Tag: Jayden Walker

Review: After, The End

A story of love, loss, glitter and wine

By Samuel Barson

Death has very quickly become one of the biggest taboos of the modern era. Nobody wants to talk about it, let alone talk about it in front of an audience of people whilst drinking an entire bottle of wine, dressed in a glittering jumpsuit and high heels.  Until Jayden Walker, that is …

Walker, in his latest show, appropriately titled After, The End, does exactly that. Jayden’s father passed away in 2016, and Walker spends an hour with his audience reflecting, joking and pondering death, both in a general sense and in the context of his own personal experiences.

What strikes you right away about Walker is his immense strength. He is powerful, both in his emotional integrity and performative skill. He expertly weaves between highly exaggerated comedy and a more subtle and natural reflective state. In one moment he is strutting around the stage flaunting himself with his sassy, razor sharp wit, and the next he is standing still, describing the final moments of his father’s life.

The love he has for his father is palpable. As is the love he has for performing and storytelling. And it’s an absolute honour to be invited in to be a part of it his very personal story.

Naturally, there are going to be critics of what Walker does in this show. The jokes he makes about death do enter fairly dark territory. But it’s important they’re not misinterpreted as insensitive. For many using comedy is a valid form of coping and healing for some. As both an artist and his father’s son, Walker exercises his right to do so, and does so incredibly well.

Unable to be viewed as anything but original, I wouldn’t advise going in expecting a conventional piece of theatre or comedy. Instead, expect to form a connection with another human being and their story of loss and love … as well as their contagious love for glitter and wine.

After, The End is currently playing at The Motley Bauhaus in Fitzroy North until Sunday 15th September. Tickets can be purchased online at https://melbournefringe.com.au/event/after-the-end/) or by calling the Melbourne Fringe box office on 03 9660 9666.

The Butterfly Club Presents ARTS CAPTAIN

Excruciatingly funny

By Narelle Wood

Arts Captain details the triumphs and tribulations of over zealous Arts Captain Theodore Etherington in a show that can easily be described as The Office meets Glee.

Arts Captain.jpg

We first meet Theodore (Jayden Walker) just before the first school assembly of the year. Theodore’s plan is to literally make such a song and dance about his prefect position that no-one, including the new drama teacher will have any doubt over who’s really in charge. There is one small glitch in Theodore’s plan – he can’t sing and his dance moves are reminiscent of the uncoordinated kid at the back of the Rock Eisteddfod ensemble. It is very quickly established, at least for the audience, that Theodore is all glitter and glam and with not much of a gift for the musical theatre genre.

The story is a familiar one – ego temporarily crushed, dramatic unleashing of blame and venom upon anyone within spitting distance, and some salvation in the end. What makes this show work is the way Walker has carefully crafted the narrative, the ease with which he breaks the fourth wall and returns to character, and the nuanced (and overtly obvious) references to Broadway littered through out. As a teacher I appreciated the self-deprecating, self-awareness of what it’s like to teach a student of Theodore’s ilk. As far as musical selections go, I was impressed with the selection of songs and how they, mostly (by Walker’s own admission), fitted with the narrative. However, I will never quite be able to listen to I Dreamed a Dream again without conjuring up images of Walker’s tortured rendition.

There were only two things I struggled with. One, Walker was at times very quiet and it was hard to hear him above the ambient noise coming from outside the theatre space. And two, I wanted to hear if he could really sing; I’m sure there was an in-tune note there somewhere in his repertoire. Those two things aside, it was guffawingly brilliant in its cringe-worthiness.

Arts Captain is every bad high-school musical moment rolled into one and Theodore is so realistic that I found myself thinking “My God, I think I’ve taught this kid”. I hadn’t. Arts Captain is obnoxious and entertaining. If this is the calibre of show Walker is producing as he’s starting out, I can’t wait to see what he does as his career evolves.

Arts Captain was performed at The Butterfly Club, Carson Place, Melbourne at 7pm Sat 25th & Sun 26th February, 2017.