Review by Lauren Abineri
Anya Anastasia, a Fringe favourite, treated me to an irresistibly tongue-in-cheek show, Tort e Mort.
It was everything I imagined and more. Oh, I'm gushing. Anya seduced the audience with her camp yet crass introduction to the woman of the hour, Marie Antoinette. Workin' it in a fine corset and booty-full dress, just when I started to think 'Dear God, how is this woman's diaphragm going under there', she starts singing about it. The sassy 'I Don't Do Burlesque' (complete with potty mouth) saw the slippery gloves coming off -whilst playing the piano at the same time, guys - then the stockings and shoes. A terrific feat in contortion!
Then it's off with her corset and down to her bones, painted on and illuminated under UV lights - probably the most burlesque the show gets. Some stellar song-writing is found especially in those ukelele numbers, Anastasia's chops for some tricky time signatures and haunting notes, giving the audience quite an art-pop-folk injection alongside some delicious jazz-fusion cabaret numbers. Joy Sparkes, Adelaide fave electro-queen, accompanied Anya with some harmonies and stoic stance. We all work out that Marie has been given the chop, thanks to a gorgeous make-shift shadow puppet show, performed by the killer percussionist Bec Matthews, who keeps our feet tapping throughout the entire show and plays a creep executioner.
Anastasia works her tropes as well as her costumes, showing us an enticing cast of characters. She dons black as Death becomes her, at this point in the show we have been enjoying some seriously sharp political satire. Death-Anya also boasts an impressive doomy growl over the piano too. The unapologetically punny 'I Ain't Got Nobody' tickled some ribs and we said goodbye for now to the little head in a jar, a more grounded Marie Antoinette as opposed to the brat we met earlier. The sleazy aussie Devil was a riot - imagine your drunk aunty at Christmas, with a bit more balance, trilling about a celebration of self loathing. I can't help but think of the life of the party who takes you aside to tell them how shit their life is.
A quite bleak end to the cabaret, Anya sombrely returns to her uke, wigless and in white. Stirring the audience with a bit of a Kate Bush vibe, back into a quite bizarre gothic-folk ditty , conjuring images of dirty, plague-y paris.I was left wanting more marie at first, perhaps another bonjour from Marie herself, but then the more I thought about it, this character was probably the most Marie ever. Or the most Anya? It might be my own obsession with alter-egos talking but I was captivated by all sides.
The very end of the show was one of the most adorable easter-eggs (do theatre shows call them easter-eggs?) I've ever seen. Percussionist Matthews returns to the stage, as the executioner, plugging the merch. She implores us to buy merch, the poor dear's executioner's hat is only a pillowcase.
I was left refreshed and wanting more. Or champagne. Tort e Mort is a glittering cabaret, with all the frills, but with such a genuine energy, and perhaps IMO some of the best alt-folk I've ever seen in my life. Disclaimer: I didn't get this review out on time and unfortunately Tort e Mort's Fringe shows have ended. Sorry everyone. But like, maybe we can all send Anya an email or something and be like ''Do that again would you?''