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Review Quotes


“Singer, songwriter and self proclaimed ringmaster Emma Dean is a hobobag full of crazy pills. Like the really awesome hallucinogenic kind…100% addictive”
(New York Post)

“Quirky, kooky and a little bit eccentric … that’s just who this breath-taking performer is and everything about her is glorious. As Dean says, sometimes you need to accept that you aren’t a horse… you really are a unicorn”
(The Konfetti and The Creative Issue, Brisbane, Australia)

"....Emma is the spirit of cabaret, every part of her body engaged in her music....Take any chance to see this songstress...."
(Australian Stage)

"Move over Rufus and Tori. You have company."
(The Courier Mail, Brisbane, Australia)

“Curious, funny, astute and above all, weird. She could well stake a good claim to be the new Millennium's Kate Bush with her theatrical approach to music....”
(All Gigs, United Kingdom)

“Any chance to see the versatile, multi-talented musician should not be missed, especially when supported by the incredible musical talents of Tony Dean and Richard Grantham.”
(Blue Curtains, Brisbane, Australia)

 
Review: Brisbane Powerhouse, Friday 22 & Saturday 23 February 2019

scenstr.com.au, posted 26 February 2019
Reviewer: Luisa Ryan

"This cabaret show was glittery, bubbly, lovelorn… And inspired the whole audience to 'embrace their inner f...ing unicorns'....Her show is incredibly fun and inclusive. "

Link to full online review (accessible as at 28Feb19)
Full review reprinted below:

This cabaret show was glittery, bubbly, lovelorn… And inspired the whole audience to 'embrace their inner f...ing unicorns'.

Emma Dean is a Brisbane institution, and one who has spent the last decade or two writing and collecting stories about heartbreak. She has woven these songs into an enchanting performance all about finding love in all the wrong places, until you learn to love yourself.

While a theme of ‘self love’ might sound a bit naff, this show is anything but. Backed up by a team of musicians, Emma takes to the stage in full 'Rainbow Brite'-inspired regalia, with fairy lights peering out through the gloom. At one point, Emma tells stories about how her inner “light” has come between her and various lovers who all “preferred the dark”. If any other performer said this, eyes would roll, but she has such a radiant stage presence that the audience can totally see this happening.

It’s this stage presence that really elevates the show above the general recitation of love songs, both covers and original works. Emma has an impressive vocal range, and uses it like a weapon. At times, she is earnest and caring, thought-provoking and heartbreaking. Then she yodels, or turns her voice whiney to grate on the audience like fingernails down a chalkboard. She keeps us entertained, so that each song is completely different.

Her show is incredibly fun and inclusive. A guest performer, Jamie Kendall, danced to accompany the music. Like Emma, his movement could be incredibly serious, direct from a prestigious contemporary dance recital. Next, he plays a dog called Fritz, or appears in very brief undies with a toy gun, trying to pierce Emma’s heart. The audience wasn’t safe though, one poor man was pulled from his seat to lie on stage while Emma squatted above him, serenading him about wanting to lick his eyeball.

We hit peak inclusivity though as the show drew to a close, and audience members formed a pop-up choir. Singing about how everyone is loveable, the choir members in front of me included a differently-abled gentleman, and a same-sex couple, singing their hearts out. It was a feel-good note to end on, and a feel-great show.

 

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Reviews: Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Greenside, Edinburgh
3 - 11, 13 - 18, 20 - 25 August 2018

LondonTheate1.com, posted 20 August 2018
Reviewer: Chris Omaweng

4/5

"...it turned out to be an equally joyous and poignant production.... I’ve never seen anything like this. An intriguing production, as deep as it is wide."

Link to full online review here (accessible as at 21 Aug18)
Full online review reprinted below:

Daniel Sloss encouraged his Edinburgh Fringe audiences to “go and see weird sh*t”, a call to step out of one’s comfort zone and see something one wouldn’t ordinarily book for. Broken Romantics: A Unicorn’s Quest for Love fits the ‘weird sh*t’ bill for me, and as Emma Dean kept singing, “I am a f**king unicorn” repeatedly, I wondered a) what on earth I was sitting through and b) who or what is the unicorn having relations with?

I never did find out the answer to the second question. As to the first, it turned out to be an equally joyous and poignant production. In the end, the inner child suddenly deciding to ‘be’ a unicorn is no different from a schoolgirl having different passions and desires from one day to the next.

Supporting Emma Dean on stage are band members Tony Dean and Richard Grantham, Katie Swan on backing vocals, and Jamie Kendall, dubbed ‘The Heartbreaker’, who delighted the ladies in the audience in my row, partly by not wearing very much during most of the performance, and partly by some very good physical movement.

