Alison Paradoxx Presents Floral Peroxide was my favourite Fringe show of 2019. It is intense, captivating narrative, eye appealing costume design and heart pounding techno-style music by 5000AD made this an unforgettable experience. Floral Peroxide has once again returned to the Fringe for 2020 with some changes made to the performance. I attended the opening night on February 16, keen to see how these changes have changed the performance. Like 2019, Floral Peroxide is one of the must-see Fringe shows.
Floral Peroxide is a deeply personal story of poet and performer Alison Paradoxx’s struggles with her numerous disabilities throughout her life. The narrative speaks of the societal desire to “fix” the broken self and the paradoxes of disability. This is portrayed through spoken word poetry, interpretative dance and stunning voice-over visuals.
One of the main changes to Floral Peroxide from last year is the venue. This year, it is being held inside the Nexus Arts Centre, in comparison to the outdoor setting of Libertine by Louis. This change to an interior venue enhanced the audio and lighting experience. I could feel the beating of the heart beats deeper within my chest and the ear shrieking sound of flatline more so than last year.
The revamped performance brought more life and awe to Floral Peroxide. Alison’s dance in the beginning, as she crawls to the wheelchair, while her story was told on screen was more impactful during this performance. Her addition of a scene detailing some of the potential side-effects of her medication made me uncertain if I should laugh or be horrified. Same can be said when Alison speaks of “men in business suits” who try to define one with a disability. It is confronting to hear, yet, I couldn’t help but laugh when she mentioned these had the scent of a particular aftershave. It adds humour to an otherwise terrifying reality.
Some minor changes were made to the costumes which helped enhance Alison’s performance further through their confronting, yet beautiful designs. One of the greatest changes to the costume is Alison’s hair, which is red this year rather than blue. There was beautiful contrast with her hair and the white dress worn in the final scene.
Like last year, I am struggling for words to further describe Floral Peroxide. It is such a powerful and confronting experience which I cannot find the right words for. For someone with a disability myself, this show is so empowering and speaks to me in a way few Fringe shows in the past have. I guess this is down to the main takeaway of the show: to not let outdated societal norms define you.
Alison Paradoxx Presents Floral Peroxide is unlike other Fringe shows I have seen over the years. This is a beautifully crafted performance from start to finish. It is shows like this which is a reason why the Fringe is such an important event for South Australian artists. This is one show that you cannot afford to miss.
Copies of Alison’s poetry book Subtitled Radiology and the Spitting Teeth anthology are available to buy for $7 and $20 respectively too. For more information on Alison Paradoxx, you can read our 2019 feature here.
5 / 5 stars
Words by Cameron Lowe
Floral Peroxide will be shown again on February 25 and March 11
For more information and to purchase tickets please click here.