There's a particular kind of delight that comes with the performance of Tassel Me This by Jessie McCall and Shani Dickins.

In part, it comes from their ever-so-subtle signalled sending-up of certain conventions of feminine friendship, a shared craving for bling and the unspoken desire to every once-in-a-while be the centre of attention.

In part, it also comes from their lampooning of a psychoanalytic exchange in a looping narrative about attachment and dependency but also a very deliberate resistance to our soft porn culture. They accomplish the latter by ironically and absurdly directing attention to particular modern styles of dress and deportment.

But mostly delight comes from the sheer goodwill towards the world which saturates McCall and Dickins' dancing and their delight in teasing out the audience applause.


Surrounded by dangling art deco style fringed lampshades raised and lowered by tasselled cords, they dance to a score by James Risbey. It's a collage of repeating sections which include industrial grunge, chichi 1960s' department store muzak and the pop group Berlin's big hit Take My Breath Away.

The contrasts in the score are echoed in the dancing, shifting from solo vogue-ing to almost aggressively paced unison floor-based sequences, gentle partner work and referential everyday movement. It's all performed with conviction and aplomb.

There's an associated series of costume changes, some in full view and others in silhouette behind a series of drop-down boudoir curtains which alternately hint at glamour and red-light district poverty.

Two saturated-in-sequins garments, designed by Fraser Mildon, glint mysteriously as the dancers animate them, glittery body powder twinkles, golden hails of glitter are poured and blown by turbo-strength industrial fans, and golden lace-up short gumboots get their own moment to shine in floor-level lighting. As promised, it delivers glitter, glam and friendship.

What: Tassel Me This by Jessie McCall and Shani Dickins
Where & when: Basement Theatre, until Saturday
Reviewer: Raewyn Whyte