One woman. One vision. One stage.
One hell of a performance.
Premiering at The Alex Theatre, St Kilda in a three-night season, The Voices of Tali’s opening night was a performance that can only be described as bringing the house down.
Written and performed by Tali Brash, The Voices of Tali is an autobiographical one woman show centred around the inner thoughts of the individual mind and how they affect our day to day lives, impacting our dreams, goals, and aspirations – and ultimately making the decision to either sink or to swim. Focusing on her journey of self discovery from childhood to present day, Brash performs interpretations of her own inner highs and lows, her angels and demons. Realistic, comedic, confronting, humble, and honest, these interpretations were represented by ordinary characters; Yentl ( a grandmotherly figure representing love and guidance), Little Lisa (representing the inner child), Mia (self loathing), Yoni (ethics, culture, duties), Broadway Brash (aspirations and dreams), Gail the accountant (self belief and self choices), and of course, the rawest of them all, Brash herself.
The 16th Street trained actress is no stranger to the stage. A triple threat, her training and commitment to her craft is evident as she hands over her vulnerability to the stage and the audience in this sixty minute captivating work of art. From the word go, Brash’s story telling , comedic timing, and overall delivery had the audience eating out of her palm. Whether the audience were in fits of laughter from Yitish definitions, Gail’s constant introductions, stories of thrush, or in complete awe from interpretive dance pieces (representing darkness, acceptance, and overall freedom), this actress demanded the audience’s attention in the most simple way – by being herself.
Direction and stage management was seamless, as Brash not only owned each voice, but the art of stage management, stage presence, and audience interaction.
Costuming went hand in hand with directing as each voice had a different outfit. These pieces were stylish, simplistic, and the audience got the feeling that they were personal items linking the history of each period. The purpose of each item symbolised the diverse elements that make up that one performer.
Musical direction by the always-professional Philip Setton was exactly that. As an MD, Setton is sharp, crisp, and a man that is all about the diction. It’s no wonder he is Guild nominated.
Sound was brilliant, and it wasn’t till half way through that this reviewer realised the lead had chosen not to wear a microphone: a ballsy move for any performer, but her projection when story telling was faultless. At times when Brash was singing as herself, there were moments when it appeared her confidence may have slipped, but when it came to being a character vocalist, she was a powerhouse. Her rendition of “Songbird” as Little Lisa had me in tears and I wasn’t the only one. It was an incredibly emotional moment for the audience.
Choreography was delivered in the second half of the show through the art of interpretive dance. Brash is clearly a free spirit and would be an asset to the contemporary dance scene. I would have loved to of seen more interpretive dance throughout the performance – possibly as scene changes from one voice to the next. The lighting was simplistic, mood appropriate, effective, and set the whole scene. With not one proper black out, the audience remained connected to the performer and the development of her characters throughout the whole performance.
Overall, Brash is an expressive, raw, talented artist who allowed the audience to not only tap into her voices, but also their own. She delivered a simple message – that being true to yourself, faults and all, is the greatest gift of all. A piece of art like this should be touring as part of the many creative festivals throughout Australia, and I truly hope it does.
Well done, and here’s to many more well deserved standing ovations.