James Cameron's 1997 epic Titanic is a pretty great movie, but wouldn't it be better with way fewer annoying women and more sick dance breaks? That's what Dazza and Keif (the male bogan alter egos of (Keely Windred and Danni Ray) thought when they were stuck in lockdown with nothing but a Blu-ray of the film and their imaginations.
The setup leads to the mind-bending gender politics of women playing men playing women, a conceit Windred and Ray have great fun exploring. Dazza and Keif are male archetypes of toxic, if pleasant, masculinity, the type to say "boys boys boys" and "no homo, but". The drag king reversal of queer women playing straight bros is shared with another of this year's festival's brilliant shows, Zoe Coomb's Marr's Dave: The Opener.
But this show isn't a a thesis on the rigidity of gender roles and the harmful effects of toxic masculinity (it is), it is about Titanic (it also is). Or "Titt-anic", as Dazza and Keif call it. Dazza takes on the role of Rose, donning a pink plastic flower crown, sequinned bra and tutu over his streatwear of oversized singlet and baggy shorts. The double sunglasses - one over his eyes and one perched on his head - remain. Keif switches between Jack and Rose's fiance Cal Hockley. They are joined onstage by Dazza's long-suffering cousin Jordan playing locations, props and furniture - the ship itself, the chaise lounge on which Rose is drawn like one of Jack's French girls, the car with the famously fogged windows, that piece of floating wood that definitely had space for both of them.
Each pivotal scene is capped off with a dance break, with Dazza and Keif adding Beyonce's 'Single Ladies', *NSync's 'Bye Bye Bye' and other pop hits from the era into their retelling of the film. Dazza and Keif are fantastic dancers, and these interludes provide the twofold purpose of showcasing talented performers busting moves from dabbing to flossing, the worm to the iconic 'Single Ladies' dance and being very, very funny.
This show is tailor-made for anyone who spent much of the late '90s obsessed with Jack Dawson, Rose DeWitt Bukater or both, which is a demographic that dovetails pretty perfectly with many of the Millenials and Gen Xers who constitute the majority of MICF's 2022 audience. It plays on nostalgia, and a decent working knowledge of the film is probably a must to understand most of what is going on. A dash of feminism and a healthy disdain for the Morrison government's handling of the pandemic will probably help too. If you come armed with all three, you'll leave with cheeks that hurt from laughing and that damn Celine Dion song stuck in your head for days.