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Reviews/Fringe World Festival/Theatre

A juicy gem

26 January 2019

Fringe World review: Mish Grigor/Aphids, The Talk ·
PICA, January 24 ·
Review by Xan Ashbury ·

If Mish Grigor ever wanted to start a cult, I bet she could sign up most audience members at the end of each performance of The Talk. She exudes not only charisma but honesty, generosity, courage and humility.

The affection with which the Melbourne-based artist describes her family and family home in Western Sydney is endearing from the outset (they used to eat in the garage around the pool table for whole family gatherings, she confides, which they’d cover with a table cloth – although it was one of those plastic ones, because it’s easier to clean).

We find out, er, *quite a lot* about her parents and three brothers. Except, the family doesn’t actually join her on stage. Instead, transcripts of interviews Grigor recorded about their sex lives are read by members of the audience. (Not before everyone has stood and recited in unison “We are your family”, and warm Moet and packets of Shapes have been passed down the rows. No, really.)

The details revealed are often amusing in their banality. That the interviewees are so coy and awkward discussing the most common of experiences, begs the question: “Why all these taboos about something as fundamental and natural as sex?” But this message is never explicit, of course. Mish is too cool, clever, outrageously funny for that.

Whether she’s playing her mother, or her 12-year-old self (receiving “the talk” from her dad), Grigor is a delight to watch.

The reason for undertaking this unusual project is revealed in the final third of the show. What is already fun takes a dramatic but also heart-warming twist. You could hear a pin drop.

It’s no wonder Grigor sells out shows in Edinburgh, London, Brighton etc. She is a gem.

The Talk is juicy, a little bit salty and thoroughly delicious.

Pictured top is an audience member with Mish Grigor (R). Photo: Christophe Canato.

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Author —
Xan Ashbury

Xan Ashbury is a teacher who spent a decade writing for newspapers and magazines in Australia and the UK. She won the Shorelines Writing for Performance Prize in 2014-17. Her favourite piece of playground equipment is the flying fox.

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