Reviews Edinburgh Published 11 August 2014

CHRISTEENE: The CHRISTEENE Machine

Underbelly ⋄ 31st July - 23rd August 2014

A goddamn vision.

Rebecca Morris

Christeene is a vision.

A goddamn vision that appears in green and purple smoke, towering on a taped up stank stage in a grim, sticky-floored black box room: the underbelly of The Underbelly. Wildly large, crystal eyes piercing through matted locks, smoky white trash panda eyes, gold teef glintin’ and in rags. This diva’s face is enshrined on a sash wrapped around her body and her legs are covered in dirt smears, wearing proud that grime rubbed off Edinburgh streets. She is the tripped up, jumped up, dirty, sassy, skankin’ Britney Spears from your nightmares. Or dreams, depending which way you look at it.

And I don’t know why I’m writing like this, but you go see a Christeene show and you try expel-aaain how she do without hearing dem gravelly American Deep South canday vocals in yo heyad.

I wonder whether the couple stood behind me during the show have stopped hearing it. They had clearly bought tickets for the wrong show, muttering urgently to each other, green at the gills. I kept turning sneakily around, noticing that they couldn’t tear their eyes away as they watched Christeene’s set: ragged-synth pop-beats evoking Marilyn Manson, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Crystal Castles. The tune ‘Fix my Dick’ accompanied by licking sucking grabbing popping stamping until the taped up stank stage look like it gon brek.

Don’t go to this show if you afraid of getting dirty, cause you gone get dirty. If you dare, stand in the front row and get sprayed by the sweat off her backing dancers, ‘FEEL THE HEAT’ (Christeene preaches). These two giants of men performing acrobatic, downright nahs-ty, psychedelic moves – twerking their skinny white asses as good as Beyonce, sculptural as costumed geishas or squirming in lacy teenies.

The couple behind me left after twenty minutes. Not bad considering.

I think they were almost charmed by this pop Queen hallucination – erupting and sizzling around the stage, sweetly flirting and coaxing the audience with that honey gravel hum. Terrifying but warm and empathetic, touching our faces affectionately; our shoulders; asking us how we like our eggs; telling us not to look at the floor; telling us to feel the energy of those around us as we go about our daily bi’ness.

And she preaches –

Oh Lord! Sermonising as she stamps her heeled feet, wonderful lyrical phrases I can’t remember so you’ll have to go see it. Rhythmical, as she rails against those big bank banners strewn across Edinburgh and the impersonality of smart phone screens —

Coming all up in your face –

‘I AIN’T YO FUCKING MESSIAH BITCH’

– she screams at me. Telling me to go out there into the world and to be my own person with that Deep South, ghetto poesy I’m struggling to represent authentically.

Using church rhetoric to destroy the messiah. I want to say the experience is cathartic. That it is an exorcism. But as soon as she coaxes you in, she spits you back out. Christeene don’t want to be your fucking messiah, so don’t go looking for it.

So you might think that this

x-rated,
ass-waggling,
orgy-simulating show is
hypersexual,
exaggerated,
depraved,
‘unnecessary’ (a common adjective used by people perturbed by a flash of nipple on stage).

Ach well.

Go back to the woods, to your secret porn stash; dance to Miley and Beyonce on MTV – because you’ll see the same thing there. Except in Christeene’s show the backing dancers aren’t sexy young hunnies smiling with open mouths. They are sexy drag queens, with hairy bodies, grinning with gaping mouths. Christeene is part of the pop Queen magazine machine religion.

Except Christeene dirty stanking, and she doing it for real.

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Rebecca Morris is a contributor to Exeunt Magazine

CHRISTEENE: The CHRISTEENE Machine Show Info


Produced by Soho Theatre, ArKtype and Johnson/Mackay

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