Sunday, November 23, 2014

'The Ruby Darlings' at Mimetic Festival, 19th November 2014

As I walked home I was cheerily singing; "you can put it in my front-bum, but not in my bum-bum".  Thisearned me a few sideways glances but, well, when you've got an earworm you can't really help yourself.  This was what I was left with after The Ruby Darlings: a cheeky, sexy and very, very funny cabaret.  They are Ruby (Rachel Le Moeligou) and Darling (Lily Phillips), ably supported by David Tims, who provides both musical accompaniment and an excellent straight man.

Feminism and fun are two words that (unfairly in my book) don't tend to be found in the same sentence.  All too often tabloids, shit TV and arsehole media in general paint a picture of some hatchet-faced, humourless harridan out to spoil everyone's fun. Yet here, with smiles as smooth as quicksilver, machine gun fast innuendos and subject matter that leaves suspicious stains, we see a feminism that easily dazzles and thrills the crowd.

Ruby and Darling aren't ladettes, they aren't caricatured horny slappers and they certainly aren't sexually submissive waifs - they're simply open and honest about their sexual pleasures.  Capturing this tone successfully is like trying to pinch a housefly between chopsticks: trickier than it sounds.  Travel too far into depravity and you become a lech; relying in mere gross-out humour to earn your giggles.  Keep things too prim and proper and what's the point?

The critical factor at play here is intelligence, specifically in constructing wonderful feats of sexy wordplay.  Rhymes stack upon each other, the songs reaching to dizzying heights of cleverness and complexity.  In particular, a folk-esque pastiche about dongs (which sounds like it might have been sung by a drunk Joan Baez) seriously impressed; being simultaneously musically excellent, lyrically complex and funny as all hell.  

With a set list that covers pubic hair, naming vaginas, cocks, STIs, anal sex, bestiality, and queefing The Ruby Darlings are never going to get booked for children's parties and weddings (maybe really fun weddings), but it's worthwhile having a think about precisely which tradition they fall into.  With the sexy costumes and fucking-focussed tunes there's obvious parallels with burlesque, but they prevent such an easy classification.  Layered on are hints of the saucy beachside postcard, end-of-the-pier variety shows and Carry On films - all of which adds up an act that's intensely, powerfully, wonderful British.  We're reminded that we like talking about sex, especially when its wreathed in irony and humour.

I had a wonderful time at this show. All three performers were friendly, open and intensely charismatic.  They developed a conspiratorial rapport with the audience almost immediately; and unlike so many acts nobody looks terrified when they're asked to participate.  By the time we're in the final song about anal sex, the whole room is on its feet waving placards in the air.  The warm spaces under Waterloo are filled with drunk smiles and happy.

I laughed my ass off.  Be sure to check them out if you get the chance.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

0 Responses to “'The Ruby Darlings' at Mimetic Festival, 19th November 2014”

Post a Comment

© All articles copyright LONDON CITY NIGHTS.
Designed by SpicyTricks, modified by LondonCityNights