Commencing in the UK with three shows just over a month ago followed by a lengthy trek around mainland Europe, Emilie Autumn's 'Fight Like A Girl' tour winds up back on British soil mid-April for a climactic performance in Manchester at the HMV Ritz. With the venue's quasi-theatre ambience, it provides the perfect setting for her theatrically-charged exposition as a thousand or so Plague Rats convene within the peripatetic Asylum to experience the glitter, the glamour, the drama, the philanthropy and, of course, the music that constitutes her multifaceted show.
As with the second date of the tour in Nottingham, Emilie and her Bloody Crumpets' entrance is preceded by a minor delay. House lights dim, intro music commences, fans cheer and scream loudly but it seems it's all been a little premature once again as a sense of déjà vu makes me wonder if this is actually a purposefully scripted start to heighten audience anticipation. I'm guessing not although increase anticipation it indubitably does for when intro music plays through the PA for a second time, the already vociferous cheers and screams are just that little bit louder.
As the show's narrative unfolds, themes of incarceration, rebellion, revenge, emancipation and optimism are conveyed through music, monologue, burlesque and tightly executed choreography, all underpinned by an anti-repressive, philanthropic intent. It's a profoundly potent representation of excerpts from Emilie's semi-autobiographical novel, 'The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls' and a precursor to the full-scale musical that's set to debut in London's West End in 2014. One can only imagine the grandeur of that forthcoming spectacle and all it promises to be but, for now, the touring show thrills through its own essence. And with the show's concomitant and eponymously titled soundtrack yet to be released, it's pleasing to see and hear so many sing along, word for word, to the plethora of new songs that comprise the performance alongside some old favourites from 'Opheliac'.
At the climax of the show's core, Emilie, with the three Crumpets by her side, delivers her closing speech about individuality and freedom, informing the audience that "the Asylum now belongs to you" thus alluding to the ubiquity of the concept and all it encompasses. It's an apposite finale and undoubtedly a mutually shared sentiment amongst those present, and those who scream for more are rewarded with two final bursts of music - 'Mad Girl' and 'Thank God I'm Pretty'. All in all, magnificent once again.
Saturday 14th April 2012
HMV Ritz in Manchester, UK
Review & Photography by Mark Holmes
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Emilie Autumn at HMV Ritz, Manchester, UK, 14th April 2012
Photograph copyright © 2012 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com