Presented by Poet Laureate Telia Nevile
Reviewed 4 March 2016
Self-proclaimed Poet Laureate, Telia Nevile, took out the Best Emerging Writer award at the 2015 Melbourne Fringe for her one-woman show, Poet Vs Pageant, and at its Adelaide premiere it’s not surprising to understand why.
Nevile is not only clever with words but she exudes a charm that is ideal for her intimate space within the Tuxedo Cat.
Through witty rhyme, Nevile embarks on a 45-minute monologue about a pretentious but isolated nerd who tires of the way everyone celebrates beauty over intelligence. She glams up and enters a beauty pageant to upstage the vacuous contestants with her intellect. Round after round, as girls are viciously eliminated from the competition, our heroine discovers a new side to both them and herself.
A lot of heart is crammed into Nevile’s story, making it more than just clever rhyme. Her lyrical prose makes us feel for the contestants as much as the heroine and, as the beauty pageant draws to its finale, I’m embarrassed to admit I was holding my breath!
The journey taken by the main character carries a message for everyone, which Nevile sums up neatly in her epilogue.
Poet vs Pageant is an epic journey of self-discovery and self-affirmation; epic in the way it’s told which, in itself, is a reminder to us all about the power of words too.
Short but sweet, with some fun along the way.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating (out of 5): 4
Venue: Tuxedo Cat, 54 Hyde St, Adelaide
Season: until 14 March 2016
Duration: 45 minutes
Tickets: $8 – $20
Bookings: Book through FringeTix online or at a FringeTix box office (booking fees apply)
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