Brighton Fringe 2019
Kiki Mellék: Law of Attraction
Venue: Warren (The Burrow)
Festival: Brighton Fringe
Kiki’s blurb tells us:
How could I resist giving the gorgeous Kiki a wonderful review for her wonderful show?
Sold as a self-help seminar like no other,….Take the grotesque comic-tragedy of humans across the world having their bodies cut into, reshaped, and injected, parts of the body taken from one place and put into another all for the sake of trying to stay beautiful, acceptable, lovable, and you have a basis for what is an uncomfortable comedy that explores, through cabaret and hilarity, through high energy fun and clowning, the themes of body image and popularity on social media, celebrity, self-worth, ageing and love.
None of these really serious themes are in any way foisted upon us during this show, but underpin the entire bizarre performance of a woman who has been stitched up, cut open, rearranged, injected, re-shaped all at the hands of her surgeon who regularly “has her in stitches”, and calls her “his little monster”, (with references to the Frankenstein monster she has become).
After the national anthem (set to the tune of Madonna’s “Material world”) of Kiki’s home country of Melekia (sp?) rings out, a short video at The Clinic (with signs for “X-rays to the left”, “Boob jobs to the right” & “Way out to the Left”) introduces us to Kiki, and lets us know she’s “on her way”!
Next her big entrance and what an entrance it is, Bibshkis!
She’s cheered, she’s adored and she soon reminds us, once she explodes onto the all too small stage, that she too was once plain, and “ordinary” like us!
After a photo montage of how she rolls with her best friend Melania Trump we move into the “striptease of bandages”, her false hair falls out, she trips on her drip feed, she injects herself with filler, we see her post-filler grotesque distorted face and mouth dance, and…. We see her finally remove her surgical gown. Out come her huge inflated breasts, nipples literally falling off and bouncing across the stage, meaning some lucky guy (’twas I!) gets to catch the errant teat, and put the nipple back in. It’s grotesque, it’s bizarre,… it’s hilarious!
Kiki getting the audience to tell her about their problems, and responding to them with condescending and pity-filled wit and humour;
How she doctors her Instagram pictures as she doctors her own body to gain more likes and popularity;
Cheesy songs galore (e.g. Club Tropicana, and more) during a set piece using two feckless male audience members to assist the doctoring of a cheated mock beach scene into shots of her looking perfect and happy, yes… for Instagram. The same two men have to also literally work to pump up her enormous boobs, in a crazed competition to see which man can inflate her ego the quickest;
Later another man is brought up to play her dying husband, 97-year-old Fernando (of course ABBA is involved) in a reconstruction of how she “nursed him” on his deathbed.
Of course, she assures us (and herself) that she married him for his wit, his company and not for his money! Another fun-packed and silly video Mamma Mia next with the amazing “Fabba” of whom Kiki is a star member.
It’s all go! Lots of variety, set piece after set piece!
Her breasts and booty are more like puppets, enabling interaction with them without it being lewd, keeping it funny and yet poignant. The show ends with a really well choreographed fan dance to the Prince song “When Doves Fly”.
Great movement throughout the whole piece. The fan dance is really well choreographed. Kiki somehow reminds me of French and Saunders, she completely commands the stage, completely commands the audience
Everybody is cheering throughout the whole hour, laughing, it’s wall-to-wall silliness whilst at the same time the subtle tragedy of this lifestyle is played with, and flagged, for its ridiculousness and it’s utter pervasiveness in our now modern society.
The show has such wonderful energy, the performer amazing charisma, it’s hard to realise that actually she is quite a young performer, as she comes across as a far more seasoned and confident one. She pulls it off incredibly well.
The act is peppered with short videos, which I would normally baulk at, but frankly I don’t mind them at all.
They show different sides to her, playing in different contexts, (around Brighton, in an ABBA tribute (sort of) band), they contain music which is well used, they are well edited and put together and they show yet more aspects of the issues at play and….., it clearly gives her a bit of breathing space to once again change and get ready for her next set piece.
There is a sort of genius at play here,…. she deserves a higher stage, a bigger stage, and she deserves a venue where the bar noise isn’t as all pervasive as this one was. (What is it with these big venues placing loud bars immediately adjacent to performance spaces that the performers have paid them good money to perform in??)
The poignant deep sadness of people feeling so unhappy in their bodies, and feeling so heavily pressurised into changing their looks to gain approval that they allow money-hungry surgeons to butcher them ad infinitum is almost (but not entirely) lost in this high energy crazy romp.
Kiki’s final act (which concerns a dove and a vital part of anatomy) I won’t go into (as it were), but it is really the cherry on the icing on the cake of this brilliantly conceived first solo show from Jo Calderwood. I hope she quickly goes on to do more!
Thank you for a lovely night. I loved it!