This was a struggle to write as I'm finding it difficult to justify spending any more time thinking about such a horrible waste of three hours. I don't believe my senses have ever been so assaulted by one group of people. Emilie Autumn's powerful, versatile and often gorgeous vocals are put to use in howling, screeching and, for the sadder numbers, croaking, as we are taken through a cross section of musical theatre, burlesque for the underage and low budget glam rock in her 'Fight Like a Girl' tour.
Rather than a gig, what ensues is a bizarre gothic pantomine with hardcore chamber music and a loose storyline; Autumn and her dancers the Bloody Crumpets are inmates at a mental asylum wittily called 'The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls' in case you miss the clothing and musical references to what era they were going for. It also seems to be a brothel. One dancer struts around with a pirate sword for some time whistling 'What do we do with a drunken sailor' to no purpose other than making some vague reference to illegality and debauchery.
The general themes tend to be being caged and vulnerable but with this amazing inner strength that will one day burst out and make you a badass; the golden stuff of angsty teenage daydreams, seemingly put together with such an audience in mind, who don't mind that the songs are sometimes just husky whispers and painfully throbbing bass. Autumn goes from melodramatic sorrow to baring her imaginary claws in the blink of an eye. It's a little hard to take one way or the other.
The centrepiece of the stage is a huge structure that the performers spend half their time scrabbling up and down, not quite so sexily as they might have foreseen. This fills in the long gaps between songs along with some feather fan dancing. Worst of all is perhaps the 'Rat Game’ that consists of Crumpet Veronica getting a girl up on stage to kiss her, and making the audience shout 'corrupt me Veronica', presumably because homosexuality is rebellious! In the little research I have embarked on, Autumn claims to have a great feminist concern - sensationalising lesbianism and getting naked on stage does not scream feminist to me.
There is a blissful interlude after having tea spat at us; they were probably tired from playing on their climbing frame. As for our finale, Autumn and her henchwomen march along the stage, very pleased with themselves for the refrain 'one foot in front of the other foot in front of the one foot' and so on. This goes on for longer than you would think possible. It was at some pace I put one foot in front of the other and got the hell out of there. The kind of messages Autumn is sending feels incredibly contrived and the vampish Victorian style has the potential to be so much more than this tacky spectacle.