Cazeleon, the self-proclaimed ‘cabaret chameleon’ – resplendent in monochrome make-up and a jaunty red, wide-brimmed hat - opens her show with a pitch perfect rendition of ‘History Repeating’. She struts across the stage with all the confidence you’d expect from such an imposing, yet enticing figure. However, this is no ordinary drag-noir performance; this is a true insight into the gender-fluid identity struggle that is such a relevant topic for today that it is all the more spectacular that the tale is told through the tropes of 1940’s Hollywood.
cabaret theatre that presents a fiction that screams of the lived experiences of the performer
Using mime, lip-synch, live singing and a some wonderful costume changes, Cazeleon takes us from school-yard gender politics told through the medium of silent film, to the inevitable fall of a Hollywood starlet that is pure John Waters. Cazeleon plays multiple characters and occasionally shares the stage with herself through use of props, costume and staging, that all serve to show what a versatile performer she is. This is cabaret theatre with a narrative, which echoes the lived experiences of both the performer and many other women in show business who are only now finding a voice to say #MeToo.
As well as the songs, impeccable lip-synch and monologues, there are a few moments where pre-filmed footage covers costume changes or helps set the scene. A particular highlight sees Cazeleon stripped away and slowly re-applied by presenting the footage in reverse. It’s an emotional and raw moment that gives a small insight of the inner struggle that society afflicts upon the gender-fluid. It raises the question of whether there is a distinction between the performer and Cazeleon. Does one end where the other begins? At the finale, we get a glimpse of the joyful, proud performer who encourages us to join them in a dance. And we do.