Christeene: The Christeene Machine
Unashamedly sexual and seductive queer live art hip hop at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This article is from 2014.
Given hip-hop's uncomfortable relationship with sexuality beyond the exploitative norm, the opening of The Christeene Machine is a violent, delightful jolt. Spitting lyrics of queer rage, accompanied by two beautiful beefy boys, Christeene arrives on stage masked and passionate. Tearing through an introductory chat, and hitting the beats hard and brutal, Christeene establishes a powerful presence and sinister charisma. Cabaret has never been less ironic and more immediate.
That the set cannot maintain this energy is unsurprising, but Christeene's monologues – variations on the theme of personal freedom and resistance to the mechanical pressures of mundane life – are funny and trenchant. Championing the abnormal and the marginalised, a manifesto for independence of mind is rolled out: Christeene promises that this space, this underground chamber, will always be there for the outsiders in their daily battle to be themselves.
Much cabaret is comfortable to sit at the edge of light entertainment: Christeene reclaims it for a brazen, inspiring erotic politics. The beats are strong enough to slap back at Kanye and Lil' Wayne, the lyrics irreverent and sexual enough to inspire bans on YouTube. In a close, intimate venue, the Machine is immersive, unashamedly sexual and seductive. A preacher for the liberation of the self, Christeene's message is as deep and sultry as the voice that sings the rudest of words.
Underbelly, Belly Dancer, 08445 458252, until 23 Aug, 10.10pm, £10 – £12 (£9 --£11).