/ Alice Tovey

Alice Tovey: Malice

Alice Tovey has the pipes, the wit and the cutting tone of the best of comedy cabaret, which she displays as she sings her way through issues from body-image and religion, to feminism and Karl Stefanovic. As the title suggests, there’s a lot of malice in the show, a particularly Gen-Y frustration at the stupidity and prejudice of the modern world. Tovey isn’t afraid to let us know just what she thinks, and armed with a wry smile, a diva ego, and her powerful voice, she’s sure to offend and delight in equal measure.

Tovey’s humour occasionally spills into the caustic. She has a whiplash tongue, and her criticisms of the Catholic Church and anti-vaxers in particular go right for the jugular. It is not a show for the easily offended.

While I certainly agree with her politics, sometimes the funnier jokes are those that subtly slide just under the surface; occasionally, the ends of songs err on the side of obvious moralising. But she tackles a wide range of issues and for the most part, and she handles them with sharp and easy wit. She’s not always full of spitfire venom: her song to a friend with a severe eating-disorder manages to be both heart-felt and humorous, and her commentary about body-image and female objectivity is powerful in its abrasive honesty. Her anecdotes and quips between songs carry the sardonic confidence of someone much older than she is, as she channels a persona somewhere between Tim Minchin and Judith Lucy.

Accompanying pianist Ned Dixon is totally accomplished, adding flair to the performance with his jazzy Broadway-esque compositions. He takes Tovey’s teasing with a grin and is an obvious match to her talent. All songs were co-written by the pair, and it’s clear that there’s spades of talent in their relationship. This is a duo to keep an eye on, perfect for anyone wanting to support the best of the Fringe’s up and coming talent.

★★★½

Lauren Butterworth

Lauren Butterworth

Lauren Butterworth is an emerging writer with fiction and essays in Wet Ink, Libertine, Indaily and forthcoming in Verity La. She podcasts at Deviant Women, and is co-director of The Hearth.

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