Tag: Ned Dixon

Review: Gender Euphoria

Flipping gender dysphoria on its head

By Ross Larkin

Never before have I known so little about what to expect from a show as I did entering the world of Gender Euphoria.

Part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival, I suspected perhaps an array of colour, a healthy dose of music and dance and certainly plenty of diversity. What I didn’t necessarily expect was to laugh raucously, be moved to tears more than once, and to feel utterly inspired and uplifted. 

Touted as Australia’s biggest line-up of Trans and gender-diverse performers, the ensemble of ten hail from multiple walks of life and all areas of the globe; and as diverse as they are, they most certainly all have one thing in common – talent. 

Director Maude Davey and musical director Ned Dixon bring a flamboyant and dazzling array of burlesque, song, dance, comedy, circus art and poetry, which are woven seamlessly together in a non-stop thrill ride of comedy, heartbreak and exhilaration. 

Mama Alto is not only the perfect charismatic hostess, but her voice is to die for and she had the audience in the palm of her hand with gorgeous interpretations of two classic songs by The Pretenders. 

Nikki Viveca and special guest from the UK, Krishna Istha, were also highlights, with their beautifully hilarious and poignant routines, as was the guest of all guests, Tiwi Islander Crystal Love, whose moving, yet uplifting segment had the crowd transfixed with awe and admiration. 

There’s no doubt about it, Gender Euphoria absolutely flips gender dysphoria on its head with charm, style and inspiration.

By the end, the packed house was on its feet cheering for more, and there was a sense that not only had we been part of something utterly moving and entertaining, we had also witnessed a groundbreaking and vitally significant and important piece of work.

If you’re able to somehow see this show, then do what you can to make it happen, as this is one event not to be missed. 

Gender Euphoria was part of the Arts Centre Spiegeltent Tent Melbourne International Arts Festival.

Photography courtesy of Alexis Desaulniers-Lea


Melbourne Fringe 2016: AWESOME OCEAN PARTY

Quaint, quirky and awash with gentle charm

By Myron My

We’ve all been invited to a party – an ocean party for our half-human half-octopus friend. Created and performed by Giema Contini, Awesome Ocean Party is a 60-minute cabaret-comedy-performance piece that explores loneliness and acceptance through the eyes (and three hearts) of this hybrid creature.

Awesome Ocean Party.jpg

Contini has great physicality on stage and fully conveys the awkwardness of her character that later reveals to us that it is her birthday whereupon the human side to her begins to surface. Her interactions with the audience are sweet and genuine and convey her longing to belong and be accepted.

While the original performance of the show was staged in an empty swimming pool, for this remount Contini has chosen to perform in The Butterfly Club. With its own quirky feel and some specific set pieces, you willingly believe that you are in some underwater/beach environment. The fish tank in the centre of the stage is a constant reminder of where she has come from and the seashell sandpit is utilised well as a place for her to feel safe and happy.

The highlight of Awesome Ocean Party is the biographical picture-story book Contini reads to the audience, from her birth to the death of her parents and then finding hope and strength. It’s a touching story and the illustrations in the book and the descriptive passages create some stunning visuals for us. The music composed by Nathan Stoneham and played by Ned Dixon support the story – and the performance as a whole – in creating a feeling of belonging and being connected.

Contini has a great voice and the timing and pacing of her songs is well structured to keep the momentum (and a bit of awkwardness) going. Songs like “Under The Sea” from The Little Mermaid and Andrew Gold’s “Thank You For Being A Friend” (which most people would recognise as The Golden Girls theme) express her sea-dwelling and land-dwelling aspirations and desires while also exploring the differences of her life.

There is a whimsical aspect to Awesome Ocean Party that makes you warm to Contini and the show almost immediately. It is uplifting and entertaining while encouraging you to remain true to yourself and your convictions, and believe that everything will turn out the way it should.

Awesome Ocean Party was performed as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival from 20 – 25 September, 2016.

REVIEW: Alice Tovey in MALICE

Singing it how it is

By Myron My

Alice Tovey has a lot to say about many things. Mainly it’s about things that frustrate her and anger her. Things like racism, anti-vaccine supporters and organised religion. In her 2015 Melbourne Fringe cabaret show MaliceTovey sings her way through these contentious issues with wit, charm, and no care if she is going to offend you or not.

Alice Tovey in MALICE

While she performs a number of brilliant songs, the highlight of the evening would have to be her loving tribute to “Today” show host Karl Stefanovic, in which Tovey shares her suffering from Stefano-sickness. “Disciple of Satan” is also a great song that is infused with Tovey’s sharp wit and humour.

Accompanying Tovey on piano is composer Ned Dixon, who plays with great energy and is a solid musical support to Tovey’s voice. The two have co-written these original songs, and between them there is a huge amount of talent.

Between their songs, Tovey shares some anecdotal stories with us while also making pointed remarks about the society in which we live, such as her commentary upon being told by a man that the feminist goal of equality is like the RSPCA only caring about sheep… The stories are well-constructed and adroitly told, and along with Tovey’s easy humour, I could easily have sat there and listened to her recall these experiences for far longer.

However, it’s not all jokes and jibes in this 60-minute show, as shown when Tovey dedicates a song to a friend’s recent diagnosis with an eating disorder. It’s a touching moment that is sung from the heart and a reminder that we all need to be kinder to ourselves.

Great songs, clever lyrics and humourous and heart-felt stories are in abundance with Malice. Tovey’s naturally charming stage presence is a crowd-pleaser and rightfully so. Despite the seriousness or dryness of the topics Tovey takes on, you are guaranteed to walk out of Malice with a smile on your face.

Venue: Fringe Hub, The Lithuanian Club, 44 Errol St, North Melbourne, 3051

Season: Until 3 October | Tues-Sat 10.15pm, Sun 9.15pm

Tickets:$23 Full | $18 Conc | Cheap Tuesday

Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival