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TOMAS FORD IN KUALA LUMPUR – FRINGE WORLD FESTIVAL 2020

Tomas Ford in Kuala Lumpur
Tomas Ford in Kuala Lumpur

TOMAS FORD IN KUALA LUMPUR
FRINGE WORLD FESTIVAL 2020
GIRLS SCHOOL
5 February to 9 February

First things first, the Girls School venue for Fringe World 2020 is a perfect place for a multi-stage theatre. There are a number of well suited rooms of different sizes and I must say that the Library stage is a great place to see Tomas Ford in Kuala Lumpur.

His songs, all of which are brand new, have never been more engaging, his voice never more on song, his narration never more moving. Tomas Ford communicates this emotion with a clarity and conciseness that few cabaret artists can even attempt to emulate.

A reasonable number of punters lined up to be escorted into the Library stage for the debut performance of Tomas Ford’s new show. The man himself appeared almost before the last of the crowd had been seated and welcomed us all with a big smile and a word or two about how this show would be something completely different from anything he’d done before. It would be a reflection of an internal narrative, as he informed the audience, “I’ve self-sabotaged in exciting new ways”.

This became immediately apparent when Tomas strapped on an electrified ukulele and screeched out, via a tortured effects pedal, a lead break which would not have been out of place in a song by your favourite rock band. Yes, this would be a different show indeed.

With a milk crate containing a video projector supported by bound copies of The Statutes of Western Australia, borrowed courtesy of the former law library of a police station that formerly occupied the Girls’ School, Tomas Ford launched into a song which, incredibly, equated his prospective trip to Kuala Lumpur with his son to that of David Bowie and Iggy Pop’s residency in Berlin in the 1970’s, only without the heroin.

From thereon in the underlying context of the show became more and more personal until, as into a maelstrom of emotion, we are drawn into a twisted perspective of an artist whose work tends to drag him away from his family and the consequent alienation and depression that grips him during such tours.

All of which is transmitted to his willing crowd with magnificent aplomb by Ford. His songs, all of which are brand new, have never been more engaging, his voice never more on song, his narration never more moving. Tomas Ford communicates this emotion with a clarity and conciseness that few cabaret artists can even attempt to emulate.

On top of all his prodigious musicality and ability to multitask on stage as he smoothly integrating electronica, is his remarkable artwork projected upon twin screens on each side of the stage. His hand-drawn animations showing drawings of his son, his wife and himself, along with the skyline of Kuala Lumpur and, poignantly, the station of the train to KLIA that he would eventually take for his trip home to Perth.

This is a riveting show that exposes the artist in a rare and daring way. See it. Book your tickets right now as it will only play until this coming Sunday evening. Tomas Ford in Kuala Lumpur is hands down the best solo show in FringeWorld 2020.

Tomas Ford in full flight

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