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Fringe Wives Club: Glittery Clittery at Udderbelly Southbank

Fringe Wives Club - credit James Penlidis
Fringe Wives Club – credit James Penlidis

Modern feminist activism has taken on a new face. A trio of faces in fact, in the form of the Fringe Wives Club (FWC), who bring to us Glittery Clittery as part of the Udderbelly Festival in Southbank this summer.

In a performance hailed as ‘gloriously inclusive, unashamedly risque and utterly joyous ’, the trio are promoting modern feminine issues around rape culture, consent and feminine identity using musical comedy and the occasional short sketch as the vehicle to do so.

Exploding onto the stage, the Fringe Wives Club immediately gave off an infectious energy and the passion and personal investment in their performance was very apparent.

Their initial piece was performed to a backing track, and a quirk with sound or the venue meant it wasn’t the easiest thing to work out everything they were saying but for the most part this problem didn’t manifest itself and of course when it did; the visual performance was certainly striking enough to make up for it.

Swathed in pink, purple and silver sequins, I did wonder for a second if the Fringe Wives Club had taken on a second cause and also become the modern face of Disco but, in what was for me a positive; they stayed predominantly in the pop and country genres throughout.

The multi-talented trio didn’t rely solely on pre-recorded backing tracks of course and there were songs performed live with Victoria Falconer on Keyboards, Tessa Walters taking the Banjo and Rowena Hutson adding some Percussion alongside their usual three-part harmonies and complementary vocals. I always like to see a live musical performance so it was a definite plus seeing the trio keep music live, even just a little.

For much of the show, the format was very informal (as you might expect) with an introduction to the next performance piece, often involving some light-hearted banter around the important issues that would be raised in the song or sketch -while also making a point of the seriousness of the issues themselves, followed by the performance of the piece itself. Without the fourth wall in sight, the atmosphere was jovial and it was in many ways as though we were also part of the club which was a perfect Friday night party feel.

The mid-point of the show and one of the highlights for me was a sketch involving a select number of audience members in a game show style environment. Educational and funny, this section also offered some excellent improv from Falconer and was, to me, a great demonstration of the writing and performing skill of the FWC. This section also had some of the most puerile and obvious puns in it and while the FWC have many qualities, subtlety is not one that leapt to my mind, I must admit.

But of course it wasn’t all comedy and underlying everything there were a number of very serious topics that were discussed. The points raised about consent and sexual abuse were poignant and something that has been very much in the spotlight since some of the high profile court cases of late and anything that can help raise awareness of these issues is a worthy enterprise.

The Fringe Wives Club are a force to be reckoned with and the strength of their beliefs gives them a powerful performance above and beyond the content they offer. I wonder what they’re working on for us next….

4 stars

Review by Damien Russell

Part explosive comedy cabaret, part interactive edu-tainment: this sequin-clad, champagne-fuelled, cosmic feminist extravaganza is guaranteed to blow minds and pants. The Fringe Wives are ready to smash the patriarchy with the full force of their combined, unquestionable talent and an empowering live soundtrack.

Fiercely funny, Glittery Clittery is a high-energy comedy party, busting with original live music, anarchic audience games, epic dance moves and DIY glamour + activism (a.k.a. #GLAMtivism). Brandishing weapons of entertainment, politically-charged passion and personal stories, the Wives dissect what it means to be a feminist today, undermining the fear that indoctrinates bigotry, sexism and homophobia, and skewering the lack of education that continues to shroud the female body.

This timely and uncompromising feminist call-to-arms is created and performed by physical comedy queen Tessa Waters
(Winner: Best Comedy Weekly Award, Adelaide Fringe 2017, Womanz/Over Promises/Fully Sik), musical comedy
powerhouse Victoria Falconer (Winner: London Cabaret Award 2015, EastEnd Cabaret/Yeti’s Demon Dive Bar) and
acclaimed comedian and storyteller Rowena Hutson (Winner: Most Outstanding Comedy Melbourne Fringe 2015, Strong
Female Character).

Udderbelly Southbank on 27th July 2018
Assembly Roxy Upstairs (Venue 139), 2 Roxburgh Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9SU


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