“A f**king good time: ★★★★☆” - The Music
“Tovey rocks the house with dog balls of steel.” - Stage Whispers
“A soaring voice that sees her holding notes long enough to leave the audience short of breath.” - The Hub
“Alice Tovey’s Doggo is burlesque par excellence. ★★★★☆” - Arts Hub
Rooted in self-reflection, catharsis and silliness, DOGGO is Alice Tovey’s most ambitious work to date. Through her unique, musical and provocative lens, Tovey blends elements of musical comedy, experimental performance, burlesque and immersive theatre to create an hour of pop bangers, sketch and sizzling satire that will leave audiences begging for more.
Alice Tovey is a classically trained opera singer come feminist pop-rock cult hitmaker. Her inaugural show Malice earned her an Adelaide Fringe Award for Best Emerging Artist at the weekly awards and a nomination for Best Original Songs at the Greenroom Awards. Doggo is Tovey’s first foray into mixing and mastering her own songs. Tovey created everything you hear amid a global pandemic.
Melbourne International Comedy Festival | The Butterfly Club, Melbourne CBD | 2-11 April 2021
ORIGINAL MUSIC by Alice Tovey
WRITTEN by Alice Tovey
DIRECTED by Dirk Hoult
PRESENTED by Hot Mess Productions
IMAGES: Theresa Harrison
REVIEW: Arts Hub | Arjun Rajkhowa ★★★★☆ (4.5)
Alice Tovey’s Doggo is burlesque par excellence. It is burlesque, stand-up comedy and musical theatre combined and delivers a punch. I went to the show hoping for endearing, rollicking comedy about dog parents and their beloved dogs, and I was not disappointed. However, the show went further – juxtaposing the foibles of humanity and canine-ity, and trying to make sense of everything from troublesome questions about career choices to existential questions about death. Tovey’s comedy is self-deprecating and sassy. She brings glamour to the burlesque but parodies and subverts that glamour as well. Her musical talent is obvious. She has a powerful voice and her creativity shines through in the wickedly clever lyrics of her songs. There are the elements that you would expect in music-hall burlesque but there is more – mock conversations with disapproving parents and grandparents, interrogation by a fearsome ‘Dog Judy’, and all-encompassing gender critique. Tovey’s introspective commentary gives her comedy a therapeutic tinge. We hear about what it means to bond with beloved pets and then to eventually say goodbye to them. Tovey takes us through her childhood memories and then reimagines sorrowful memories of letting go of her childhood dog, and in this reimagining, we process a multitude of emotions about letting go and crossing over to the other side. There is mirth and catharsis side by side. Tovey brings impressive emotional intelligence to her writing and performance. The venue itself, The Butterfly Club, is something of a unique space, promoting artists whose work verges on the unconventional and alternative. It has a warm and inviting atmosphere, and seems to be a hub for many promising comedians and performers. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival and its partners have demonstrated tremendous skill in promoting such diverse performers across an amazing array of venues in Melbourne, overcoming the many challenges of last year and their ongoing impacts. It is heartening too to see the community response, and I hope Melbournians will make the most of the remaining days of the festival.
REVIEW: The Music | Joe Dolan | ★★★★☆ (4.5)
After 2019’s sensational Garbage Monster, Alice Tovey could have comfortably rested on her laurels knowing she had already created something amazing. Instead, she doubled down and crafted something more ambitious, layered and powerful than anyone could have thought possible; a one-woman stadium-rock extravaganza about man's best friend. Doggo plants its feet firmly in the realm of cabaret, but its paws are outstretched into damn near every conceivable form of comedy. Stand-up, parody, satire - it's all on offer and all melds beautifully into a wagging tale of acceptance, independence and four-legged affection. The strings on Tovey’s bow are borderline uncountable at this point. Voice of an angel, moves of a drag queen and sharper than a canine’s canine, she executes her talents with poise and ease - jumping between and combining them without missing a beat or breaking a sweat. Tovey’s knack of genius is at its purest in her sensational blurring of lines between allegory and authenticity. In particular, her commentary on the over-sexualisation of women in media (particularly those of an underage status) via the lens of responsible pet neutering is genius beyond her years. It’s savage and side-splitting all at once without ever losing its way or its message. Tovey states throughout that she harbours a sense of anger that can only be subsided by pups, and boy is it fantastically clear throughout the piece. She utilises and weaponises disdain for the world like no other and channels her rage into some of the funniest tunes imaginable. All this while also creating bonafide bangers in the process. Doggo is a wondrous and joyous ode to dogs, a staggering indictment on society, and a fucking good time. A fucking good time.
REVIEW: Time Out | Stephan A Russell
Alice Tovey mourns her late pupper more than she does her dead aunt. That forms the basis of this part-concept comedy, part-musical extravaganza at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Doggo, running at the Butterfly Club until April 11, sees the trained opera singer appear in pale blue latex in a performance that morphs from her personifying a dog show contestant of the furry kind into a woman railing against the over-sexualisation of women, and also the stigmatisation of performers who embrace the burlesque arts with pride. Who doesn’t love dogs? Who doesn’t love comedians that bare their soul? If either of these things, or both, appeal, then this is a rollercoaster ride that bounces off of pre-recorded segues that channel a best in show competition judge, her mum, and her gran (the latter of whom is really unimpressed with Tovey’s frequently colourful language). A seasoned regular on Comedy fest stages and beyond, Tovey knows how to hold the audience in the palm of her “good boy” paw. Creating pumping club tracks that would be the perfect accompaniment for early morning dog walks when you need an extra hand getting into the groove for your day, Doggo whisks by at a brisk pace. And there’s a lot going on. There’s palpable anger here, a bone-deep sense of loss and also a joyous recognition that sometimes a woman’s best friend comes in canine form. And that’s worth a dog treat or two. Bark back as Alice Tovey’s 'Doggo' howls at the Comedy Festival
REVIEW: Stage Whispers | Stephan A Russell
Call her ‘bitch on heat’, and she will lap up the compliment. Alice Tovey has created a new brand of comedy performance and is currently on at the Butterfly Club with her show Doggo for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Doggo carries the Tovey signature style blending musical comedy, experimental performance, burlesque and immersive theatre. Her love of all things canine is blatantly obvious; opening the show as the ‘best bitch in Melbourne’ - following some downright dirty dog show talk- she has managed to win the audience over in the first few minutes. A self-proclaimed feminist rock goddess, she gyrates on stage while belting out her own songs in her awesome operatic voice. Between bouts of self-reflective cathartic fodder about losing her childhood dog Daisy to old age and answering her nagging mother’s phone calls, there is Dog Judy (Judge Judy for Dogs), a sexy strip show and a handful of smashing costume changes. Tovey rocks the house with dog balls of steel. Tovey has been performing for eight years and has toured award-winning shows. She is possessed with creative originality that is strikingly refreshing. Look forward to seeing her again and again A true original!