29 July 2013

Review: Between the Cracks

MELBOURNE CABARET FESTIVAL
Between the Cracks
Yana Alana
6 July 2013
45downstairs
to 7 July


How could Between the Cracks slip through my review cracks?! Perhaps because I adored it so much that words are irrelevant. Or because its story is so important that it needs more than a dull quotable about hilarious, positive and sexy politics or how gorgeous the performer is.

Yana Alana started grabbing attention at the 2007 Melbourne Fringe when her outraged feminist poetry and show Bite Me won Best Cabaret and went on to snare some Green Room Awards, rave reviews and sold out shows.

Between the Cracks, which has the best song ever written about anal sex, was first seen at the Midsumma festival and this Cabaret Festival season quickly sold out.  

Yana has dumped her backing band of Pirana's and taken her over-sexed self-involvement to a level that ensures that no one, not even her creator Sarah Ward, can share the attention. Even if the magnificent voice and I-dare-you-to-not-want-to-fuck-me body belong to Sarah, Yana's determined to take every bit of credit and adoring love from her audience.

Naked, except for colbalt blue body paint and a spectacular bedazzling of gems, Yana insists on unblinking attention. Her sexuality is all about her and there's never a question that she'd ever doubt her sexual power.

Yana's nakedness isn't about approval or a statement about body size that doesn't conform to an impossible Barbie shape; it's all about Yana and, for all her negativity, Yana's all about positive sexuality. Even grumpy people can and should have plenty of great sex.

Director Anni Davey, who also directed Maude Davey's My Life in the Nude, gives Yana plenty of space, while ensuring she doesn't lose the love of her adoring fans by keeping the pain behind Yana's anger in reach. Not that she ever lets anyone feel sorry for Yana, because Yana would never allow such condescension.

Yana's fans are so on her side that there's little she can say that isn't supported and cheered. There's little chance of her getting the Bolt, Sanderland and Jones supporters that troll any woman who speaks her mind along to her show, but if you're a woman who's ever wasted too much of her day worried about your body or a judging gaze, or given in and silenced your opinion because you've been accused of playing the gender card or put in the ugly ranting feminist box, Yana will remind you that it's all bullshit and that every woman should believe in a world where they can walk around naked, blue and bedazzled.

Maybe it's this kind of queer eye for the straight girl that's going to help change attitudes that create the need for more and more work like this.

I saw Between the Cracks on its last Saturday night and it was so sold out that reviews were meaningless, but you there are four more chances to see Sarah and Yana in Finucane and Smith's dead-set-wonder Glory Box ParadiseHer next and last performances are 1–4 August. I feel sorry for anyone who misses it.

Photo by Peter Leslie

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