By Leah Shelton
Psycho siren Leah Shelton straps on the straightjacket and dredges through history in an attempt to understand why, and how, uncomfortable ideas are suppressed under the banner of mental illness.
Shelton’s trademark physicality, dark wit and surreal design aesthetic meets Ursula Martinez’ sharp, insightful directorial style in their second collaboration; supported by the masterful cult-sampled soundscapes of Kenneth Lyons and genius collaborators Lisa Fa’alafi and Daniel Evans.
BATSHIT pits the rational, sane truth against fanciful, hormone-inflicted and embellished tales to bring YOU the facts about this f*cked-up world we live in.
Metro Arts, West Village
Image by FenLan Chuang
Psycho-siren Leah Shelton creates stylized, guttural, renegade feminist work soaked in cult references and dark humour. Her work has taken her from the glamour of Las Vegas to the back streets of Kings Cross, from rigorous training in Japan to live art festivals in New York. With Lisa Fa’alafi, Leah is Co-Director of artist collective Polytoxic, creating hyper-visual works underpinned by diversity and collaboration.
As a solo artist, Leah has played on and off West End in London. She has graced the cabaret stages of La Clique, Club Briefs, Little Death Club, Vegas Nocturne and Jonny Woo’s UnRoyal Variety Show. She has created two solo works: Terror Australis (which received numerous awards and most recently toured throughout France); and Bitch On Heat, directed by Ursula Martinez, which toured Australia and Soho Theatre London to critical acclaim and standing ovations.
Ursula began her solo career in the mid 90’s performing on the London cabaret scene and created her first theatre show A Family Outing in 1998. Since then she has created and directed many works straddling the different genre of theatre, cabaret, comedy, and live art. Recent shows include Wild Bore, an international collaboration with Adrienne Truscott (US) and Zoe Coombs Marr (Australia) commissioned by Melbourne’s Malthouse, and A Family Outing – 20 Years On, commissioned by the Barbican and Perth Festival 2019, where Martinez was the artist-in-residence. Martinez is an original cast member of the multi award-winning contemporary circus phenomena La Clique and La Soiree, and an associate artist with performance provocateurs ‘Duckie’, with whom she co-created the Olivier Award-winning show C’est Duckie. But for all her theatrical accolades, because of the internet, Martinez is probably most well known for pulling red hankies out of her vagina!
Kenneth Lyons is an award winning multi-disciplinary artist with a creative practice spanning over 35 years. Over this time Kenneth has worked professionally in jewellery, video, graphic, costume, set and sound design with many examples of his work featured in festivals and exhibitions nationally and internationally. He has also project managed a number of community arts initiatives and is also a co-producer/presenter of the weekly international arts & independent music program, Curved Radio for Sydney’s 2SER FM. His most recent collaborations with contemporary performance maker Leah Shelton have been on her multi-award winning solo works, Terror Australis which toured Australia, UK and France (2015-2019) and Bitch On Heat (2018-2019) which toured Australia and to the Soho Theatre London receiving critical acclaim.
Samoan Australian Lisa Fa’alafi is a director, performance maker, choreographer and designer. Known for pushing cultural and gender boundaries, her work is visually stunning, highly entertaining, conceptual, political and satirical at heart. She earned her artistic stripes as Co-Director of artist collective Polytoxic, with whom she created landmark works that continue to inspire Pacific artists to this day. Lisa has worked with Rosanna Raymond’s SaVAge K’lub (APT GOMA), ATUA (NGA), Nick Cave: The Heard (GOMA), The Guilty Feminist, Babushka, Circa, Don’t Speak UK, The Treasury London, Bechdel, The Arts Hour BBCC. Her work has been seen at major festivals internationally, Las Vegas Burlesque Hall of Fame, Dublin Fringe, Planet IndigenUs Canada and PS122’s COIL Festival NYC. Lisa co-created the international smash hit Hot Brown Honey, which has played to over 50,000 people across five countries, garnering numerous 5-star reviews, a 2017 Helpmann, two 2016 Green Rooms and UK’s Total Theatre Award for Innovation.
Daniel Evans is a writer, director, and producer who has worked across Australia in theatre, festivals, print and television. His theatrical work is about new mythologies for unreliable futures. Inspired by Pop culture, spurred on by the blur between performer-spectator, Daniel forges worlds that are ridiculously heightened, and strangely familiar, but not without heart.
Together with Amy Ingram, he founded The Good Room; a performance collective exploring themes of memory, yearning and embarrassment inside of a theatre where the domestic is made epic and the small, infinite. The company is building a suite of works that includes I Want To Know What Love Is (Queensland Theatre Company & Brisbane Festival; Brisbane Powerhouse), I Just Came To Say Goodbye (Brisbane Festival), and I Should Have Drunk More Champagne (Metro Arts).
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
This project is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.