One Bite Smile
In the intimate space of the Brisbane Powerhouse’s Graffiti Room, Miss Zella Shear brings operatic absurdity to Wonderland Festival.
Zella Shear presents her show Bite Me But Smile as part of Wonderland Festival 2019, with a jubilant mixture of classical opera, absurdist and relatable humour, audience participation in extremes and an absolutely undeniable heartfelt sincerity.
Zella presents a mixed buffet of herself to the audience, in moments quite depressingly relatable and others incredibly uplifting, all the while injecting very genuine humour throughout.
The show follows a loosely structured narrative of Zella’s unending quest to find a man, or happiness (or at the very least a less nagging kebab), and features numerous songs ranging from one particular pop song to a number of classical opera pieces with a little extra spice added to keep things interesting, with a sly wink to the cabaret art form and nature of Wonderland Festival.
A particularly pleasing moment of the show revolves around Zella’s absolutely adorable dog and doesn’t feel out of place within the show at all, between the serenading of an audience member in German and singing love songs to battery-powered marital aids.
Bite Me But Smile is an interesting show, to say the least, with moments feeling more suited to less intimate space and needing more spectacle to align with how big and bombastic these moments feel, but alongside these moments are smaller and closer moments that the show could not do without.
Zella’s voice, for example, is huge, and powerful and much too great a force for the cramped room that it plays within but the necessity of audience interaction to the show would not play as well in perhaps a larger arena.
Despite this, the show is a great piece of not-too-serious, genuinely human theatre. All in all, Bite Me But Smile is equal parts sexy, silly and sincere, and a genuine delight to enjoy at this year’s Wonderland Festival.