“…a performer with a throbbing, roof raising energy” – Fringe Guru, Brighton Fringe 2013 ***** Read full review here
Jewel is entering a beauty pageant. If she doesn’t win, she’s gonna be upset…
Jewel was Claudia’s first solo theatre show, which toured to Brighton and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals in 2013 and was programmed by Battersea Arts Centre for their New To Edinburgh preview scheme.
Jewel was a grotesque comedy that she was inspired to make after idly flipping about on youtube when day and coming across Reality TV show Toddlers and Tiaras, which documents the US phenomenon of child beauty pageants. She became fascinated by the hideousness of it all: the garish costumes, the weird regimental movements and ‘walks’ (being performed by people too young to understanding what they were supposed to emanate)…the cruel, narcissistic (and often jealous) parents…. But, most of all, the extreme culture of performing femininity.
Jewel depicted three generations of one family, who were competing against one another for the top prize in a tacky regional beauty pageant. The youngest of which was named Jewel, followed by her mother, Pearl and grandmother, Diamond, with Pearl as the cruel and deluded villain of the piece. They were creatures not quite of this world, with their ridiculous make up and multiple sets of eyebrows. There was also a fourth character – a “prawn” – who wore a pink balaclava with attached wig and pink body sack. The Prawn represented the absurdity of the beauty pageant world and the damaging ideology that surrounds it, which she found was seldom addressed in the reality shows.
“A bizarre and dreamlike piece, Jewel trod the line between live art and theatre.” – LANCASHIRE TELEGRAPH.
“The portrayal of this culture through the lens of performer/writer, Claudia Jeffries…was just downright fascinating and pretty close to the mark.” – FACELESS MAGAZINE
Jewel was nominated for a Fringe Guru One To Watch award following it’s debut at Brighton Fringe 2013.
Reviews and Interviews
Creative team: Performed and produced by Claudia Jefferies.
Costumes by Lucy Foakes.
Music composed and arranged by Elliott Hall and Claudia Jefferies.
Show photographer: Jemima Yong
With special thanks to Tuan Ly and Rebecca Walker.
Photo at top of page by Elliott Hall