EdFringe 2018 Review: Cazeleon: The Movies in My Mind

Cazeleon: The Movies in My Mind
Rating: ★★

Venue: Gilded Balloon – Balcony

Cazeleon: The Movies in My Mind pays loving homage to classic Hollywood in its tale of the titular performer’s fictional ascent to stardom and her subsequent fall from grace. Drag star Cazeleon attempts to interlace this with themes about breaking from societal expectations of gender and loving your true self regardless of these.

Opening with a belting rendition of Shirley Bassey’s History Repeating, Cazeleon’s vocal credentials are on full display. This is a performer with impressive range and stage presence – something which is continually highlighted throughout this solo show. Packed with Hollywood nostalgia from its earliest moments, Cazeleon goes on to document life at school – being misgendered by classmates, not being picked for sports, in an amusing silent cinema inspired skit that showcases the performer’s battle with societal norms from a young age.

As The Movies in My Mind progresses we get a femme-fatale murder sequence complete with Law and Order theme music and courtroom skit. Cazeleon cleverly incorporates lip-syncs from classic Hollywood features into the show – and this courtroom sequence is one of these – embodying the captivating appeal of the likes of Lana Turner or Lauren Bacall – except with the aesthetics of Conchita Wurst (who amusingly gets a reference later on).

With the murder trial behind her, we then follow Cazeleon’s ascent to stardom encapsulated with a stirring performance of Let Me Be Your Star from SMASH. The performer taps into the ups and downs of celebrity culture, the concept of Hollywood as a glamorous escape, yet also the vacuousness of ‘the biz’. In exploring this Hollywood dynamic so passionately, there is somewhat of a disconnect with the previous ideas of gender performativity – and The Movies in My Mind does not particularly acknowledge Hollywood’s role in reinforcing and shaping many of these societal expectations of gender.  

The core message is reiterated in the show’s concluding chapter in a monologue from the performer followed by a final musical performance in the form of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way.

On the technical side, Cazeleon’s performs with a microphone and incredibly loud backing tracks, the former possibly not necessary for an intimate venue like the Gilded Balloon’s Balcony venue. Understandably there is a noisy show going on next door, but the uncomfortably high volumes within the room detract from our titular star’s performance.

The Movies in My Mind works as a showcase for the musical and acting talents of Cazeleon. Technical frustrations and a diluted message undoubtedly hamper, the show, however.

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