Public Toilets Private Words


Public Toilets Private Words      

Cradle Productions

Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts

May 10 – 17 2014


Reviewed by Michelle Bull


Director/ Dramaturge: Daniel Czech


Performed by Caitlin Armstrong, Eloise Maree, Thomas Albert





I have to admit, I’m not someone who really ‘gets’ toilet humour. Perhaps deep psychoanalysis would reveal it’s due to some kind of tortuous toilet trauma as a kid but until then I continue to be the prudish ‘butt’ (pun totally intended) of my friends jokes and amusement.


So as I headed to the opening of ‘Public Toilets Private Words’ –I was hesitant, readying myself for a show that I expected wouldn’t venture too far from cliché toilet humour. Instead I was surprised by a clever and witty cabaret that mixed politics and poignancy with a ‘pile’ of humour and big nod to popular culture.


Staged in the wonderfully intimate Shopfront of the Judith Wright Centre, this comic cabaret gives a voice to toilet wall graffiti from around the globe – the sad, the sexy, the funny and the philosophical.



Given that it takes (we are told) “an average of 7 mins for someone to take care of business’” toilet graffiti has a captive audience – and it would seem a bigger story to tell.


A simple and portable set is cleverly employed to transform the space from the mania of a nightclub scene to the passionate streets and toilettes of Paris. The tale of a love-struck Parisian artiste, a standout sequence that showed the strong physical comedy skills of Armstrong and Maree.


Theatrically and musically the trio all shine in their individual characterisations their archetypal characters making for great comic moments and exchange.


This sense of ensemble is the shows strength, as punchy dialogue, hilarious nightclub dance sequences and original tunes, such as the ‘oh so catchy ‘Pants around my ankles’ propel this sexual, historical, geographical romp through the words and wisdom of its washroom authors.




Piano accordion and ukulele add a great live cabaret touch, along with sudden shifts (a monologue about 911 and references to drug and alcohol abuse) catching the audience somewhere between laughter and speechlessness.


These moments of profundity are quickly bookended by audience participation (kissing the boots of this audience member will always win you points!) and self-reference- all reminding us that while there is a bigger message at the heart of this work, this is after all a lighthearted cabaret about toilet graffiti!


Public Toilets Private Words is a show that delivers poignancy and humour, and (thank goodness!) not just of the toilet kind. Skillful writing, clever staging and high-energy performances weave a strong message in amongst adorable idiocy and a whole lotta’ naughty fun. Playing in Brisbane until May 17, catch this one while you can!




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