Keira Daley is no stranger to the Sydney Fringe Festival stage. In 2011 she won the award for excellence for her show, LadyNerd. This year she is back with Keira Daley vs. The 90s where this self-confessed nerd embraces her own memories of being an awkward teenager and growing up during this time.

Daley starts the show off strongly by telling us our mobiles have gotten kilos heavier, that we should be wearing hypercolor t-shirts and that when we access the internet it’s done via noisy modems or that we are forced to look things up in Encarta 95. It was also the time when VHS eclipsed beta, where tamagotchis were considered pets and the cats of the world “enjoyed anonymity” as there was no YouTube.

Musical director, Mark Chamberlain accompanies Daley as a part of a three-piece band where he plays keyboards and she sings (and plays drums on a cover of Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way”). They play an assortment of nineties tunes and originals inspired by the decade. The artists that get a look-in include: Massive Attack, The Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Des’ree, Macy Gray, Spice Girls, Pearl Jam, Jamiroquai and Coolio.

The show is steeped heavily in nostalgia and the use of music makes it a fan’s dream (for those individuals that liked that decade’s output). It’s fun to play name-that-song and some audiences even joined in for some impromptu karaoke. Daley has an excellent singing voice and it was a real highlight to hear them play a mega-mix of TV themes like: Full House, Friends, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Nanny, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Captain Planet.

The biggest pitfall of the show was that it had a few too many moments where things got too self-indulgent. Daley kept the energy high and would cut between songs to tell stories from high school (she’d delved into journals she’d kept from 1993-1998 for inspiration). There were stories about crushes and bullies but some of these weren’t that interesting and at times it felt like someone telling you about their dreams, it’s fascinating for them but not necessarily for the person listening.

Keira Daley vs. The 90s is a fun look back at a particular decade and where Daley threads stories from her own life with quotes and bits from her favourite nineties music, films and TV programs. What ensues is something warm, quirky and occasionally rowdy. It has enthusiasm in spades and the musical covers were great, but this reviewer would’ve liked it more if things had been opened up so that we all could’ve laughed and danced as hard as Daley in order to look back.

Originally published on 19 September 2013 at the following website:

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