Like many people, Dean has endured the pain of relationships ending, and has, by her own admission, been collecting songs regarding heartbreak since 1997. And while some of the numbers in this song cycle are predictably melancholic, there are other songs that were lively enough to have some in the audience at the performance I attended nodding to the driving beat as though at a rock gig.

The songs are given context by Dean’s anecdotes, and while she is now able to look back on what occurred with a smile on her face, the songs become interesting snapshots of her thoughts at the time. Dean’s vocal range is quite impressive – more than once, I was reminded of Kate Bush when Dan hits the highest of the high notes – and if just being on stage without having to do anything counts as audience participation, maybe we should all have been up there with Kendall doing his thing around us.

Some of the stories and songs are memorable for sheer bizarreness. One split up took place because Dean refused to carry out her then partner’s wish to defecate on him. One musical number is called ‘I Want to Lick Your Eyeballs’, in which Dean, singing to what is now an ex-lover, gets “hornier for your cornea”, the sort of rhyme that elicited about as many laughs as groans. But Dean saves the best for last, and her concluding remarks send the audience out happy and hopeful. Quite an achievement for a show about loss. I’ve never seen anything like this. An intriguing production, as deep as it is wide.

 

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musicaltheatrereview.com, posted 12 August 2018
Reviewer: Aura Simon

4/5


".... Dean’s unicorn-ego is no wilting cupcake, it’s forged in the fire of heartbreak, and bathed in the fury of her own awakening. This is a glittering, rainbow-hued warrior of a unicorn, and we are lucky to be in her presence."

Link to full online review here (accessible as at 13Aug18)
Full online review reprinted below:

Emma Dean is a F&@cking Unicorn, and don’t you forget it.

Heartbreak has been the muse of many an artist since the dawn of time, but Dean manages to infuse some bizarre and bittersweet life into the genre with a song-cycle of cleverly original, theatrical-pop songs, sprinkled with some well chosen cover arrangements.

Joined by her band, “The Broken Romantics”, and dancer/choreographer Jamie Kendall, Dean invites us in to share her journey of romance, self-discovery, and finding comfort in your own skin, however weird you think others might find it.

And, let’s not lie, it gets weird. Real weird. Joyfully weird. Ecstatically weird.

Kendall delivers a passionate and committed visual to the tales, imbuing his own contemporary choreography to Dean’s songs with delicacy, visceral feeling, and a good helping of fun.

Dean’s electric vocals are of course, remarkable, but also fantastically unpredictable. It’s a treat to hear her play with the form with such freedom, and a relief when she doesn’t over use her vocal acrobatics either, relying on the honesty of her delivery when she chooses to.

The songs do once or twice drift into similar patterns – sometimes the specifics of the individual heartbreaks get a little abstracted amongst the lyric, but it’s the beauty of Dean’s arrangements, and the subtle touch of her band, that carry us through these momentary lulls.

For a show which can turn, at the flick of a switch, from soul-baring melancholy to brazen confessional surrealism, the delivery of links between numbers can feel a little upright and polished. In these moments, there’s a certain distance kept between Dean herself and the audience which denies us the intimacy the songs deliver throughout.

Nevertheless, it’s easy to forget what it takes to stand onstage and declare, with your own voice, that what you have to say is important, funny, worthy of attention – and for a show that wants to pick away at our learned cynicism, it’s even more of a vulnerable task.

Make no mistake though – Dean’s unicorn-ego is no wilting cupcake, it’s forged in the fire of heartbreak, and bathed in the fury of her own awakening. This is a glittering, rainbow-hued warrior of a unicorn, and we are lucky to be in her presence.

 

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edfringereview.com, posted 11 August 2018
Reviewer: India Greenland
(Review 1 from edfringereview.com)

5/5
Broken Romantics is one of edfringereview's editors' picks.

"....'Broken Romantics' a highlight of the Fringe – everyone should see this show....You’ll leave this show feeling absolutely empowered and ready to take on the world, and with the confidence that you too, are a unicorn."

Link to full online review here (accessible as at 13Aug18
Full review printed below:

‘Broken Romantics: A Unicorn’s Quest for Love’ is a fabulous mash up of song, dance, physical theatre and storytelling. As I was greeted at the door of this show by a woman dressed in silver metallic leggings and lipstick, it was clear from the outset that this cabaret show was going to be colourful – and it absolutely was. Described by lead Emma Dean as a ‘mixtape’ of songs about her heartbreaks, this show encompasses all the emotions that falling in love entails.

