A No-Holds-Barred Take on the Birds and the Bees: The Talk

3.5 stars

Mish Grigor is no stranger to the topic of sex.

In this presentational, participatory show audiences are invited to become members of the Grigor family. After being handed a glass of warm champagne and a few Pizza Shapes, Mish calls upon an unsuspecting audience to portray the family members within The Talk.

Image courtesy of Sarah Walker

Image courtesy of Sarah Walker

With audience members ‘cold reading’ the roles of Mish’s mum, dad and three brothers, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary family sitcom – particularly when it is revealed that Mish’s brother William has contracted HIV. The topic of his sexuality and sexual behaviour is, suddenly, no longer private.

It is fair to assume that this show is not for everyone. There was a nervous energy at the opening matinee from the outset, with audience members somewhat tentative to be singled out to read roles from Mish’s transcript.

However, once the story and its morals begin to unfold, it is clear that there is a lot to relate to and learn from this suburban Australian family’s story and discussions with one another.

Mish handles the participatory aspects of this show brilliantly, selecting audience members from the rows of chairs to help further her story. A particularly powerful moment involves four ‘family members’ sitting in silence behind Mish onstage as she reveals one of the more vulnerable aspects of her brother William’s illness.

With only a table, empty chairs and a pile of transcripts to paint the picture of the Grigor family home, the simplicity of the set complements the stark and profound nature of the piece.

All in all, The Talk seeks to unearth a lot about this family’s sexual history. In doing so, it poses the audience with an intriguing ethical dilemma about what should be kept private, and how relationships can be undermined by the overexposure of topics perceived as taboo.

Buy tickets from the FRINGE WORLD website.