WOMANz: Jou're Welcome

★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 08 Aug 2015

If dance-comedy as a medium stretches back to Paris circa 1830 and the emergence of the can-can, then its century-spanning chrysalis appears to have morphed it into a carnal jubilee of arm-flailing, crotch-grabbing and infectious silliness. That's if WOMANz is anything to go by.

The stage persona of Australian comic Tessa Waters, WOMANz falls into an awkward middle ground between dancing that's good enough to be spectacle and limb-thrashing obviously intended as satire. The line between character and performer is tricky to distinguish, at least within the canon of the show, but essentially she's an exuberant free spirit who expresses her emotions (from joy to sexual frustration and back again) through increasingly frenetic tangos, sambas and freestyles.

It's thematically bare but the goofiness is contagious; she makes herself vulnerable to her audience and they respond with empathy. Often it feels like an extended warm-up act, with seemingly spontaneous asides unravelling into entire skits, leading to the unfortunate realisation that they are, in fact, the show. The appeal stems more from her charming idiosyncracies than any constructed punchlines, and this wears thin once we've experienced the character and want to see her whimsy disposed in service of something more concrete.

It's a display of endearing inanity that gets audiences dancing (at the behest of WOMANz, to be clear) but never fully blossoms into much more than vacuous hoopla. It has the potential to transcend that, but though there's style, there's not much substance.