The Ruby Red Fatales
Review by Lara Fox
The Ruby Red Fatales is written and directed by Heather Jerrems, stars fellow university students, and features music by WAAPA student Alex Turner. It is half cabaret, half comedy and also live jazz performance. As much as it indulges in self-deprecation, cheesy gags and triviality, it also touches upon significant undertones around sexuality, gender roles, objectification of women and the senselessness of violence.
The show is a nod to the juxtaposition between the powerless role women were expected and believed to have assumed during World War II and the many women who risked their lives to help their country.
The Ruby Red Fatales is the story of a group of sexed-up show girl-snipers, who are tasked with infiltrating and murdering key Nazi operatives. The pastiche sexiness, the dumbing-down of the soldiers, and the ironic dialogue ensure it stays satirical instead of delving into what is a huge mole on the face of humanity.
The story is set in Paris during World War II and begins with the Ruby Red Fatales recruiting a “narrow hipped,” disposable new show girl called Titties (Cindy Randall). Ruby (Sinead O’Hara), the abrasive leader of the Fatales, orders Titties to penetrate the Nazi’s camp and find out their top secrets, whilst berating her that the name of the game is killing Nazis, not falling in love.
Titties finds that the Nazis are not what she expected, and in a fun turn of events, Titties is tasked by the Germans to infiltrate the Ruby Red Fatales and find out their top secrets. And so the show, the twists and turns, and the slapstick humour go on.
Of course, in war, there are no lesser evils, and the play illustrates this nicely with it ending in character revelations and an overarching theme that, despite agency, people are all the same in that they are flawed by the universal languages of love, arousal and survival.
There are strong performances from all the actors, though they do seem hampered by sound quality. The character Klaus (Ryan Hunt) is a standout with his bellowing voice, stage presence and excellent German accent. The band is also impressive, playing superbly throughout and acting as the cornerstone for the show.
The dialogue is at times tacky and relies on too many cheap quips; some more cerebral writing would not have gone astray and would have driven home the zeitgeist social undertones. The sense of humour is not for everyone, though it seemed to please the majority of the audience, who were in roars of laughter throughout.
The Ruby Red Fatales is hugely spirited and delivers on its entertainment promises, but it is held back by production values and cramped staging (due to venue limitations) as well as confused direction, resulting in a haphazard quality which keeps the audience from truly being immersed. Nevertheless, it is a sexy, uproarious, and accessible piece of theatre which would please those in the mood for an easy laugh.
The Ruby Red Fatales runs until 18 Feb at Noodle Palace. For more information and tickets, visit the Fringe World website here.