Local Cabaret and Community artist Phi Theodoros is going on tour with her Ukelele Dream Girl shows at this year’s Adelaide Fringe. Bringing her shows Who is the Ukulele Dream Girl? and Ukulele Dream Girl Does Amanda Palmer to Gluttony in the city as well as the outer suburbs and regional areas of South Australia, it’s a chance for all audiences including in smaller communities to experience a touch of cabaret. “Cabaret is an incredible vessel to help people to learn, grow and connect with one another. I love taking my shows to communities outside of the CBD and stimulating new conversations.”
Theodoros answered some questions to the Hi-Fi Way about what her shows are about and what audiences can expect from the Ukulele Dream Girl!
You have a few shows this year at Adelaide Fringe, tell us what the show Who is the Ukulele Dream Girl is all about.
Who is the Ukulele Dream Girl? is my first ever solo cabaret show, I debuted it in August last year to sell out crowds and incredible feedback so I decided it needed another run so why not tour it during the Fringe.
The show is all about reclaiming your identity, self-empowerment and expectations. It’s also about the importance of community and connecting with nature, oh and I sell plants after the show too.
When I started writing Who is the Ukulele Dream Girl? I was really worried that no-one would come see a biographical show about me and my life, once I started writing I quickly realised that it was not about me. This show is almost like a TED Talk, except there are plants and 90s singalongs, it explores the pressures the world places upon us and the pressures we put upon ourselves and offers us a new way to interpret them.
How did you come up with the Ukulele Dream Girl concept?
Last year my parents gave me this framed artwork for my birthday, it was the front cover of the sheet music for a song named Ukulele Dream Girl. I fell in love with the image and my mum jokingly referred to me as the Ukulele Dream Girl. A few months later my best friend tattooed the Ukulele Dream Girl on my right thigh and I decided it was my new stage name. My mission as the Ukulele Dream Girl is to use cabaret to share stories and shift stigmas and Who is the Ukulele Dream Girl really speaks to my passion for doing just that.
You’re also doing a show called Ukulele Dream Girl Does Amanda Palmer, tell us a bit about that show?
My friend (and Musical Director for the show) Patrick and I have had this little dream of doing a show to pay homage to my hero Amanda Palmer for a few years now. 2020 seemed like the right year to make it happen and we’re really excited to not only be presenting it but, to be able to see her perform just a couple weeks before. Amanda is also an ambassador for the Adelaide Fringe this year so our little dream turned out to be quite on brand.
This show is going to chronicle some of Amanda’s music from Dresden Dolls through to present day, but its not just a cover gig. This show is going to be showcasing some of our favourite songs from AFP whilst celebrating the way she helped so many people worldwide with her art.
The show explores themes of isolation and loneliness, how we navigate relationships and difficult experiences and, ultimately, how much and (of course) the mighty Ukulele can help us feel more connected to communities. Music helps us connect, heal and grow together and Amanda’s music has done that for so many people.
What can audiences expect from your shows?
Both shows will weave stories and music together to invite people to look at things from new perspectives. Singing along is highly encourages, although we would never force people to do something they weren’t comfortable in. I like to describe Ukulele Dream Girl shows as ‘wholesome cabaret’, its a friendly environment where we can come together and feel connected.
I hope that people leave Who is the Ukulele Dream Girl feeling inspired to make sustainable positive changes in their lives in a world we’ve often felt disempowered, oh and I’d love for them to take a plant friend home from the Ukulele Dream Girl Shop too!
I hope that Ukulele Dream Girl Does Amanda Palmer encourages people to keep exploring and expressing themselves with music and art. I hope that they dive deep into the archives of Amanda Palmer (check it out here http://amandalanda.amandapalmer.net/) and fall in love with her music all over again. I hope they buy a ukulele and play their favourite Beatles songs to make people on the trains fall in love.
What do you like most about the Adelaide Fringe?
The Adelaide Fringe is the most incredible platform for artists to share their stories across so many different mediums. It turns our state into an absolute playground for creativity, it nurtures and inspires emerging artists and it keeps established artists creating exciting new works. I say our state because the Fringe is so much more than the CBD, I’m excited to be one of many artists who are taking their shows to the suburbs with my ‘Diamond Adelaide Fringe’ tour of WitUDG going to Mt Barker, Auburn in the Clare Valley and Port Adelaide before a run of dates at Gluttony in the city.
I highly encourage people to get out there and see as much of the Fringe as possible, go support the venues & the artists who work tirelessly to make these events happen.
Interview by Anastasia Lambis
Tickets for Who is the Ukulele Dream Girl? from Fringe-Tix
Tickets for Ukulele Dream Girl Does Amanda Palmer from Fringe-Tix
Photograph Credit Jewel Chenoweth