Writer: Michael Louis Kennedy
Director: Charles Quittner
All the Fraudulent Horse Girls is an amazingly absurd experience presented by Brooklyn Rep showing this week at The Glory, East London’s leading queer performance venue. The production delivers the brand of melodramatic madness you dream of discovering somewhere like the Edinburgh Fringe; from the outset it is camp, crazy and unapologetic.
All the Fraudulent Horse Girls features a handful of international cabaret stars who come together to tell the story of 11-year-old Audrey, a girl who loves horses so much it transcends the usual childhood obsession. A lot of the initial humour is derived simply from establishing Audrey’s tunnel-visioned equine devotion, which sets her apart from other girls at school. The narrative then takes a turn when Audrey liberates a police horse and triggers an odyssey through space and time. At this point the show fully commits to its fever dream vibe and the audience, following or not, must surrender themselves completely to the ensuing chaos.
Three performers take on the mantle of Audrey, each with the same identifiable outfit and Australian accent. Cazeleōn is first up to the role, a very engaging and likeable performer who does an entertaining job of introducing Audrey’s hilariously impulsive personality. Beth Graham then takes the reins with a thick Southern U.S. accent, though she frequently dips back into Audrey’s Australian twang, with impressive precision, to distinguish moments of clarity amongst the delusion. Alice Morgan-Richards has a briefer turn as the 11-year-old fanatic but shines during other moments within the show, particularly when portraying her ‘real’ role.
A range of seating options creates a somewhat immersive atmosphere, which is enhanced by moments of audience involvement throughout. It should be noted, however, that there is no ‘ideal’ seat for this production; the company uses every corner of the space, which is laid out in a way which just cannot be seen entirely from one position. The Glory does lend itself to the chaotic vibe of the piece though and additional design details by Lili Fuller, such as an assault of horse posters covering the rear wall perfectly capture the frenzied fun of the show. Eclectic props also add to the ridiculous, but cleverly crafted, narrative and provide real laugh-out-loud moments.
It takes a lot of intelligence to orchestrate a show this silly and director Charles Quittner has done a superb job with Michael Louis Kennedy’s script. All the Fraudulent Horse Girls is one of the most entertaining, least conventional productions you will see in a while.
Runs until 9 October 2022