Arts

Theatre Review: Sondheim and Me: A Neurodivergent Cabaret

Presented by: Jaxon Joy & Back 2 Back Short Show Festival
Reviewed: 29 October, 2022

Sondheim and Me: A Neurodivergent Cabaret, is not your average composer tribute show. Sure, it’s evident that Jaxon Joy is a huge Sondheim fan, but his show is more about what it is to be Jaxon, in a world where neurodiversity is still not hugely understood by the general public.

Joy gives us a glimpse into his life with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), and how it plays a part in other areas of his life such as his love of Star Wars, musicals, and of course Stephen Sondheim. It’s probably not what you’re thinking.

Armed with a great theatre voice, confident stage presence, and a unique and interesting take on things, Joy holds his audience’s attention and interest with a cool, calm demeanour. Some delivery feels a little over-rehearsed, but understandable given this is a one-man show.

At times it’s easy to forget that Joy is as young as he is (not quite 18 I believe). He displays a level of maturity and performance prowess that one would not normally expect from a teenager. This is no accident though. Joy has trained in his craft, and it shows. A regular on the Adelaide amateur musical theatre scene, Joy is developing a reputation as a performer who can completely inhabit a role.

There is the occasional moment, however, where it’s very obvious that Joy is young. Not in a bad way, not at all. If anything, this endears him to his audience more. He may be young in age, but he’s not new to performing, or entertaining a crowd. He has a long future in performing ahead of him.

Joy’s season of Sondheim and Me: A Neurodivergent Cabaret, has finished. But, I suspect we might see a return season for the 2023 Adelaide Fringe Festival. If you know anyone who is neurodiverse, consider bringing them along next time Joy performs this show. To be clear though, this is a show for everyone. Funny, honest, and sounding great, this show promises to evolve as Joy does.

Reviewed by: Doug Phillips

Venue: Star Theatres
Season: Ended
Duration: 1 hour

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