Two Yonis, one beautiful, one bashful, fall in love in the Bollywood-style epic, The Adventures of Yoni 1 & Yoni 2. For those not in the know, yoni is the Hindi word for vagina and we quite literally watched a musical starring two muffs, not metaphorical ones but larger-than-life lady-bits with legs and arms and drivers’ licenses.
The concept itself is comedy gold; anatomically well-crafted hoo-hoo costumes worn by star-struck lovers Shamita Sivabalan and Emma Jevons lend a fun and ridiculous quality to the evening. All in all, however, the show doesn’t quite deliver on its tag-line potential and seemingly relies too heavily on the gag-factor of the costumes.
The nod to Bollywood comes in the form of a sixty-minute dance party with poorly transitioned music clips to which our yonis danced and mimed while a video backdrop montaged images from travel destinations to Prime Ministers (including a questionable jab at fellow yoni Julia Gillard). While the essence of Bollywood trashiness was there, it lacked the juxtaposed grandeur of the genre which often sees crowds of people perfectly choreographed in front of mismatched green-screen footage and is part of the reason we love Bollywood so much. With no dialogue for most of the show we were left only with the spectacle of the luscious lady gardens to cling to and these just were not strong enough to sustain almost an hour of mime. As the initial comedy of the fabulous costumes waned the dance party became tiring and repetitive. Finally, the Yonis’ wedding day arrives and the characters deliver their political musings on the state of marriage equality in Australia, lamenting that their love would not be legal back on home soil.
Shamita Sivabalan and Emma Jevons performed well as our hostess honey pots, Jevon demonstrating an obvious talent for the expressiveness of the mime and Sivabalan impressing with her natural Bollywood moves.
Playing at the Brisbane Powerhouse’s MELT! Festival, and directed by Simone French, The Adventures of Yoni 1 and Yoni 2 is a unique idea loaded with possibilities and at the very least, I hope to see those fabulous costumes employed as mascots for the next women’s rights march.