When Marianna Joslin takes to the stage in a long green dress and dances her way down to bare breasts and a pair of hilariously oversized granny knickers to Duffy’s cover of Stay with Me, you know you’re in for a delightfully strange, frenzied love fest. Then she stops. ‘Hello,’ she begins in a sudden calm, ‘I’m Mariana and I’m a woman. Let us pray.’ Gesturing for her audience to follow suit, Joslin begins reciting a series of disassociated words, much to the amusement and bewilderment of her chanting audience. It starts to make a little more sense as we meet the first of Joslin’s wildly eccentric caricatures – the bogan ‘woofer’ from Surfers Paradise, a woman who had her breasts and buttocks absurdly enlarged not just to keep the attention of her wandering-eye boyfriends, but so that she can discuss logic theorems without emasculating her dates. Such is the kind of playful political commentary that runs throughout the show. In absurd and larger than life characters from child-like virgins and shamed sluts to strange nuns and truly revolting blokes – and where costume changes involve nothing more than various nipple covers – Joslin sings, dances and acrobats her way across the stage in a testament to womanhood.
Though, while her skits are strange and amusing, filled with laugh out loud moments (that perhaps come from surprise and bewilderment more than content), it feels like Joslin just begins to dip into the real edge of her commentary. She presents a wide range of female experiences and social restrictions and expectations, but offers little for her audience to keep chewing on once they have left. I admired her absurdist approach to the subject matter, but was left feeling like all of Joslin’s momentum didn’t quite get her to her mark. Having said that, Joslin is still utterly joyful. While her leaps through various characters and skits may seem disjointed and perhaps on the more confusing side of bizarre, if nothing else, her sheer exuberance and fire-cracker energy is sure to leave you smiling. I certainly was.
This review originally appeared in Dirt & Candy