Alice is the name and anger is the game in Malice, a refreshingly cross look at what it’s like to be a young woman today. Malice features star performer Alice Tovey and her accompanist, wide-eyed Ned Dixon in a musical extravaganza sure to have you nodding along to both the catchy tunes and the dozens of truth bombs.
Tovey has a big voice and a personality to match, and her onstage confidence is refreshing to watch. She candidly airs her grievances about modern society, whether it’s the emphasis placed on female appearance or the hypocrisy of the anti-vaccination movement. It’s invigorating to see a young woman get fired up at the injustices of the world around her, instead of beaten down by them. Toward the end of the show Tovey suddenly changes tone and sings a heartfelt ballad about how people should feel comfortable in their own bodies. The story that accompanies this song is clearly very personal to Tovey, and the soft, quiet moment has a deeper impact because of its contrast to the earlier material.
Tovey is joined by her partner-in-crime, whose sweet presence perfectly complements the cynical tone of the show. Dixon (who, Tovey points out to us, is only 20 years old) is an incredibly gifted musician, flawlessly delivering accompaniment in the show’s many musical numbers. The striking part of Dixon’s performance is the passion that reads in his face and his body as his fingers dance across the piano. In the rare moments that you manage to pull your attention away from Tovey you will see Dixon close his eyes and feeling his way through the music, open and unapologetically genuine. Much of the charm of this show comes from Dixon and Tovey’s interactions. Their parts are clearly written and rehearsed, however their friendship and camaraderie shine through and endear the audience to both performers.
Malice is a strong show, though not without a few small issues, mostly regarding its disjointed structure. Each story and song was tied loosely to the overarching theme, however segues between them were a little clunky, and the ending was a little anti-climactic. The humour also requires a few small tweaks to enhance its strengths. The lyrics were very clever and the references certainly provide plenty of giggles, however it could do with a few more heavy-hitting jokes; the kind where the audiences can’t stop laughing, where they get tears in their eyes. The show is already very entertaining, and this comedy duo is set to do great things. With just a few minor enhancements Tovey and Dixon will be a force to be reckoned with.