There’s no denying how provocative an artist Peaches is. Born Merrill Nisker, the artist now known as Peaches has released five albums of sex-positive electro-bangers and punk rock, with songs including ‘Boys Wanna Be Her’ and ‘Fuck The Pain Away’.
Alongside touring ‘Rub’ across Australia, Peaches will also perform ‘Peaches Christ Superstar’ at Tasmania’s MOFO Festival. “['Peaches Christ Superstar'] is actually me performing ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, the rock opera, as a one-woman show, with me singing all the songs and all the parts myself,” the Canadian-born artist explains.
Peaches began performing the show in 2010, when the Hebbel Am Ufer Theatre in her home-base of Berlin contacted her about doing a show. “They contacted me, and they wanted me to do a production. I don’t know how it flew out of my mouth, but I said I wanted to do [‘Jesus Christ Superstar’] as a one-woman show.”
The original musical, created by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice in 1970, tells the story of the final week of Jesus’ life entirely through rock songs. Peaches describes her take on the musical as: “more like performance art, an endurance piece, and a vocal challenge.”
For an artist as raunchy and sexually-open as Peaches, it could be easy to interpret ‘Peaches Christ Superstar’ as an ironic work performed to provoke audiences. However, any trace of irony is wiped away in the performance, with Peaches having a genuine love for the musical. “I’m playing it very true to what it is. I’m not trying to comment on it. There’s a lot of incredible emotion in it. I see it as a totally secular: I’m not interested in the religious aspects at all.
“I’m interested in the human story, and the passion, and the presentation of emotion. I used to sing it in my bedroom when I was 15. I think [I loved it] because there were such vocal gymnastics and passion, which are the same things I still like about it.”
In her approach to the show, Peaches will be stripping away the elaborate costumes and sets, bombastic orchestra and large cast. ‘Peaches Christ Superstar’ will see Peaches joined by a pianist as she sings all of the songs; changing her voice and physicality in order to play the different characters.
It may seem odd for a singer whose own, high-energy live shows see her having multiple costume changes and leaping into the audience, but Peaches sees this show as a return to her roots. “I did go to university to become a theatre director. I set the goal for myself to make cool musicals, which isn’t a popular choice in theatre when you’re trying to do serious art.
“I got accepted into a small directing programme. I did it for a year, but then dropped out because I realised if I continued in theatre I would have probably had a heart attack by the time I was 30, having to work with bureaucracies, and actors, and scene directors, and blah blah blah. So, I organically found music where I could be my own director, writer, and performer, and have much more freedom and immediacy with an audience.”
Even though the show sees a return to her theatrical roots, Peaches doesn’t see it as too different to what will surely be chaotic performances, like the ones in support of her latest collection of electro-pop bangers ‘Rub’.
While Peaches says the show does surprise fans “because a lot of people don’t realise I can sing like that, and that I’m staying in the one place. But, it’s still captivating in a whole different way that’s still Peaches-related.”
Peaches Christ Superstar plays as part of Mona Foma at Theatre Royal (Hobart) on 19 January, 2017.
Peaches Rub Tour DatesFri 9 Dec - The Metro (Sydney)
Sat 10 Dec - Meredith Music Festival
Sun 11 Dec - 170 Russell (Melbourne)
Tue 13 Dec - 170 Russell (Melbourne)
Thu 15 Dec - The Tivoli (Brisbane)
Wed 28 Dec - The Gov (Adelaide)