REVIEW: Pulpshow, Adelaide Fringe 2016

Originally published in RIP IT UP

Get ready for Pulpshow – a show that reveals the blood in the dirt of the Australian outback. “Modern-day Cyd Charisse” Leah Shelton takes you on a terrifying crash course of the Ozploitation films of the 70s, through a part-burlesque part-performance art piece that is incredibly energetic and exciting. 

This is a show up to its eyeballs in Australian iconography, whilst at the same time exposing the fear at the root of these cultural memories – at one point, Shelton tears apart the mystery surrounding Azaria Chamberlain with a brazenly funny piece involving dolls heads and cricket bats. It manages to juggle all these moments of fun and terror without ever feeling over-powering, which is an impressive feat. 

Pulpshow’s heart and energy is all down to Leah Shelton. Taking on several roles, from a buxom Sue Charlton to a dingo on the prowl, she is effortlessly strong, not to mention powerfully sexual.  

This show makes a chillingly effective use of lighting, sound and projection to create a bizarre, thoroughly exciting visual nightmare. Gruesome, beautiful images are splashed across the hanging white sheets of a Hills Hoist, whilst the incessant thrum of insects plays in the background. One of the most successful scenes involves looping footage of a car dashboard idling along back road in the middle of nowhere, while a voiceover recalls their run-in with a potential murderer. It is very engaging, not to mention thrilling to see such inspired mix of visual imagery and setting.  

Pulpshow works due to how it toys with our image of Australia. It will leave you not only entertained, but afraid of what could be lurking in your own backyard. 

Rating: 4 ½ stars 

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