Aphrodite (played by Samantha Donvito) is a true goddess, who doesn't fit into your stereotypical image of what classifies as a beautiful woman. And yet, she's a showstopper who stands out for all the right reasons - with her curvaceous body, her larger than life personality, and her vivacious attitude towards making the most of life to be happy!
Set out on a quest to achieve a big following, Samantha (Aphrodite) finds herself in Adelaide, where she enters the Goddess of Australia pageant to win 5 million followers. Bouncing off with her co-star Ellen Graham (who plays pageant MC Paige Burn), there are open discussions about sexualisation, consumerism, and insecurities that are far too well known to women.
There are also blatant messages to incorporate the use / purchase of branded products and how they can improve your self-esteem and self-worth in society - sports cars, big name handbags, chocolate orgasm balls (yes, you read that right)! It also delves into the nature of tracking everything on social media via apps like Instagram and how people with a higher level of hype around them are more prone to forms of cyberbullying, which can eventually destroy one's self-esteem almost instantly. These topics of interest are constantly revisited throughout the show, with a bit of interpretative dance added to the mix.
This show was a great stepping stone towards breaking the stereotypes around gender and beauty. Roping in themes of satire, physical theatre, dance, and comedy, Samantha Donvito and Ellen Graham are able to provide two very contrasting yet accurate representations of how women are perceived in society - how they ought to present themselves, versus what a carefree, strong, and independent woman presents to the world. There is a small level of audience interaction, where those who are "picked on" are subjected to read out tweets and (if you're like me) made to mentally feel the wrath and brutal reality of how people behind a computer screen are far more fearless to voice their opinions.
The show has a lot of energy and actresses Samantha Donvito and Ellen Graham were in their element, eloquently delivering their dialogue with poise and finesse. Their stage presence was nothing short of having a great deal of theatrical flair, which further added to the enjoyment of the show. They did justice to their characters well and were able to highlight the negative and often mentally crippling effects of relying on social media to progress in life and validate your existence.
Samantha Donvito and Ellen Graham (photography by Evie Leonard)
This is a show that will bring you moments of laughter, awe, and some of the bits and pieces within the show will hit you right in the feels! It will also make you question how you perceive everything that appears on social media and whether you want to fit in by selling your morals or stand out and believe in your self-worth. Overall, a fun yet ponderous show that deserves a visit at some point before the Adelaide Fringe wraps up for the year!
You can catch Aphrodite and the Invisible Consumer Gods at the Raj House by purchasing your tickets here.