Ann Liv Young is back in town.
And she's just as dissatisfied as ever with whatever it is that bothers her.
What has she brought with her?
A bellyful - literally - of surprises.
Where to start?
Somewhere in the middle.
Snow White (ceramic mask) sings Beyoncé naked, pregnant, with an untended bramblelike snatch and unshaved armpits to match, while wearing golfing gloves to hold her wireless mike. The Black Queen accompanies her on a tin drum while flaunting and gyrating her uncut dark cock.
Enormous flying boobs from the back up vocalist dancing go-go. All enclosed in a hermetic great white box. Red ribbons fly everywhere.
This is Ann Liv Young's world - one of full of the absurdity and emptiness of pop culture.
She drops in and out of character, stopping the show to rant about the audio, blue eyes flashing Celtic rage:
"I don't hear her. Not again. All night, last night I couldn't hear her."
Her prima donna swagger and complaining voice remind one of the outtakes of the Madonna backstage films. Deliberate, I think.
When the show starts Ann Liv Young is in a white leotard with her dark nipples visible through the white cloth and with an enormous pregnant belly. I was sure it was a prosthetic cushion to simulate pregnancy. Until she takes off the leotard and the belly is still there, larger than every. The woman is eight months pregnant if a day pregnant.
The show makes much of her pregnant form.
Was the show made for a woman in at least the sixth month of pregnancy to the eight month of pregnancy? Pretty narrow casting/performance criteria. No. The show was conceived before Ann Liv Young got pregnant. The show I saw in Vienna was very different from the shows three months ago or six months ago. In the earlier versions, there was a lot more dancing. But the show has adapted and changed with Ann Liv Young's physical state.
There are a lot of choices throughout the show of which voices to take or which songs to play. Ann Liv Young seems to play her Snow White environment like a jazz score. She knows where it's going, but the riffs can be different each night.
What else did you miss if you weren't at Snow White in the week of August 3, 4 or 5 in Vienna?
Someone singing singing "Babe I'm leaving" from Styx in a Barry Manilow mask. Marquis de Sade like dialogues between Snow White and the prince in French about sex. He intent on violating the garce, Snow White intent on claiming his love. Apparently Ann Liv Young wrote the French herself while on an extended séjour in Montpellier. Snow White is stark naked doggy style on the stage while the Prince takes her from behind.
You missed an eight month pregnant woman lathering a huge yellow strap on dildo with baby oil and penetrating herself against it (really!). You missed plastic horses
You missed a Christian radio show bestrewn with live musical performance and obscene call ins.
You missed small plastic horses across the stage with a wooden toy castle - the world of fairy tales.
Once again I wasn't bored for one moment of Ann Liv Young's Snow White. But again I struggle to make sense of it. What does Ann Liv Young want to say with all the wanton, unhappy sexuality, casual perversion and upside down pop culture?
I'm back to my review of Melissa is a bitch - her work has something in common with the organised senselessness of Da-Da.
Snow White is a truly horrid experience. But fascinating.
What will you see if you go to Snow White? I don't know. Snow White changes all the time.
One could argue that the whole construction only holds together on the insane charisma of Ann Liv Young.
But I will still be back in the audience next time she comes to town. And I recommend the same to you if Ann Liv Young comes anywhere near your city on one of her extended tours.
My Polish dancer friend was also left speechless by Snow White. She couldn't find anything bad to say about it.
There's a must read interview with Ann Liv Young about Snow White in Timeout New York. I found it after I wrote this review. She's even worse (better) than you thought.
There's a rather crappy video of Ann Liv Young's Snow White on the ImPulsTanz site. This video shot from the side does not to the performance any justice, but does give some idea of the set. I wish I had had picture permission for Saturday night as Sania and I were on stage front cushions in the center with my Canon 20D with me and could have done a fantastic set of Snow White pictures.