

Assessment by Stephanie Osztreicher

Ranking: ★★★★★



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