By Joana Simmons
This week, the door has opened to the wonderful kingdom that is Melbourne Fringe 2016. Noble artists from across the globe have flocked to our city to strike chords in our hearts, make us fall down and laugh, and everything in between. In Emily Vascotto’s show Screw Loose, the Brisbane performer aims to do it all. The sneaky secrets of a lovesick stalker are revealed in this comedy cabaret, brimming with belty ballads and a surprising funny story or two. She may have a Screw Loose, but her vocals and stage presence hit the nail on the head.
Confession is the first stage to recovery, and Vascotto opens by getting it all out in the open. Through the showy opening number, we learn there is more in store from the girl next door, and she is not afraid to show a guy she…..likes them. Her facial expressions are captivating and awkward six-year-old physicality is well executed. As each story of each boy unfolds, through these songs we see there are no boundaries to her level of crazy. It’s the combination of sickly sweet and bitter bitch that we all wish we could be. She dives in and asks questions many of us are left playing over and over in our heads, and gutsily opens her heart to an audience member, telling him some twisted truths from her deep and somewhat dark mind, whether he wanted to hear it or not. Throughout, the audience laughs at the snappy one-liners and subtle dry side notes Vascotto effortlessly slips in.
I was most impressed with her singing and vocal versatility. Accompanied by a wonderful pianist who she unfortunately neglected to mention, song choices were a mixture of musical theatre, well-placed pop songs and some comedic character numbers in there too. The formula of song-story-song-story became a little predictable however; maybe injecting more movement, physicality and use of space could spice things up. While the content and writing was definitely unhinged, I would have liked her to show us how creepily wicked she is rather than tell us- there were moments where it felt too safe; there’s nothing that’s more exciting as an audience member to see a beautiful talented woman go full feral Bellatrix Lestrange and let the monster out onstage!
Having won Short and Sweet 2015 Best Cabaret and Best Cabaret Artist, RAW Comedy Finalist Emily Vascotto and her show Screw Loose is definitely creating a stir. Her voice will blow you away and relentless stalking will make you question your own boundaries. You know the drill, book your tickets, because who doesn’t love a loose screw?
Screw Loose at Melbourne Fringe Festival 2016
When: 14– 19 September, 2016
Where: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
Cost: $32 Full / $28 Concessions /$26 members / $25 Groups (6+)
Bookings: thebutterflyclub.com or melbournefringe.com.au