Gifted and TalentedThe large-cushioned seats are hidden inside a salmon-pink parachute canopy, which extends into part of the performance space. As the show begins, lights flash all around, disco-style, as a sequin-clad performer bursts in and earnestly performs jazz movements.

Gifted and Talented, a show devised and performed by Mish, Nat and Zoe of post, treads ground that will be familiar to anyone who grew up in the heady world of child eisteddfords. After the initial dance sequence, as the parachute is pulled spectacularly back over our heads, the three performers appear as eisteddford mums - complete with fluoro tracksuits. They chain-smoke, slam cans of Solo and munch on sausage rolls with tomato sauce. All the while ruminating on dancing, eating, raising children and politically incorrect current affairs (apparently it was not the dingo, but an aboriginal man, who stole Lindy Chamberlain’s baby). They compare preferences for going to the toilet in a leotard - pull across or snap-crotch? - and discuss their horrific methods for persuading their daughters not to take up soccer. Incidentally, the daughters of these mothers are named after the performers themselves, perhaps betraying the very personal nature of these stories?

This is a great show, which thankfully doesn’t remain wholly within the vacuous realm of stage mothers. The performer/devisors manage to link in serious moral issues of our time, such as the tortures of Abu Ghraib, with messages of the control these mothers have over their overachieving children. This is a startling and fascinating trajectory, which belies the show’s shallow and glittery façade. This is what it means to be constantly striving for perfection, to wear lycra and glitter, and to have control over other people’s bodies.

The canopy fabric, serving as a backdrop and prop for much of the performance, comes to life in a hilariously unique way at the end. And of course, there’s nothing quite like a cheesy 80’s dance routine, finishing with ‘jazz hands.’


PACT Theatre 107 Railway Parade, Erskineville
7th - 17th of June Wed-Sun
041 061 2941

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