Scene News: Gender Spanner in The ‘Works – 2016 Midsumma Festival

Exploding onto the stage of the Gasworks Arts Park, Gender Spanner is a joyous hour of comedy, self-examination and empowerment. This incredible production, much like it’s subject matter, defies convention and must be seen to be believed.


Gender Spanner is the brainchild of Melbourne artist Jessica McKerlie (PACT Ensemble, People Piss In Here). Gender Spanner was originally inspired by McKerlie’s own explorations and understanding of gender fluidity. During the rehearsal process it transformed into something truly remarkable: a burlesque cabaret that goes to the very core of what it is to be human.


Armed with a ukelele, some spinning plates and an array of costumes that traverse gender stereotypes, McKerlie begins the production by questioning every audience member, and by sticking labels on their chests. Throughout the ensuing hour we are treated to a suite of original music, burlesque routines and theatrical monologues with a common thread: Are you a man? Are you a Woman? Are you sure?


With no regard to conservative concepts such as fourth walls or personal barriers, the audience are guided on a charming and charismatic performance, one characterised by questioning. The audience are invited, but not forced, to make their own enquiries, as McKerlie’s uniquely personal story unfolds.


I want audiences to have to think about their accepted ideas and to leave feeling like they can talk about it,” Says McKerlie. “I hope by telling my own story other voices will join the conversation.


It is difficult to resist giving away the ending, as it is satisfying and stunning celebration of diversity. But audiences are invited to come and find out for themselves. Gender Spanner opens on the 19th of January and runs for five nights. Bookings highly recommended.


Show Details: Gender Spanner

Dates: 19th-23rd of January

Time: 8pm (NB: Thursday’s performance is at 9pm)

Cost: $20-25

Venue: Gasworks Arts Park



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