Risking Life and Limb: Fatale

4 stars

In Fatale, the human heatwave Jacqueline Furey takes the eponymous female archetype and twists our expectations to a dangerously real end.

The trappings are, as you could expect from the name of the show, rooted firmly in film noir. It’s a common enough setting for burlesque, but we are soon eased into an incredibly smart satire of the genre and a deconstruction of the cultural and social constructs that surround it.

While the hard-boiled narration starts as a thematic device, it gradually becomes another weapon in the show’s arsenal. Its use to challenge the mores of an oft-lauded cultural artefact is not only effective, but powerful .

Image courtesy of Cam Attree

Image courtesy of Cam Attree

Furey is undoubtedly an exceptionally talented performer - exhibiting mastery of her unique blend of tease, circus performance and comedic timing - but this is a show that delivers more than mutually titillating shock.

With an impressive stage presence, Furey is able to command a crowd and an individual with equal aplomb. She’s ever so seductive, cooing and purring at her audience, red hair mirroring the flames that lap along her porcelain skin. In this there is a perceived power; the man-eater in control through liberal application of her sexuality.

Through the performance, the illusory aspect of the seductress falls away like an unzipped dress, revealing a vulnerability that, in it’s revelation, displays untapped depths of strength; the strength to create and further a dialogue about the nature of danger.

We see a woman willing to risk life (her own), limb (of her nervous volunteer) and oesophagus (again, her own, several times) but that isn’t the riskiest thing she’ll face.

Burlesque is implicitly feminist, and Fatale evolves this into a powerfully explicit exploration of the titular construct.

Tickets available from the FRINGE WORLD website.