Arts Review: The Christeene Machine

The Christeene Machine

Arches, 8th May

Presented as part of BEHAVIOUR15…

Somewhere between a drag show, a grunge concert, and a bad acid trip exists The Christeene Machine. Although not initially sure what to expect with the description of “a gender-blending booty-pounding queer perversion of punk dragged through the musical theatre gutter”, the show lives up precisely to every word. From Christeene’s entrance, casually throwing a recently dislodged butt plug tied to a bouquet of balloons into the crowd- “I wouldn’t touch the end of that” she jokes- there is a definite unapologetic ‘take it or leave it’ stance communicated to the audience.

Peter Soileau’s character Christeene is a self-proclaimed “human pissoir of foul hilarity and raw unabashed sexuality.” From her high-pitched whine of greetings to low gravelly insults hurled at the audience, Christeene is uncompromising. And the audience- both loyal fans and first time viewers- love it. With every layer of rags that come off, every crotch grab, and every burp, spit, and insult the crowd cheers louder.

Christeene herself has long black scraggily hair, the stage makeup of a recently converted Reaver from the Firefly universe, and eyes that glow in the dark. All three performers are mostly dressed in rags and various pieces that look as if fashioned from a dumpster diving excursion; “we made them ourselves,” Christeene boasts.

Bringing together a space for various sub-cultures from grunge to drag, the show is an almost ritualistic pop-concert to exorcise any social anxiety that keeps one from realizing part of their identity, sexual or otherwise… but mainly sexual.

Performed at venues across the world, The Arches seems to be the perfect fit for this gutter aesthetic. As Christeene observes, “Where the fuck are we?” comparing the feel of the room to a sewer, isolated from social mainstream and unrepentantly dirty; an idea that suits Christeene. The venue fits to a humorous level when the sound and vibrations of a passing train creates an almost God-like response to her singing to sky in the ballad “Oprah Angelz”.

[Emma Bolf]

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