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Review: Bait: Kill the Princess – Viki Matejova

Show: Bait: Kill the Princess
Venue: Heroes @ The SpiegelYurt
Star rating: *****
Reviewer: Viki Matejova

“This is not a show that abides by the traditional rules of theatre” I am warned as I enter the cosy tent of SpiegelYurt – yet no warning could have sufficiently prepared the audience for what was to come. Kill the Princess is a refreshingly unusual performance full of unexpected props, turbulent storytelling and feminist implications.

Lizzy Shakespeare and Michelle Madsen embody fairytale tropes to a point of caricature: a damsel in distress, treasure-obsessed creatures and extremely manly men are born, only to be thoroughly deconstructed. Their exploration made me question to what extent characters from childhood stories still inhabit my subconscious, subtly influencing my actions and ideas around gender.

The allegories are abundant, but the performers don’t take themselves too seriously and it is obvious that they enjoy what they do. Their enthusiasm and weirdness is contagious, and makes you smile along with them. Occasionally, the unconventional story-telling style makes the audience perplexed or confused. But as some have already pointed out, perhaps art should make you at least a bit uncomfortable; otherwise, what’s the point?

It is one of those shows that makes you forget where you are. The ambient light and music produce a phantasmagorical world. Lizzy and Michelle create objects out of thin air and transform junk into comedy gold. The physical acting is expertly executed, and is partly improvised. During the first half of the show, very few words are spoken and a lot is conveyed through mime and makeshift costuming.

Kill the Princess is a jigsaw performance that pushes boundaries. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to see something both funny and thought-provoking – or if you are unsure of what clowning can do. It will give you many answers, and raise twice as many questions.

Bait: Kill the Princess: tickets available here
Heroes @ The SpiegelYurt
19-25 August (not 21)
3.40 pm (1 hour)

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