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April 24, 2006 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

The Life and Times of the Divine Miss P

By Pollyfilla and The Dazzling Fillettes
Bats Theatre 29 March – 1 April

I wasn’t really sure what to expect out of this play, but how could it be possible to not like “a sparkly, singing and dancing camp parody”? I ask myself the same question now, the day after having seen the play, and I still can’t really think of any way that it would be possible not to enjoy such a show.

Pollyfilla, a drag diva whom I have come to realise is quite popular here in Wellington, is the star of this show alongside her colour coded dancers ‘The Dazzling Fillettes’. This is the production company’s last season in Wellington before Pollyfilla (a.k.a. Colin) heads off to Melbourne. So for all of you fans, I hope you got out there to see it as by the time you read this it will be a little too late.

After the first couple of musical items I really thought that the play was just going to drag on (no pun intended), but to my surprise it didn’t at all. Pollyfilla and her dancers did a number of really great and colourful dances with too many costume changes to count. But they also had some video footage, stand-up comedy and photo montages. So we were kept guessing about what was going to come next.

The premise was that Pollyfilla was Bette Midler. Pollyfilla dancing, singing, talking as Bette (Pollyfilla never talked or sung as herself). Although I’m not too much of a Midler fan, I had some appreciation for her after the performance. But the thing that the play really gave me was some appreciation for Miss P as a performer. I thought that it was really brave for someone like him/her to show so much of their own life to an audience. It paid off though and everyone seemed to really love it.

The show was extremely entertaining and very fast-paced. Miss P is multi-talented: costume designer as well as choreographer as well as script writer. The Dazzling Filletes were awesome; I was so impressed by the dancing. They looked like they were having a great time, but they were also extremely graceful and performing some quite technical moves.

Under all the gaudy exterior, the poking of fun and the disco balls, this play had some real heart to it, and the heart was really well communicated. At the end of the show Pollyfilla wrote in chalk on the floor advertising the candlelight AIDS memorial with the slogan Silence=Death. It was a powerful way to remind the audience of the not so nice side of their lifestyle (for want of a better word) after showing us all the really fun and funny side of it. Too bad they are moving on, I would recommend this play for a good laugh and even some quiet reflection afterwards.


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