Fans of East End Cabaret will recall Victoria Falconer’s erstwhile alter ego, Victor Victoria, the impish half of that duo whose half-and-half appearance combined femme glam and butch chic.
Victoria Falconer: Oxymoron, Heroes @ The SpiegelYurt (Venue 327) ****
Falconer’s first solo show is also invested in overlapping identities unfamiliar to the mainstream: it’s an improvised musical comedy piece framed around her complex identity as a biracial bisexual. That might sound a bit serious, even worthy, but there’s nothing remotely po-faced about Falconer: welcoming us into a venue that’s effectively a cute, homely tent, her open charm and goofy wit make for an effortlessly relaxed and entertaining hour.
This is no political manifesto but rather an irreverent, thoughtful and sometimes poignant attempt to make sense of personal experiences that have been alienating, troubling or absurd.
These mostly involve Falconer’s upbringing in Australia, from her Filipino mother’s distinctive culinary skills on the family farm to foraging for porn and squirming through art school parties. Her stories are supported by her remarkable musical virtuosity, ranging from keyboard loops to musical saw to a fruity kazoo/theremin combo.
I saw the very first show, which turns out to have been a tricky one to review since Falconer plans, over the course of the Fringe, to call on audiences to help her create brand-new songs to express her experiences. When I saw Oxymoron, it was peppered with cheeky cover versions (a dash of Freddie Mercury here, Tom Waits there) that will eventually be replaced by fresh numbers.
It’s a bold move to build such uncertainty into the very structure of the show but one that feels fully suited to a project that’s more about questioning and discovery than conviction and assertion.
It will be intriguing to see what Falconer comes up with by the end of the month.
• Until 26 August, 6:20pm