I've had to sit on this review for a couple of days, simply because I wasn't sure what to say.
The best way I can describe Bild-Lilli is that it's a clever idea but poorly executed. But even that seems harsh, especially given the effort a clearly talented Elena Knox has put into it. But as much as I admire someone for doing a show like this, I also need to be honest.
Bild-Lilli is now better known as the universally popular Barbie doll but she actually began life as a cartoon in the West German tabloid Bild Zeitung in 1952.
This show tracks - via Elena Knox who plays the doll - her journey from mischievous tabloid girl to the slightly repressed, vanilla version of Barbie once she is taken over by Mattel after they acquired the rights to Bild-Lilli.
The story is there, the structure is in place and stylistically I was actually very impressed, but the content let Knox and her one-woman-show down. The songs - which are used to tell the story - aren't sharp enough to make an impression.
They are definitely cute and catchy little tunes, but some go on for longer than they need to and at the end of each song I still don't have a real idea of Bild-Lilli's journey.
The toy poodle Scheisse is a welcome addition but - sadly - stole the show from under Knox on several occasions.
Having said that, I commend Knox for what looks to be quite a physically challenging role - it looked like she had shaved the front of her head to make her hair look more "doll-like" and singing a song whilst hopping on one foot encased in the tallest, thinnest heel you could imagine is surely a feat worth praising.
Markings across her body which made her arms, legs and head look "attached" and the padding in the front of her shorts and the top of her back (to look like breasts), gave the impression of having her head on backwards and were small but really clever details.
But ultimately the material itself - the songs, their lyrics, their messages - aren't strong enough to sustain interest for 80 minutes and what should have been a fabulous show - what has the potential to be a fabulous show - is just an average one because of it.
Review appeared at: http://theatrevirgin.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/review-bild-lilli.html
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