Tag: Emily Taylor

Melbourne Fringe 2016: THE THICK OF IT

Smashingly awesome

By Myron My

Emily Taylor is one of those performers you can watch on stage for hours. Her skillful storytelling and authentic characters are captivating, to say the least, and ensure her performances will leave you feeling more connected to yourself and questioning what you value in life in ways you wouldn’t expect. Performed as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, The Thick Of It is Taylor’s newest show and it is one not to be missed.

The Thick of It.jpg

We begin with Taylor – acting as more herself than one of her overt “characters” – having recently moved into a new apartment on her own and being excited over the prospects this brings. She has choices and options now: she can watch Netflix all day or go play with puppies, so many choices indeed.

It is then Taylor begins to slowly introduce the other inhabitants of The Thick Of It and her nuanced story-telling skills begin to surface. Taylor has fewer characters than previous shows, which allows us to learn more about them and gain a deeper insight into what makes them tick. These include Miles; an elderly man who wishes his neighbour would stop leaving home-cooked meals for him outside his front door, and Kyra; an obnoxiously loud, successful realtor who thinks she’s the life of the party (when she’s just obnoxiously loud).

Through these stories, a running theme gradually emerges: loneliness. All these people are experiencing loneliness in its various guises. They are all looking for – or yearning for – that connection to another. At one point, with Taylor playing the “straight” character from the opening moments, you almost see parts of the other characters coming through for just the briefest of moments. Whether this is intentional or something imagined, it reminds me that we are all the same, that despite our outward difference, we ultimately all want the same thing in life and that is to love and to be loved.

Comedy doesn’t always have to be shtick and gags: it can also be intelligent, moving, and make you think, and Taylor is highly adept at creating such sophisticated shows. The stories may not be nicely wrapped up in the end, but then neither is real life. In one regard, it’s nicer to leave The Thick Of It with our own endings for these characters we’ve come to know and appreciate: hopefully ones where everything turns out for the better.

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
Season: until 25 September| Thurs – Sun 8.30pm
Length: 60 minutes
Tickets: $32 Full | $28 Conc |  $25 Groups 6+
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival

REVIEW: Darebin Arts Speakeasy presents Backwards

A terrific hoot

by Rachel Holkner

Backwards is the result of a collaboration with students at Brunswick East Primary School and my burning question is, when they come to see the show, which parts do they recognise as their own? Is it the characters? Are there anecdotes they told Emily Taylor that have made their way into the script? Perhaps it is the huge variety of physicalities and tics of the people she portrays. It is simply impossible to tell as Taylor owns it all and is fully committed to her every moment on stage.

emily taylor

Written and performed by Emily Taylor, Backwards is an exploration of childhood and the relationships between adults and children. But it’s not your traditional standup, it’s a one woman minimalist play. With a set made up of only the world’s ugliest kitchen chair, and with the ingenious sound design of Gus MacMillan, Taylor is able to convey half a dozen unique interior and exterior locations.

Her ten characters are people you have met. Possibly you will relate to one or two of them! (I may have…) Across a wide range of ages and backgrounds these are ordinary people turned up to maximum, stepping occasionally over into caricature. Taylor loves these characters, she shows no favouritism and as she scuttles, turns and twists between each one you quickly forget there is only one person on stage. Her performance is, as always, tight and consistent. She has a mastery of switching characters, and in keeping them clearly delineated without props, masks or costume changes.

My favourite moments were those when characters revealed their true nature to other characters leading to unexpected moments of connection. There are plenty of uproarious and outrageous moments interspersed with thoughtful pokes at the trappings and trials of modern life.

Backwards is clever and hilarious and although not really written for children, the one upper primary school aged child in the audience definitely expressed that he thought the whole thing was a terrific hoot.


Venue: Northcote Town Hall (Studio Two), 189 High St, Northcote

Season: Until April 18, Tues – Sat 7pm, Sun 6pm

Tickets: $23/$18/$15

Bookings: http://www.darebinarts.com.au/speakeasy




Madcap musicals made to order

By Narelle Wood

Whose Chorus Line is it Anyway? is improvised comedy and musical theatre all rolled into one and a show you could certainly see more than once, because every night is a brand-new performance.

Whose Chorus Line Is It Anyway

The premise of the show is simple; the audience give the cast the title of the musical and what happens from there is anyone’s guess, even the cast members. We were treated to a musical entitled Friday Nights, which had jail breaks, glitter use and a campaign for culottes, which are able to free women from the oppression of skirts and men from the constriction of tight pants. The result of these shenanigans was the creation of a genderless society, mnan, who put the ‘com (that is communication) back in community’. In the realisation that a genderless society would struggle to repopulate the earth, the mnan once again become man and woman. But there are no spoilers in this tale, for who knows what new journey tonight, or any of the shows, will take you on.

The extremely talented cast includes the likes of the company’s director Emmet Nichols, Stuart Packham, Emily Taylor and George Gayler, just to name a few. It was fascinating to watch how they were able to pick up and run with whatever their fellow cast members came up with, no matter how insane or bizarre. This was especially evident during the musical numbers where they seldom missed a beat. Nichols’ portrayal of a Scotsman, with an accent so thick it’s unintelligible to anyone but a fellow Scotsman, was a highlight, and epitomised the phrase ‘it’s funny because it’s true’.

