Write because you want to, not because you have to.
Overall rating: ★★★★★ Date attended: 13/03/2019
Set in the intimate Adina Treasury Tunnels of the Treasury on King William Street, Party Snake starring Lachlan Martin opened their season at the Adelaide Fringe to a packed house. Once we were seated, we noticed that there was a simple set up of a vanity station, with a mirror adorned in palm-sized cut-outs of female icons.
Dressed impeccably from head to toe and boasting of a look reminiscent to everyone's 'big night out', Martin's character comes in looking like a perfectly sculpted bearded drag queen at its prime, who was not ready to stop partying just yet. It didn't matter that her make up was a mishmash, because Martin's persona was able to eloquently articulate to us a story that mirrored a raw, real, and rambunctious day (or night, rather) in the life of a drag queen. She was able to gather the audience's attention rather seamlessly, as she incorporated a theatrical flair and playfully recounted experiences of her life that made her the individual that she was in that moment.
When the show kicks off, Martin's character is dressed in a beautiful, silky red wig, a skin-tight black midi dress, and heavy makeup that has been caked on to gently accentuate her beauty. But, as the show progresses, she sheds off her layers (like a snake, hence the name of the show), wipes off her makeup with coconut oil (it's good for your skin, you know?), and strips away to Edith Piaf's Non, je regrette rien, thereby unveiling an individual within, in his rawest, most vulnerable state. In between adopting different personas - from a regular Joe in a regular day job to a seductress in her most lavish form at night, the interim offers a moment for Martin and his character to express himself/herself in a manner that allows them to be free, unbound by any societal norms, and simply put, living their best lives.
The show encompasses a combination of flamboyance and fragility shining through the deepest of moments, as Martin's persona takes different forms and consistently WOWs us with his ability to amalgamate into a different identity that is equally compelling and pleasing, as they are versatile, unique, and flawless in their own ways. There are several snippets of the show that will make your heart stop, ache, heal, and recover. Just as quickly as she takes us on a non-linear narrative highlighting major moments from her childhood to the present day, there is a tornado of emotions that reflects with the turbulence and chaos that makes up the life of Martin's character from past to present.
The show has been set out to deliver a glimpse into Martin's character's mind, body, and soul, as they ponder on some eye-opening and poignant thoughts that offer us in the audience with a snapshot of what it's like to have to portray yourself as someone who is internalized and only occasionally comes out, emerging from the shadows. With strong components to represent a sense of death and rebirth every single day, Martin's character takes us on a journey to identify how "drag isn't born from a desire to be popular, but rather, from years of pain, loneliness, and confusion". The monologue is succinct yet thought-provoking, which is articulated clearly enough to resonate in our thoughts long after the show has finished for the night. Martin's stage presence demands respect and authority, as he portrays his character with humility and elegance that makes this show as revolutionary as it is entertaining.