Lockdown review: Lil Miss Lady

HighriseTheatre’s 2018 production of Lil Miss Lady was recorded at Walthamstow and is streamed as part of a night-long immersive event on Zoom.

The position of women in the DJ space, specifically in Black-led culture (grime, jungle, garage) is an interesting one, and this is where Dominic Garland’s play really makes its mark.

For the first half an hour, a club atmosphere is evoked for the folks at home utilising sets by DJ Harmony and DJ Rat, with DJ Kaylee Kay. Audience members are invited to dress down, dance, and ‘mingle’ (using the chat function).

It was an interesting start but would probably have most value to those already immersed in the scene of 1999-2002, or given a bit of supplementary context.

Images from the production of Lil Miss Lady
Images from the production of Lil Miss Lady

I found it intriguing that although a woman DJ was crafting her set, the ‘MC’ role was filled by a man. For me, I would have liked to have seen a female-led intro to pull us into the eventual story. After all, we are celebrating the real stories of women in that space.

The story of Lil Miss Lady is one of ambition, male misdirection and coercion, and eventual triumph. Lady Lykez is a consummate rapper and a powerhouse personality who shines through the show with her energy, attitude and skill across the genres she works in.

Part rave, part drama, Lil Miss Lady is really an experience for a live audience to dive into. Having a dance in your living room watching a computer screen isn’t quite the same, however well-intentioned, although those captured on the remote cam seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Screencap from the pre-show with DJ Kaylee Kay
Screencap from the pre-show with DJ Kaylee Kay

The best part of engaging via Zoom with shows across the spectrum is engaging with material outside of the norm. Heading out of my comfort zone (audience participation is getting easier, but still feels weird).

I had already experienced an immersive story (albeit of a young Black man) when I saw The Canary and the Crow earlier in the year, also a collaboration between theatre and music. I found Lil Miss Lady to be a fine complementary piece but over the internet it didn’t pull me into the action or atmosphere in the same way.

The evening ended in full party mode bringing all those from the film onto the stage including Blanka and Lil Miss Lady herself. Again, it was inspired but we all long for the days we can burst out of our bubbles and get sweaty and close to those near us again.

You can find out more about Kaylee Kay and Lady Lykez on their social media pages. Lil Miss Lady streamed for one night only on 23 October as part of the Black Gold Arts Festival in collaboration with Contact Manchester.

LouReviews received a complimentary ticket to review Lil Miss Lady.

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