Jason Reid meets alternative cabaret troupe, The Fems!
In case you didn’t know, femme is the future and masc is the past. Quick, someone make that into a meme, get it on Instagram and add the hashtag #fuckthepatriachy.
Of course, we don’t mean ALL men, so stand down dears. You know the type, we all know the type, they’re impossible to avoid.
Thankfully, The FEMS are here to abate all that nonsense and they’re on a mission to crush toxic masculinity and femmephobia through the medium of cabaret – kamikaze cabaret to be precise.
This week, our very own grrrr-super-straight-acting patriot Jason Reid caught up with the cast of The FEMS and their director Jonathan Richardson…
For those who have yet to see you perform, how would you describe a typical show?
Jonathan: Our shows are an hour of grotesque, silly, flamboyant, dark clowning about femininity, from a bunch of over made-up flamingo monsters who sing, dance and parody their way through the sequined swamp.
Bex: Fuck you, FEMtastic and Fabulous!
Camilla: Glamorous, silly and loud.
Tasmine: Effervescent, glittery, self-aware, explosive, exploratory and challenging.
How did you all meet?
Jonathan: Where else would you find a gang of evil clowns? Down a sewer while I was playing with a paper boat? Nah, The Fems are more ‘IT girl’ than ‘IT’. I found them in the Arcola Queer collective, London Clown School and in a random town in rural France (coincidentally, the global epicenter of ‘Bouffon’ aka evil clown theatre).
Tell us about those early days and how you got to where you are now.
Jonathan: We began, as so many strange and beautiful pieces of queer theatre begin, with ten minutes on stage at the RVT. From there, we just kept gigging all over, and then we managed to wrangle an hour as part of Come As You Are festival about gender and sexuality at Camden Peoples Theatre. It was a sell out and we’ve not looked back since.
You say you’re here to destroy toxic masculinity. How’s that been going so far then?
Jonathan: Well, we debuted our full show just before all this Weinstein stuff kicked off, soooo…actually, maybe taking credit for that might be overestimating our current reach. We’re working on the total and complete destruction of toxic masculinity one show at a time.
Who in the public eye do you think displays the most explicit traits of toxic masculinity?
Charly: Harvey Weinstein, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Theresa May and Rupert Murdoch.
Rob Beck: Stephen Crabb, Tyson Fury, and TRUMP!
Tasmine: Milo Yiannopolis, Gavin McInnes and Piers Morgan.
Tom: Donald Trump.
Jonathan: God, he is biggest bastard of them all.
How would you change them for the better?
Tasmine: Cover them in hair barrettes and glitter until they start to develop some sort of empathy? No, but seriously: Teach them not to be led by fear, allow them some form of expression, and rob them of their self-righteous bullshit.
Charly: There needs to be a total revolution in love and respect. I would give them a treatment of psychedelics first, and then let’s take it from there.
Tom: Have them lose everything and then experience kindness from those they’ve spread their toxicity over.
Grindr or Nigel Farage – which needs to go first?
Tasmine: Grindr has room to get better, Farage, I fear, is a lost cause.
Camilla: Or maybe getting Farage on Grindr might kill two birds with one stone?
Rob: I wouldn’t be surprised if Nigel Farage was ON Grindr! Can you just imagine?! “Chill, masculine bro looking for same to smoke cigars with and swill beer. NSA Brexit only.”
Your new show hits The Glory this month. Tease up, tempt us, what are your personal fave bits?
Bex: Bursting out of a giant fucking present, dancing to Madge and Belinda Carlise, and taking down the patriarchy.
Charly: I can’t tell you my favourite bit, it’d give too much away. Second favourite bit involves fingering – in honour of all the useless, repressive religious values that have prohibited people to be whoever they want to be. And, because, well… fingering.
The FEMS Hits The Glory is on 20 & 21st Nov at 8PM.