With bluesy music playing throughout, critically acclaimed author Ivan Coyote leads with their spoken word, reciting some of the stories from their new book, Tomboy Survival Guide, which explore their youth and sexuality in an engaging, open and vulnerable way.
Relaying stories of their earliest loves, joining sports teams and school, Ivan recalls such familiar emotions and tales that resonate with everyone in the audience. It reminds them of times when such things happened to them, for example it could be fancying someone for their beautiful hair, or the way they fix the chain on the bike, or when they started playing for the boy’s hockey team. Embarrassment is the word that comes to mind when your memories flood back the way Ivan encouraged, but the way they egged us on made us remember them fondly, making us realise that everyone has memories like these.
Where the piece really stood out was the letters Ivan wrote out to the “complete strangers” they had never met, asking for advice and how they have their life in order. This was when Ivan was at their most vulnerable, and even when doing this they still managed to make the audience laugh copiously. Delving into their past in regard to their own family, their own comfortability in their skin or clothes, the self-doubt, the daily challenges and then rising above it all, awe-inspiring doesn’t even begin to describe it.
With the perfectly in sync Tomboy band, consisting of Sal Zori on drums and guitar, Pebbles Willekes on bass and Alison Gorman on trumpet, Ivan’s spoken word blends in ideally and is a pleasure to listen to as it is expertly delivered.
This exquisite show will have you leaving the theatre with a smile on your face while also realising how much more difficult life can be for people, but most of all that at the end of the day you should try your hardest to just be nice to people. This is certainly a must see in the Dublin Fringe 2017.
by Johnny Walsh