In Kitsch in Synch, housewife Pollyfilla expresses the drag of her inner longings in her lounge room through lip-synching to songs and dialog from films and TV.
Lip-synching doesn’t have the best reputation thanks to famous frauds ranging from Milli-Vanilli to Julie Anthony at the 2010 AFL Grand Final, but done well, say in Drags Aloud’s Grease, it can be very entertaining. Taking on a solo work shows a particular, well, eccentricity, but don’t crease your gingham because between some cooking, manic dancing, and un-suburban psychedelia, we can’t help but sympathise with Pollyfilla, a prisoner in a house-dress.
From the big opening song that claims not to be, Polyfilla’s helmet of styled hair shows her commitment to immaculate presentation. The diverse musical offerings that follow reach beyond the 1950s, and I was amused to hear some unfamiliar versions of songs I know, accompanied by Pollyfilla’s committed physicality and expansive facial expressions. Offerings ranged from upbeat “Love Your Vagina” (featuring an educational array of euphemisms) to portraying desperate efforts to hold on to a husband suggested in Burt Bacharach’s “Wives and Lovers”.
As cupcakes on a doily adds the finishing touch to a tea party, the discipline of a director would accentuate this show’s virtues, trimming the fat, making the amusing into laughs and building the impact of the dramatic aspects. It might be that the show strayed a bit too far from its original intention of chronicling the life of a housewife as it jumped around from concern for appearances and domestic despair to drunken club dancing and back — it felt like we could be watching either different characters or a retreat of Pollyfilla into memory. Deploying costume changes differently could make the distinction between these women or states much clearer.
Appealing through its extremes, Kitsch in Synch might just make you set down your after-work martini, pay a bit more attention to stereotypes in pop culture and have some empathy for women pressured to attain them.