Ukulele Dream Girl: Love at a Distance
By Clara Santilli
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Phi Theodoros has become quite a name around the state of South Australia as a mental health advocate with a twist by embracing her creative arts background and her passion to make social change through music and performance storytelling. I first saw her in Depression: The Musical and since then she has received critical acclaim so I was excited to see where she had gone creatively in the last few years and I wasn’t disappointed. Few times as a reviewer have I known going in I was definitely going to have a good time but this was not one of those nights.
Love at a Distance shares a deeply personal journey into Phi’s life that delves into her lived experience of mental health, adversity and difficulties in her search for love and a kindred spirit. But this show is anything but deeply depressing and she enthusiastically explores her what could be traumatic in another artist’s hands with an inner light and feather soft touch, so much so that you can’t but help feel her joy in being alive! Phi cultivates a kind and compassionate view of the world and draws you into her loving embrace as she learns to love herself through mishaps and mayhem to the ultimate happy ending.
The music from Love at a Distance of course features Phi singing an eclectic variety of covers on her ukulele to a mixture of lyrical music that had me swaying happily in my seat as she goes to find her self and realises her own strength in a modern cabaret fairytale. Phi’s vulnerability and open heartedness, as Brené Brown would describe it, will encourage everyone to singalong to popular radio tunes as it becomes a much richer show by her for inspiring audience participation. I particularly enjoyed her ability to move from catchy numbers like ‘Mambo No.5’ to heartfelt ballads by Leonardo’s Bride’s ‘Even When I’m Sleeping.’
I will leave the mystery of ‘who’ the Ukulele Dream Girl is, given she is now presenting a show by that name during the Adelaide Fringe but this show is a must-see for anyone and everyone.
You had me at hello, 5 stars.
Tickets for Phi’s 2020 Fringe show are available here.
More about reviewer Clara Santilli, the Lonely Archaeologist:
email: rose DOT santilli AT gmail DOT com