Delving into the no-longer-underground realm of nerd, geek and pop culture, Tits or GTFO takes us one step further and presents tales from the oft-unexplored perspective of the minority – women, non-binary, people of colour. But is a compelling subject enough to create compelling theatre?

Brisbane’s Mana Bar makes an apt setting for this series of vignettes, with themes both universal – growing up, trying to fit in – and those more unique – the highs and lows of being “born in the wrong body”, or finding yourself drawn to a culture known to exclude and marginalise. But it is also subtly restrictive – while a knowledge of pop and gaming culture isn’t a requirement for attendees, anyone outside of the Mana Bar’s regular pop-culture savvy clientele may struggle to be keep up with the rapid fire references to 4chan, cosplay and slashfic, among others.

Ell Ackermann does an admirable job in delivering her nearly hour-long monologue, though occasional stumbling over lines reveals a disconnect between content and narrator. Authorship is never clarified, but the performance never comes off as inauthentic or fabricated – fortunately too, for the subject is an important one for anyone who values equality, and I was personally pleased to see it tackled on stage rather than in the usual sequestered halls of internet forums or tumblr.

Still, there’s a pervading sense of lost potential – minor costume changes throughout appear disorganised and seem to be for novelty rather than any meaningful effect, moments of genuine comedy are mixed with jokes that seem ill-planned or poorly delivered, and ultimately the performance lacks a defining coda. But perhaps, like in life, there isn’t one – there will always be a new tale of subtle (or severe) aggression to share and overcome.

Though it lacks polish, it’s a work that has plenty of heart. Much like the world of pop culture, there’s room to explore and improve – a good start for for a burgeoning group of creators.

 

Reviewed by Jason Lomas

Buy your tickets to Tits or GTFO here.

This review is based on the reviewer’s experience of the performance on May 10.

Disclaimer – Jason has previously worked briefly with writer Rebecca Cheers as part of the ZICS collective.