Adelaide Fringe Review: Pussy Riot present Riot Days – The Attic, RCC

The top floor of the now defunct Adelaide Uni Bar complex has been repurposed as a Fringe Venue. The Attic is an appropriate venue to present three of the original members of Pussy Riot in a reflection of their imprisonment in Russian jails.

With six members of the collective, a type of punk rock opera plays out in Russian with English translation on screen. The music is loud, fast and furious; this is not a fairytale story but one of suppression of dissenting thought.

The collective are masked, reminding one of early TISM. The imagery is relentless in the feeling of powerlessness, yet the story is one of courage and conviction. Stories of being woken at 5.45am; stories of punishment for random infractions, the hunger strike all build to a mesmerising crescendo.

The six performers work together as one while all having individual personalities; the anonymous versus the autonomous. Random quotations from political writers are flashed on screen. The movements on stage become more tribal and raw as the masked are removed and the audience is doused in water.

It’s as if the need for anonymity has been stripped away and the revelation of the personality is a rebirth. There was a real sense of solidarity between the audience and the performers. Images of other incarated dissidents are flashed on screen, making us all aware that there is still oppression happening.

Former Festival director David Sefton and creative director Stewart Duckworth have put together a brave and exciting collection of shows for the RCC in the University of Adelaide and this show is no exception.

Riot Days is a thought-provoking piece of musical theatre that will stay with you for a long time.

FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Pussy Riot are playing a live concert with Ecca Vandal, Yothu Yindi and more on March 7th on the Maths Lawns.

For more information on the RCC, check out http://rccfringe.com.au

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