Written and directed by meatball, Yes, Venus, I Am is a cartoonish, anti-capitalist pantomime. Set in a factory, it pits the only female worker—the quirky and assertive Venus (Lila Bata-Walse)—against a clique of gullible men who are exploited by The Manager (Gabrielle Anna Houle), a dim-witted tyrant.
The Chorus of Men on the assembly line (Maxen Jack-Monroe, Sayntana Perera, and Philip Sawaia) are buffoons, a bizarro Greek Chorus in Freemason-esque robes and Groucho Marks masks. Speaking in unison, they obsess over their penises as unifying appendages.
Jack-Monroe doubles as a drag queen named Working Lass, who recruits Venus into a union, inspiring her to help overthrow their despotic leader and open her up to new forms of gender expression. Venus discovers an alter-ego, Mercury—a cool, confident man ready to dismantle patriarchal capitalism.
The show is rough around the edges and frequently quite awkward, but this scrappy troupe are enthusiastic and committed. A contagious sense of play pulls them and the audience through.
I was fan of the crude looking props, specifically those factory working tools—floppy, two-dimensional cut-outs that sell the intended goofy, fun-house reality. And the actual product they are manufacturing is hilariously abstract. I was also delighted by the over-the-top, violent finale that feels mischievously anarchic.
Yes, Venus, I Am is not gonna be everyone’s jam. It can be a little cringe. But if you’re down for outlandish, clumsily political, uncomfortably sincere working class revenge epics: this could fit the bill.