Review: ICONS - The Lesbian and Gay History of the World
Presenter: Vicarious Productions
By Mae Anthony
Displaying various icons from history, Latin-American singer, comedian and burlesque performer Jade Esteban Estrada takes on an array of personas that explore the lives of cultural icons such as Sappho (a Greek lyric poet), Michelangelo, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, Sylvia Rivera and Ellen Degeneres. What I loved about this was the excellent characterisation explored through the small window of about 10 minutes per icon. How does one sum up the lives of such expressive people in ten minutes? Well, Jade Esteban Estrada knows.
The music was of a pop-cabaret genre, and complemented the feeling of determinism common to all characters that were explored in a mixture of both a consoling and apprehensive delivery of clever banter, and extraordinary witticism. Jade was in character, right up until next the icon’s wig was put on.
I’m not a big cabaret viewer, but I was attracted to idea of this show. Thinking about it afterwards, I realised the sentimental value we place on various celebrities and cultural icons and I was reminded during this touching performance of how our influences shape us and everything we believe in. Throughout the course of the evening, I enjoyed the concept of this show; the expression of the various icons was captivating and humorous.
The show reminded me of how complex one’s life can become, and these funny, and often, deeply moving characterisations were expressed through costumes, accents, songs, expressive monologues, and not to mention the outright demolition of the fourth wall, and gave me a fresh insight into the various struggles faced by the gay community throughout history. It has much to say about what Western civilisation has made of the basic values of kindness, acceptance, love and respect for all people. A poignant, informative show and a reminder that there are still more issues to work through. However, this brief view into the lives of various gay icons reminds us of the good that has come from what these icons, and countless ordinary people, have been fighting for.
Prepare yourself for an hour-long show of humour, witty lyricism and outrageous cheek. Icons: The Lesbian and Gay History of the World runs for another three nights, Feb 9-11, at the Parrott House, 4 Sussex Street, Maylands.