We’re continuing our 40th birthday celebrations by reminiscing and reflecting on another iconic Theatre Works production, Bryony Kimmings’ award winning CREDIBLE LIKEABLE SUPERSTAR ROLE MODEL (CLSRM).
CREDIBLE LIKEABLE SUPERSTAR ROLE MODEL came to Theatre Works in 2014 after a successful and award winning slew of seasons across the UK, and was the first show I saw after beginning my study in theatre at the Victorian College of the Arts. What a show to herald my introduction to the industry!
CLSRM exploded with scathing social commentary, comedic belly laughs, a heavy dose of self-awareness and camp dance numbers a plenty.
An audacious, provocative protest against the flagrant global attempts to sexualise and commodify childhood for profit, CLSRM saw Bryony Kimmings take to the stage with her nine-year-old niece, Taylor. The genre-defying two hander that unravelled before the audience was set in a fantasy land far from our own. Lines were drawn in the sand, girls became knights, eyeballs were gouged, wars were waged and people sold their souls.
It was a tale of hopeless protection, blind fury, 9-year-old brains and taking on the world with your family. Through clever parodies of Katy Perry, medieval literature, the pressures of primary school and the perils of social media, the duo played the global tween machine at its own game. Live each night an audience sat in anticipation as the pair invented an alternative pop star “worth investing in.” The result? The dinosaur-loving, bike-riding, tuna-pasta-eating Catherine Bennett.
In typically screwball and humorous fashion, Kimmings begged the question: What does it really take to be a Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model for a child of the 21st century?
Bryony’s performance was marked by an equally excellent, (but significantly more explicit) production of Sex Idiot (also presented by Theatre Works) at Melbourne Town Hall for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. This was followed by tours to Adelaide and Perth in 2015.
CLSRM struck a chord with Theatre Works’ audience through its delightful and innovative ability to simultaneously blend opposing themes; the disturbing and the wholesome, the mature and the innocent, high and low art. Theatre Works welcomed Kimmings back the following year by producing her show Fake it ‘Til You Make It (a season that I missed and have never forgiven myself for. RIP)
When CLSRM arrived at Theatre Works, it was already a critical darling with a string of awards trailing behind it including: Fringe First Award 2013, Three Weeks Editors Award 2013, Fringe Review Outstanding Show 2013, The Arches Brick Award 2013.
Melbourne critics were similarly glowing with The Age describing the production as:
“brilliant, provocative, humorous, angry and deeply moving theatre, born of intense love and profound worry about the world children will grow up in.”
Similarly, Arts Hub declared Kimmings to be:
“one hell of a cool aunt, trying her best to deliver an endearingly earnest message on social responsibility. Outrageously entertaining and full of heart, Credible Likeable is not to be missed.”
One of the reasons I did (and will always) pay top dollar to see anything Kimmings produces is her proven and unparalleled ability to make performance art that is universally and commercially palatable. If and when international travel resumes, and Kimmings returns to Melbourne (as she often does), do all you can to beg, borrow or steal a ticket to whatever wizardry her brain dreams up next.
Watch a trailer for the show here:
‘CREDIBLE LIKEABLE SUPERSTAR ROLE MODEL’ Cast and Crew:
Written and Created by
TAYLOR HOUCHEN, BRYONY KIMMINGS
Music & Co-Direction
Set & Costume Design
DAVID CURTIS RING