Betty Grumble: Love & Anger

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Betty Grumble is the living embodiment of what makes Fringe so amazing: her mix of clowning, vulnerability, comedy and the grotesque as beautiful creates a whirlwind show filled with magic and laughter.

To pin down one element and say “this is what makes this show so worth watching” is a disservice to Betty Grumble. She manages to draw on singing, dance, physical comedy, drag, performance art, feminism, ritual and spoken word to create a magnificent, side-splitting melange.

One overarching element that does give this show oomph is Grumble’s love of feminism and body positivity.

Unabashedly upfront with her flesh as theatre, Grumble deconstructs and reconstructs her identity so many times that the result is a testament to self-empowerment.

Not every performer can declare their shyness one moment only to have their private parts lip-sync the next (and my word can Betty Grumble sing).

Nor can every performer so easily slip from the bawdy and crass to then reveal the most aching and raw parts of their spirit with an unabashed fearlessness.

But Grumble does all this and more, creating a truly awe-inspiring layered experience that subverts expectations and leaves them (and you) begging for more.

Another overarching theme is the absurd as ridiculous and sublime.

Whether it be frothing at the mouth in a rabies inspired moment after singing The Stooges I Wanna Be Your Dog, or showing the beauty of base bodily functions we all share, Grumble manages to bring an off-kilter yet thoroughly hilarious elegance to all that she does.

And that’s what makes this show so charming and disarming: the laughs come thick and fast, intermixed with astute social commentary and a naked, vulnerable presentation of the self, both literal and metaphorical.

You are guaranteed to leave this show with your cheeks aching from smiling so much while your body thrums with Grumble’s infectious energy of self-love.

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Review by Scott-Patrick Mitchell on 03 Feb 2019

Scott-Patrick Mitchell (SPM) is a West Australian performance poet and writer. SPM appears in such literary journals as Island, Southerly, Westerly and Cordite. SPM has been writing since 1998 and has been involved in the West Australian arts scene since 2002. Visit his 'gram, @spmpoet, for daily doses of wholesome micropoetry.