A wild queer take on Victorian drama with wit, humour, and an awful lot of pink goop, Lilith: The Jungle Girl has fun and games, and more!
It is late 19th Century Holland, and Charles Petherwick and have received a mysterious crate from Borneo. Contained inside is a wild human creature plucked from a pack of lions. The pair soon set out to tame the creature and incorporate her into Dutch society, in Lilith: The Jungle Girl.
Oh, everyone loves a good Victorian melodrama. From penny dreadfuls to dramatic plays, the stories were meant to be shocking to the grandiose extreme, as well as sometimes being moralistic. Enter Sister Grimm, a queer theatre company who take a story about human v animal identity and mess about with it to marvellous effect. Lilith: The Jungle Girl becomes a gender-fucked and hilarious play that is as smart as it is outlandish. Gender roles are switched, melodrama tropes are sent up, all whilst simultaneously taking satiric swipes at how we define ourselves.
The hardest thing with comedy is not to trip over into the region of being just a bit too silly, and for the most part Lilith: The Jungle Girl the jokes are wonderfully rationed to keep pace and humour without being too out there. However, there is one part of the show that does become that bit to OTT: a very tongue in check skit about racial identity when Lilith tries to join the lions in the zoo enclosure. That’s not to say it undermines the point that’s trying to be made: this sequence still has the very cheeky intelligence that runs throughout the show. It just goes that bit too far in style that it sticks out and doesn’t quite work as well as the rest of it.
Most impressively is that between the wonderful laughs to be had here there is still a story that in itself is presented and performed incredibly well. Lilith: The Jungle Girl is a tale that you want to stick with the see how it turns out, especially the rather tilted jilted love story, even though it does send up a lot of known clichés. It’s not just the next glorious laugh you’re waiting for, but also the next twist or climax.
Sisters Grimm are a really tight troupe of comic actors. Each and every one of their comic timing is impeccable meaning the delivery of all the jokes in Lilith: The Jungle Girl are made with hilarious precision. Not to mention, I can’t think of any other company be able to incorporate working their way around so much pink goop!
Move over Mowgli. Lilith: The Jungle Girl has big lions’ roars of laughter and a gripping melodrama to boot.