In A Spectacle Of Herself Laura Murphy slides the serious and the silly up against each other as she successfully weaves the philosophical, the personal and the political together into the mess they truly are.
Slides the serious and the silly up against each other
Murphy is a charismatic performer drawing from clowning, parody, the world of Drag Kings, alongside aerial work and academic meditations of feminism, queerness, mental health, identity and neurodivergence. Whilst adding a sprinkling of horninesss levels matched by Fleabag, with a righteous celebration of the word cunt, echoing The Vagina Monologues.
The sections of aerial work are moments of true transcendence. These are captivating and charming, providing flashes of queer euphoria breaking through the backdrop of panic attacks, overstimulation and righteous rage against the world we live in.
Murphy has no time for people perceived as famous smart men, either in history or today featuring her parodies of Einstein and cunting Elon cunting Musk. Musk being particularly wince inducing. Providing an alternative to Musk’s idea of space, a space shaped inescapably by capitalism, masculinity and the patriarchy. Murphy provides a reclaimed erotic love for space, performed with tenderness.
The pacing of the piece is sadly a bit sporadic, at points I felt like I was waiting for a song to end rather than still enjoying the joke. To avoid spoilers I shall be vague but there was a point in the piece that rushed us towards a precipice and I was craving the jump and destruction and I felt I didn’t get it. This piece had the longest wait on a joke, for payoff that I have seen in a while and it was fantastic.
The performance has been carefully crafted, and the work to provide AV and captioning for almost all of Murphy’s speech should be commended. It is a serious leap for general accessibility.
Despite the academic trappings the piece's real clarion call is for us to get out of our anxious, rage-filled, heads for a bit and just be a body, to rave - despite the world around us.