The emotional toll of a break-up, American politics and iconic characters of the 80s all get a run in Dream House, Heather Valentine’s 2023 Melbourne International Comedy Festival show.
Inspired by toy company Mattel’s 2004 announcement of its decision to split its famous dolls, Barbie and Ken, after 43 years together, Dream House imagines Barbie’s ‘journey of discovery’ after the breakup.
When we first meet Barbie she is accepting the nomination from her party to stand as its candidate in the American presidential race.
Her acceptance speech provides numerous humorous references to America’s political and social attitudes. Society’s fascination with the marital status of its political candidates and Barbie’s skinny physique are also highlighted.
The impact of Barbie’s breakup from Ken sees her cross paths with a number of iconic adventure and action toys of the 80s. Those interactions and the realisation of who she is lead to greater self-realisation and her perspective gradually changes.
Of course how much she changes depends on the whims of her owner as shown by several costume changes which occur on stage. Similarly, the positioning of her arms and legs are often controlled by whoever is moving her.
Valentine’s clever copying of a Barbie doll’s movements together with the delivery of her witty and cutting observation of society’s expectations and relationships ensured her 60 minute show was enthusiastically received by audience members.
Dream House is playing at Speakeasy Theatre, 522 Flinders St, Melbourne until April 1. For more information and tickets visit The Comedy Festival website.
*Jenny Burns attended the opening night of Dream House as a guest of the producer.
- live shows, Melbourne
Subscribe My Newsletter
Unsubscribe at any time.