Extremely successful, vivacious, and proud cabaret artist, Tash York, takes to the stage to perform her 72nd show of Adulting, as part of the 2019 Melbourne Comedy Festival.
I recently saw Tash perform at the Butterfly Club, in one of her other thriving one-woman shows, Badass. Needless to say, I knew what I was getting myself into,so I made sure to come ‘three glasses of wine style’ prepared for another night of personal, provocative, and passionate storytelling.
The Pussycat Doll’s ‘When I Grow Up’ saw Tash’s patrons sashay into the ‘Music Room at Trades Hall’ with style. Not only was this song choice lyrically perfect to set up the show’s content, but it also established the energy of her crowd; ramping us up for a pop-filled night of belting and satire.
Despite the small Monday night audience of about 15, Tash planted herself on stage with the utmost confidence, donning all black, big silver hoops, even bigger hair, and shiny patented heels. With an aesthetic that screamed 21st century warrior woman, her powerhouse mezzo soprano vocals were established during the first song, “I’m a Survivor” (which became, “I’m so Entitled,”) poking fun of the seemingly self-entitled nature of Millennials.
Tash’s ability to parody songs and keep them relatable is impressive. What aids her to do so lies within the structure of her dialogue in between songs. Keeping everything fast-paced, relatable (yes, everything I own is from K-Mart too Tash!), audience-centric, with some vamping underneath by her oh-so-talented pianist (Tim Solly) allowed Adulting to run smoothly, quickly, and left us wanting more. Tim provided just the right amount of support, without shying away from the spotlight, nor stealing it from Tash.
We all need a Tim in our lives.
Tash took us through lyrical limericks that would impress even the Shakiest of Shakespeare’s. When referring to the ways in which we sugar-coat the realities of life for our kids, Tash re-imagines children’s nursery rhymes so that they include the truths of the world. For example, “Georgie Porgy puddin’ and pie kissed the girls and made them cry” ended with “…Georgie Porgy went to jail because that’s sexual assault kids.” This inevitably gets a laugh as everyone can reflect upon their glorious childhood innocence, and laugh at the irony from their less-than-ignorant adult selves. Not only does Tash find ways to connect notable themes with personal circumstance, but she also engages with the audience by bringing in her improv experience from Impromptunes.
During this section of the show, Tash let herself stumble on some of her improvised words, admitting, “I’m not going to try and rhyme with that,” only adding to her endearing, honest candour.
Some of my favourite moments throughout the show include Tash’s hilarious one-liners about periods and expensive babies, her will to climb clumsily into a sleeping bag on stage (for comedic effect, no less) so that she could proceed to ‘masturbate’ whilst singing ‘Here I go Again’ by Whitesnake, and her incredible dedication to drinking red wine – so much so that she took a generous sip in between songs.
My only qualm with the show’s presentation was the use of blackouts, which could have been done without and would have allowed the scenes to transition more smoothly. Oh! And also that someone should really donate Tash a mirror ball so that she doesn’t have to narrate its presence – albeit a humorous reminder of her modest budget.
In saying this, I found myself slightly distracted by the high school music room-styled venue. Somewhere like the Butterfly Club, Max Watt’s, or The Toff would be better suited for this calibre of show. Lighting and set-wise, it’s hard to give a complete review, as I have to acknowledge the lack of facility.
Despite this, Tash’s work remained strong, and allowing herself to be vulnerable humanised her comedy further. The more relatable she became, the easier it was for Tash to have us wrapped around her little finger. A great example of this is when she referred to the vast difference in socially acceptable choices that Millennials possess in comparison to previous generations (particularly in reference to abortion.) The gratitude that she shared for her mother allowed me to acknowledge gratitude for my own mother, and amongst the laughs, I was able to connect to something deeper – evidence that Tash’s storytelling dynamics are the workings of a true, well-rounded artist.