Melbourne Fringe: Twink Ascending

Melbourne Fringe Twink Ascending Andy Johnston - photo by Kayzar BhathawallaAfter all this time, there are still those of us who wish to know what lies beyond the rainbow. Twink Ascending is a rolling montage of audio, script, movement and glitter.

The story shifts rapidly between each motif, instructing the twink to stand at attention, don his armour and prepare for battle. How will our twink fair against this brash digital world that forces him to be someone that he isn’t. Faced with the ever growing command to follow the crowd, choose a tribe, be more of this and less of that, we watch in vain as the twink succumbs to the pressures put upon him and allows himself to submit to the desires of others.

We follow the twink as he moves through a world that seems to not be made for him. A romantic at heart, the twink struggles to find connection with others, all the while trying to maintain a strong and curated online presence. Thankfully the audience is shown a multifaceted twink, someone who is guided more by their heart than their smashed peach. An individual that knows oneself and is open to knowing others, as they are, free from judgement or prejudice.

Andy Johnston is a jack-of-all-trades and a master of them all. It is very obvious from the get go that he is comfortable in front of an audience. This is where he shines, a cheeky wink here, a timely gesture there, he knows just what to do to command and keep the attention firmly on him. He has an impressive vocal range and a strong connection between text and body. He seems more at home conveying the narrative through the physical theatre than grounded and smooth storytelling.

The production is not free from fault however, with some moments trying too hard to land, adding to an already crowded troop of tricks. The production could do with some firmer dramaturgy, a more sincere through line and rely less on voice-overs and sound effects to get the point across. The delivery works best when our twink just tells his story, straight up, free from the bells and whistles that are weighing the performance down.

Overall this is a solid debut from a talented up and comer. With a thorough overhaul and broader consolation with diverse queer individuals, one would see this twink ascend to some pretty impressive heights.


Twink Ascending
The Stables – Meat Market, Blackwood St, North Melbourne
Performance: Friday 28 September 2018 – 8.30pm
Season continues to 29 September 2018 (sold out)
Information: www.melbournefringe.com.au

Image: Andy Johnston stars in Twink Ascending – photo by Kayzar Bhathawalla

Review: Gavin Roach

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