Emilie Autumn, "Fight Like A Girl" World Tour: Boston Show Review
Having seen Emilie Autumn and her Bloody Crumpets twice before, and having traveled to Boston specifically to see her FLAG tour, I had high hopes for the show.
Fortunately the show did not disappoint, instead living up to its aspiration of creating a musical out of the latest album, Fight Like A Girl (or FLAG), and her book, The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls.
Many of the songs on FLAG correspond, more or less, directly with parts of the Asylum, from the title track to "Girls, Girls, Girls" to "The Key". The album and show run like a musical. The stage itself and the costumes were designed to align with aspects of the Asylum. With the rat costume being replaced by the glitter encrusted, yet quite scary, scavenger costume, and the addition of inmate shifts, Emilie Autumn and her Bloody Crumpets changed into multiple costumes in impressively little time, while maintaining the Asylum theme wonderfully. And, true to her glam rock and “Victoriandustrial” style, the rest of the costumes were also covered in gemstones and glitter.
As for the stage, the large clock is gone, replaced with Asylum gates topped with a smaller, more realistic clock. With the gates ranging in function from asylum cells to a background for when the inmates take over the asylum, they’re an intriguing and logical addition to a show based around a book that quickly results in a trip through the gates of The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. As usual, Emilie Autumn herself works the set, costumes, and audience to maintain the mystery and intensity of the asylum.
While I was slightly concerned what would result from The Blessed Contessa leaving the Bloody Crumpets, Veronica Varlow and Captain Maggot filled her previous role beautifully. The Bloody Crumpets, even with just Veronica Varlow and Captain Maggot, proved yet again that they are far more than just back up dancers. Despite the lineup change, and despite the other changes, or maybe because of those changes, they all put on a forceful show. All total it was a show that was refreshingly different than the previous tour while retaining some classic elements, including many of the skits.
Among those skits were Captain Maggot’s usual introductions, including a greeting to the audience’s lovely ladies, gracious gentlemen and those somewhere in between, undecided, or otherwise gendered. Between the gender inclusions in that greeting, the kisses shared between Emilie Autumn and Veronica Varlow, and the Rat Game, they continued to produce a queer friendly burlesque show that they clearly enjoy.
Another, even funnier skit was the addition of a fan fiction skit. With Captain Maggot reading a selected piece of fan fiction, and Emilie Autumn and Veronica Varlow acting it out, what could’ve been an awkward addition was made amusing by acknowledging its strangeness. After acting out the bit of fan fiction, Emilie Autumn gave the audience a lecture on how offensive this was, how the audience is a bunch of perverts, and then wished us luck with Veronica Varlow’s rat game — luck that was evidently needed as Varlow and the lucky lady gave an amazing performance.
The rat game remained a key aspect by both allowing time for Autumn and Maggots to change costume, and providing time for Varlow to introduce a very special guest in attendance at the Boston show — her father. Fortunately, not only did she stay true to her role as a corrupter of young ladies, but the lucky lady gave an impressively theatrical performance. While the ladies selected to get a dramatic kiss from Varlow are usually slightly apprehensive about the combination of being on stage and being kissed by Varlow, the young woman selected in this particular show played to the role perfectly.
Among the other burlesque aspects of the show was Varlow's scrupulous feather dance, wherein she entices the audience with her charm. While it doesn’t quite fit within the context of the Asylum book, it’s a classic part of their shows that would be missed if removed, and a practical aspect, providing a chance for Autumn to change into yet another costume.
While I was glad some of the old classics remained, there were many pleasurable changes. One such change being that instead of opening with "4 O'Clock" as she had previously, she opened with "Fight Like a Girl", followed it with "Time For Tea", and then a lineup consisting mostly of songs off FLAG. Despite these changes, a few old favorites were included, a fitting counter to the changes to the skits.
Following the main set she came back on stage to play "Mad Girl", which is one of her oldest songs and one any audience member should listen to at least once before attending an Emilie Autumn concert. As she noted before playing it, she wrote it as a teenager, without knowing how much her life would follow the script set out by the song. After "Mad Girl", she asked the audience to sing "Thank God I’m Pretty" with her. The audience sang the first verse while she played it, and then she got up and joined the audience in singing the rest of the song.
As was the case previously, she ended the show soon after "Thank God I’m Pretty". Before the end of the show Autumn gave the audience a heartfelt thanks, received a variety of gifts from the audience, and symbolically gifted the gates to the Asylum to her fans. At the end of the night, when you see an Emilie Autumn show remember that it isn't over until the lights come up, as she often has one last trick up her sleeve.