Review | Wearing Mum’s Makeup at New Theatre Royal, Southsea: ‘an immensely fun, unique and inspired production’

MULTI-medium cabaret extravaganza Wearing Mum’s Makeup went out with a joyous closing performance last night at the New Theatre Royal.
Wearing Mum's Make-up at The New Theatre Royal. Picture by The Liberty LoungeWearing Mum's Make-up at The New Theatre Royal. Picture by The Liberty Lounge
Wearing Mum's Make-up at The New Theatre Royal. Picture by The Liberty Lounge

The culmination of a two year-long project by queer theatre group Downtown Pompey, Wearing Mum’s Makeup brought together performance art from mums, the queer community, and those belonging to both categories.

The series of workshops and meetings hosted by the project led to this fabulous collection of acts.

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From lip-syncing and expressive dancing to stand-up comedy and live music, Wearing Mum’s Makeup explores a range of themes including identity, motherhood, and feminism.

An original series of photographs exploring these ideas encircle the round tables and chairs set up cabaret club-style on the theatre’s stage.

Kirstie Crout, the jumpsuited host of the variety show, summarises it best: 'this is artsy-fartsy glittery cabaret', she says as she welcomes the audience.

Sometimes poignant, sometimes funny, often camp, Wearing Mum’s Makeup brings together a variety of performers, each bringing something personal through their choice of medium.

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Creative writer Tara Keenan read poetry informed by power outages and parenting, while singer Nathalie Gunn explored her relationships with her mother and daughter through musical performance.

Explosively funny stand-up act Kirsty Mitchell tackled the patriarchy with a sharp tongue while shedding multiple dressing gowns to reveal the slogan ‘dump him’ scrawled across her tummy.

Each artist brought something utterly different to the stage, channeling their individual experiences and vulnerabilities into their creative practice.

Acts were as disparate as Dr Serena Alexander’s academic-style seminar on parasites and their host victims (I’m sure I don’t need to explain the maternal metaphor), and Charlotte Street’s drag performances.

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The latter artist performed a country song decked out in an elevated wig and floral print sixties dress a la drag artist Trixie Mattel, and then, following an outfit change, pulled an audience volunteer on stage for a dominatrix-esque lap dance.

An immensely fun, inspired and unique production.

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