With haunting, beautiful sad melodies one moment and songs about her eyeball licking fetish the next, this show is an absolute roller coaster of emotions, and will have you falling off your chair laughing and wiping away a tear from one moment to another. The staging is sparse, with just an illuminated cardboard heart of four sections as adornment. This prop is used perfectly to illustrate the emotional charge of the play. With each story that Dean sings or talks about, the ‘heartbreaker’ character Jamie Kendall takes a piece of the heart, a simple but stunning visual.

Dean sings some covers, such as an incredible rendition of 'Elastic Heart', but mostly uses her own music to explore her journey. She switches tone from depressed to vengeful to in love quickly and seamlessly, enabling her to cover everything from her first celebrity crush in 1997 to her recent journey of finding self love.

While Kendall performs some incredible physical theatre and the band and back-up singer performed their parts perfectly, Dean herself is very much the centre of this show. We are also not given any details of the relationships or men who have broken Dean’s heart, allowing the focus to remain solely on her own recovery and growth. She draws on advice from friends (who tell her, “you’re a f***ing unicorn”) in her journey towards falling in love with herself. Her “love song to herself” (which uses plastic guns and lengths of rope as props) where she realises that these absent men hold no power over her anymore is an inspiring and empowering moment.

An absolute character in head to toe rainbow-patterned clothing, Dean’s stunning voice is matched by her stage presence and charisma. She’s also absolutely hilarious. Whether it’s as ‘compere’ of her cabaret, singing some of her more outrageous songs, just doing her one-liners or winks, there’s much more to this show than just the music.

'Broken Romantics' a highlight of the Fringe – everyone should see this show. The hour you'll spend here is so positive that I walked from my flat to the venue complaining about the cold and rain and walked home awed by the beautiful Edinburgh sunset. Men in Dean’s past may have complained about her “light," (Dean's word for her sparkle and positivity) but her lucky audiences at the fringe certainly will not. You’ll leave this show feeling absolutely empowered and ready to take on the world, and with the confidence that you too, are a unicorn.

 

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edfringereview.com, posted 11 August 2018
Reviewer: Eleanor Gunn
(Review 2 from edfringereview.com)
5/5
Broken Romantics is one of edfringereview's editors' picks.

"....Over the course of the show we are told a tale in an eclectic mix of songs (both original and covers), dance, and the spoken word. It was a true cabaret of incredible talent, with absolutely no spare or faulty parts.... I hope as many people as possible will go see this show. You will leave ready to take on the world – and who doesn’t want that?"

Link to full online review here (accessible as at 13Aug18)
Full review printed below:

The show began with a breath-taking cover of ‘elastic-heart’. Dean, accompanied by her band the Broken Romantics, silenced the audience and made the hairs on the back of my neck tingle. It is rare to see a performer put quite so much of their soul into a song, and the rest of the performance followed through with that same incredible energy.

Over the course of the show we are told a tale in an eclectic mix of songs (both original and covers), dance, and the spoken word. It was a true cabaret of incredible talent, with absolutely no spare or faulty parts. After the opening song Dean lays bare to her audience the motivation behind the creation of her wonderful show: heartbreak. The motivation for many a tale, yet Dean was able to make it fresh, funny and without a hint of self-pity.

She leads her audience through her journey of love with her. It could very easily have been a total cheese-fest (and there were admittedly moments of this) but instead the atmosphere was poignant yet cheeky. Dean is a powerhouse and has chosen to attack life with a light which is truly inspiring, a light which shines through in her songs and stories.

So where does the Unicorn come in? Well, she’s sat at the piano, encouraging all of those who see her that they can find their own inner unicorn. I was expecting a funny jaunt through a love life, and yet was shown instead that loving yourself is far more important than any of that. The stand out song, ‘I Am a Fucking Unicorn’, was a half hilarious (how could it not be with a title like that?) half feisty fight song. Raw and real and full of personality, all the ingredients for a perfect song and show.

'Broken Romantics' simple staging added to the effect. There were few props save the instruments, and few changes to the stage through-out the show. This allows the heart on centre-stage, which has pieces slowly removed from it, to take hold of the audience's focus. The band, Dean and the talented physical theatre performer Jamie Kennel effortlessly toy with our emotions and have left me, and I’m sure the rest of the audience, inspired.

It is not often in the world of today that people choose to make the best of bad situations, and even rarer for people to make something beautiful from it, but 'Broken Romantics' did just that. I applaud the Broken Romantics crew, and wish them all the luck in the rest of the Fringe. I hope as many people as possible will go see this show. You will leave ready to take on the world – and who doesn’t want that?

