Even after “An Audience with Meow Meow,” you’ll be hard-pressed to explain the experience.
The self-proclaimed post-postmodern diva, Meow Meow puts on a show that’s a mishmash of cabaret, performance art and physical comedy that’ll leave you laughing one minute and full of self-reflection the next. The real joy of this production comes from its whimsical unpredictability.
From her late arrival and fumbling entrance it’s clear that Meow Meow (whose alter ego is Australian singer Melissa Madden Gray) is going to put on an unforgettable show. There’s schlepping, clumsy costume changes, uncooperative underlings and an overall sense that nothing is going right for this star. Much of her humor, both scripted and improvised, comes from the ineptitudes of those around her (including the audience).
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While it often feels like a hodgepodge of music and pratfalls, “Audience” is actually an intelligent, well-crafted piece that vacillates between audience-inclusive hijinks and Brechtian detachment in a flash. The singer somehow delivers a stunning mashup of “Mack the Knife” and “Pirate Jenny” from “The Threepenny Opera” and a delightful, unapologetically silly “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” in the same 90-minute show.
One minute, she’s celebrating the one-time rebellious nature of Bostonians (and those, like Isadora Duncan, who were banned from performing here), the next she’s lost in the emptiness of a touring performer’s life asking questions like “If I die tonight, will you remember me?”
Meow Meow is joined onstage by a special guest for a moving duet of “The End of the World” that might make you fear you’re not going to get the big finish and happy ending the seemingly depressed the star promises at the top of the show.
Relax. She puts her fate in the audience’s hands for an incredibly happy ending.