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Review: Alice Tovey: Garbage Monster at The Butterfly Club

By Lucinda Naughton

Alice Tovey’s new performance, Garbage Monster, explores the things we hide about ourselves and our society. Alice opens the show by saying to the audience, it’s bin night – and we’re going to take out our own rubbish. Through this premise, Alice examines what happens to our trash when we take it out; questioning if our emotional landfills just keep growing. Alice looks at themes of forgiveness, hatred, self-care, and the difficulties of being a sexy feminist. She effectively uses comedy to start conversations about issues that are hard to discuss, making her audience reflect on our own emotional garbage. Garbage Monster is very funny, smart, and brutally to the point. Alice captures her audience from the first minute with her incredibly engaging energy and stage presence along with her powerhouse vocals.

Alice is dressed in a vibrant orange costume leotard, with a wrap blue skirt that she unties during the show. Her makeup and dress are impressive and exciting, adding to the tone of the show and Alice’s honest and satisfying to-the-point nature. She easily fills the stage and theatre with her strong presence, accompanied by her musical director, Ned Dixon, on the keys and beautiful harmonies, as well as her Auslan Interpreter, Kirri Dangerfield (for the session I attended).

Garbage Monster focuses on how to be a feminist; Alice explores issues and problems that crop up for women today. She hilariously clarifies in the beginning of her show that when she refers to men, she does not mean “all men”, just the type who when asked their shoe size by a shop assistant will turn to their wife with a quizzical, expecting look. Her opening song is about clearing our own bins of these “unforgiveable men”, such as Charlie Sheen, who keep being excused for their harmful actions. She lightens the mood by claiming these people (such as Liam Neeson and Alec Baldwin) keep ruining her favourite movies. She then proceeds to call on the audience to name someone who needs to be placed in the bin, and improvises in song about the answers, showing her quick comic skills reach well beyond the script.

While Alice is hard-hitting on feminist issues, she explores feminism in a relatable way by opening up about herself and her own flaws. She looks at the idea that as a feminist you are expected to love everything about yourself, and how that can be very difficult. Alice speaks about personal issues, such as UTIs, throughout her show and her honesty is not only highly entertaining, but also creates a space for starting these difficult conversations. Garbage Monster encourages people to have these hard conversations and face our emotional monsters.

Alice introduces the ultimate prop during her show – a singing bin puppet. The bin is hilarious and is pertinent to the theme of Garbage Monster and is also the perfect example of how Alice draws attention to difficult issues in a light and funny way.

Alice is a powerful performer. Her song lyrics are smart, and the subject matters are very relevant; she forces her audience to reflect on whether we are doing enough for girls and women. Her vocals are mature and fierce; her talent gave me chills. The simple choreography she performs during her songs add an extra physical comedic element. The lighting also added to the mood and tone of the performance – it is sexy, and the disco ball makes the audience feel a part of the show.

Garbage Monster is a powerful, energetic show that will both entertain you and make you think. Alice is paving the way for conversations about the parts we try to hide in ourselves and our society – the conversations we need to be having.

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.

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