Juniper Rising kicks off with a ‘news broadcast’ on a large screen, reporting that Juniper Wilde “may have risen from the dead and is on the move”.
We’re also informed via this clip that her fans – referred to as “Wildelings” throughout – are hosting a “resurrection party” in Melbourne tonight, which we suspect this audience is about to gain access to.
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Backstory: Juniper Wilde (aka “The High Priestess Of Pop”) was found dead in her bathtub; suspected death by suicide. Then there was a funeral and burial of sorts, so most of the action takes place in the afterlife/purgatory.
Alex Hines – whose alter-ego is Juniper Wilde – is most definitely a triple threat who nails every count of her energetic song-and-dance routines and comes in hot with the intense eye contact if you’re close to the front. She studied improv in LA, which feeds into her creative choices and ease on stage. Original songs are performed and interspersed between monologues throughout, as we’re treated to Wilde’s latest “soul-suckingly sick beats”.
A “Hell Express” safety procedure briefing video plays out on the screen (“Be sure to keep your hands and hooves inside the canoe”) prior to navigating the River of Lost Souls. Rejected by Heaven, Juniper is Hellbound. And here she makes a deal with the devil – at one point Hines plays both Juniper and Lucifer – to return to Earth. But at what cost?
Directed by Sarah Stafford, Juniper Rising illustrates the cost of being a celebrity and living under the microscope – the deal with the devil, if you will. This alter-ego was developed pre-TikTok, but probably resonates more with each passing day.
Best bit: The way she slithers along the floor like a lizard, super-fast and demonic, towards targeted audience members – wow factor, but also kinda terrifying in a way that reminds us how thrilling IRL live experiences can be.
Sample lyrics: “Let the power of my cunt propel you.”
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