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Review: Frankie McNair - An Intimate Evening with Tabitha Booth at The Garden of Unearthly Delights - ADL Fringe

Review by Tatum Stafford

If you’ve stumbled across this review and are in Adelaide until Fringe wraps up - close this page and buy a ticket to see Frankie McNair as Tabitha Booth. Trust me, it’s the best show your money will get you this Fringe season.

The ‘heavily medicated’ Tabitha Booth is a character dreamed up by the incredibly talented Frankie McNair. Opening with a montage of interview segments featuring Tabitha and other ladies of her bygone era, including Liza Minelli, the show catapults Tabitha back into her well-deserved spotlight after a bit of a break (and some credit card debt) following her star turn in “Long Fork Lady” (now an understandably triggering phrase for Tabitha). 

Accompanied by her stage manager/props master/unofficial co-star Riley, Tabitha lets us in on behind the scenes secrets from her glittery career, contractually nods to her sponsors, who naturally include Proactiv and Muffin Break, and sings and tap dances with an unhinged glint in her blue eyeshadow-covered eyes. 

As the show progresses, and descends further into chaos, we get a glimpse into Tabitha’s insecurities and vulnerabilities in such a beautiful and heartwarming way. This show is a real love letter to making art, and being vulnerable in sharing the art you want to see out in the world, and it’s expertly written to having you laughing out loud and oftentimes in my case, gasping for air as the jokes just keep coming. 

Frankie is one of the most magnetic and captivating performers I have ever seen on stage. As Tabitha, she has a perfectly manic energy and maintains an intimidating level of eye contact with her audience, who lapped up every second of the show. Big props also to Riley, who is hilariously timid as the stage manager trying his hardest to make money off merchandise. Riley’s character switch-up at the end of the show is one you won’t see coming and one I won’t spoil here.

This show is the perfect mix of comedy and cabaret, and had me laughing harder than I’ve laughed in any show in recent memory. If you miss it I feel sorry for you - and I’ve got a feeling Tabitha would agree with me. Catch it in Adelaide or another city on its Australian tour, you won’t regret it for a second. 

Image Supplied


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