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Dean Robinson: #Swifttok - Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2024 (VIC)

A Token Event. Written and performed by Dean Robinson.

Reviewed by Hope Challis

The Motely Bauhaus - Cabaret Stage, Carlton

Until 21st of April

A celebration for all Swifties and non-Swifties, #Swifttok will either consolidate your distaste for the Swiftie fandom, or convert you by the end of it

#Swifttok is a celebration of Taylor Swift, fan culture and online communities in the social media age with nods to Swift’s career highs and lows, in a similar style and subject matter to Yve Blake’s Fangirls the Musical. Dean Robinson tries to capture the all-encompassing parasocial relationship of a teenager and their favourite celebrity singer songwriter as he playfully presents himself as a 14 year old Swiftie (fan of Taylor Swift). The twist here, is that he exists in 2024 in the age of viral TikTok fame, internet slang, trends and Snapchat streaks, this is used to good comedic effect throughout the performance.

Robinson clearly did his research to please the chronically online generation of TikTok users and Swifties from their Debut era to their Midnights era. The show's audience showcased this, featuring everyone from across the lifespan from teenagers through to the elderly highlighting Robinson’s wide appeal and the allure of the subject matter.

Robinson shines with his stage presence

Robinson’s show is in similar style to his TikTok page content where he often enthusiastically posts content about Swift and her music. Thankfully his engaging posts and presence easily transitions from the small screen to the stage captivating the attention of the audience, some of whom were not familiar with Swift’s discography. The 55-minute show is far longer than his regular TikTok videos and is perfectly timed for Melbourne based Swifties to enjoy. It fills the void between Post Eras Tour Concert depression and the anticipation to the drop of Swift’s newest album The Toured Poets Department on April 19th – not that I’m a fan or anything. It also gives fan’s something that has been workshopped frequently online, a musical theatre show showcasing Swift’s songs. Granted this one is a cabaret style showcase but Robinson’s vocals lend themselves to this interpretation.

#Swifttok aims to capture and make fun of the hype surrounding one of the biggest names in music or as the fans would call her the music industry herself. Robinson pokes fun at Swift herself and her fan’s obsession with solving easter eggs, decoding the meaning behind her lyrics and relating songs to Swift’s high-profile friends, enemies, and relationships. The show is engaging for those unfamiliar with the country-pop crossover sensation (again I’m clearly a fan) as Robinson weaves in exposition into his narrative throughout and had several audience participation moments that had the crowd in stitches of laughter.

...a fun and engaging show which had some laugh out loud moments interspersed with satirical comments on the TikTok generation, pop culture and overzealous fans.

Robinson shines with his stage presence, particularly when he copies Swift’s classic choreography, her infamous hair flips, strategic intense stares or well-placed mic tilts. It’s clear that Robinson has been studying Swift’s box office hit The Era’s Tour Film and other tour films as he frequently calls back to them throughout his set. The highlights include Robinson earnestly singing his way through both Swift’s hits (including her high notes) and his own comedic rewritten versions which earned quite a lot of laughter.

Despite the overall positive experience Robinson had some challenges with nerves, some of his jokes didn’t quite land with the audience but there is always room for improvement. Robinson also had challenges competing with the downstairs Jazz band which began playing midway through his set, he showed true resilience and a commitment to his craft by preserving and improvising despite these challenges.

#Swifttok is a must see for Swifties and non-Swifties alike, a fun and engaging show which had some laugh out loud moments interspersed with satirical comments on the TikTok generation, pop culture and overzealous fans.

#Swifttok Melbourne Comedy Festival



All Tix $28.36


All Tix $24.31

Thu 11 Apr - Sun 21 Apr: 6pm

The Motley Bauhaus - Cabaret Stage, 118 Elgin St, Carlton

This show contains: Occasional coarse language, Sudden loud noises


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