Image by Fringe Festival Perth
Reviewed by Kaelin Abrahams
I could never be less afraid of accidental castration after watching the spunk of Justin Sider! Utilising the power of song, dance, and a healthy amount of lap dancing, Dickless was an exuberant tale encouraging all to reflect on how nothing determines who we are but ourselves.
Introducing themselves with a fresh ballad ‘before all’, Justin showed early on that they weren’t afraid of breaking the fourth wall. Nor, were they shy at displaying the immense talent the one-man act had to show. Slipping in between MCing, belting, introducing characters, and establishing plot- we had our first taste at the breath-taking energy Dickless took in its stride.
What otherwise was a one-hour show felt no longer than fifteen minutes as the audience watched the antics of Justin teasing and competing against themselves. The developing suspense of the established stakes within the plot and the raw charisma that oozed out of the volunteering cast selected from the audience meant that they were left on the edge of their seats.
From Jerry to Artie, to Magic Mike, and Tony Galati, the depth of stellar slap-stick comedy and pop-culture references was enough to drive even the most critical of us to cackling with howls of encouragement for our protagonist. Utilising the power and optimism of Ken (the doll) as a mascot, our underdog charged on through the audience, on a rollercoaster of triumph and hope.
This was in every way possible due to the incredible sound design and on-stage support provided throughout. As early on the draw of the bar disappeared, amidst our growing captivation to the bachelor-pad scene set before us and the directly atmospheric sounds provided.
Justin has done a bloody good job, through Dickless, in challenging masculine and physical-form gender stereotypes. Thus providing an undoubtably classic LGBTQI+ story. By showing that no degree of fitting-in or expectations, from music taste to genitalia, should be a barrier for happiness has powerful implications. Justin has expertly and intimately intertwined self-confidence with self-acceptance.
Hosting it in the fabulous birthplace of Perth’s gay scene, Connections Nightclub. This queer saga of self-worth and role modelling hit all the right notes for not only the audience at hand, but additionally, for the legacy of thousands of queers, who throughout its 47 years of glitter, hook ups and dance continue to use Connies as a safe and eye-opening home.
With the perfect venue, a vibrant host, bedazzling characters, and a heart-jerking and lung-tearing story, Dickless is a masterful drag show that should be snatched up before it too thrusts into the nether!
5 out of 5 eggplants.