arts, culture, Reviews, What's On

Review: Petrasexual (so naughty)

As The Shamen would say, Petrasexual is ‘naughty naughty, very naughty’.

This show is definitely not G-rated, it’s rated R for Ridiculously Raunchy, but with a title like ‘Petrasexual’ you’d totally be fooling yourself if you expected anything else.

And yes, this cheeky cabaret is mostly about sex (as the name implies), but despite what at first glance may appear to a bit of sexy, smutty fun, wrapped up in a goddess kween voice, this show tackles some hard issues about rape / consent and victim blaming in a misogynistic world, marriage equality, and rounds out the content depth by poking fun at the absurdities of well, sex, in a modern world.

Petra is a real-life Jessica Rabbit with a banging diva voice and a wicked sense of humor. Her groovy marriage equality advocating take on Pharrell William’s ‘Happy’ – ‘Marry Happy’ got everyone clapping in the aisles and singing along, but not in a forced ‘too much crowd interaction’ way. Get a sly preview of that tune here if you need a warm up, it’s super fun.

This is the kind of show you’d definitely take your awesome friends to, totally not your Mum and definitely not your Nanna, unless she’s a free-thinking wild woman. It’s dirty, sexy and the songs are catchy, you’ll learn a few euphemisms for sex and all the related um… bits, and it opens with a reverse striptease to a vastly improved upon version of the controversial Robin Thicke hit – ‘Blurred Lines’.

Petra is also a huge fan of the C-word, so delicate ears need not apply.

Please go and see this show. It’s a little bit hot.

P.S Don’t forget to try the ‘Petrasexual Healing’ cocktail in the Butterfly Club bar.

Photo credit: Alison Hoelzer

Where: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
When: 2-6 November, 2016 (shows at 8.30pm)
More Information / Tickets: Available from the Butterfly Club website

This cabaret show, whilst it may appear light-hearted at first glance, tackles a lot of deeper, darker issues within modern society for people from all walks of life around gender, sexuality, orientation discrimination and those who are simply victims of a wider ignorance. We caught up with Petra to talk about her inspiration behind the show…

1. Your show (quote) ‘examines a society which often has a narrow definition of sexuality, gender and ‘acceptable behaviour’… without spoiling the performance, is there a real-life experience you encountered which inspired you to write this show?

“The show was written in early 2014, which was shortly after the loss of a young man after being king hit/coward punched in Kings Cross. There was of course a lot of media attention on the incident and social pressure to change the way violence amongst men was viewed by society. He was a ‘victim of circumstance’, and it was agreed it was the unacceptable behaviour of the perpetrator that had to change.

However, on the same night, a woman was sexually assaulted on a beach, and the language in the way the police reported the incident, and the media covered the story was a stark contrast. The blame it seemed fell on her, as it often seems to do.

Combined with the circumstances around some other well reported sexual assaults against women, I really began to examine the way the media, justice system and society treats not only women. But I also looked at the way close friends of mine, who were queer, trans or intersex, struggled to find acceptance in the most basic of situations. It got me thinking: am I lucky to have had exposure to more queer and non-binary situations that allow me to be more open minded? How did I arrive at the assumption of my own cis gender?

While the show touches on these issues, I try to keep the focus on being a light-hearted telling of my own sexual journey and the amusing experiences along the way. As really, it’s only my own experiences I can talk to, although I still like to take the opportunity to put the spotlight on issues that need it.”

2. If you could give someone who is struggling with coming to terms with their identity one piece of advice… what would it be?

“The most valuable time I have had with someone who was intersex was in listening to their experience – really listening. I learnt so much about the struggles they went through just to be their true self. The joy and the relief they felt when someone looked them in the eyes (pre-transition) and said the words “I see you”.

For anyone who is questioning their identity, knowing they are being heard, being taken seriously, and will be supported – no matter what – is so important. So I don’t think I would give advice per se, just help them weigh up the options and show respect for whatever steps they take, when they are ready to take them.”

3. If there was one song in the history of all time that you could say best describes your show, what would it be?

“Once I had settled on the name ‘Petrasexual’ I knew I wanted the show to be a light-hearted, slightly crass but still classy collection of songs around a narrative that covered some important issues. A dear friend had introduced me to a song called ‘Boobs’ by Ruth Wallis, a fantastic cabaret singer (who was apparently to raunchy to sing in Australia – she had to write a fresh song for an appearance here in the 1960’s). Her style, although decades ahead of mine, was perfect. Slightly suggestive, a little sexy and cheeky, and poking fun at things not everyone is comfortable talking about, but ultimately just there for a good time.”

4. Where to next for Petrasexual?

“Petrasexual will be heading to Adelaide Fringe in 2017! I’ll also be there performing an improvised puppetry show called the Mighty Little Puppet Show, so I think I’ll truly understand ‘Mad March’ by the time it’s all over. I have a few more cabaret show ideas in development, and I’ve really enjoyed working with Adam Rudegeair on Piano and Ben Christiansen on Double Bass, so hopefully they’ll come along again for the ride. Rest assured, the next show title will have just as good a pun!”