My cousins and I have a running joke about our mothers. We always say they are loud, and brash, and that their unmistakeable laughs can be heard from miles away. They're alike in their communal cackling (laughter, as it's also known), sitting around a dining room table post-family party clean-up. They will hold a cup of coffee in one hand and mobile phones in the other, scrolling through their Facebook walls happily "liking" all the pics they had tagged each other in. From photos taken less than half an hour ago.
You see, my family is Filipino, and there's a certain way of being that allows me to be both over-protective and incredibly affectionate towards that part of my identity. So when the flyer for Josie Lane's cabaret show, Asian Provocateur, mentioned that she would, "Indulge in her tales of growing up with a fierce but fabulous Filipino mother", I was on board to see the show. I'd not only grown up with my own fierce and fabulous Filipino mother, but many others, too - because they were all my aunts and I was literally SURROUNDED by them.
But if you were one of the people who went to the show (part of the Hayes Theatre's 2015 Cabaret Season) on the 26th and 27th June, you would've found that Ms. Josie Lane didn't just lay on the thick Filipino accent or imitate her mother. I mean, yes, she did that for a good portion of the show, but, through the joy that is Cabaret, Lane also sang and sassed her way through the performance, touching on everything from being typecast in her roles to her experiences of travelling through Asia as an Aussie with Asian heritage.
Josie regaled the audience with tales of her upbringing (she claims she developed her talent for singing from a Karaoke VHS tape her mum picked up for her in one of Melbourne's sari-sari stores) and her times spent trying out for roles that required an Asian performer, only to be told she was either "too Asian" or "not Asian enough".
This is both humourous and downright frustrating, particularly when you're being told by someone else who you are supposed to represent, and why, being exactly who you are, means you're doing it all wrong.
Josie's voice was cabaret-strong, she is a trained stage singer so her renditions of popular songs from the likes of Miss Saigon, Mulan and The King and I were pretty good. She delivered each punchline with a kick of her heel and little wink to the audience, proving hers was a worthwhile addition to the theatre's cabaret lineup).
Asian Provocateur was an interesting look at what it means to be a young Australian woman of Asian heritage. A great way to heat up a weekend winter night in Sydney.