Margot Tanjutco: Vanity Fair Enough | Melbourne International Comedy Festival review
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Margot Tanjutco: Vanity Fair Enough

Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

Before turning to cabaret, and now comedy, Margot Tanjutco studied musical theatre.  And going by her solo festival debut, she must have been a gold-star pupil.

Her performance in Vanity Fair Enough is versatile, committed and precise, not only belting out a series of catchy pop numbers but cleverly choreographing them, too.

It takes a few songs to warm to her, however. She adopts the persona – and indeed the wardrobe – of an edgy fashionista, finding validation in her purchases and in her Instagram followers. Yet it’s not quite the blunt parody of reckless consumerism and shallow narcissism that you might expect. By speaking of positives of the non-judgmental community of like-minded people she finds online, and the evident joy that her passion for street couture brings, the lines between her real self and the on-stage version are blurred. Although that does make it hard to get a handle on her.

Her desire to be fashionable extends to her views, too, and she’s soon parroting the pro-environmental, anti-capitalist views of her generation, apparently oblivious to the hypocrisy of how her actions are part of the problem.

However the balance gradually shifts, and through such toe-tapping tracks as Consumer Conga and Ethix,  Tanjutco’s true viewpoints emerge.

The songs are skilfully written, with infectious tunes and astute, witty lyrics, and she performs them with vigour – while the political messages are always couched in a spirit of fun, never lecturey.

And between them are more stand-uppy monologues, ranging from personal anecdotes from Paris’s most stylish boulevards to tongue-in-cheek parodies of Sex And The City.

Away from the politics of the fashion industry, a closing song even suggests a whole other show Tanjutco could have performed when she sings of how, for all her musical theatre skills, she couldn’t get work because Asian girls never get cast as leading ladies. That career cul-de-sac pushed her into creating her own work in the fringes, where she’s clearly happy to have a voice, and determined to use it. With entertaining and purposeful shows like this, she’ll surely find a growing audience to hear it, too.

Review date: 18 Apr 2019
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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