Neon Tiger is a cute love story about two Western lasses that have a week-long fling in Bangkok. It’s a musical, although only one of the performers does any of the musical performance. My friends who are more knowledgeable about these things than me tell me this is highly unusual, but I don’t know any better, so be it.
The whole dual soliloquy to the audience felt a little strange to me, but as previously mentioned, I am not a musical person, never really seen any since the tenth grade. In fact, that was what was strange about this. It wasn’t actually a musical, it was a show with songs in, pretty charming songs, cute songs, heart songs. Definitely not torch songs.
What is really lovely about this is that it is a side of queer female liaisons that isn’t often shown. The soft, the gentle, the foolish. A lot of representations of queer women are about titillation, sex, exhibitionism. Or violence. We hear a lot about the transgressions made against queer women, and their anger. We don’t hear much abut their worries, their insecurities, their foolish mistakes, their self-awareness in the face of wanton abandon. This was nice. It was charmingly candid.
The show weirdly fronts up to issues without really dissecting them. It comes up against cultural appropriation, the revolting misbehavior of Australians on tour, the shallow indulgence of ‘finding yourself’ as a rich white girl in a country that is ‘cheap’. I kind of wanted a bit more there. It is actually feral, the way our unfathomable privilege allows us to utterly disregard the truth of a people, a country, a nation. How we frame every incident in terms of our shallow understanding. We can’t dig deep enough to really grieve with an Asian country under siege, because even in the face of such trauma we still wander the streets at night looking for our own lover.
The show is nice. Courtney Stewart and Lisa Hanley are very charming, lovely stage presence, you kinda want to hang out with them both, go on Asian stopover holidays. I enjoyed the interesting tunes, especially the looped music. It was laugh-out loud funny on occasion, especially the thoughts inside your head you have when you are on an awkward date. The perspective of what two people take from the same interaction.
This show doesn’t dig deep, it is entertaining, it doesn’t seek to answer the many questions it alludes to. And that’s okay, not everything has to save the world. Sometimes we can just show the stories that are the common experiences for many young Western youth, even just a wanton tale of privilege and heartache, told with humour and charisma.
Nadia Jade saw Neon Tiger 31 October 2018. It runs at La Boite until 17 November.
Co-created by Julia-Rose Lewis, Gillian Cosgriff & Kat Henry
Director | Kat Henry
Cast | Courtney Stewart & Lisa Hanley
Images | Dylan Evans