10 September 2015

Review: The Talk

The Talk
as part of Site is Set 2015
Field Theory & Mish Grigor
9 September 2015
a house in Brunswick
to 12 September

Mish Grigor's The Talk is an exploration of love and sex within her immediate family. But it's not  creepy. It's unexpectedly loving and generous and as funny, embarrassing, awkward, dangerous and brilliant as sex.

As part of Field Theory's Site is Set, a site responsive performance series, she's responded to a family living room with a work about how and why her family have talked about sex in their living room.

It starts in a stranger's living room, where there are cushions on the floor, a fire in the corner and a cat who let me pat him. Mish asks that we stand in for her family (as she says that her real family don't want to see this piece), and with warm Moet and chips, it's not hard to know what it's like to be a Grigor.

It's part verbatim interviews with members of the audience reading the parts of family members, but it's about Mish's response to the interviews, at the time and now. It's intimate and exposing for Mish – I'm still blushing from her lost condom story – but the more the talk is about sex, the less it becomes about sex and becomes about how talking about things we don't want to talk about can lead to the conversations we should have. It's about the kind of love that has nothing to do with sex. I think her family would really like it.

What's remarkable about this style of interactive performance is how the audience experience becomes personal. It often seems like the more a performer reveals about themselves, the more we're free to think about the similar experiences in our own lives. I don't think I've ever left a show thinking about how I talk about sex with my family before. Like the time my mum rang me at work (at work!) to tell me about how she'd broken a drought, the time my mum's friend asked me how you know if you're giving good head, and the time my father's ex told me that he gave her herpes (at his funeral).

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