Review: Floral Peroxide

Floral Peroxide explores hospitalisation and its disembodying experience with declaration and style. Alison Paradoxx takes words and her audience captive through her eerie and compassionate performance of spoken word, theatre, and electronic music.

Alison Paradoxx | photo by Martin Christmas

5000AD welcomes the audience with eclectic soundscapes that set a tone of anticipation and discomfort. Paradoxx’s audience are invited into her live atmosphere of clinical discomfort complete with a clever autobiography in text format scrolling from a projector.

A frail figure is then introduced, edging to their wheelchair with difficulty and determination, before a movement-based interpretation of a frustrated inpatient encounter. Through striking costuming, by Angelique Joy, and wild makeup, Paradoxx entices the audience to explore the surreal feeling of losing autonomy over one’s body.

As the words juxtaposed in the show’s title suggest Floral Peroxide presents a view of life’s beauty, within the medical model, explored through a dynamic theatrical performance attributed to all who have experienced pain. All elements have been considered, with a notable intent to be accessible to all. Bookings are available for a tactile tour of the show and open captions, by Ian Gibbons, run throughout the performance. Clear character development and commitment to the severity of the explored issues is also evident throughout the ten scenes. Paradoxx enters crawling with weakness but leaves strident in a powerful gown worthy of her royal poetry works.

A particular highlight of this show was the scene exploring the metaphorical ‘cupboard of shame.’ Paradoxx used unique and poignant parallels and often strong phrases full of contrast that seeped with ease into one’s mind, in a truly cathartic ‘purging of emotions.’ Creative pictures such as ‘freshly squeezed cloud juice’ and the terrors of medication warning labels are witty and leave the audience with a sense of surprising hope and a new understanding for how society treats ‘brokenness’. The main critique is of the certain instrumental moments which swelled longer than necessary.

This is no ordinary one-woman poetry slam and audiences, particularly medical professionals and those in the ‘health’ sector, would do well to witness this exposé. This work is recommended for older audiences and comes with a trigger warning for its themes of disability, congenital disease, surgery, and anorexia. You can still catch Alison Paradoxx in Floral Peroxide at the Nexus Arts space for one more performance on 11 March.

Rating: ★★★★1/2
Reviewed performance: Tuesday 25 Feb 2020

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