Betty Grumble, the alter ego of performance artist Emma Maye Gibson, has one hour to save the world. Described as “a surreal showgirl, obscene beauty queen, feminist contagion and sex clown”, she uses her most intimate parts, and an array of props and liquids, to push boundaries and smash through conventional ideals of beauty, gender and sexuality. This is a one-woman show that is part theatre, part comedy, part dance, part sordid burlesque and a whole lot of social commentary.
Gibson’s theatrical performance is paired with a disco/drag show aesthetic to form an extravagant production. Powered by feminism, and opposed to the objectification of women, Gibson challenges the male gaze and everything else wrong with the world in a high-energy performance that is both a rebellion and a celebration.
Grumble is resplendent on stage, equal parts grotesque and gorgeous. Frolicking in piles of props, everything she uses makes a statement, including her body, which she unashamedly manipulates and smears with faux menstrual blood and other fluids during her performance. The show has many surprises, none of which I want to spoil. Suffice to say, they are all pretty great.
This show absolutely earns its late night time slot and I can only imagine how it might divide audiences, with some probably finding the performance vulgar and the nudity gratuitous. I’m not quite sure what this says about me, but I thought it was fantastic.
Gibson is so comfortable with her sexuality and nudity that she completely removes any taboo and mystique surrounding the vagina and female sexuality. She is fierce, original and fresh, empowering with her clever use of comedy and parody. I'm not sure if Betty Grumble saved the world, but she definitely rocked it.
GRUMBLE: Sex Clown Saves the World is one of the most entertaining shows I have ever seen. I absolutely loved everything about this show and on the night I went in, it was obvious that so did the rest of the audience.