Effeminacy and the dogs; Kelly by Lili Raubinek review

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[a Lili Raubinek review by Dorottya Albert]

A young, attractive lady in a red dress, wearing a blonde wig, welcomes the audience as they enter the theatre and choose a seat in the half-square surrounding the dance floor. A few noisy walking-barking toy dogs are circling around her, while she is dancing and teasing, at times even baffling the spectators. Who might have thought, that the little toys will mark the culmination of the character ’s deconstruction?

Lili Raubinek, the choreographer and performer of the solo piece Kelly takes on an adventurous journey among different personalities and characters; jumps in and out of different states and modalities of being, while throwing us back to, and reflecting on the initial ”blonde lady in a red dress.” The phases of her journey might be read as independent story-drops, but she does not fail to suggest the frame of a bigger story. In which, from state to state, fragment to fragment, we get a wider perspective on the lecherous lady’s transitions and demolition, although Raubinek does not create a traditional storyline based on cause and effect correlations.

Humor, creative and vigorous ideas, the will to transgress the conventional, as well as a great sense of kitsch aesthetic merge together, setting the performance. A bigfoot-like appearance, a lonely shepherd or a timid child singing an Italian song are some of the aspects highlighted on her way to become animalistic, a vivid dog toy restricted to a limited amount of movement possibilities.

All in one so naturally and instinctively, without any visible effort for compilation, still of a great dramaturgy. The blonde lady in the red dress does not come back at the end, only the noisy walking-barking toy dogs, but at this time, dozens of them. As the performer slightly disappears behind the curtain, we are left alone with the dogs barking at us, and the heap of impulses raised during the show. Who is Kelly? A person, a man or a woman, a collection of personalities, a failure of an autonomous character, a reflection on generation Y, a feminist voice, an attempt to discover the self?

Video by Fruzsina András.


Performer, choreographer: Lili Raubinek. Mentor: Csaba Molnár. Professional consultant: Tibor Boda. Music editor: Patrik Kelemen. Light: Kata Dézsi. 21/10/2018, MU Theatre, Budapest.

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