Binge Fringe Magazine

REVIEW: Bisexual Intellectuals, Jemma Allen, Millicent Sarre, Rosie Russell, Adelaide Fringe 2024 ★★★★★

Bisexual Intellectuals is a sixty-minute cabaret that passes in the blink of an eye. The bisexual intellectuals themselves, Jemma Allen, Millicent Sarre and Rosie Russell, are a queer strobe-light; illuminating the bisexual experience and encouraging those in their beam to shine.

Queer joy. It’s a phrase I’d heard, and if pushed could probably have given an accurate definition. I’d have said something like take pride in and celebrating the state of queerness. Technically correct, but an answer utterly devoid of energy. By contrast Bisexual Intellectuals is a submersion in queer joy. Through the songs, dancing and musings of Jemma, Millicent and Rosie, I was made to understand queer joy as a feeling, a sensation, a party that I have been missing out on.

Joy was always divorced from the topics of queerness and sexuality when I was in school. First you were taught of the obstacles, difficulties and discrimination that came hand in hand with a queer identity. Then maybe, if you were lucky, someone told you to live freely according to your own sexual compass. But by that point, you were so riddled by fear that allowing the compass to stray from anything but the opposite gender seemed like a dangerous and bad idea.

From start to finish Bisexual Intellectuals advocates for fearlessness and fun. Personal stories and social critique are packaged into punchy musical numbers, new definitions are created and stereotypes are hilariously unpicked. The result is radical: difference is emboldened yet no one is left feeling alone.

The subject matter of the Bisexual Intellectuals spans far and wide, from personal to political, with the occasional pit-stop at the wonderfully niche. There is a natural ebb and flow to their topics with themes feeding into one another and songs picking up where a conversation or self-deprecating gag left off. Rosie and Jemma’s tale of vaginismus leads neatly into conversations of asexuality which then manifests itself into a hilarious eurotrash club anthem. Another personal favourite was the Irish ballad dedicated to the phenomenon of the lesbian boyfriend. Performed with mock gravitas, yet beautifully lyrical, it is at once highly evocative and delightfully foolish.

Silly, sexy, and self-aware my hour with the Bisexual Intellectuals passed far too quickly. I’m left wanting an album release so I can listen on a loop to their lyrics; appreciating all the details I missed and committing to memory their most hilarious pearls of wisdom.

Recommended Drink: Mango Margarita – fun, fruity and full of kick.

Catch Bisexual Intellectuals until 25th of February. Tickets are available through the Adelaide Fringe Box Office.

Eilidh McKenzie

Eilidh is a writer, reader and avid watcher of film, television and theatre. She loves writing that blends comedy with darkness, and makes public the quirks of life and character that we've been taught to hide. She also aspires to be fluent in Spanish, but so far this has proved far harder than expected.

Festivals: Adelaide Fringe (2024)
Pronouns: She/Her