Butterfly Club, South Melbourne, 6-9 October 2011.
In the blink of an eye (or as fast as a blonde wig can be worn), she transforms from her friendly, polite self into a Stalinesque dominatrix.
Jo Loth's latest cabaret, Mind Games, isn't just a display of acting talents. This Melbourne Fringe Festival event at the Butterfly Club is based on her struggle with extreme depression and bipolar disorder. Mind Games tackles what is considered as a darkly sensitive issue in a light-hearted yet honest exploration of depression.
The changing personas represent the internal battle of voices inside her head. There's a hyperactive lady who's "flying so high, [she] won't come down", a composed lady who is in denial that she is not okay, and a disgruntled voice that is sick of everybody calling themselves depressed. Finally Loth disintegrates into a vacant shell, numbed by her pain.
Loth's musical strengths lie in jazz, but her versatility shines in Mind Games. She is a chameleon on stage, singing opera about her therapist one second, then breaking into a rap with her beatboxing musical assistant.
Mind Games is a fun and enlightening show for anyone to watch. Loth is a charming and personable performer. Watching her is like watching a close friend telling you her life story. For people who battle with depression, Mind Games offers a cathartic experience.
A friend of mine, who is diagnosed with anxiety and depression, told me after the show, that she could relate to everything Loth presented. "To see something that I'm struggling with being played out on stage in a light-hearted manner... that's very refreshing," she said.
Ultimately, Loth offers her audience the hope that things will get better. The fact that she is up on stage playing out her own painful past is living proof.
3 and a half out of 5