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Adelaide, SA, 5000

Fringe: Can't Be Tamed @ Bakehouse Theatre


Fringe: Can't Be Tamed @ Bakehouse Theatre

Kate Sansome

“There’s absolutely no contradiction at all between being a feminist and taking your clothes off” – Miley Cyrus

Can't Be Tamed is an obscure theatre production that takes a look at fame, self-expression, feminism and of course, the downward spiral of Miley Cyrus. Melbourne based director and theatre maker, Justin Nott brings this unique show to the Bakehouse Theatre, following a sold out season at Melbourne’s Fringe Festival last year. 

It all begins when Cyrus, who rose to fame with her hit teen comedy series, Hannah Montana, finds herself smoking alone in her hotel room, flicking through television channels until she stumbles across a TV movie about her life. Soon after she finds herself having an argument with the film voiceover guy, (which can only be explained as some drug hallucination) who has basically painted a picture of Cyrus as a trashy, attention-seeking, vulgar brat.   This attack then triggers something in Cyrus, which leads to her questioning her identity whilst also making commentary about how her Disney upbringing distorted her childhood. 

Firstly, I must say that I am 100% the perfect target audience for this production.  I grew up watching Disney Channel and Hannah Montana and idolised Cyrus throughout my teenage years.  So just a forewarning that unless you have some context or background knowledge about Cyrus' career, you'll probably miss the sarcastic one-liners in her origin story and the snippets of song lyrics that Nott had cleverly snuck in throughout the performance.

Can’t Be Tamed makes some insightful observations about how fame and Hollywood hyper-sexualises young Cyrus, showing how the studio alters the way she looks, her actions and how she becomes a commodity for Disney Channel. All the pressure and expectations then takes a toll on Cyrus, which is when the performance takes a turn down the rabbit hole. Cyrus makes some heavy commentary about self-expression and feminism, whilst being drugged out of her mind at a rave with her Mickey Mouse henchman, wearing leather shorts and gold stickers over her nipples. This basically begs the question can Cyrus be a feminist while simultaneously showing off her naked body? 

Just like the assumptions the public make about Cyrus being a trashy, attention seeking stoner, you might think that Can’t Be Tamed is a strange, over-dramatic sexualised mess... but when you dig a little further, it is a well-thought-out conversation on femininity, identity and the dark side of fame. So if you're looking for something a little different, hilarious yet politically charged, then Can't Be Tamed is the show for you.

Where: Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas Street, Adelaide, 5000

When: 9pm, 20-25th February

Content Warning: smoking, strong coarse language, nudity and sexual references.  

Tickets Available here

Star Rating: 3.5/5

All images via Justin Nott