Review – Alice Tovey: Mansplaining

15 April 2017

Young comics, Alice Tovey and her co-star Ned Dixon present a musical comedy performance on the very current and relevant topic of mansplaining. The hour-long performance consists of original songs and compositions ranging from ballads to a beat poem. In these songs, Tovey challenges racism, politics, masculinity and sexism in a satirical manner.

The Butterfly Club provided an intimate setting for the show, which allowed for Tovey to establish a personal connection with the audience. She has a cheeky way of delivering her lines, and didn’t shy away from audience engagement. There were predominantly female audience members on Tuesday night, with few male exceptions. Although the show has intentions of pleasing a female target audience, both guys and gals can find humour in their many witty lines.

While Tovey’s voice alongside Dixon’s piano playing could well and truly captivate the audience alone, the accompaniment of additional stagecraft enhanced the performance to another level. This included (but was not limited to) thematic mood lighting, puppetry, and my personal favourite, kazoos. I know some of you may cringe at the thought of a musical comedy act, but I can assure you that Mansplaining is far from tacky. Tovey and Dixon redefined musical comedy as a medium to explore ever-present female issues in a playful way.

The way in which Tovey and Dixon dealt with the feminist themes was fantastic. The duo address the daily struggles that girls endure in a man’s world, through the use of analogies and anecdotes. As a female audience member, I sat there nodding and giggling away to the very relatable lyrics. They did not only stick to feminist issues, but broadened their performance to include awareness for other injustices present in our society. They provided insightful commentary that mainly targeted Australian culture and infamous icons. The inclusion of Australian racist culture worked particularly well, as most of us have that one intolerant coworker, friend or uncle with these absurd views.

Mansplaining is overall a wonderfully crafted and very comical show. I had great expectations for the performance and the award-winning Tovey and Dixon delivered beyond expectation. Mansplaining had the whole audience laughing, and our attention to the duo never wavered. The show isn’t around for much longer and it’s man-datory viewing – so don’t miss out.

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