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Jess Nyanda Moyle by Mitchell Aldridge

In 1996 politician Pauline Hanson stoked the white voting public’s fear of migrants, saying “I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians.” 

Cephalopod draws parallels between these same migrants, and the squid and octopi (our eponymous cephalopods!) taking over the world’s oceans.

Lead creative Jess Nyanda Moyle came to Australia from the Philippines as a baby in her mother’s arms. Now, she takes to the stage alongside performers Molly Earnshaw, Andrew Sutherland, and Ramiah Alcantara to tell her story. 

The story highlights issues of racism, politics and homophobia in an entertaining take on a coming out story.

Without giving to much away there is singing, pop culture references and a bit of a dig at Australian stereotypes.

I personally struggled to understand the story and found the plot at times confusing, however, the actors did an amazing job and the audience appreciated the performance.

There was a brief interlude as the action suddenly stopped and we heard about Moyles’ family and the story of their journey to live in Australia. It was interesting but it did feel more like a high school presentation. I wasn’t sure it was necessary, and the performance lost the momentum the cast had worked so hard to bring together.

As the show drew to a close the cast rejoined Moyle on stage and as they all sang together, she had tears in her eyes for what proved to be a heart-warming performance.

Cephalopod is running at the Blue Room Theatre until the 16th of November.

Tickets can be found here:

Pic by Mitchell Aldridge

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