Sunday, 23 September 2018

The Boy, George - Melbourne Fringe Festival review

The year is 2028 and it's been six days since the Queen died. King Charles is privately mourning her death, seemingly ignoring the fact that the monarchy's reign is about to be overthrown by the House of Commons. But 14-year-old Prince George has a few tricks up his sleeve to save the monarchy and ensure his rightful place as the future King.

Written and performed by Patrick Livesey, The Boy, George is a queer and satirical look at privilege, power, the struggle to hold on to it and what happens when the tables turn, and it's all fabulously seen through the eyes of the now 14-year-old Prince. The set and costume designs consist of a few select pieces that tell us all that we need to know about George; there is a chaise longue that he reclines on while wearing his pink pyjamas, pink robe and pink slippers. On the table next to him, incense burns with three framed photos of his 'Gods': The Queen, Princess Diana and his mother Kate.

While George adores these women, he has nothing but contempt for the men in his life. He sees them as weak minded and inept, so it's all fallen on his shoulders to save the monarchy. He attempts to record a video urging the citizens of England to retain the status quo, but for a number of reasons he is unable to complete this, partly because his thoughts turns to a fellow classmate at Eton College on whom he has a crush on.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Our Carnal Hearts - Melbourne Fringe Festival review

"Congratulations! I’m so happy for you.” How many times have we said that to people? When your colleague gets a promotion, when your friend buys a house, or when a family member gets engaged. But how often have we said it with a tinge of...well...envy. In Rachel Mars’ envy affirming Our Carnal Hearts, this very private emotion is put under the spotlight through a wondrous combination of storytelling, music and singing. 

Mars has the audience hooked from the second she walks into the performance space. She appears confident and relaxed, but her face hints at a cheeky playfulness. It doesn't take long for her mischief to become evident and subsequently spread into the audience, making interactions of sharing our bitterness towards out friends' successes and another involving two plastic chickens all the more entertaining.

Ross & Rachel - Melbourne Fringe Festival review

Spoiler alert, when Ross and Rachel finally got together in Friends, there was much celebration from fans of the iconic TV show. After all, we'd been waiting ten years for this. Once the show was over, we assumed that that was their happy ending. They were meant for each other. But what happens when that happy ending doesn't come? James Fritz' Ross & Rachel picks up on this story ten years later and reveals that what we may have wanted back then could easily be what is slowly killing us now.

Fritz's play is intended to be performed by one actor in both roles. The transitions between characters occur instantly throughout and sometimes before a sentence has even been finished. This can make for a challenging narrative to follow, but the idea of losing one's self by being in a relationship is made abundantly clear. While this is told through the characters of Friends, it is still accessible for those who don't know the TV show as references to the show will appeal to fans but are vague enough that non-Friends fan will still be able to understand. Ross & Rachel isn't about the Friends, it's about two people who thought they were meant to be together.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Never Ending Night - Melbourne Fringe Festival review

For years now, the Earth has been a site of devastation with humans now forced to live underground in various bunkers throughout the world. Cyprus Pod has been home to a community of people for 15 years, and all is as normal as can be until a Messenger arrives with a request for the pod to take on eight more people. With her, she brings three of the eight who are given the task to familiarise themselves with Cyprus Pod and endear themselves to the residents. With limited rations and space, the survivors must decide if they will allow these eight people to stay or turn them away. So begins Never Ending Night, an immersive theatre show presented by Libby Brockman and Russell Sims.

In this show, audience members are permitted to explore the pod and observe and listen to the various conversations happening between the residents, the Messenger and the Messenger’s guests. The nature of an immersive show such as this is that everyone will have a different experience depending on who they follow but the conclusion should provide enough information to put all the pieces of the puzzle together even if they have missed certain scenes. In this instance, I chose to shadow one of the messenger’s guests who tries to charm and manipulate his way into the pod. While initially an interesting character, his scenes and dialogue began to get slightly repetitive with his constant advances towards his female counterpart and in his belief that a place should be made for him because he is young, strong and fertile.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Dog Show - Melbourne Fringe Festival review

You know that saying 'it doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game"? Yeah, forget that, because in this competition, it's all about the win. Presented as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, Dog Show is a physical theatre performance scrutinising our obsession with winning, and while it might revolve around a dog show, it's the humans who are ultimately the ones being judged.

It's a dog eat dog world in this competition with Simone French, Alex Roe and Adam Ibrahim each taking on the role of a dog and its owner. The canines compete in various challenges and tests to determine which one will ultimately be hailed as the best in show. This includes being aggressively examined from head to toe for ideal leg length, desired weight, and flawless face and teeth by the judges. At other times, they are paraded around the audience, putting their best paw forward to the live score by drummer Cassandra Kumaschow that brings out the tension of the show while also leading the humour. Director Cassandra Fumi does a great job of creating much activity and chaos in such a confined space but never losing the purpose of this show.

Fuckboys: The Musical - Melbourne Fringe Festival review

Fuckboys are everywhere. You know, the guys who won't get the hint that you're just not into them, or the ones who feel their masculinity is being challenged when a woman takes control. Fuck that. Written and directed by Savanna Pedersen, Fuckboys: The Musical is the story of four women who must navigate their way through a sea of fuckboys to find the diamonds in the rough.

Most of the stories take place at the their local karaoke bar where they down their drinks and talk (and sing) about the various fuckboys in their lives. One woman has recently begun a relationship with the bartender of said karaoke bar and another has decided to stop being so boring and loosen up a bit that results in some unexpected complications. The third one is still recovering from a difficult break-up that's caused her to find comfort in the bottle and the fourth is simply happy to keep swiping right on tinder.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Blood Is Thicker Than Hummus - Melbourne Fringe Festival review

Immersive show Blood is Thicker than Hummus invites audiences into the Parker household for a relaxed dinner party. Except it’s been five months since the patriarch of the family has passed away and each member of the family is still dealing with their own grief, as well as simmering tensions between each other.

Despite being born minutes apart, Penelope and Patrick (Catherine Holder and Pearce Hessling) could not be more different, nor can their animosity be more apparent as they hurl insults and cutting remarks about their life choices to each other through the entire dinner - and in front of their guests. Melina Wylie as Pamela tries to play mediator but even she reaches breaking point with her bickering children.