Matthew Mitcham is in town as the Feast Festival’s Ambassador and is performing his cabaret show Twists and Turns in the Queer Nexus Theatre throughout the festival.
Twists and Turns is an autobiographical show and takes on the same name as Mitcham’s book. Through slow personal songs and tightly scripted dialogue, Mitcham takes us through his upbringing to his victory at the Beijing Olympics with all the addictions and obstacles that come along the way.
Mitcham is helped on stage by musical director Jeremy Brennan on keys and performer Spanky (who plays Candice McQueen in Nasty) who acts as the colourful and cunning voice inside Mitcham’s head.
Mitcham steps quickly out onto stage and is straight to the point with the first musical number. His dialogue for the first section is a bit flat and rigid in offering some chunks of background information but this smooths out into a cute, relaxed quirkiness as the show progresses. His is a very capable singer and magnifies his stage presence with each of his songs. Of course, his ukulele makes several appearances and is a fun addition to the show.
Aside from his work on the stage, Mitcham takes to a trampoline to show off his talents. His work on the trampoline is scarily restricted by the ceiling height but it doesn’t prevent him from carving it up and presenting some of his athletic abilities to the crowd.
Spanky is a feisty extra to the show. Spanky’s vocal back up and snapping dialogue provides the show with an increased depth and wit whilst explaining the flair and darkness that occurred in Mitcham’s mind on his road to success. Brennan is a gifted musician and singer. His deeper voice provides contrast to the show that is utilised sparingly for segue features as well as singing.
Minimal costumes are used throughout the show. Mitcham’s green and gold speedos do make an appearance and is neatly worked into the show rather than having him in his sports gear for the sake of it. A particular moment of lighting stands out during a moment when Mitcham performs only in his speedos. The light casts watery ripples across his body as he acts out his gold winning dive. The ripple effect shimmers beautifully with the smoothness of his voice during the scene.
Mitcham is in Adelaide for four shows only in the Feast Festival. His storytelling and charm makes for a fun time out at Feast.
Reviewed by Alex Dunkin
Venue: Queer Nexus Theatre, Lion Arts Centre, Adelaide
Season: 21 – 29 November 2014
Duration: 1hour 10mins
Bookings: Book online through the Feast Festival website, or tickets at the door if not sold out.
The Feast Festival runs from 15 – 30 November 2014.
Photo by John Mcrae.