 

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lgbtqarts.com, posted 11 August 2018
Reviewer: AmiespudgeTaylor

4/5

"....From even the first song, the whiplash of tone was pleasingly romantic: heartbreaking and heartwarming and, importantly, fun...."

Link to full online review here (accessible as at 13Aug18)
Full review printed below:

If your playlist is anywhere near as eclectic as mine, Emma Dean’s set might be eerily similar to what you’ve been listening to as you’ve been climbing your way through Edinburgh’s streets. With delightful renditions of Sia, beautiful Daughter-like melancholy and meme-y originals, I certainly didn’t feel out of place with the swings in genre. From even the first song, the whiplash of tone was pleasingly romantic: heartbreaking and heartwarming and, importantly, fun.

Broken Romantics is a cabaret show: the story of Dean’s heartbreaks, dances with self-love and the (no shame) discovery of ridiculous kinks set to covers of pop songs and originals. At several points, an ocarina comes into play, and there is the most masterful use of a head-bang solo I’ve ever seen: both sending me into giggles.

Interspersed between songs is The Heart Breaker, a dancer representing Dean’s lost loves and acting the responses to her songs. I sometimes struggled to follow the point of the Heart Breaker, and often found myself forgetting Emma Dean’s singing, which I found a great loss. There were a couple of songs where his presence had less metaphorical leanings, which I then did thoroughly enjoy, but the space seemed too small to contain both the dance and the music in tandem.

Fans of athletic, scantily-clad male dancers might enjoy the Heart Breaker a bit more than myself, but otherwise Emma Dean and her Broken Romantics band are silly and punchy fun, and the show absolutely makes for both a great pre-theatre warm-up, or as a wind down for a hard day.

 

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remotegoat.com, posted 11 August 2018
Reviewer: Lita Doolan
4/5


Star, sequins and love hearts
"....Anyone who is a fan of show music, fashion or pure love will find this big hearted performance unmissable.... A Unicorns Quest for Love' is pure fun with the added twist of stories told from the heart...."

Read the full online review here (accessible as at 13Aug18)
Full review printed below:

Larger than life, the beauty of the performers explodes onto the stage in a style that cannot be ignored. If you come to watch this show, its powerful blast of good feeling and jabs of optimism is inescapable. The glamour and sparkle on display is jaw dropping with huge gestures that bring the audience straight into the world of the show. Everyone feels welcomed and included in the razzle dazzle that fills the theatre.

Statuesque dancers commit to classic dance moves that are will be well known to movie buffs and West End fans. However Emma Dean's interpretation of the famous show routines is new. Anyone who is a fan of show music, fashion or pure love will find this big hearted performance unmissable. The singing is pitch perfect and encompasses a massive range. The costumes are ambitious and unique to each performer. The outfits are works of art in themselves. The confidence of the cast and how they express their individuality throughout the show is exhilarating.

"A Unicorns Quest for Love' is pure fun with the added twist of stories told from the heart.

 

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Attitude.co.uk, posted 6 August 2018
Reviewer: Paul Bloomfield

4/5

“If you love love, if you love glitter and rainbows, if you love fantastic music and hot boys dancing in their pants, then this is definitely the show for you.... A musical journey that you won’t want to miss where you will learn that, you know what? You, are a f**king unicorn too!”

Read the full online review here (accessible as at 6Aug18)
Full review printed below:

Everyone has suffered heartbreak and Emma Dean is absolutely no different.

This is one of the first things we discover in Broken Romantics: A Unicorn’s Quest for Love at Greenside at the Edinburgh Festival.

The room is dark, with shadowed figures playing instruments and a giant, surrealist, lit-up heart in pieces taking centre stage before Emma presents herself in all her rainbow glory.

The show, which has travelled all the way from Brisbane, Australia, is not quite anything you’ve seen before – it’s a bit of everything mixed magically.

A visual, performed concept album - part gig, part physical theatre with lots of cabaret thrown in there for good measure.

Be prepared to laugh out loud in one moment, before clinging to your chest with a single tear falling down your cheek in the next.

Emma’s elastic vocal-trickery is a joy to behold as she effortlessly slides through her range in a pitch-perfect masterpiece of song.

A rollercoaster of the heart with a banging, catchy sound track performed by Emma, who leads the show with charm and grace alongside band mates, Katie Swan on backing vocals, Tony Dean on percussion and Richard Grantham adding whimsical string accompaniment on the viola.

A special mention should go to Jamie Kendall and his contemporary dance with such pain in his face and majestic movement it breaks your heart and warms your soul in an instant.

