“Unlike God, there’s a little bit of badass in all of us”, is what Tash York sets out prove in this sidesplittingly hilarious cabaret, and boy does she ever…
York has a way of storytelling that is as engaging as it is necessary and important in today’s culture. Setting out to redefine the term badass as a way of empowering the day to day decisions we make where we show tenacity, York hilariously parodies popular songs to playfully extend her many anecdotes of times in her life where she chooses to show strength in the face of adversity, and unleash her inner badass. Whether it’s standing up to your high school bully, owning the fact that you’ve racked up twenty-four grand in parking fines without being shamed or doing the right thing and telling your sister her fringe looks awful, these are all examples of York’s (and the audience’s) badass-ery that extends beyond the typical definition, and shines light on the actions we take that perhaps we don’t give ourselves enough credit for.
York’s vocals were robust, shifting from bluesy R&B numbers to pop and rock with ease, with a strong belt that would rival many of the esteemed diva’s of the Australian stage. Add to that her knack for comedic timing and throw in her whacky charisma, she had already won the audience over by the end of her first number. As stated, York’s version of Cabaret switches between anecdotes and parodying popular songs to tell her story of “living as an everyday badass”—to be sung to the tune of ‘Gangster’s Paradise’—which is not necessarily an easy feat as many performers from our shores struggle to mesh an Australian sense of humour into American songs without it coming across as tacky or forced. However there was not a hint of either of those things across York’s performance as she effortlessly glided between song and story, sticking to her own truth the entire night and sharing an excellent rapport with her equally talented musical director, Tom Soley, who also provided some fun in his backing harmonies; as well as briefly sharing the stage with her infamous inner self “Trash Talk.” It would also be remiss to mention that not only can York improvise a song about an audience member on the spot to a great degree of success, she also has impressive rap skills which were highlighted early in the night with a section from Moulin Rouge’s ‘Lady Marmalade’!
Her most badass tale for me was her story of “Nigel” (York’s go-to name for anyone from her past she doesn’t want to get sued by) an attractive stranger with whom she started a whirlwind romance after meeting on a plane. This story was told through a medley of songs featuring the word “crazy” in the title, Britney Spear’s ‘Crazy’, Beyoncé’s ‘Crazy In Love’ and so on, where York took us through the motions of the thrills of love, the highs and lows you feel and the chemical attack it has on your brain. After about 45-minutes of lighthearted tales, this story quickly became deeply personal and emotional for York, and by this point the audience were so enamoured by her that we couldn’t help but totally empathise with her vulnerability. Unfortunately, the romance was short-lived as the relationship turned toxic, but York’s ability to find the strength to leave this individual is what truly makes her a badass more than any other anecdote told throughout the night.
Tash York: Badass will next been performed at the Adelaide Fringe Festival in February 2019, and it’s worth it for York’s outfit alone, because anyone who can rock a red crushed velvet jumpsuit with metallic gold boots is already a badass in my books!
Written by Lachie McFarlane