MICF – Diana Nguyen Sunny Side Up

by | Apr 6, 2024

BY Carissa Shale

After a breakup, some people lash out and get a questionable haircut or cry on the couch into a tub of ice cream. Diana Nguyen instead chose to cry all the way to Spain to trek 300 kilometres of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. To heal her broken heart, Nguyen somewhat followed in the footsteps of Elizabeth Gilbert. However, her journey looked a bit more like an ‘Eat, Walk, Snore’ as she ate delicious Spanish tapas, trekked through a heat wave, and listened to a symphony of snores each night in her hostels. Along her healing journey, she explores everything from her obsession with the Vietnamese delicacy of ‘Hot Vit Lon’ or duck foetus eggs, to her romantic escapades with Italian silver-foxes.

Nguyen’s warm and friendly audience interaction, along with her infectious laugh (often followed by a hilarious snort), endears her to the audience. She is a cheerful ray of sunshine, who beams on stage with a bright and friendly smile. Nguyen is not afraid to show vulnerability, wearing her heart on her sleeve as she examines her current predicament in life. She shares her experiences in a raw and honest way, even when touching on topics that are less than joyful. As a 38-year-old woman from Springvale who is yet to find prince charming, Nguyen regales the audience with her fears of a ticking biological clock and her journey to harvest her own eggs for future use. The shows’ title, Sunny Side Up, alludes not only to the deliciousness of duck foetus and Nguyen’s egg freezing, but also her ability to flip the script, and the eggs, to find the sunny side.

As a trained theatre performer, Nguyen’s talents shine through as she exaggerates her physicality and swaps in and out of a Vietnamese accent to bring to life the archetypes of her mother-country. Her re-enactment of Vietnamese street food sellers will have you feeling as if you are wandering the Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh. A highlight of the show was the characterisation of her very traditional refugee mother, who is not afraid to say whatever she thinks to her eldest daughter, especially when it comes to the topic of her lack of grandchildren. An honourable mention must be made to her highly physical re-enactment of a very innocent massage, which was unfortunately misinterpreted to be quite sensual.

While some the show’s difficult subject-matter and coarse language may not be for everyone, it is certainly never short of surprises as Nguyen concludes by summarising her recent escapades in song, self-accompanied on the ukulele.

Overall, Diana Nguyen is joyous character, who manages to be a bit crude, in a bit of a charming way.

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