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Review: Perversion Therapy at The Loading Dock

Review by Scott Whitmont

Billed as a ‘cabaret confessional’, Callum Sandercock’s personal journey of the perils and pitfalls of gay dating thoroughly charmed and delighted the full-house audience at Qtopia intimate Sydney’s Loading Dock Theatre, staged as part of their jam-packed Pride Fest program.

Dressed simply in a grey suit with faux-diamond drop earrings to add just that bit of sparkle,  Sandercock took to the microphone with a glowing, natural charisma and endearing vivaciousness of spirit. With a voice rich in tone, through popular songs and show tunes, he proceeded to recount his sorry tales of dating disaster, with lyrics often rewritten or added to to suit his stories of numerous exes who pushed him to abandon dating and learn to love himself and his (current) single life. As he drolly described it, Perversion Therapy was a “trauma-dump to save millions on therapy”. 

With the perfect keyboard and guitar musical accompaniment of Viet-Ahn Nguyen, Sandercock adeptly rolled through such hits as Don’t Know Why, Bye Bye Bye and Chains, regaling us at the same time with a string of romantic disaster anecdotes. One involved a date who’d booked their dinner at an Italian pasta restaurant only to confess that he was “carb phobic” (is that a thing?), whilst another invited him back home, lit candles and put on mood music only to then insultingly body-shame with verbal vitriol. Whilst sailing the seven seas on a seemingly dream contract as an onboard cruise entertainer, Callum started to fall for a fellow-cast member who’d suggested ongoing commitment, only to discover that he was sleeping with their Musical Director. 

Dating, (gay or otherwise) seems to be a minefield of rejection and pain, filled with bastards and crazies, thoughtless and sometimes cruel. Nonetheless, Callum has navigated his way through it, finding self-love and confidence. By the end of the night, the audience was totally on his side, rooting for his romantic future and vociferously applauding his performing prowess. His encore take on Natasha Bedingfield’s Unwritten was simply triumphant.

It was regrettable that Perversion Therapy played for one night only. One can only hope that this was merely a test-run for a longer season or tour to come. It certainly deserves one.

Image Credit: Bojan Bozic


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