Telia Nevile explores the perils of potential


Untitled No.7, Melbourne Fringe Festival
Performer: Telia Nevile
Where: Arts House, Queensberry St, North Melbourne
When: Season over, but the Fringe Festival continues until tomorrow night.
Rating: ★★★★


Everyone has a different definition of success and wants to achieve success in certain aspects of life.

In Untitled No.7, the award-winning Melbourne poet and performer Telia Nevile illustrates the story of Darling, who spent her whole life trying to find the golden key to success after she was told she had “so much potential”.

Untitled No. 7 combines poetry, fairytale, cabaret and interpretive dance. Nevile uses lots of dark humor to question the meaning and definition of success, which strikes a chord with everyone.

The vibrant heroine Darling is the epitome of the average person as she chases success. Those five magic words – “You have so much potential” – transform her from a hopeful young girl to a bitter adult. Is it a blessing or is it a curse?

It was a fresh and open show, with a range of songs from the mildly coarse My Penis Is a Lighthouse – received with big laughs and thunderous applause – to Disney Taught Me to Want What Won’t Come True and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt and While My Self Esteem Gently Weeps.

Nevile had great energy on the stage, and physical presence was strong and powerful. 

A handout given after the show. Picture: Kexin Wang

English isn’t my first language, so there were some points I couldn’t understand both because of the language barrier and the cultural differences. It was also the first time I’ve listened to a song like My Penis Is A Lighthouse, and I felt a little bit embarrassed, but it was clear that it was a great success with the audience. 

However, there was a quote that greatly touched my heart: “On the other side of every sunset is another dark night, and then another new morning, and then another day. And if you occasionally stumble, well that’s okay.”

It was beautiful and encouraging, and I believed it  impressed and encouraged everyone in the room.

More importantly, Nevile’s show also encourages everyone to question the meaning of success and whether it is worth chasing.

Is it really important to be successful? The message, I think, is it’s good to have a goal in life, but never let it trap you instead and never lose hope in life.