Lights and musical accompaniment helped set, or in this case develop, the scene and musician Rainer Pollard provided the cast with every music theatre genre, from ballads to toe-tappers, to work with: there was even a dance break. Musical highlights included “There’s a Jail Break”, “I’m Changing Me”, and the title number from the show, “It’s Friday Night”.

If you’re comfortable with laugh-out-loud, zany storylines, put together by clever performers, who can and do change the story’s trajectory on a whim, then Whose Chorus Line is it Anyway? is a show well worth seeing.

Venue: The Loft, Lithuanian Club, 44 Errol St, North Melbourne
Season: September 20th to October 4th, 6.45pm, Sundays 5.45pm
Tickets: Full $24| Conc $19
Bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/impromptunes/

REVIEW: Emily Taylor and Scott Brennan in IS THIS YOUR LIFE?

Improvisation + cabaret = a great night of comedy!

By Kate Boston-Smith

As you walk into the ever-gorgeous and oh-so intimate space of The Butterfly Club’s showroom, there is electricity in the air. 

Already on stage, performers Emily Taylor and Scott Brennan with accompanist Gordon Dorin are primed and ready.  Such is the energy and connection between the three that Taylor and Brennan literally cannot stand in stillness. 

Stalking the stage like playful lion cubs ready to pounce, these highly skilled performers are itching to grab their audience, and lovingly get them involved in the piece.  And this they do with generosity, care and feather-in-the-ear tickling play. 

Obviously seasoned improv artists (Taylor and Brennan from Spontaneous Broadway, Dorin from Impro Melbourne), these three have an unspoken understanding and pitch-perfect musical intuition together.  

Their joint performances of spontaneous song and invented narrative come from the seamless interweaving of offers from audience conversations generated in the first ten minutes of the show. It is beautiful to observe how they listen to each other and us, and to see how they then develop the story on the spot. 

Their musicality is matched by their imagination and the audience travels with them as they paint very detailed imagery with their stories and songs.  Brennan, a crackerjack to watch, oozes character and wit. 

Dorin on piano is heavenly to listen to, and is so incredibly in synch with the other two performers that you would think each song has been rehearsed several times over.  The only time his eyes were not on the performers was when he dropped his head to laugh at the spontaneous hilarities happening on stage: always a delight to see!

Last, but by no means least, Emily Taylor performs with a constant twinkle in her eye.  With cool dexterity she switches between characters and unabashedly creates and explores the most absurd scenarios. 

In this instance, her adoption of a human-sized bunny moving through society is both ridiculous and incredible.  She is a fearless performer, and deserves the rewards the audience throw to her. 

Is This Your Life? is a great piece for those who love to see a little bit of themselves on stage.  These three performers are brilliant at their craft, and clearly enjoy what they do and achieve, making this show is a joy to watch

Date: Thurs 25 to Sun 28 August

Time: Thur – Sat at 9pm, Sun at 8pm 

Tickets: $22/$18

Bookings: www.thebutterflyclub.com

Duration: 60 min approx

REVIEW: Emily Taylor in HELLO YOU

This kamikaze cabaret is ambiguous, off-beat and excessively endearing

By Bradley Storer

Emily Taylor made her entrance wearing only high heels, a long coat and a confident smile. She wordlessly appraised each individual in the front row before presenting one particular lady with a bouquet of flowers. This opening managed to encapsulate the spirit of the entire show: intimate and mysterious as well as friendly and touching.

This ‘kamikaze cabaret’ mixes stories of childhood, family and heartbreak with dreamscapes, songs and improvised interactions with audience members to create a piece that bounces from topic to topic with child-like energy and enthusiasm.

The audience are treated like the inhabitants of Emily’s constantly shifting dream-world, changing from strangers to childhood friends without warning. They are kept constantly engaged through quirky games or the sentimental mementos Emily occasionally passes around for show-and-tell.

The rapid shifts in time and place can be disorienting, making it difficult at times to keep up with the flow of the story. However since the aim of the show appears to be to depict the fluctuating terrains of memory and dream, this ambiguity actually makes sense in context. The effective lighting design helps to minimize the confusion and creates a unique space for each territory encountered.

Emily Taylor is utterly charming, her bright open face instantly endearing her to the audience. Her enormous energy and commitment, combined with some ingenious and creative staging, turn what could have been clichéd material into something unique and hilarious (my particular favourite was the subtly filthy trampoline gag). Emily skilfully handles improvisation with the audience, constructing stories about the lives of the audience members which she then blends seamlessly into her final monologue. Her accompanist Quinn Stacpoole provides responsive and illustrative backdrops against which Emily’s tales and dreams play out.

The sombre finale of the show gathers up the fragments of all that has come before into a series of interconnecting monologues, weaving together haunting images of death, aging and loneliness. All these subjects appear, albeit hidden, in the stories throughout the show and provide a surprisingly appropriate conclusion to this seemingly light-hearted piece.

The final performance of Hello You is at 6:45 on Thursday 21st July, at the Auspicious Arts Incubator, 228 Bank St, South Melbourne as part of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival.

Ticket prices: $33 Full/ $30 Concession

Tickets can be booked online at MelbourneCabaret.com