Tawdry Heartburn’s Manic Cures

I lied to my friend about why I can’t go to her wedding…… I told her I couldn’t get time off work but really I just don’t really like her very much. Anonymous

If you could tell your deepest darkest secret without being identified, would you? Should you?

Tawdry Heartburn’s Manic Cures is a free interactive performance, installation and web-work offering you the chance to “get it off your chest”.

The performance unfolds in an intimate 20 minute conversation between Tawdry Heartburn, a six-foot-five nail technician, palmist and Manic-Curist of Secrets, and a single audience member or ‘client’. Surrounded by varnish, typewriters and things unsaid, Tawdry will professionally paint and polish your nails, or read your palm, while inviting you to consider divulging a secret via his collection of mechanical ‘gossip machines’.

Anonymous secrets or regrets may be handwritten or typed, then placed in Tawdry’s secrets boxes. At the end of each day, the boxes are emptied and contributions added to the ever expanding Wall of Secrets for passers-by to read. A selection are later posted to, a website documenting secrets disclosed.

Tawdry’s mission in life? To achieve a world without secrets, to un-furrow the brows of millions and heal the consternation caused by unspoken truths – one set of nails at a time.

James Berlyn’s hands move purposefully as he expertly applies lashings of bright nail polish to the hands of his client. Dressed entirely in black, with the exception of a black-and-white pinstriped neckscarf, he looks more like a magician than a beauty therapist as he works on the Kingston Beach foreshore The Mercury


Created and performed by
James Berlyn

Produced and toured by Performing Lines WA

Presenter Contact

Rachael Whitworth

Presentation History

Brisbane Festival
Brisbane, QLD
Festival Of Live Art
Melbourne, VIC
View full Presentation History

Full Presentation History for Tawdry Heartburn’s Manic Cures

Brisbane Festival
Brisbane, QLD
Festival Of Live Art
Melbourne, VIC
Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Adelaide , SA
Sydney Festival (Presented in association with Carriageworks)
Sydney, NSW
Enlighten, National Library of Australia
Canberra , ACT
APACA, State Theatre Centre of WA Foyer
Perth, WA
Ten Days on the Island
Tasmania Tour as ‘State Secrets’, TAS
Adelaide, SA
Australian Performing Arts Market, Adelaide Festival Centre
Adelaide, ACT
Perth International Arts Festival, Beck’s Music Box
Perth , WA
25 Summer Nights Festival, The Blue Room Theatre
Perth, WA
Putting On An Act, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts
Perth, ACT

Project Partners & Acknowledgements

In everything we do, we acknowledge that we live on Aboriginal land and constantly learn from the wisdom of First Peoples.

Where we are and the history that precedes us informs how we work and how we move forward.