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Review by Simone Penkethman
Catch Jazida is a full length show and a tour de force for Canberra burlesque artist and producer Rachel Reid. Jazida is Reid’s alter ego: a pint-sized, high-energy dancer with a wicked sense of theatrical fun.
As Jazida, Reid has headlined major Australian burlesque festivals and represented Australia at the Las Vegas Burlesque Hall of Fame. In Catch Jazida, her first solo show, she blends burlesque, clowning, farce, circus, and magic into a noir, hardboiled detective plot.
A traditional part of contemporary burlesque is the presence of sexy stage kittens who pick up discarded clothes and move props. In Catch Jazida this role is both elevated and subverted. In place of the sexy kitten is Jazida’s antagonist, a bumbling, female private eye, Artemis Seven (Morgan Heath Williams).
During the inevitable costume changes, the private eye gathers up the ‘evidence’ against burlesque thief Jazida, and uses elaborate props, cheesey video content, and audience participation to help crack the case.
Audience interaction is an essential part of both burlesque and circus. In Catch Jazida these interactions are funny but not at the expense of anyone’s humiliation. It’s an ambitious show that takes risks. A scripted role, played by an audience member and cast during the show, was a risk that paid off well on opening night.
In addition to her stunning burlesque numbers, Jazida shows off her belly dancing, fan dancing, and even singing skills. Binding all the elements is comedy and a strong sense of female empowerment. Like all good comedy plots, this one is dynamic and well paced with moments of emotionally charged self reflection.
The effort and attention to detail in costumes, props, video, and sound content is matched with a fun and engaging online presence. Head to catchjazida.com where you can play an adorable online game.
Catch Jazida is a fun show that, following its five night run in Canberra, will be enjoyed by audiences at both the Perth and Adelaide Fringe festivals.
A full house, opening night audience at the Canberra Theatre Courtyard Studio roared with laughter throughout, and spontaneously rose to a standing ovation.
The show runs until 19 January. For more info and tix, head to – https://canberratheatrecentre.com.au/show/catch-jazida/