mon 16/05/2022

Andrew Logan’s Alternative Miss World, Globe Theatre | reviews, news & interviews

Andrew Logan’s Alternative Miss World, Globe Theatre

Andrew Logan’s Alternative Miss World, Globe Theatre

The delightfully shambolic talent show that's become a national treasure

Miss Enigma opens her fan to win second prize Photos: Bradley Felstead

On Saturday at Shakespeare’s Globe, the Alternative Miss World was staged for the 13th time. Having launched this gloriously tacky event in his Hackney studio in 1972, artist Andrew Logan promises to carry on the tradition until the day he dies; but it’s last showing – at the Roundhouse five years ago – nearly bankrupted him.

This time round, crowd funding has helped solve the problem.

Not surprisingly the theme was numbers, though Logan insists: “not the dull, monochrome numbers of finance, but oversaturated, excessive neon numbers, brimming with energy and potential, just like the Alternative Miss World.”  The chosen colours were acid yellow, shocking pink, luminous orange and effervescent green; “the brightest bits of the spectrum,” explains Logan (pictured below left). “If everyone dresses in neon tonight, its going to look rather like a construction worker’s symposium.”

As master of ceremonies, he descended from the heavens perched on a hula hoop (representing zero), looking eternally youthful in his customary dual outfit – part yellow boiler suit, part frock with myriad tulle flounces designed by Zandra Rhodes, who was also one of the judges alongside other luminaries like Molly Parkin, Libby Purves and Fenella Fielding. 

Logan was joined by Grayson Perry, the artist as famous for flamboyant cross-dressing as for winning the Turner Prize. He wore three different outfits – a clown-like, honeycombe onesie; a voluminous, feathery cloak over yellow shorts and a puffball cape over pink shorts that made him look like a frothy Humpty Dumpty. 

Men dressing as women was de rigueur at Shakespeare’s Globe, so it was the perfect setting for a pageant that is all about shape-shifting, gender-bending showing off. Perry was not the only one in danger of out-glamming the contestants; those standing in the yard had ample opportunity to show off costumes often with Elizabethan touches, such as spiky, peacock collars.

Over this spooky sheath, she wore glorious inflatable concoctions

Competing for Logan’s crown jewels, 16 contestants donned daywear, swimwear and evening dress. Entries fell into two camps – those vamping it up and those with a more conceptual bent, like Miss Marina Psychopomp of the Counter-Intuitive-Homeostasis – artists Christine and Jennifer Binnie doing a piss-take on Marina Abramovič, doyen of performance art. Daywear consisted of T-shirts and trousers; swimwear meant skinny dipping while holding up a mirror to reflect the audience’s psyche; and evening dress was a figment of the imagination – T-shirts and trousers painted onto bare flesh. They promised, if they won, to requisition the Globe for daily group therapy meetings, a reference to Abramovic’s recent Serpentine Show.

Costumes were restricted in size to 9ft tall and 7ft wide, which didn’t stop Miss Nether Regions (Stefan Leenaars) from wearing a chandelier on her head, while posing as the centrepiece of a dinner table laid with full silver service. The poodle accompanying her was a naked man decked in purple pom-poms, but neither he nor her promise to perform sexual favours for everyone in the audience were enough to win the crown.

Miss Zero + (Sasha Frolova), with Andrew Logan and Grayson PerryThird prize went to Miss Pi Paulus – Russian performance artist, Andrey Bartenev dressed in various inflatable outfits, including a giant octopus and a spiky green monster accompanied by an orange pooch. Runner-up was Miss Enigma (artist Edwina Orr) who, dressed in a white gown and sparkling head-dress, formed the spine of a giant fan patterned with seams of coloured light.

The winner was Miss Zero +, Sasha Frolova, (pictured right, with Andrew Logan and Grayson Perry) another Russian performance artist, who came encased from head to toe in a black and white latex body topped by a black or white mask and inflated waves of white latex “hair”. Over this spooky sheath, she wore glorious inflatable concoctions, such as a skirt of writhing blue tentacles and a collection of silver rings. 

Hanging by her long black hair, the reigning queen, Miss Fancy Chance descended from on high bearing the crown for Logan to balance on top of Miss Zero +’s latex coils. It made a fittingly surreal end to a delightfully shambolic event that, with the glitziness of competitions like Strictly... and Britain’s Got Talent seems ever more important for its chaotic exuberance and anarchic goodwill. Long may it reign as a crowning event in the performance calendar.

It was the perfect setting for a pageant that is all about shape-shifting, gender-bending showing off


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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