Invisible Cabaret – Let’s Get Visible tackles mental health awareness through the medium of burlesque at the VAULT Festival
“You can feel whatever you want to feel, within reason”
One of the more pronounced trends at this year’s VAULT Festival has been a multiplicity of work promoting mental health awareness, both in and outside of the officially curated Let’s Talk strand. There’s still a long way to go in fully destigmatising conversations about these difficult topics but it is gratifying to see so many creative dedicated to the cause.
Among that group is Invisible Cabaret, a cabaret and burlesque troupe whose show Let’s Get Visible is tackling these taboos in their own inimitable style. And though burlesque may not seem like the most obvious artform in which to do so, it proves surprisingly effective here, not least in the skilled compering from Rosie Verbose and her magnificent headpiece.
In many ways, it should actually be surprising at all. Of course a striptease artist could battle an eating disorder or experience anxiety, and routines by Miss Mustardseed and Petit Pois evince just that with a real eloquence. A lip sync featuring Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe and Kurt Cobain proves eerily powerful in demonstrating how fame doesn’t insulate you from such problems either.
There’s also a lightness of touch on display too. I adored Tootsie’s idea of a perfect date, full of self-care, and Mouncealot’s pseudo-lecture on PTSD and BPD was just fricking hilarious. And as we wind up to a really rather joyous balloon-bursting climax with Ferrero Rochelle, there’s a real sense of Rochelle Thomas & Rosalind Peters’ show so very well working on multiple levels.