It doesn’t hurt that he’s easy on the eye and tends to wear not-very-much most of the time. He also plays a major part in the first piece of audience participation I’ve witnessed, where I was actually hoping to get picked for. Alas, no luck!

It’s a shame unfortunately that the venue does not live up to the show.

Jamie’s performance feels like he’s being stunted by the lack of space and sometimes his floor work can be lost unless you’re in the front row.

A slightly raised platform and few more square feet would have kept the intimacy while giving the show the room needed to truly breathe. This would be a five star show in a better space, with better sound and lighting.

That being said, this is no reason to not get yourself down to the venue and book your ticket.

If you love love, if you love glitter and rainbows, if you love fantastic music and hot boys dancing in their pants, then this is definitely the show for you.

A musical journey that you won’t want to miss where you will learn that, you know what? You, are a f**king unicorn too!

 

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Review: House Concert, Brisbane, Friday 16 February 2018


The Creative Issue (https://www.thecreativeissue.com.au), Posted 26 February 2018
Reviewer: Kayla Wratten

Emma Dean: the Broken, Romantic Unicorn

“A show for the warriors of love, the ragtag-hearted heroes, the beautiful, the brave, the healed and the crushed,” Emma Dean smiled at the audience spread before her in an array of beanbags. Most comfortable show ever? I’ll vouch for that.

The acclaimed songstress stood before us in a rainbow skirt tailor-made for her new cabaret, Broken Romantics: A Unicorn’s Quest for Love. After enjoying a sold-out world premiere at the Brisbane Powerhouse in November 2017, Dean has revived the show in a one-off intimate house production.

If we hadn’t guessed from the candle-lit pathways or the heart stickers we were given upon arrival, it was clear from the enormous broken heart sculpture and the littering of rose petals at our feet that the show would be all about the concept of heartbreak.

We weren’t wrong, but there were certainly a few surprises that tipped the concept of heartache on its head…
Kieran T. Stevenson kicked off the night with nothing but a keyboard and a captivating voice showcasing an impressive vocal range. With repetitive lyrics forming motifs in his work, Kieran proved to be a genuine and heart-warming performer, setting the tone for the main act.

When Emma Dean first appeared, glitter smeared on her cheeks and her skirt puffed around her legs, she seemed to exude an aura of fantastic energy. The performer stepped up to the microphone: “Revel in the messiness of what it means to be human. Raise a glass to your own imperfections, and perhaps… fall in love.”

It’s hard not to fall in love with her astonishing elastic voice, seemingly able to stretch from deep valleys to mountain peaks. Speaking of, the first song was a twisted rendition of Sia’s ‘Elastic Heart,’ backed by musicians Tony Dean, Richard Grantham and Katie Swan. From there, the audience was swept up in a whirlwind of original music, from ‘Healed of You,’ to ‘Light of Day'.

The inspiration behind her cabaret originated from a recent tour of Japan, where Dean learnt of the Japanese pottery style kintsugi: preparing broken ceramic with gold to highlight the unique cracks. She loves the idea of “turning something broken into something beautiful.”

Broken Romantics isn’t all serious, however, with songs such as ‘I Am a F*%King Unicorn’ and ‘I Want to Lick Your Eyeballs’… the latter of which included a chalkboard diagram of an eye and where exactly one needs to lick. Anyone share Dean’s sexual fetish? No? I didn’t think so.

Quirky, kooky and a little bit eccentric … that’s just who this breath-taking performer is and everything about her is glorious. As Dean says, sometimes you need to accept that you aren’t a horse… you really are a unicorn.

With the show’s cover art by Katie Swan, who also features as a backing vocalist, Emma Dean’s albums have never been more enticing. The mystical scenes the watercolours create instantly allow listeners to get a feel for the music: transcendental, entrancing and overall- beautiful.

Dean’s latest dream is to take the show to Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival, the largest performing arts market in the world. Broken Romantics have their own pozible campaign calling for donations in exchange for some unique prizes, like braiding Richard’s hair or having dinner with the cabaret’s astounding physical theatre performer, Jamie Kendall.

Broken Romantics closed with Dean singing a love song to herself, eliciting an emotional response and an eruption of applause from the beanbag-nestled audience. If there is one guarantee from watching Emma Dean make magic, it’s that you’ll leave with your heart far from broken.

Link to online review (accessible as at 27Feb18)

 
Article: edfringereview.com, posted 23 August 2018

Interview: Emma Dean: the woman behind the unicorn
Interviewers: Claire Richardson and Kathryn Tann

"....And here are a lot of shows about heartbreak at the Fringe, and most of them manifested in sarcastic stand up. Emma escapes gimmicky unicorns and bitter comedy, and instead creates this glittering, musical masterpiece that we think everyone, not just the heartbroken, should see."

