Last year I took my solo show, Sharron Matthews Superstar: World Domination Tour
, to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. When I arrived, the buzz was all about Meow Meowʼs Feline Intimate
. Apparently it was the show to see.
“Who the fuck is Meow Meow?” I thought.
I attended Feline Intimate
late one night and, oh, I found out. This woman, this Meow Meow, is a tornado or tsunami or an explosion of fabulous, dangerous, cutting-edge cabaret and performance art. She was hysterical, shocking, heart-wrenching, crazy, manic, still, quiet and loud as a fucking bullhorn. She was so revolutionary as an artist, I think — I know — I cried. Showstopping moments included:
1. Halfway through, she bodysurfed on the audience to the bar for a drink. And then back to the stage.
2. She had about 20 people from the audience standing in front of the stage holding Barbies, doing a kick line with their little plastic legs because she claimed the producer hadnʼt given her any money for the showgirls she required.
3. She changed from one dress to another while perched on the shoulders of an audience member in the very centre of the audience. She crawled across the first eight rows to get to this position. She stripped down to almost nothing. And then sang a song with one luscious breast peeking out. Accidentally.
And I haven’t even mentioned her singing. She sang every song as if it was the last she would ever sing on this blessed Earth. Full-throated, head thrown back, with the edge of a woman who has sipped back a very expensive scotch and smoked a cigar. She performed in the style of Brel, of Berlin, of opera and of old-school European cabaret. She won the very prestigious Edinburgh International Festival Fringe Prize for her show. I met her afterward and giggled like a 14-year-old.
Now she is coming to Canada to perform, bitches. So, before I called her for this article, I agonized over the questions I would ask, how smart I could make myself sound. Would I tell her that I am one of the hosts of Broadwayʼs Night Out
(part of Luminato), the event at which she is performing? Steeling my nerves, I called.
Me: “Can I please speak with Meow Meow?”
She: “This is Meow Meow, darling.”
Me: [I pee a bit.]
She: “Darling, you just caught me waiting for a plane at Heathrow.” (She sounds very fancy and international at this point. But not gauche.) She tells me that cabaret needs to be “dangerous — the audience needs to know that anything can happen. It is about a passionate relationship with that audience.”
When I mention that I think Lady Gaga has been more than inspired by Meow Meow, she laughs smartly and tells me that Gaga lives in the same building as Lance Horne (Meow Meow’s accompanist and collaborator) in New York and has come to all of her shows. She adds diplomatically, “There is room for everyone to create.”
Okay, I took the job of writing this article just so I could talk on the phone with her. Is that so wrong? Come to the show, people — you will see what I mean. She is divatastic. A true artist. You will also pee.
Sharron Matthews is a divatastic performer (who Gaga also undoubtedly envies) in her own right. Along with Shawn Hitchins, she will host and perform at
Broadway’s Night Out.
Broadway’s Night Out
Mon, June 13, 8pm
Festival Stage, David Pecaut Square
55 John St