MIXTAPE: Rhianne Bowes | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Words: Rhianne Bowes

I’m a theatre maker and cabaret artist based in the North East making work under the alias Mama Rhi. I make predominantly feminist lip sync and burlesque performance that delves into themes surrounding body positivity, female sexuality and joyous celebrations of love. My work is rebellious and mischievous with a wicked sense of humour. I regularly perform at The BonBon’s Cabaret at Alphabetti Theatre. I am previewing my very own solo show, Mama Rhi’s Lady Garden, at Northern Stage, Newcastle on Wednesday 6th November; performed by myself and directed by Caroline Liversidge, Mama Rhi’s Lady Garden is a one-woman cabaret show which explores the societal pressures surrounding sex and virginity, the show will be a celebration of taking control of one’s own body, empowering audiences to champion their own sexuality. Mama Rhi will do everything; she is the compere, the acts and the house band. She will be pruning, trimming and uprooting all things sex, so I suggest not inviting the vicar. 

Janelle Monae – Screwed
Janelle Monae has a great song called Screwed which encapsulates the societal view on sex and how it is used as a release to cope with the world blowing up around us; we may not be able to control the world but we do get to make the decisions about our own bodies. 

Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On
It would be wrong of me not to mention the sexiest song to exist, in my opinion, which is Let’s Get It On by Marvin Gaye. It just has a magic power, you hear the first few seconds of the music and you’re hooked. It doesn’t matter how undirty your mind is, you hear this song, you think about sex. 

MXYM – Heaven
The sound designer of the show, MXYM, has a beautiful song called Heaven which I think expresses the emotions in the show quite well. It has all the references of a garden, which is quite fitting due to the show itself being set in Mama Rhi’s very own lady garden. 

The Runaways – Cherry Bomb
Cherry Bomb by The Runaways has the strong punk F*** You message that the art of cabaret has. Cabaret is the art of celebrating the odd and making comments on society. Just like this song, cabaret is a release from the stress and power that surrounds us. 

Meatloaf – Paradise By The Dashboard Light
Paradise By The Dashboard Light by Meatloaf really expresses the pressure put on us by society. Throughout history it has been suggested that making love is a sacred act; but everyone has a different opinion, we make our own decisions and that’s how it should be. 

P!nk – Slut Like You
This track holds a connection to the initial inspiration to make my show; there is a veil of taboo surrounding sex and virginity. People seem to think this is a very black and white subject, labelling people as they see fit, they consider you a slut or a nun, there seems to be no in-between. 

The Shirelles – Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow discusses the loss of virginity and the worry and anxiety surrounding the thought that once you’ve had sex with someone they won’t love you anymore.  When we are young, there is so much pressure surrounding the loss of your virginity in ‘the right way’, but what is the right way?

Etta James – I Just Want To Make Love To You
It’s another one of those songs that just has a special power; it makes you feel good about yourself which results in allowing you to be vulnerable and share yourself with another person.

Lionel Richie – All Night Long
In the show we discuss what is sexy, what makes us feel sexy. One thing that makes me feel this is when I dance, and Lionel Richie’s All Night Long is a song that never fails to get me on the dance floor. 


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