Diffusion is a character cabaret that charts the life and career of troubled starlet Cazeleon (nee Caz), the "gender-fluid cabaret chameleon."
Meticulously assembled, this show is Singin' in the Rain meets Law & Order, with a dusting of RuPaul's Drag Race for good measure. Mixing theatre, drag and live singing, Diffusion is as refined and captivating as Cazeleon herself.
The central theme of identity struggle is handled with a deft touch. Male and female identities are portrayed as feuding lovers, with a bitter end that returns to haunt the freed Cazaleon later in life, echoing the traumas of her childhood.
The cramped office space in Raj House didn't do this show any favours, though, particularly when extended technical glitches projected a desktop screen over proceedings. Although it didn’t dampen her performance in the slightest, Cazeleon has the kind of presence that deserves a bigger, more elegant venue.
Her immaculate costumes, befitting of the Hollywood setting and the glamourpuss donning them, were a treat. They were used effectively to guide the audience through the turmoil within and to keep the scene changes smooth.
On that note, the most affecting scene in the show was actually while the star was off-stage changing. On the back wall, a projection of Cazeleon in close-up, stripping off her wig, costume and makeup – to become Caz – was reversed. It really hit home for me how it must feel to construct an outer façade to feel your true self reflected by others.
Ultimately, though, that façade makes it harder to see in. Cazeleon stuck strictly to script, dispensing with banter altogether. I’d love to see a little more natural warmth and interior glow from the star to help bring the audience into her story.