If you aren’t keeping up with Aussie slang, “No wukkas” is a colourful way of saying “No worries”. Cousin Tara isn’t so optimistic, and her show wants to talk (and sing) about the various Wukkas life has waiting to trip us up.
In her striped jumpsuit and round glasses, there’s a bit of a nerdy vibe to Cousin Tara. She used to live in Melbourne’s hipster north, and is a vegetarian (well, mostly), and a singer-songwriter.
Whilst her attempt to perform at MICF 2020 was deflected, a City of Melbourne grant led to an online version (Wukkas on the Web). Now, punters can get the Cousin Tara experience live, in an intimate setting.
Cousin Tara’s original songs consider some unusual topics, delivered in styles ranging from balladeer to “Rock Chick”. There was early trouble with lower notes being lost under the backing track, but this improved across the show. That suspected nerdiness shows up in some unconventional rhymes.
As for the offerings, one mellow tune considered how anti-depressants in the water could affect animals. Another advocated for feeding the beast of consumerism so as to bring on “the end of time” more quickly. Surprisingly, nihilism has never been more-toe tapping.
There were some hints of Cousin Tara’s relatively recent transition into musical comedy. Whilst the songs are generally good, unlike lean comedy tunes that keep the jokes coming, there’s an amount of not-so-helpful repetition here.
Also, a lot of the material is more heavy-going than you might expect for a comedy show. Whilst this cabaret offering seems more Fringe than MICF, the entertainment value here allows us to put that aside.
Cousin Tara certainly squeezed laughs out of some songs, such as one where animals finally rebel against human mismanagement of the planet. Our performer sang quite well, and skilfully accompanied herself on acoustic guitar.
Certain segments found a novel viewpoint, such as (what the MICF blurb calls) her “soy sauce ballad”. Accompanying choreography (taking the proverbial out of pop divas) showed a sharp eye for parody.
My reading of the MICF guide put this show in a “pot luck” category, and I’m pleased that I took the punt. Cousin Tara has obvious potential, and I’m keen to see how she progresses. If you want to start your MICF night with a show more eccentric than most, you’ll have no Wukkas about being entertained here.
Cousin Tara: Wukkas
The Butterfly Club (downstairs), 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
Performance: Wednesday 14 April 2021 – 5:30pm
Season continues to 18 April 2021
For more information, visit: www.thebutterflyclub.com for details.
Image: Cousin Tara – photo by Alexis Desaulniers Lea / graphic design by Julia Kaddatz
Review: Jason Whyte