Review by Mark Dance
45 mins | Physical Theatre | General
As Sandrine Lafond tears out her own innards and begins to lick them, we know that we’re in for a weird and wonderful experience. Grotesque and delightful, Little Lady illuminates the experience of biological maturation that is universally undergone but easily forgotten. This play is an opening onto the alien desires and anxieties of a wordless, changing woman.
Lafond is an incredible physical performer; never have I seen someone develop such an intimate relationship with their own toes. Lafond’s character wrestles with the rapid growth of body parts that weren’t there before, twisting and turning to fit into her new skin. Hers is the painful metamorphosis from child to adult but communicated in such a way that we can see its physical and psychological strangeness.
Indeed, Little Lady has all kinds of weird. The little lady’s eyes stay almost perpetually glued to the audience although her grunts, wheezes and chirps are more directed at herself than the spectator. Her occasional interactions with an electrified table make her seem the lab rat in a Milgram-era experiment. From her discovery of sexuality and the horrors of war to her romance with a spray bottle, Lafond’s acrobatic movements unsettle and provoke.
The most frustrating aspects of the performance had to do with the venue and staging. The Arts Court Library lacks proper sightlines and many audience members had to bob and weave even to catch glimpses of Lafond’s antics. The absence of a proper projection screen took away from the video portion of the show; meant to be the completion of the piece, poor visibility made the short film more confusion than conclusion.
Superficially showing us how people are slaves to their biology, Lafond’s skilful performance gives us hope that the body can occasionally be a source of freedom. Disturbing and amusing, Little Lady is for anyone with a body and a sense of humour about its oddness.
Little Lady is playing at Venue 2 – Arts Court Library (2 Daly Avenue), Tuesday June 19 at 8:30; Wednesday June 20 at 5:30; Friday June 22 at 8:30; Saturday June 23 at 9:00 and Sunday June 24 at 4:30. Tickets are $10.