22 November 2011

Review: Little Match Girl

Little Match Girl
Malthouse Theatre and Meow Meow Revolution
16 November 2011
Merlyn Theatre, The Malthouse
to 4 December

What haven't I already said about absolute wonderfulness of Meow Meow? She's at the Malthouse this month with Little Match Girl and her hoards of international fans are squirming with jealousy that Melbourne (and then Sydney) have such access to this must-be-experienced diva who shreds perceptions of performance art.

Meow has recently graced shows like The Burlesque Hour with her glitter-lipped self, but her last full-length local cabaret was Vamp at The Malthouse in 2008. That show was based on Wilde's Salome, while Little Match Girl starts with Hans Christian Anderson's 1845 story of a little girl who freezes to death rather than return penniless to a violent home. Yet even as Meow reminds us that little has changed in civilised society, she still craves a fairy tale ending and looks for her perfect match as her flames fade and burn.

Like any fine cat, she's aloof, rightfully sure of her exquisite beauty (from the right angle), has remarkably flexile legs and appears contentedly independent until she pounces and demands immediate attention and physical love. But never believe those purrs are for you, as there's always a more enticing lap, and she may have found her flame in just-as-sensational Mitchell Butel, her saviour and handbag.

Working again with the delightful Iain Grandage (musical director and composition), it's bliss to hear Meow with a band and there are super new songs by Grandage and Megan Washington, and a too-delightful Noel Coward number, a "The Book of Love" to bring tears and touches of Richard Wagner, Cole Porter and Laurie Anderson for bonus perfection.

Meow resents attention flowing from her, but Marion Potts (director), Anna Cordingley (design) and Paul Jackson (lighting) create a shiny world worthy of her presence – Jackson's creative lighting is especially stunning – although it's doubtful that Meow will ever let us applaud Melissa Madden Gray.

This review originally appeared on AussieTheatre.com

Photo by Jeff Busby

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