Wednesday 17 April 2024

#SWIFTTOK review (Melbourne International Comedy Festival)

There's no denying that Taylor Swift is one of the most influential pop stars the world has seen. Her recent concert tour in Melbourne is said to have injected $174 million into the local economy. There are a lot of "Swifties" out there, and one of them is Dean Robinson. Their TikTok is dedicated to all things Swift and they have amassed a following of over 17,000 people, which makes them the right person to put on a show about the Swift Sensation.

In #SWIFTTOK, Robinson “plays” an obsessed 14-year-old fan who knows everything about Swift. They share the conspiracy theories surrounding new album release dates and discuss all the easter eggs that Swift leaves in her songs and lyrics for fans to decipher. Some sound so incredibly far-fetched but these are legitimate claims about Swift and her career.

Robinson displays some wonderful wit in his writing including very clever and sassy one liners, with highlights referring to JoJo Siwa and her cheeriness, and another regarding actress Gal Gadot and Robinson's difficulty with how to respond to a shocking situation. His impersonation of straight boys doing SwiftToks is hilariously accurate and he makes great use of Swift's music to perform entertaining parodies around fandom and the TCU (Taylor Cinematic Universe).

Robinson is clearly a F-A-N of Swift, and they bring this all together in a cohesive storyline. However, rather than spend an hour hearing about how much this 14-year-old Swifty knows about the superstar popstar, it would be interesting for Robinson to delve into the how and why people get so obsessed with celebrity and question the healthiness and validity of these parasocial relationships.

As someone who is not a big fan of Swift, #SWIFTTOK managed to keep me engaged in large part due to Robinson's humour, enthusiasm and clear appreciation of Taylor Swift. It would be fascinating to see this work develop as an exploration of celebrity worship syndrome (a legitimate disorder) and expose something more substantial and surprising around the world of pop music.


Venue: Motley Bauhaus, 118 Elgin St, Carlton
 until 21 April | 6pm
 55 minutes
 $29 Full | $25 Conc
 Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Image credit: Elyse Batson

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