Little Black Bastard (4 stars)

This article is from 2010

Little Black Bastard

Moving and shocking story of abuse

Noel Tovey – one of Australia’s most respected performers and choreographers and a leading indigenous and LGBT rights activist – has enough raw material to draw on from his personal and professional experiences to fill several books and umpteen hours of theatre. This monologue, based on his 2004 autobiography, largely deals with his early life, a shocking contrast to his later career, in which he worked with the showbiz likes of Judy Garland and Kenneth Branagh.

Tovey and his sister were taken into care at an early age and adopted by a seemingly respectable man who removed them to the countryside. Years of sexual abuse followed before Tovey returned to Melbourne, working as a street prostitute until he was arrested, tried and convicted for buggery.

Tovey, now seventy-six, has an unassuming but magnetic stage presence that very quickly draws you into the story: his matter-of-fact delivery of each harrowing episode has the effect of rendering the abuse the performer suffered even more unsettling, and the bravery with which he picks up the pieces of his life and determines to make a positive contribution to society is extremely moving.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 30 Aug, 11.45am, £8.50–£9.50 (£7.50–£8.50).

Little Black B**tard

  • 4 stars

An astonishing production that is more than a story of survival, it's a story of a man who through art, is transfigured. Noel Tovey, one of Australia's most distinguished performers and accomplished international artists, delivers a remarkable performance. It is so articulate, sophisticated and thoroughly absorbing it…