Evelyn Evelyn @ The Spiegeltent
7:00pm, Wed 2 Mar 2011
Right – this post needs a real big disclaimer up top: prior to this show (and the subsequent AFP “Fringa” gig at TuxCat), I knew precious little of Amanda Palmer… apart from the fact that her fan-base is what I’d charitably call rabid. And it felt like everyone else in The Spiegeltent for this show was the complete opposite of me. I was, quite painfully, a fish out of water.
Evelyn Evelyn is the performance name of dicephalus conjoined twins Eva and Lynn Neville. There’s a rather elaborate “history” of the twins on AFP’s blog, but suffice to say that Evelyn Evelyn is a side-project of Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley. They appear together side-by-side, constrained by their homely looking conjoined-twin-friendly dress, their identical makeup and wigs making Webley’s Evelyn look like a careless transvestite. Their first song is mildly amusing as they sit at the piano, Palmer’s right hand and Webley’s left playing half the notes each.
Their second song saw Palmer’s Evelyn going one-armed-apeshit on the drums, Webley struggling to play accordian. Later efforts saw the two Evelyns play a single ukelele and guitar, Palmer strumming whilst Webley played the frets (and a mystery third hand appearing from within the dress to support the instrument). And that’s a pretty neat trick to pull off, with the “twins” playing up the absurdity of the situation. But – coy looks from the performers aside – I wasn’t really getting into it… the music wasn’t engaging me, and a few quality moments of meta-performance weren’t really sufficient to placate my rising dissatisfaction.
Sxip Shirey (I think) occasionally appeared as Evelyn Evelyn‘s manager, calming them with Twix and organising the Chalice of Knowledge – a real change-up for the show, as Palmer and Webley answer audience questions by alternating words. This segment owed more to comic timing and quick thinking than music, of course, but remained the highlight of the performance for me, as the Evelyns cracked themselves up as they tried to box each other into wordy corners.
But, to be honest, I probably gleaned more healthy entertainment out of this blog post (and its subsequent comments) than the Evelyn Evelyn performance itself. The humorous asides – the Chalice, the manager, the stage crew – were great, but the core premise and performance just didn’t work for me. But, as I said at the top, I was most certainly in the minority; the audience was chock-full of people who watched the entire show through the viewfinder of their cameras, including the woman sitting just in front of me… always the shutter noise, and the screaming at the end of the show! Mercy.