Sea Change - The Wet Hot Beauties
21 February 2017, Parnell Baths, Auckland
Reviewed by Lauren Sanderson
It’s got sass, raunchiness and a whole lot of girl power! After four years the Wet Hot Beauties are back, in their remarkable new aquatic performance Sea Change. A visually spectacular exploration of femininity and liberation, where the ordinary becomes the extraordinary!
As part of the Auckland Fringe and Auckland Pride festivals, over 80 beautiful ladies and one man unite and take to the water at Parnell Baths to deliver a splash-tacular ballet show. The body positive water tribe bust their moves to the score of feminist pop-icons like Beyonce and Sia.
Although there is the occasional boob grab and the odd cheeky wink, the beauties are here to share a bigger and bolder message. Through the art of dance they explore the roles of women in today's society, challenging the demands and expectations placed on modern women, as well as celebrating their resilience, courage and power.
Inspired by the spectacular aquacades of early cinema's delightful 1930s and 1940s era and the colourful designs of Hollywood movie director and water musical choreographer, Busby Berkeley, this contemporary spin on water ballet is big, bold and beautiful!
Not only are the dance moves synchronised but also the costumes, transporting you back to the 40s with their retro tight-fitted swimsuits, red-hot lippy and who can forget the quirky bubble-gum pink swimming caps. The luscious ladies not only looked radiant but it was evident that they felt incredible, with each arm gesture and transformation performed with a little sass and a beaming smile.
A crowd favourite was the ‘dance off’ sequence, where all 85 women came together flaunting their stuff with ease and confidence. The ladies danced, splashed and air punched their way around the pool, inviting the audience to be part of their joyful revolution one dive bomb at a time.
Drawing from personal experiences, Lara Liew’s stunning choreography represents a different story with each movement. The first half explores the multiple issues that women face in everyday life, whether that be the downward spiral of relationships or societies perception of who women should be. The second half screams freedom, courage and power, demonstrating the rise of the female. The creative choreography combined with the pumping soundtrack of legendary divas shows women in all their messy glory, the good, the bad and the ugly.
It hasn’t been easy for the beauties who started out eight years ago as an ordinary swimming club. After founders Judy Dale and Pip Hall where told they were too old to join a synchronised swimming group, instead of giving up they founded the Wet Hot Beauties and reinvented the forgotten art of water ballet in the process. With dedication and hard work they soon became more than a social gathering, but a creative, fulfilling way to escape the daily grind.
Sea Change is a true inspirational performance. It will certainly entertain, inspire and uplift. It will grasp you from the very beginning and take you on an important journey of self-love and self-discovery.
The stunning-visual is more than a show- it’s a movement that can’t be missed!