Review by Sarah McKenna – Barry
FemmeBizarre present Caged at the Smock Alley Theatre as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival. Billed as a “physical, in-your-face aerial dance spectacular” that will explore the “pressures and constraints of gender in the modern world” Caged by Jade O’Connor, Kate Finnegan and Jennifer Jennings unfurls as an electric and exciting cabaret of circus, spoken word, music and dance.
Jade O’Connor and Kate Finnegan are tremendous performers in every sense. As aerialists they are strong and secure, as dancers they are warm and inviting, and as actors they are nuanced and captivating. They represent a full-on force to be reckoned with as they entertain their audience with sheer charisma, and frankly, extraterrestrial stamina. Their devotion to their art is truly admirable as they balance subtly with super-strength.
Caged as a text, is very pleasing. The dramaturgy is both familiar and worldly, witty and distressing. In terms of range, expect everything from campy burlesque, to New York style vogueing, to upsetting and important pieces of spoken word. Finnegan and O’Connor seamlessly connect the genres with impressive feats of aerial stunts. Moreover, each different art-form is treated with dignity in Caged, and the performers show dedication to their craft. They marry subtlety in their facial expressions with sheer athleticism in their physical performances.
Above all else, Caged is incredibly entertaining. It is infectious as it is touching, and in terms of aesthetics, it is simply an enjoyable spectacle to watch. One particular moment showcases the best of FemmeBizzarre as O’Connor’s vocals accompany Finegan’s aerial sequence.
Bringing the production together through lighting and sound and sign design are Kevin Smith and Mick Stapleton, respectively, and the production value of Caged amplifies the undeniable talents of Finegan and O’Connor, allowing their chemistry to take centre stage.