Andrea Spisto: Butch Princesa, Heroes @ The SpiegelYurt * * * *
The cramped, possibly sweaty space of the SpiegelYurt becomes a “butch kingdom” – a warm, funny and critically engaged space of self-exploration and mutual support – in Andrea Spisto’s debut show.
Butch Princesa offers a kind of queer picaresque in sketches, songs and dance, taking in various aspects of Spisto’s past and present life, with fair warning that “real emotion” will be part of the mix too.
Rejection of normative female beauty standards, meanwhile, takes the form of a cocky rap number (“I can impregnate you with my leg hair!”). Elsewhere, droll and tender numbers engage with sex, drugs, loneliness and flat-shares.
Dance is used powerfully in various ways, taking in reggaeton explosions and parodic ballet as well as absurd sex mime and moving gestures of self-care.
The material is all about Spisto, then, and the show includes an admission of aspiring to be a pop star and indulgence in a musical-theatre fantasy.
There are parts of the journey that might benefit from less telling and more showing, and some of the work could be more fully realised, but the sincere and affecting attempt to make and hold a space of diverse, empathetic expression and care is utterly welcome. This kingdom is well worth a visit.
Until 25 August