Adelaide Fringe. The Bally, Gluttony. 28 Feb 20
In her first solo show, Phi Theodoros posits the question, who is the ukulele dream girl? I’m not certain this question is ever answered definitively for us, but we are certainly taken on an exploratory journey of who she would like the Ukulele Dream Girl to be.
Standing barefoot in a red floral dress, the magenta haired ukulele girl is a striking figure who lets us know immediately that she is not there just to entertain, but to educate. She talks about binary extremes, climate change, mental health, and the woes of the millennial, gently taking the mickey out of spending money on smashed avocado, while noting that they’ll never afford their own home, so why not?
She uses song to illustrate particular points; Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise becomes a three part crowd sing-along. Four Non Blondes What’s Up also gets the small crowd going.
Theodoros can certainly play the ukulele, and has a pleasant voice which suits much of the material. She sticks rigidly to her script, and at times the language is unnatural, and veers dangerously close to polemic.
Clearly her heart is in the right place, but does this make a theatre show? It can and does in some circumstances, and during this show, the approach works in part. But her earnest appeals to our more enlightened selves and the ‘one size fits all’ solution, particularly when she is discussing mental health issues, is overly simplistic at best.
Theodoros urges us at the end of the show to think about self-empowerment, to re-frame our expectations, and to build community. All laudable goals, and for much of the audience, more than enough to be getting on with.
Where: The Bally, Gluttony