The Perth Fringe Festival has started and this weekend I got to watch this hilarious show at the Girl’s School. The vibe was amazing on a beautiful Perth Summer evening. We drank a couple of beers and my husband had some fried ice-cream. I bumped into a friend and then laughed solid for an hour while Britt Plumber looked at some of the common experiences that happen to women who conform to the people pleasing identity we are all encouraged to emulate in her one-woman show, Chameleon. 

4 stars

CHAMELEON is a one-woman show by actor and clown Britt Plumber. This hilarious production takes a frank look at gender and identity, using the chameleon as a metaphor for the way women construct their public personas. Plummer intersperses physically extravagant scenes with the reserved observations of a dry and impassive narrator to highlight gender dynamics and the overwhelming pressure women feel to please.

The audience are in on it from the start as Plummer dances her way around the room exuding all the confidence and sexual energy young, beautiful women are meant to possess. The party atmosphere is marred, however, by the unwanted sexual advances of another party-goer. The scene creates a moment of instant recognition for the audience and from here Plummer leads them through the personal but universal experiences of a woman trying to fit into the world.

Plummer is a delight. She is able to convey her encounters with a deft comic touch and the right amount of humanity and sentiment. From the innocence of childhood, to teenage flirting and ultimately to breaking point, CHAMELEON traverses the journey from conforming to liberation that many women undergo. Waves of recognition, sighs of resignation and the small moments of held breath break through the near continuous laughter as Plummer peels away the disguise’s women wear in order to present the image society has conditioned them to create.

This is a show that lingers in the audience’s mind. Like its namesake, CHAMELEON appears to be one thing but delivers so much more. Plummer walks the fine line between entertainment and sharp social critique with her blend of physical comedy, audience engagement and honest storytelling.