Read the full online article here (accessible as at 25Aug18)
Full article reprinted below:

When we met Emma Dean at the start of the month (shout-out to Greenside for a wonderful show speed-dating event) her rainbow spangled garments and vivacious enthusiasm for music made her shine. We sent some reviewers, they gave five stars, and so we went to see for ourselves what was on the other side of this rainbow. “It’s a show for anyone who’s ever been heartbroken”, Emma tells people when she hands out flyers. It contains everything from beautiful ballads, to cheeky fetishes, to her anthem of the summer – “I’m a f*cking unicorn.”

“Sometimes, when you’re in your darkest moments the littlest thing can speak to you.” Emma found her mantra in a simple blog post, and it has become her buoyancy aid. “I’ve not found anything else quite like it.” And so Emma embraced her past pains, put a ‘magical horn on her head’, and boldly built a show around her heartbreak.

But it dawns on us that not everyone has experienced heartbreak. Emma agrees – she says she’s learnt a lot about her show through flyering – some will scoff, happily married and uninterested in such a show. But the singer goes on to make the point that even so, everyone has felt insecure, has needed a boost of self-worth, has had friendships fail. These are issues everyone faces, and with ‘Broken Romantics’, Emma hopes to give a little light. The show is metaphor which lets the audience make up their mind – you can interpret Emma’s unicorn horn as you please.

So from this mantra, how did Emma then write her songs? She says her writing process is hard to explain; ‘it just happens’. But she does talk about the ‘I Heart Songwriting Club’ back in Brisbane, which helped springboard a number of our favourite ‘Broken Romantic’ songs.

While Emma might, on stage, be a rainbow clad, horn-wearing unicorn, she sits down with us as a friendly, relatable, and even (as she admits herself) slightly shy singer-songwriter. “The Fringe has always been on the bucket list… We raised a portion and I just saved the rest. And here we are.” She tells us that back home she runs a community choir with her brother, and then recounts all sorts of amazing stories about singing at the recent Commonwealth Games, entertaining children by day, even opening big-name drag shows in New York! Having come all the way from Australia, we imagined Emma’s large suitcase might be brimming with rainbow tights and glittery makeup, but she assures us that her dazzling costumes are quite separate from her usual attire. Apart from the hair: that’s always one bright colour or another.

‘Broken Romantics: A Unicorn’s Quest for Love’ is a quintessential fringe piece – brilliant, weird, touching and hilarious, all at once. Unicorns are a familiar symbol in popular culture at the present; emblazoned across t-shirts and decorating stationary. And here are a lot of shows about heartbreak at the Fringe, and most of them manifested in sarcastic stand up. Emma escapes gimmicky unicorns and bitter comedy, and instead creates this glittering, musical masterpiece that we think everyone, not just the heartbroken, should see.

 
Article: The LBGTQ Arts Review, London, England, 8 August 2018

Interview: Emma Dean, speaking about her cabaret Broken Romantics: A Unicorn's Quest for Love
Interviewer: AmiePudgeTaylor
© Amie Taylor
(AT)

.... ED: "We jokingly say ‘Enter as a human, leave as a unicorn.’ A lot of people by the end of the show have previously said that they’ve been dulling their light for a long time, and that they feel as though the show has given them permission to shine. So I guess this idea of unleashing your inner unicorn is my way of saying ‘stand in your light and shine brightly.’
"....

Read the full online article here
(accessible as at 9Aug18)
Full article reprinted below:

Having travelled from Australia, Emma Dean has arrived at the Edinburgh Fringe with her cabaret show Broken Romantics: A Unicorn’s Quest for Love. Based on some of her real life experiences of being heart-broken and of creating a vibrant unicorn persona, Emma, along with her 4 piece band, will make you laugh and cry with this spectacularly colourful piece. We interviewed her to find out a little more about what we can expect from the show.

AT: Tell us a little about you and your performance background:

ED: I am a musician from Australia, I’m primarily a singer-songwriter, and I love to tell stories through song. I’ve been writing music since I was about ten years old, it’s always been a way of expressing my feelings; I was very shy growing up, so it was a way of putting those thoughts down on paper. I studied at a music school on the weekends from the age of two, my dad is a musician, my mum is a music enthusiast and my brother, Tony, is in my show. I found the genre of cabaret because I never really fitted in to a box and I love that cabaret is such a broad genre and so many different styles of music fit under that genre.

AT: And is this your first show in Edinburgh?

ED: Yes.

AT: What inspired you to come and do the Edinburgh Fringe?

