‘Niche’ can be many things. To fans, Niche is a popstar, she’s unique, and they can not get enough of her. In science terms, Niche is a parasite. She is a biological species that has infected the environment of modern society, and as she feeds off us, we cannot get over our dependency.
Written and performed by Emily Tomlins and Eryn Jean Norvill, Niche is a cycle of feminist critiques. Tomlins plays Jodee, a viral specialist, who is hired to assist in Niche’s climb to fame and ‘viral’ stardom. Niche, played by Jean Norvill, can be whoever she wants to be or whoever we want her to be. The audience witnesses Niche as she shapes herself for the continued joy of her fans, until the end product she is selling is (ironically) anything but niche.
Elbow Room have outdone themselves. Directed by Nic Holas, Niche is wildly spectacular and bold. Niche fulfilled all my theatrical expectations: the perfect balance of pop spectacle, witty writing, and awkward humour. For my accompanying plus one, my sister, Niche was a story that asks the audience to look at how we view women in media and our dependencies on them.
There were no weak links in this team. The show soundtrack was a combination of all my favourite pop icons: Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and Nikki Minaj. The music, costumes, and dance choreography were the complete spectacle that brought back memories of attending Selena Gomez (yes, I confess I attended Selena’s concert last year). This is all thanks to the work of Robin Waters, Marcel Dorney, and Eryn Jean Norvill in the sound department; Emily Collett in costume; and Helen Duncan as dance choreographer.
Animations by Sebastian Berto were gimmicky, hammed up, and included sexualised iconography, keeping up with popstar expectations. Lighting by Amelia Lever-Davidson and set by Owen Philips left the impression of mini Eurovision stadium.
Presented as part of Speakeasy with support from Darebin Arts, Niche is a new work that is definitely worth your time and attention. I couldn’t have been more thrilled or in awe.
Amber Bock is a freelance stage manager who is excited to keep you up to date with Melbourne’s best theatre.