The Creative Issue
(https://www.thecreativeissue.com.au), Posted 26 February
Reviewer: Kayla Wratten
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
to online review (accessible as at 27Feb18)