Little Black B**tard

Noel Tovey is a legend. He was a principal dancer with Sadler’s Wells and had a great stage career, appeared with Judy Garland, Ken Tynan and many others. And that's not to mention his success as a choreographer and director and on radio and TV. It was when invited to write his autobiography in 2000 that he began to come to terms again with his past.The bulk of this show is about earlier days. The horrors of his particular childhood. Being a poor, Aboriginal and gay child in the slums of Melbourne, Australia in the 1930s was a very tough hand to receive in life. Tovey tells it all very calmly and eloquently, starting with abuse at age four, being taken away from a mother deemed unfit, sent to a distant farm where the tyrannical owner abused Tovey and his sister for five years, teenage rent boy time – and the danger of naivety in a courtroom where the penalty for sodomy could be death.Noel Tovey shows that he has coped with great dignity with experiences that might destroy many, plus he still has the ability to move with grace and precision, as we see here. When he tells us of the difficulty he still finds in saying the name of his abuser, and what he felt when he eventually returned to Melbourne after 55 years, we can easily believe him.See this show, not simply to be appalled by the cruelty of man to man – or to child, but to see how triumphantly a human being can rise above such things, and to experience for an hour – yes, Tovey’s tragic past, but also the grace, fortitude and dignity with which he has made his life and continues to live.Miss this and you miss one of the great and enduring experiences of this year’s Fringe.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

Noel Tovey is mesmerizing. Australia's most distinguished indigenous performer delivers an astonishing production that is more than a story of survival, it's a story of a man who through art, is transfigured. 'Absorbing, gripping, moving, a remarkable performance that leaves you wanting more' (Age).

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