lady sings it better: review
Lady Sings It Better is a four women cabaret group performing at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival with their show Here to Save the World. Maeve Marsden, Libby Wood, Annaliese Szota and Fiona Pearson bring with it a fresh and raucously hilarious perspective on the way the current discussion of feminism is framed in mainstream media. Through the rearrangement of songs by Kanye West to Justin Bieber, the ladies directly call to attention the pervasive extent of misogyny in these artists’ songs and in the wider realm of pop culture, all the while with a refreshingly sassy attitude and terrific singing and dancing for a night of fun.
This year, the centralised theme of the show is the normalisation of sexual objectification of women. From the outset of the show, the defiant presence of the group was felt, and the underlying feminist agenda was made clear as they sang lyric after misogynistic lyric. Through the seamless movement from satirical performance to performance, the pervasive nature of misogyny in current day pop was blatantly stated and criticised. Interspersed with these performances was witty, laugh out loud banter – the male gaze was questioned, mocked and stripped away to view pop culture through the lens of this unapologetic and incredibly funny cabaret group.
The interplay between the normalisation of such a male centric narrative and the internalisations of such trendy, upbeat yet sexist party anthems was hilariously brought to light through the serenade of an audience member, Dave, with the harmful twofold effect of gender roles explored in this gender role reversal. Through the stellar instrumentation of Lauren Allison on percussion and Hayden Barltrop on piano, the audience found itself unrestrainedly bopping along to the arrangements, at times getting lost in the catchy beats and almost forgetting the blatant misogyny of the lyrics. Thus, the passive nature of the audience was transformed into an increasing active role – a parallel for a more politically aware consumption of pop culture.
The superficial nature that surrounds much of the current feminist debate is called into question, a mocking of the show’s ‘Superhero’ motif – one which operates on the basis of a one off event or change which provides all the answers to solve the problem of gender inequality. Through the witty composition of the songs, the group called for change of a much more political and practical nature – one which functioned at a structural, social level. Lady Sings It Better took ownership of a predominantly male platform of musical artistry and questioned the sexist nature of such songs and the current pop culture climate, but perhaps more importantly, brought together a crowd for a night of humour, dancing and unrestrained fun. With the performance of their last song, the group left the stage to raucous cheers and thunderous applause.
Lady Sings It Better is a must see show at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. If you missed them at MICF, be sure to check them out if you’re in Sydney as part of the Sydney Comedy Festival on April 29th and 30th. Click here for further info and tickets.