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First Night: Taylor Mac

"Comparison is violence," she says. Well, really it's a he pretending to be a she, while repeatedly reminding us that she is, in fact, a he. Got it? Good. Because, despite what you might think, American performance artist Taylor Mac is far from just your average drag queen.

Because, despite what you might think, American performance artist Taylor Mac is far from just your average drag queen.

Honestly, what other entertainer of this nature actually listens to their critics before deciding to base an entire show on their exact words? Case in point: 'Ziggy Stardust meets Tiny Tim'. It's an unusual statement, but I wonder if the person who originally thought it up ever considered the idea of Mac presenting to an audience a live juggling act of sorts based on the material of both musicians.

What's more, I wonder if anybody ever considered the fact that it might actually work, too.

To begin with, we have Mac -- an eye-catching, glitter-coated, wig-wearing cross dresser with a voice almost as powerful as his wit and imagination.

To add to this colourful display of showmanship, he's also singing David Bowie's Five Years ... or Two Years as he puts it, cus, you know, the world's gonna' end in 2012 apparently.

But wait -- this isn't just a musically based exhibition of quirky song and dance. Sure, within time, our, uh, man of the hour will crack out the ukulele and we'll be introduced to the 'Tiny Tim' side of the equation, but there's also room for a fascinating 'conversation' about comparison and why people feel the need to compare everything to anything.

Tulips

For example, has anyone ever told you you're just like somebody else -- maybe even a movie star? Did it make you feel better about yourself at the time?

Well it shouldn't, because all it means is that you're not as special as you might have originally thought. Indeed, it's this wonderfully distinctive brand of unbridled philosophy and humour that carries the show in between songs of tulips, starmen, and rock n' roll suicide, all the while offering a rebelliously structured narrative like nothing you've ever heard before.

It's quite educational, too, and the hilarious crowd interaction along the way only adds to the fun. That is, if you could call kissing male members of your audience 'crowd interaction'.

Then again, nobody seems to care -- and why the hell would they? An excellent display of surreal yet exceptionally co-ordinated musical drama, Comparison Is Violence Or The Ziggy Stardust Meets Tiny Tim Songbook may sound ludicrous, but that doesn't mean it isn't brilliant, or that its vibrant star isn't an all-out genius.

Star Rating: *****


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