Fringe Online 2020
In a kitchen somewhere Mimi tells the story of when she trusted Hungry Steve who gave her a job in a Burlesque bar as bar staff. Hoping to transition from waiting tables to performing in front of them she eagerly takes him up on his offer. As a member of bar staff her disability is not so apparent but her wish to entice gaze upon her form as a burlesque artist is curiously unfulfilled as the advert to which she responded said, all bodies welcome. The performance taking in her kitchen is interspersed with some footage of her in the street and dressed for her job, and we see why she might want to crip tease in burlesque.
Lockdown filming and performing can be times to take a pause and wonder what next project is going to take off. For Phillipa Cole, Siege, which is part of a larger project piece that may see the light of day in 2021, this has clearly been fruitful.
Her short monologue to camera works very well and whilst there are a few issues that could do with attention, overall, the feeling is of a confident and competent performer developing into her best performing self. I certainly would love to catch the live and fully formed version of this once it hits the theatres. For now, though, we have to be content with the filmed tease.
As such the story works very well and there may be little by way of shock that anyone would be harassed as a waitress in a Burlesque club (a friend of mine who is a burlesque performer constantly gets harassed online) but you are immediately drawn to the side of the oppressed because the text sets it up so well. The intrigue of the plastic bag, the characters like One Finger Faye and Hungry Steve are fleshed out and we get a sense of them being offstage but formed enough that their shadow is ever present when mentioned.
This is a very decent short film that is somewhat hindered by the clearly highly able Phillipa Cole, at times looking off camera as if looking at a script. When she does not do that and talks directly to camera the performance takes off but there are times it feels a little disconcerting.
The interspersion of video from outside works well and the lack of an opportunity, it would appear, to really show off a night club setting was unfortunate but understandable given the circumstances.
This really works and I really liked it though it could have benefited from just a little more attention to the detail of lines and setting but nonetheless hats off for taking the risk, keeping the pot boiling and enticing us with a crip tease that should lead to a loyal following looking for the pay off when it comes fully formed in 2021.