Monday, 21 October 2019

The Disappearing Trilogy review

In Suzie Hardgrave's The Disappearing Trilogy, gender and character come under the spotlight with an actor expressing her confusion and uncertainty on what it means to be both a woman and a performer. Where does one end and one begin? Can they co-exist, or will one eventually cease to exist?

Hardgrave displays outstanding skill in her writing and acting with each of the three episodes, which partners her thesis on the topic of “the actress”, and performance and construct of gender and character. The first episode has Hardgrave lamenting a one-star review after a show has closed and determining her self-worth. The second, which is the most engaging, has her using her body to explore the demands and expectations placed upon a performer as a pre-recorded narrator verbalises what we are seeing. The final episode has the actor step out from the confines of the stage and attempt to speak to us as a genuine person.

Savannah Bay review

An elderly woman sit patiently, but also impatiently, on a chair. She is waiting. For what, we do not know. Eventually a young woman arrives and begins to tend to her. As she does, they recall and share stories that bind them together. Written by acclaimed French writer Marguerite Duras, Savannah Bay explores memory and identity and how these connect us with others.

There's a strong bond between the two actors, Brenda Palmer and Annie Thorold. They allow their characters to exude a reciprocal compassion and sincerity. When The Young Woman is undressing and dressing Madeleine, there is plenty to take from that moment as to the dynamics of the relationship of these women and where they are at in their lives. There are instances throughout the show that capture this so intelligently and sensitively.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Bernie Dieter's Little Death Club review

When Bernie Dieter gets her gang of punks, freaks and weirdos together you can be sure you're in for a night of rousing cabaret, burlesque and circus. With a number of rotating guest artists, Little Death Club allows everyone in the spiegeltent to shed their inhibitions and simply celebrate everything that makes them distinct and unique.

Dieter's displays perfect levels of charm and sassiness as our host, with her audience banter remaining playful and cheeky as she coaxes one person to let out a loud orgasm to show his appreciation of the performance. Her original songs, including catchy titled gems like "Lick My Pussy" and "Dick Pic", leave everyone wanting to hear more of her distinct voice and unexpectedly relatable lyrics.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Forgiveness review

Outside the venue of Forgiveness are a number of vintage suitcases set up in three piles. Each pile has an open suitcase with a question written on it in relation to the show's title. One, for example asks, “is there anything you wish you hadn’t forgiven?” We are encouraged to reflect on these questions and write down our answers before placing these papers into their respective case. And so we begin to ponder what hand forgiveness has played in our lives. As we do this, a roving performer holds a suitcase on his back, struggling to walk around the foyer with the heaviness of the object he carries. Presented by Monash University Centre for Theatre and Performance and Barking Spider Visual Theatre, Forgiveness is a reflective piece of visual theatre, exploring forgiveness through an individual and a national lens.

Friday, 4 October 2019

The Window Outside review

"It makes life so much easier when everybody knows its time", says one character in Belinda Lopez's The Window Outside. Presented as part of the Victorian Seniors Festival, the play explores the relationship between a family when tragedy strikes and tough decisions need to be made. Everyone is reaching boiling point after Frank has had a stroke, Evelyn is showing signs of dementia and their two adult daughters are unable to continue caring for their parents.

Carrie Moczynski reprises her role as Evelyn after playing her seven years ago in a season at La Mama. Her portrayal is once again laced with a loving vulnerability and determination and even though she doesn't explicitly state it, there are traces of acknowledgement that her mind is slowly deteriorating. Ian Rooney's performance relies on his body language and facial expressions to tell his story. He does a great job of highlighting the spark of life he once had and how it has now left him. As his oldest daughter Sharon states in one scene, he is but a shell of what he was, which the flashbacks also do well in supporting.

Monday, 30 September 2019

Top 10 Shows at the 2019 Melbourne Fringe Festival

So another Melbourne Fringe Festival draws to a close. With over 450 events on this year, I managed to get myself to 61 shows (matching my 2016 record), despite telling myself I would take it easy this year. However, with such a variety of works being performed there was no way I was going to miss any. Covering interactive and immersive work, cabaret, theatre, live art, circus, comedy and dance, there really is something for everyone to enjoy and experience at Melbourne Fringe Festival.

As usual, there were so many shows I wish I could have made it to but my clone is still a little way off from completion so I hope I will have an opportunity to catch those in the future in some way, shape or form. But it's not a Melbourne Fringe Festival - for me anyway - without compiling a list of my top ten shows, so here it is. Links to original reviews can be found next to the show's title. Enjoy!

1. Mime Consultant - review

Every now and again you see a show where you think you know what you’re getting yourself into but end up with something completely unexpected and far better than anything you could have imagined. Patrick CollinsMime Consultant is that show. Adding mime to his repertoire of comedian, magician and bisexual, he delivers an unforgettable hour of non-stop laughter as he helps people achieve their mime dreams. 

It’s evident that Collins has worked on each second of this show that then allows him the to be in complete control on the stage. His dissection of his material from all angles ensures that no joke is left unturned and as a result they are a source of constant entertainment. There is not a single flat moment or a punchline that doesn’t land. With a seemingly loose format, you’re constantly surprised with every sketch performed and then amazed with where that leads. Mime Consultant shows a performer at the top of his game who has taken this traditionally silent art form and turned it (and comedy) into a truly unique experiences for audiences.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Whiplash - Melbourne Fringe Festival review

Scott is on a date with a woman when his heart decides to disappear. Left with no choice but to deep dive inside his own body to try and locate it, where he meets an assortment of 'characters' along the way, including Brain, Dick and Mr. Fuck You Guy. Performed by Scott Wings, Whiplash is a thoughtful reflection on masculinity, mental health and relationships expressed through spoken word and physical theatre.

Wings conjures strong visual images with his descriptive words and in return there are plenty of emotional reactions to be felt. There is a vulnerability in the narrative and he isn't afraid to open himself up to a room full of strangers. He has a knack for finding the humour in a situation and ensures the story is filled with these observations. As he passes the stomach and comes across a ball of gum and nails long ago consumed, we smile at the familiarity of that brief comment. His tone and intonation throughout are effective in creating the atmosphere and his considered pacing stresses the urgency and intensity of our protagonist's circumstances but also allows for a breather as needed.