With a blast of an air horn and a shattering of the glass ceiling, Cindy Salmon bursts into Melbourne Fringe with an infectious energy that will leave your cheeks sore by the end of the night. Cindy Salmon’s Empowerment Hour – a solo vehicle for Hayley Tantau’s answer to Oprah, Cindy Salmon – is an absolutely hilarious character piece, filled with positive messages for women taken to the absolute extreme.
In the Empowerment Hour, Salmon (Tantau) is running her own daytime talk show, Upstream, with the assistance of her mild-mannered tech Jayden (Jayden Masciulli). Over the course of the hour, a personal crisis unfolds, leading Salmon to take matters into her own hands. Things take a turn for the weird and the dark, but true to form, Salmon comes out on top through sheer force of will.
Tantau has previously performed as Salmon as part of sketch group Trillcumber, she has got it down perfectly and the character stands up brilliantly in a solo hour. By taking Salmon outside of the comfort of her TV show and showing how she deals with difficulties in her own life, Tantau adds nuance to her portrayal and it makes Salmon’s brashness even funnier. The audience responded well to Salmon’s messages of empowerment, and Tantau was quick-witted in her responses to any audience ad-libs, always coming back with a Salmonism on the fly.
Masciulli does a wonderful job on the tech desk, blasting Salmon’s slogans and bursts of air horn with brilliant comedic timing. The outstanding tech, brilliant writing and captivating performance mean that the performance whizzes along, with non stop laughs and the audience breathlessly wondering what will happen next.
Cindy Salmon’s Empowerment Hour is a bold and confident first solo show from Tantau. This is one of the best examples of a high status character comedy done to perfection, it is a highlight of Melbourne Fringe and I look forward to seeing what comes next.
Hayley Tantau – Cindy Salmon’s Empowerment Hour is on at The Improv Conspiracy – Office until October 2