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Reviews/Cabaret/Fringe World Festival

Skewering the ‘nice guys’

26 January 2021

David Zampatti says Jamie MyKaela’s clever but excoriating DADDY is the most challenging show he’s seen in this year’s Fringe.

Jamie Mykaela: DADDY , Jamie Mykaela ·
State Theatre Centre of WA, 25 January, 2021 ·

The daddy of the title of Jamie Mykaela’s ruthless excoriation of the paedophilia lurking in pop songs and pop culture is the one in the song Cole Porter wrote in 1938 for the musical, Leave It to Me, that two decades later became a signature number for Marilyn Monroe in Let’s Make Love.

Mykaela, a diminutive, saw-toothed, formidable sprite, literally disembowels the song, turning Porter’s wit and Monroe’s charm into a stain. The result is the most challenging, and memorable, show of my Fringe World so far. It’ll take some beating in the Fringe’s remaining fortnight.

Mykaela launches into other pop and rock standards and the icons who created and performed them (“Some of the shit they do pisses me off!”), starting with Gary Puckett and the Union Gap’s excruciating Young Girl. It was one of the least edifying and unmemorable of the “hits” of 1968, but it took Mykaela to force me to concentrate on what it was saying, and what the attitude of the person saying it was – and it was a revolting revelation.

She makes a particular point of skewering the “nice guys” and the “sweet songs” of pop (reminding us, as she does, that Ted Bundy was a charming, courteous young man).

Jamie Mykaela makes the humble uke sound sinister. Photo: Bunbury Fringe.

It’s all in the delivery. You could listen to Ringo Starr’s innocuous You’re Sixteen, You’re Beautiful and You’re Mine, or Neil Sedaka’s saccharine Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen, and give neither a second thought (possibly because you’d have changed stations after five seconds of them).

But when Mykaela snarls her way through them, accompanying herself on a ukulele that for the first time – in my experience at least – sounded positively sinister, the implications of Starr’s claim to own the girl and Sedaka’s dozen or so years of grooming her are evident and shocking.

And when the 13-year-old girl click-clacks her way up to Mick Jagger’s room in Stray Cat Blues (“It’s no hanging matter/ It’s no capital crime”), the sheer outrage in Mykaela’s voice is as persuasive as Jagger’s lascivious swagger.

I do think she misses her mark once, though, making an easy target of John Lennon’s Woman is N….r of the World. I’d argue it’s not the song of a slaver but of an emancipator, and that Lennon is making the same argument she is.

I’d also suggest DADDY could be tighter, and even more impactful if Mykaela talked a little less about what she was doing and just did it. I promise (and the spontaneous, vocal, reaction of the sell-out crowd supports my thinking) that we will get what she is telling us without needing it explained.

That’s because there’s great talent in DADDY, great commitment, and serious thought and passion.

It’s quite something.

Jamie Mykaela: DADDY runs until 30 January at the State Theatre Centre.

Pictured top: Jamie Mykaela examines popular songs to reveal the perversion hidden in their lyrics. Photo: Bunbury Fringe

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Author —
David Zampatti

David Zampatti has been a student politician, a band manager, the Freo Dockers’ events guy, a bar owner in California, The West Australian’s theatre critic and lots of other crazy stuff. He goes to every show he’s reviewing with the confident expectation it will be the best thing he’s ever seen.

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