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Deadly Sinners

  • Theatre, Performance art
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
picture of deadly sinners ensemble

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

This queerly beloved First Nations showcase emphasises the pride in the seven deadly sins

There’s an air of anticipation as the voluminous velvet curtain is pulled back on the pop-up performance space that is the Meat Market’s transformation into the Blak Lodge for this year’s Melbourne Fringe, illuminated by a neon pink ‘Wominjeka’ (welcome, come in purpose) sign. We are the glorious fallen, and we’re here to bow down and confess at the altar of the deliciously queer and First Nations Deadly Sinners.

A burlesque-style show brimming with fabulously gender-blurring drag and circus acts, it assembles a mighty ensemble of LGBTQIA+ Blak performers, each inhabiting one of the seven cardinal sins. We’re led into this sacrilegious spectacle by the deep-in-the-soul belly rumbling voice of Gudang, Meriam and Saibai Koedal comedian Jay Wymarra, dressed in black punctuated by a priest’s dog collar, as he sings a hymn-like call to pray for our sins. Inhabiting a much wickeder character who abuses his clerical power, he stops the show at one point to note that if a Blak person next to you laughs, it’s okay to join in. He’s relishing the opportunity to push the audience, even if his true jovial nature occasionally breaks free with a cheeky sparkle and a laugh that draws an open-hearted embrace.

As our emcee for the eve, his baritone-glowing job is to usher in a magnificent array of proud performers that dazzle with erotically charged dance, death-defying stunts and fabulously outré comedy. Wiradjuri, Gamilaro “aggressively queer” trans star Kitty Obsidian lays down their life on a pile of broken glass wearing little more than nipple tassels and a G-string, a consummate performer at the top of their game who commands the stage and our attention in a glittering turn. Wakka Wakka woman Bizzi Body is equally adept at the art of the tease with a fantastic physical performance boldly undressed to confess, working Aboriginal flag fans with unrivalled finesse.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under contestant Jojo Zaho, a Biripi and Worimi wonder from Awabakal Country, comes packing a remarkable buffet of brilliance stashed in her sheer black gown and a fine line in gastronomically inclined lip-synching that’s set to the tune of a not-quite Whitney Houston classic. Both Miss First Nation 2019 winner Chocolate Boxx, a Dunghutti, Bungalung, and Kamilaroi star, and Mother of the Doll Haus Brandi show how it’s done and then some, with their twirl and swirl dance sets raised on towering heels bringing all the squeals. Fellow Miss First Nation Supreme Queen 2023 Cerulean is a powerhouse, as is the supreme singing voice of the supremely stylishly attired Joocee, who matches the marvellous melodiousness of Wymarra.

All in all, when you take in the queer Blak brilliance of these seven deadly sinners, why on earth would you want to be good? Because they’re too great at being baaaaaad. Sometimes you have to roll with it and surrender to the spirit of the show.

Looking for more things to do at Fringe? Check out our list of the best theatre, comedy, weird and free events happening this year.

Stephen A Russell
Written by
Stephen A Russell


From $20
Opening hours:
8pm, 9pm
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