Notorious is a solo show, a one woman personal exposé. A full frontal storytelling hour within an Alcoholics Anonymous frame and a whole lot of circus colour.
Jess Love is a wild woman, a circus schooled committed entertainer, who bathes her veteran circus talents in irony, and brandishes her stark naked body like a broken bottle.
Love has done some family tree research and found a distant relative who was equally wild, if not more so. A real badass, always in trouble in a time when a girl simply couldn't do that. Back in Tasmania.
Love's own story, as she reveals it, is quite the affair, with her family all good Christians, and she as the black sheep running off to the circus. A life on the road, with alcohol and drugs and endless partying, and being out of control.
In the show, there's tea and biscuits, bingo, and plenty of sharing. It is the AA after all, though Love does admit that her hosting and presenting is unusual. We read together some excerpts of the AA code. Love shows us what she can do: splits, trapeze, rings and bottle walk, even sleight of hand. All a drunken act, hopefully faux, but convincing indeed. Can't help thinking of Inifinite Jest and "Hang In! Keep Coming!"
Love dances the fine line between real and performance, and manages to find some interesting footing, but there still seems to be quite a bit of deliberate show. Fascinating, but also calculated and cold. It doesn't quite hang together. But Love is a true carny.
Notorious is a self-conscious circus act trying to break free. Part of that continuum of origin stories and pushing the genre. A Logan for veteran circus stars.