Review: Baby Bi Bi Bi at MELT Festival, Brisbane Powerhouse (QLD)

A sex-positive and playful cabaret about life as a bisexual woman.

Image by Jack Dixon-Gunn.

From bisexual invisibility, when a male-female couple are assumed to be straight no matter how queer one or both partners may be, to creepy guys called Brent who lasciviously explain how hot it is to watch two women make out, the vagaries and delights of bisexual life are examined with gusto in Flesh Coloured Panties Productions’ Baby Bi Bi Bi.

Written and performed by Annabel Larcombe, Erin Pattison and Samantha Andrew, this warm, witty and raunchy cabaret draws on the performers’ personal experiences to create an hour of sex-positive entertainment. Performances are strong and the trio harmonise together strongly (despite one of them clearly battling a cold) across a range of original songs.

The overall tone is upbeat and playful, as expressed in such numbers as ‘Salad with the Girls, But in a Gay Way’ and ‘Do I Wanna Be You (Or Do I Wanna Fuck You?)’, but the trio aren’t afraid to shift gears into more poignant territory. A powerful spoken word sequence explores the sometimes traumatic experience of coming out, with overlapping voices highlighting shared experiences and commonalities, and individual monologues focusing on more personal experiences and challenges. Coupled with a sombre ballad which had the woman seated next to me in floods of tears, this emotive sequence grounded the show beautifully.

Not every element is as successful – Larcombe’s series of short comedic sketches exploring hybrid pairings and portmanteaus runs out of steam relatively quickly, though her physicality is a delight; and a portable closet placed centre-stage feels underutilised despite being beautifully designed – but as a whole, Baby Bi Bi Bi is definitely more hit than miss. Larcombe, Pattison and Andrew have a confident and engaging stage presence, even when they leap off stage into the audience, resulting in an exuberant hour of entertainment.

3.5 stars out of 5 ★★★☆

Baby Bi Bi Bi
Flesh Coloured Panties Productions in partnership with Brisbane Powerhouse
Turbine Studio, Brisbane Powerhouse
As part of MELT Festival
5-7 July 2019
Tickets $25-$34

Richard Watts visited MELT as a guest of the Brisbane Powerhouse.

Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts