To state the bleedin’ obvious, COVID-19 has had a massive impact on the world … and comedian and songstress Tash York throws many well-chosen barbs regarding coronavirus into a powerhouse show. She’s sassy and saucy and altogether supreme as she and her two flaming red-haired drag artist sidekicks Matthew Hadgraft and Vivian Fonteyn – one on piano and the other violin – know how to entertain a crowd.
York wins us over from the get go, with her open and accessible ways. Taboo is her territory. She makes delivery of laughs and songs – original numbers and bastardisations of big-name tunes – seem effortless. The title of the cabaret act says it all, for York has made an art form of Trash Talk … and don’t we just love it!
She saunters onto stage in a black shining cape and massive red and white Coles shopping bag hair bow, giving us a deliberately raspy, but melodic rendition of Shirley Bassey’s History Repeating. Her offsiders – attired in shimmering red and known as the Red, Red Wines – remove her gloves and soon after she ditches the wrap. Underneath is a striking, body hugging black PVC number, which yells “look at me”.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian receives a serve. She asks us to share what we’ve learnt during lockdown. Conspiracy theorists get a whack. Then, a fun segment follows, when we are prevailed upon to shout out what we would like to bin. York doesn’t hold back, saying 2020 was awful. In fact, late in the piece, she acknowledges just how much she personally struggled. I admired how she opened up and talked about her mental health challenges.
She also delves into other topics and acknowledges those who may regard her as a crazy cat lady (she has three felines). Her conversation inevitably results in more music. Karen of Brighton gets a bollocking in a rendition of Madison Avenue’s Don’t Call Me Baby. Wine glass in hand, York does a great job improvising audience suggestions of what to put into a five-year plan.
The finale, where she recognises she is important and worthy (Treasure), is among the show’s many high points. Tash York is a beauty and is well worth catching on any stage. There is a certain irony in the fact that she was next due to appear at the Bondi Festival in Sydney, which has now been cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Harbour City.
Keep an eye on her website http://www.natashayork.com for future gigs.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- Grant Busé: SentiMENTAL!
- Crazy Horse Paris’ Forever Crazy (touring) – theatre review
- Chemistry (The Little Theatre Co) – theatre review
Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.