Andrea Spisto @ Just the Tonic, The Mash House
Andrea Spisto's noble message is let down by slightly jumbled execution
Andrea Spisto has a lot to say: a queer Venezuelan woman railing against patriarchal beauty standards and expectations of womanhood while her native country struggles yet further. She deserves commendation simply for getting on to a Fringe stage and taking a stand on all of these things and more.
It's a shame, then, that the show doesn't quite come off: a flat and sometimes bewildering structure struggles to build momentum and engage the audience, resulting in a polite applause rather than the raucous dance revolution Spisto is apparently hoping for. The writing here is disjointed and sometimes lacking in the analysis the show promises, instead delivering abstract monologues about Shakira and astrology which provoke a few titters but are ultimately short on comedy or message.
Spisto is far stronger in the clowning and mime elements of her performance, oozing confidence and communicating emotion with one glance or movement during musical numbers and costume changes. Clearly a talented performer, she works admirably to create a carnival atmosphere in which the audience are fully involved. If it were based on her physical performance alone she might succeed, but she is unfortunately hindered by the confusion of the wider narrative and the palpable apprehension of the audience which results from it.
Ultimately Miss Venezuela just about manages to get its messages across, but audiences will have to work hard to decipher them. Spisto is clearly capable of great things, but this show doesn’t quite provide her the vehicle with which to achieve them.
Andrea Spisto: Miss Venezuela, Just the Tonic, The Mash House (Bottle Room), 2-26 Aug (not 13), 10:10pm, £7/PWYW
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