Cora Bissett’s live musical memoir What Girls Are Made Of is taking over The Famous Spiegeltent in the forecourt of Melbourne Arts Centre as part of Melbourne International Arts Festival this year.
The indie-pop star, with help from her band, relives her late teenage years and early twenties as she rehashes the rollercoaster of her early music career.
The energy exerted by each performer as they embody the array of characters is an absolute highlight of What Girls Are made Of. From body language to accents, even a simple change of stance and tone makes for a crystalline distinction between the parts being portrayed. The various regional accents and UK slang one wouldn’t typically encounter here in Australia also help to suck the audience right into the show’s world.
The performance area within the Spiegeltent is the perfect size, too. Despite seeming small for a show of this scale, Bissett and the band – drum kit included – fit well onstage, moving around with ease with all of their props in reach.
There’s no need for a big stage, anyway, when the story does so well to draw the audience in as the tale elevates those present beyond the physical realms of the venue.
The one negative of the evening is the lighting for those sitting towards the side of the stage, as the lights from the opposite side are, at times, blinding.
Covering a range of topics from reaching for your dreams and working in the music industry to relationships with family, friends and colleagues, Bissett’s performance not only shows the highs of being a musician – like supporting Blur and Radiohead on tour – but the lows, too. Between dealing with dodgy managers, not being what the record labels want and feeling like the odd one out, Bissett relives her emotions throughout an incredibly tumultuous period in her life and career and we’re all along for the ride.
What Girls Are Made Of is not just Bissett’s memoir, but it stands as advice for others – particularly Bissett’s daughter. Follow your dreams, go on a wild ride not knowing where you’ll end up; just keep going and everything will work out okay.
What Girls Are Made Of runs until Sunday September October, excluding Tuesday, at The Famous Spiegeltent as part of Melbourne International Arts Festival. Grab you tickets here.