Donna Sue Robson specialises in the communication- and healing-arts. Jamie Natural Health and Healing is her energy-healing consultancy. Her modalities, workshops and boutique natural products can be viewed and purchased from www.jamienatural.com.
A Swift Way of Stalking
Frankie Guida is a talented actor with a flair for writing great compositional cabaret. Pic courtesy of #TAYLURKING.
#TAYLURKING is a perfect comedic cabaret show for millennials and those who are 'devoted' social media explorers. Showcasing the one-man performing talents of Frankie Guida, #TAYLURKING enjoyed an inaugural 3-day season at Melbourne's Butterfly Club, as part of this year's Melbourne International Comedy Festival. It was fully attended and Melbourne comedy-crazed audiences were engaged from beginning to end.
#TAYLURKING is conceptually strong with a well-crafted, compelling storyline. Frankie plays the part of an obsessive Taylor Swift fan, playing out a make-believe relationship with the star through social media sociopathic behaviour. These two populist elements of the show- Instagram living and a Taylor Swift obsession, spoke volumes to Frankie's select demographic segment: his comedic rants and joke-telling were also perfectly pitched to this audience. Frankie stayed in character from outset to curtain-close. He created a queer character who was quirky yet likeable, and who continually inspired both audience-empathy and interaction. #TAYLURKING is an impressive reading of an audience demographic that is immersed in #speak and those who are comfortable-and yet who secretly question- when lines of online celebrity stalking are crossed. #TAYLURKING opens a can-of-worms of the larger issues of privacy, online 'reality' and our rights to accessibility.
Frankie cleverly crosses those lines, all while the laughs continue and his character remains popular. Upbeat monologues inspire raucous responses and yet, shows the dark and slightly psychotic nature of fan obsession. Drama was lightened and comedy driven through Frankie's superb song choice. He allowed song lyrics to drive the story which animated 'the fan' and Divas alike. #TAYLURKING is a smooth, consistent and well-edited performance cabaret. Director Adelaide Clark must also be acknowledged for the show's fluidity and professionally designed content links.
Frankie Guida is a performer with a natural flair for mimicry and pace-control. He already has fine-tuned stage presence, managing energy-dynamic and sound-dramatics with graceful ease. He is a talented actor, showing discipline and craftsmanship by holding and developing character. His off-beat rants are both entertaining, surprising, and yet always character-relevant. Mention also needs to be made of his physical comedy, for it was both outstanding and yet possibly under-used in this show. Audience response to his over-the-top stage dramatics gave his physical comedy the green light.
Frankie's acting skill almost got his musical-cabaret over the line. His pitch was not perfect, and higher register flaws were noticeable, especially because audiences are familiar with the melodies of the Diva songstresses on whom he chose to focus. However, lyrical-deviation gave him a certain amount of creative license so that audiences could be allured to comedic lyrical content rather than slight musical imperfection. However, Frankie's lower register is delightful and his closing rendition of Gravity, a note-worthy show conclusion as fan-allegiance shifted, was simply stunning.
#TAYLURKING is tight, character- and content-driven cabaret. I congratulate Frankie for his performance vision and his natural ability and dogged work ethic to combine song, physical comedy and actor skill. I enjoyed the show's inventive, non-cliched jokes placed within an intelligent social commentary about obsessive fan antics in the modern world. #TAYLURKING is a great example of what 'cabaret' is: an off-beat entertainment genre that relies on strong story-telling and clear, thematic craftsmanship. Watch out for #TAYLURKING as Frankie organises new seasons in local, regional and city-based festivals across Australia.