Lilith: The Jungle Girl
- Lorna Irvine
- 6 August 2017
Audacious, gloriously kitschy experience with a plea for tolerance at its centre
Sisters Grimm's Lilith looks set to be a cult hit at this year's festival. It's nothing short of fabulous, a psychedelic mash-up of film parody, cartoon and live art with characters which feel like a fish-eye-lens view of LGBTQ culture. Candy Bowers is hilarious as Doctor Charles Penworth, a misogynist of the Rex Harrison stripe, complete with pipe and RP English, who tries to socialise his latest discovery, a feral girl covered in primordial pink gloop (Ash Flanders).
This is in spite of the obvious unswerving adoration from his unhinged assistant Helen Travers (Genieve Giuffre) who is threatened by a naked 'she creature' in their midst. A love triangle, inevitably, ensues. Expositions of the kind of British melodrama where women are slapped then kissed by patrician type men are stretched to breaking point like knicker elastic, and it's always on the brink of falling apart entirely, which only adds to the delight.
The best element of the show is that the crazy tangents it wanders off into are entirely unexpected. There is something life-affirming about 'peng-lions' spitting out rhymes about authenticity and being forced into prostitution, or Lilith's irrational fear of penguins. The cast of three never flag, deadpan to the last slip on stage (the gloopy substance is everywhere). Scratch the innuendo though, and there's an intelligent undercurrent about exoticism, gender conditioning and the vagaries of Freudian analysis which sought to put women in their place.
Lilith is an audacious, gloriously kitschy experience, with a plea for tolerance at its sweet and sticky centre.
Traverse, until 27 Aug (not 14, 21), times vary, £19.50 (£14.50).