I bet you never thought a theremin could be sexy. Prepare to be proven wrong.
You may know Victoria Falconer as the half-moustachioed accordionist Victor Victoria from musical comedy duo Eastend Cabaret, or as one third of feminist cabaret stars the Fringe Wives Club. In her debut solo show, Falconer strips off the character comedy. She remains her exquisitely talented and hilarious self, she takes a personal turn. Oxymoron is about growing up in small town Gippsland – which produces Australia's most homophobic newspaper – as a "white-acting brown girl" and "femme-presenting bisexual".
Although the miniature venue was, in Falconer's own words, like "shouting into an echo chamber", her aim is to challenge the human need to label everyone, by exploring her own experience of discomfort in being asked to tick those too-well-defined boxes.
Falconer used her short run of five Adelaide Fringe shows to write and test some new material, with plans to add a new song each day. So although it wasn't promoted as such, this was a work in progress. The resulting lack of polish and frenetic energy was unnerving – Oxymoron was too scattered to really sink into.
The test-bed situation was used to good effect, though, with Falconer allocating one audience member as "the safe word" to be employed when things got "too weird", and testing out crowd responses to racist terminology like "mullato" and "BANANA" for use in future songs.
Despite her somewhat manic energy, Falconer is a natural performer. She really worked the crowd, sitting in people's laps for her musical saw solos, and demonstrating the exoticisation of foreignness (with a side dish of cultural appropriation) with a seduction by bamboo flute.
A talented and classically trained multi-instrumentalist, Falconer shone with her live-looped tunes, featuring keyboard, violin and accordion, layered with her particular brand of storytelling. A high note came from the aforementioned theremin. Comparing sexual discovery to practicing your piano scales, Falconer provided one of the most instructive pieces of musical comedy I think I've ever seen. Turns out you can play a theremin with your tongue.
With new material still to come, I’m really looking forward to seeing this show when it's done.