By Taylor Kendal
For all those working with the ranks of the Australian government, this is most definitely a performance about Captain Cook. Now that we have that out of the way, we can get onto more important matters, such as the mesmerizing and insanely hilarious production, Soft-Butch Show Queen.
The Butterfly Club hidden away in one of Melbourne’s famous lane ways has played host to some unique and marvelous productions during it’s time, and this is certainly no exception. It’s eccentric and eclectic style painted the perfect backdrop to what began as an impromptu but enthralling one man dance party amongst the audience, with a soundtrack so almost painfully nostalgic, that it would make any 90s kid want to go home and dig out the Lisa Frank school supplies then and there.
We are then introduced to Mark J. Wilson, fresh from a stunning lip sync to Salt n Pepa, changes from his Coogi jumper into in the attire of a Krispy Kreme employee. Wilson laments how he ‘ended up here’, in a job that faces such monotony as reciting donut orders over and over again - a pain that can be sympathized with anyone who has ever worked in the retail industry - when he was much more clearly destined for life in the dramatic arts. It is through this character, part creation and part based on himself, that the audience is taken on a journey unlike any other.
In this day and age it’s no secret that the dating world is a difficult place. Wilson reinforces this belief as we are taken along as he tries to navigate through the world of Dating Apps, and how this often confusing battleground can be a little overwhelming. Or, as the audience soon discovers thanks to what can only be described as a Grinder Ballet, can lead to the sensual seduction of a blow up doll set to the sultry tune of Olivia Newton John’s Physical.
Wilson’s frank and candid performance comes to life through a variety of fragments; providing glimpses into his real life; his story of being a cancer survivor, the beginning of a love of performance thanks to a Muppet inspired Talent Show win, and the eternal question that we all ask ourselves; just how many mop buckets is too many for one person? All of this wrapped up in musical tributes to the likes of Tori Amos and Cameron Mitchell, a RuPaul level Lip Sync spectacular, and a hilarious audience participation segment about Captain Cook and Australian Politics.
The audience is left in stitches from start to finish, as Wilson’s talent for masterful storytelling, character and honesty, with Maude Davey’s incredible direction, Soft Butch Show Queen is a joyride from start to end that will have audience members thinking, identifying and laughing until it hurts. As for the disclaimer at the beginning, well…you’ll just have to go along and find out about that for yourself, perhaps with a stop off at Krispy Kreme on the way home.
Photo Credit: Taylor Kendal
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.