ED: I had a really bad experience with another Fringe Festival, not Adelaide Fringe (who are fabulous), but a lesser known Fringe Festival. And after that I said never again, I had this very irrational fear of Fringe festivals following my experience, but I’d always had Edinburgh Fringe in the back of my mind. It was the dream, but of course travelling from Australia is hugely expensive, and bringing five people you multiply all of those expenses by 5. But I felt like I finally had the show I wanted to showcase at this amazing melting pot of art, it’s the biggest performance market in the world; an extraordinary festival. It’s a bit of a bucket list thing, being able to say to myself that I did it.

AT: And what’s the show about?

ED: It’s a show about heartbreak healing and unleashing your inner unicorn. It’s an adult cabaret, which is very important to say, as we’re often out flyering on the mile, and as you can imagine, lots of little children get excited by our unicorn costumes, and we have to break the news that it’s an 18+ show. It’s a mixed tape of songs that have nursed me through my most broken hearted moments, mostly songs I have written myself, but also some well known, kookily arranged covers that we perform as well. It’s a mixed bag of emotions; there are moments where the audience are belly laughing, and moments where they are crying. It’s a show for anyone who’s ever been heartbroken, taking the audience on a journey and by the end of it hopefully fixing some broken hearts. It’s got a 4 piece live band, and a beautiful physical theatre performer who weaves in and out of the show playing The Heartbreaker.

AT: What do you hope the takeaway will be for the audience?

ED: We jokingly say ‘Enter as a human, leave as a unicorn.’ A lot of people by the end of the show have previously said that they’ve been dulling their light for a long time, and that they feel as though the show has given them permission to shine. So I guess this idea of unleashing your inner unicorn is my way of saying ‘stand in your light and shine brightly.’ In the show we have a theme song called ‘I Am A Fucking Unicorn’. The inspiration for this song came from a blog my friend sent me called ‘Fuck it and five other mantras’. I read through these mantras, and one of those mantras was, ‘I am a fucking unicorn’. It really resonated with me during a time when I seemed to be attracting people in to my life that were putting me down and dulling my light, which was probably due to their own stuff, and these words just resonated with me, and I took on this persona of a unicorn, and anytime I felt really bad I would say ‘I am a fucking unicorn.’

AT: You’re also doing these Unicorn Jams around the show – what are they?

ED: Yes, they will happen regularly, I’ll announce on social media, 24 hours before they happen with the time and location. People dress up in their most flamboyant, unicorn inspired costume, come to the location and we will
sing for them and teach them a dance and the best unicorn costume will get free tickets to the show.

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Article: WestEndWilma.com, London, England, 12 July 2018

Broken Romantics: A Unicorn’s Quest for Love comes to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Interviewer: West End Wilma (WEW)

....ED: "Pick our show if you want a night of original theatrical pop music, a killer band, heartfelt story-telling, soaring vocals, comedy, dance, wild fetishes and one gorgeous scantily clad man. Arrive as a human; leave as a unicorn."

Read the full online article here
(accessible as at 9Aug18)
Full article reprinted below:

WEW: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?

ED: I am an imperfect, romantic and passionate human-being/unicorn who loves to write and perform theatrical pop songs about love and the human spirit. I have performed in North America, Germany, Costa Rica and all over Australia. This is my first time performing in Edinburgh and I cannot wait! As well as writing and performing my own cabaret shows, I’ve been lucky enough to share the stage with artists like Macy Gray, Placebo, The Amanda Palmer, The Dresden Dolls, and Jinkx Monsoon. Earlier this year I was thrilled to be a featured vocalist in the opening ceremony of The Commonwealth Games. A large part of my work is also dedicated to nurturing and strengthening communities using the power of music and group singing, so when I am not on stage you can find me conducting my colourful community choir, Cheep Trill!

WEW: Tell me about your show, what it is all about?

ED: Broken Romantics: A Unicorn’s Quest for Love is my new cabaret about heartbreak, healing, and unleashing your inner unicorn. The show is a mixed tape of songs about heartbreak that have nursed me through my most broken, romantic times. Featuring my ‘Broken Romantics’ four-piece band and astonishing physical theatre performer Jamie Kendall, we hope to enchant you with a delicious and decadent musical feast of originals and wicked covers. There are moments for belly laughs and moments for tears, so prepare yourself for a night of madness and mischief as we revel in the messiness of what it means to be human.

WEW: How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?

