REVIEW: #Swifttok, Dean Robinson – Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Taylor Alison Swift was born on December 13, 1989 and she grew up to be the biggest pop star on the planet. Dean is obsessed with her and to celebrate his love, he’s found his way onto #Swifttok that corner of TikTok dedicated to adoring, worshipping and analysing everything about Taylor Swift.

This show is all about Dean’s dedication to knowing everything there is to know – and some things he’s figured out from the “easter egg” clues that Taylor has been leaving throughout her career. In Insta posts. In Grammy acceptance speeches. And in the liner notes of a CD, whatever that is.

Dean is young, but in the show he’s playing even younger: a fourteen-year-old boy who wants to watch the Grammys in math class, while not appearing too gay in front of his straight male friends. If his obsession with Taylor Swift doesn’t give it away, his equal fixation on her numerous boyfriends might tip him over the edge. He was so devastated when Taylor and Harry Styles split up, he considers himself a child of divorce. But also, he’s a little bit in love with Harry, too.

Special interest comedy shows can suffer if you are not already intimately knowledgeable of the subject matter, but Dean’s show will appeal to Swifties and non-Swifties alike – as long as you’re interested in learning way more than you ever wanted to know about Taylor and TikTok.

Dean helpfully threw in a little primer last night about why Taylor is re-recording all her albums, just so he didn’t leave anyone behind. And his mini-game show “Swift or Shakespeare” was specially designed for the other kind of nerd who might find their way into a random Comedy Festival show at Motley Bauhaus.

#Swifttok contains costume changes, silly props, clever theatrical trickery and is full passion and hilarity. Dean sings and dances and talks at a million miles an hour. If you know your stuff, you’ll get more jokes than I did. But it’s enough that I knew some of her songs and her long list of ex-lovers, so that I could appreciate jabs at Joe and Jake and other Joe and Tom and Harry and… on and on.

This show is also very up-to-date (Dean is excited about an imminent album drop - which leaked today!) and so the show wouldn’t be complete with something to honour Swift’s latest partner, Travis Kelce. Dean sings a parody of “Blank Space” where he explains how much he’s learned about American football now that Taylor has a "Tight End" boyfriend.

#Swifttok is a real delight. Dean is charming, cheeky and full of the kind of energy the comes when you’ve got an audience listening to you be passionate about your favourite things.

- Keith Gow, Theatre First

The show is on at the Motley Bauhaus until April 21st

Photos: Elyse Batson