Banger @ Dance Base
Once upon a studded leather wristband, it was all too easy. Lads formed in a circle at the school disco, shaking their greasy hair and headbanging to Whole Lotta Rosie, while girls stood, pointed and laughed. Tara Cheyenne however, knows that it is not as simple as that now, that this can be liberating. Implicit in her work is the need for making each gesture larger, owning the space as only swaggering young men can. She takes to the stage as a sexually provocative woman in lingerie, then transforms by merely slipping on army fatigues into a teenage boy, governed by twin obsessions of war studies and heavy metal, the devil horn sign taking her over, a la Doctor Strangelove and that Nazi salute.
Her physicality is impressive, riffing on riffs, portraying all four members of a metal band, from Gene Simmons-esque singer to powerhouse drummer and she skips between vacuous cheerleader to earnest, hurt teenage boy spouting pretentious poetry with consummate ease, beautifully observing the overwrought idiocy of nihilistic HM lyrics. Marc Stewart's score is suitably blistering, particularly the pummeling drum solo – 'grunge ballet' could be a whole new genre.
Less successful is Cheyenne's batty old English war veteran, addled equally with shrapnel as alcohol – the segue into that depiction is not as fluid as that of her schoolyard outsiders. Nonetheless, that issue aside, Banger satisfies as both physical theatre and play on society's supposed gender limitations, tapping into that impulse we all have to air drum when Black Sabbath comes on... even if she does disconcertingly resemble a young Ed Byrne.