ED: The concept of the show came to me when I was sitting on a balcony in Tokyo in February 2017, pondering the art of Kintsugi. I was thinking how beautiful it is to repair something broken using lacquer mixed with gold and silver to highlight the unique cracks instead of hide them. I wanted to write a show that bared all my own cracks, scars and heartbreak and turned them into something beautiful. So, Broken Romantics was born. These are strange paradoxical times where we are technically more connected than ever, but so many of us still feel very much alone. Due to the social media phenomenon, we are constantly comparing ourselves to others. This show is about finding human connection through our imperfections, finding the strength to step into your light and be exactly who you are, and discovering that you indeed…a f*%king unicorn.

WEW: Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?

ED: I’ve not been before so I am on the lookout for hot tips myself!
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Too many to mention. Some things are far too embarrassing to write here, but one experience that springs to mind is when my costume fell off seconds before the curtain opened in front of an audience of 7000…

WEW: Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?

ED: The creative women who bravely and boldly paved the way before me. Forever grateful.

WEW: Do you have any pre-show rituals?

ED: Apart from vocal warm ups and the application of copious amounts of glitter, my band form a circle and say a little prayer to the unicorn goddess.

WEW: What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?

ED: I have always wanted to see fellow Aussie, Anya Anastasia. I’m looking forward to her show, The Executioners.

WEW: Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?

ED: Pick our show if you want a night of original theatrical pop music, a killer band, heartfelt story-telling, soaring vocals, comedy, dance, wild fetishes and one gorgeous scantily clad man. Arrive as a human; leave as a unicorn.

 

 

Article: Warp Magazine, Hobart, Australia, June 2018

Text of article appears below:

Heart Breaker

Cabaret Artist and Singer Emma Dean is busy as hell. Frankly, I feel bad even taking up the fifteen minutes for this interview. The previous night she had a gig with Katie Noonan and a community choir she runs (called Cheep Trill – cute). She recently sang at the Commonwealth Games; she is preparing for two shows with the Festival of Voices and she’s preparing to head over to the massive Edinburgh Fringe for the first time in August. She’s got a lot of balls in the air but she’s happy.

“There’s the performance stuff, and admin that goes along with that as well. Like I’m wearing fifteen different hats,” she says. “I wish people had warned me (laughs); when I was young, I had this dream of being a professional performer. The image we’re fed is that once you make it – whatever that means to you, once you’ve got to a certain level or age, even – you’ll have this team of people, but the reality is that this is not the case. But on the flipside, I think it’s sometimes more rewarding, you get to the end of a big long season and think, ‘I did that all myself, I nearly killed myself but I did it all myself’. Having that artistic control is important to me.”

Dean will be bringing two shows to Festival of Voices. The First, Broken Romantics: A Unicorn’s Search for Love is a cabaret about heartbreak. Dean and her band will perform an array of heartbreaking covers and originals to celebrate, perhaps, the importance of romantic despair.

“It’s about heartbreak and healing and finding your unicorn,” Dean explains. “Basically it’s a mixtape featuring a lot of the songs I’ve been collecting that have got me through my most broken romantic times. Sometimes the stories I tell are a bit sad or sometimes the audience are in stitches, like when I’m talking about terrible Tinder dates. Hopefully there’s a little bit of something for everyone.”

The other, slightly more mysterious show, is a ‘short course’ called Unicorn Flashmob. It’s a workshop, of sorts, that allows you to actually become a part of Broken Romantics.

“Basically the idea is come and be a part of the show. That’s been a way to engage the community and everyone has responded really well. We’ve got all the stories to tell, and it’s those cracks in us that

make us really beautiful. It’s a part of the show that gives me goosebumps, seeing those beautiful people, some have never sung before. They’re owning their own stories which is a powerful thing.”

The long-time musician (with ten albums under her belt) doesn’t just do cabaret, of course. As mentioned, Dean was asked to perform at the Commonwealth Games this year.

“I write a lot of choral arrangements,” she explains “and I was asked to write an arrangement for John Farnham. It was all very top secret. There was John Farnham and 2,500 choristers all singing my arrangement of his song! And from that they knew they wanted to feature You’re the Voice in the Commonwealth Games. They said, ‘we need someone to sing the lead vocal for the opening, would you be interested?’ I was like, ‘yeah, obviously!’.”

“In the end my choir arrangement was dropped actually (laughs). It was completely surreal standing out into the stadium with thousands of people, knowing there was a billion people watching at home, and on top of it all, I lost my voice! I was a coughing spluttering mess, but somehow a miracle occurred. I channelled my inner unicorn hardcore. The body does incredible things when you work yourself into that warrior mindset (laughs).”

Be ready to experience all things that makes you human as well as your inner unicorn.


Lisa Dib


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Article: The Sunday Mail Brisbane, Australia, 19 November 2017
 
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