Reviewed by: Georgia Cassimatis
The Sydney Opera House’s bi-annual series Unwrapped; created to showcase the ground-breaking, contemporary works of multi-disciplinary artists, this time round featured writer, performer, sound designer and antidisciplinary artist Daley Rangi’s hit show Takatåpui.
Hailing from his success in Perth earlier this year, if the East Coast audience is anything to go by, this one man show may just travel off-shore and go global.
Takatåpui, the Maori term for LGBTIQ+ is a term Rangi uses to headline his show about the daily meanderings of a person growing up ‘in the confusing world of queer’, completely disconnected from what is considered ‘normal’, and his struggle to make sense of it all.
So not normal is his reality; the taunts and sledges from white boys yelling ‘faggot’, an inner world of fighting his own identity as a gay man, and a fateful night out with racist, homophobic, hateful Dave, culminating in his own question of whether or not he will be able to survive planet earth.
Rangi mesmerises the audience from the get go with his superb balance of brutal honesty, dark humour and comedy. He mocks the audience’s expectation of being whisked away for a ‘magical experience’ and says: ‘I could have had a rainbow backdrop but spent the $500 on therapy instead’.
He then launches into his storytelling armed with a microphone, a vocal processor (a digital device that adds effects like an echo and reverb), stillettos for days, and a few breakout renditions of fabulous Drag Queen anthems including Donna Sommers ‘I Feel Love’, and ‘Disco Inferno’; a way for the audience to take a breather, while entering Rangi’s world of drag; a world where paradise exists, before plummeting back to reality. As the show is billed, this mix of ‘queer joy and hot rage’ has the audience pumping.
Rangi’s profound storytelling wrapped up in lyricism, soundscapes, disco outbursts, and macabre humour is fused so well, it really makes one feel as though it has been a while since a show has successfully managed to achieve this. He balances both humour and trauma in a way that leaves the audience feeling good about humanity again; that through the crack a light shines, where he is able to speak truth to power. So much so the audience leaves either singing ‘I feel love’ or ‘Action! I want to live!’
For more information visit: www.sydneyoperahouse.com