Thursday, 30 June 2022

Here We Are Amongst You review

I have not felt such sense of warmth and being cared for while watching a show than I have in the world premiere of Rawcus' Here We Are Amongst You. The Rawcus Ensemble began creating this in December 2019, looking into ideas around belonging, togetherness and being present in the moment, which is of particular significance now after the last few years, which for Melbournians has included a few hundred days of lockdown.

After a genuinely caring welcome by one of the cast, they begin walking through the space. Performed in the round, they enter and exit behind the audience, which makes you feel like not only part of the performance, but also part of this group. The smiles on their faces and the joy that they express as they walk and then begin to jog, run and skip with each other and around the audience is incredibly infectious.

Saturday, 25 June 2022

She Wrote the Letter review

In 1979, two teenagers from opposites sides of the world began writing to each other as pen pals. That friendship would see Ute from East Germany and Tania from New Zealand sharing their dreams and aspirations, their joy and grief, and their families and lives for over four decades. She Wrote The Letter brings this real life correspondence to the stage, gently dissecting how friendship fosters strength and hope when we need it most, and the profound impact that such people can have on us.

Playwright Kieran Carroll, presents the information and events covered as letters being read aloud (although this takes a conversational style at times), as monologues to express thoughts and feelings or through more traditional theatre with the two people speaking on the phone or face-to-face encounters. It would not be the easiest of tasks to squeeze forty years of friendship into an 85 minute production but what Carroll includes captures everything the audience requires to understand how deep this relationship runs between Ute and Tania. Most interestingly, Carroll uses historical happenings like the fall of the Berlin Wall and Princess Diana's death, as not only timestamps but also as ways of reminding us how external factors influence these two women and the bond they share.

Thursday, 23 June 2022

ICONIC review

After an enforced break from the stage and a live audience, the glamorous superstars of YUMMY return for a new drag and burlesque show, ICONIC. It’s an evening with lots of colour, sparkle, and skin on display as we are presented with a range of fun and sexy acts that celebrate queerness in all its forms.

The show begins with a bang with the performers lip syncing to Madison Rose’s aptly titled song “Iconic!” They all know how to command the audience’s attention in their unique way and allow their individual personalities to shine through while ensuring that they are still working as an ensemble. Special shout out to drag artist Hollywould Star who despite being a last-minute addition to the cast, more than held their own and I wish the stars had aligned better so that we could see them have a solo.

Thursday, 16 June 2022

Eclipse review

After roughly three years since their last live performance, the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) has brought together 12 of its students for its new show, Eclipse. Conceived by Sally Richardson, it is an exploration on how the pandemic has changed the world and how the world will continue to change because of it.

Richardson was inspired by Indian author Arundhati Roy's piece The Pandemic is a Portal, where she discusses the various ways COVID-19 has impacted India and what we need to remember and learn from as we attempt to move forward. It's quite fitting then, that the opening moments have hints of a Mad Max-esque dystopian future with a bedraggled tent cover and people living in imagined squalor milling around and endlessly passing time.
It is always exciting to see up-and-coming circus artists on stage and witnessing the beginnings of their careers.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes review

Originally staged in 2019, Back to Back Theatre's The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes returned for a two night season in which we witness a group of people with disabilities setting up for a public meeting in a town hall. While we are not quite sure what the meeting is about, it eventually shines a light on all of us with regards to the society we want to be part of.

With over 15 years of experience with Back to Back and having co-authored the work, Sarah Mainwaring and Scott Price are joined on stage by fellow performer Chris Hansen. The three share a natural and organic energy flowing between them. Their engagement with the audience constantly changes from humorous and light-hearted to authoritative and knowing, making it difficult to prepare ourselves for what's to come and generating an air of uncertainty for everyone present.

Monday, 23 May 2022

Hearth review

The 7th of February 2009 will always be known as The Black Saturday bushfires, where a series of fires burned across Victoria, resulting in over 2000 homes destroyed and 173 people dying. But in Fleur Murphy's new play Hearth, this also happens to be the 18th birthday of Tom Robinson. Before the fires hit though, there is plenty of drama to keep him and his parents busy, particularly with the arrival of his brother Matthew and his partner Abbey. 

Murphy has crafted an intriguing story even with the familiar family arguments and secrets being unearthed. In this instance, flashback scenes and monologues to the audience are delivered so that we are cleverly drip-fed pieces of information surrounding the Robinson family. Murphy presents fleshed out characters who are not simply there to serve the story but rather to tell the story. Through the dialogue and interactions Murphy has them have with each other, these characters feel authentic and so it's almost effortless for the audience to become invested in their lives.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Pieces of Shit review

In Pieces of Shit, two complete strangers recall an individual memory that forces them to confront issues around morality, respect and their sense of importance. Phil (Bronte Charlotte) works in events, and occasionally plans weddings, because that's where the big bucks lie. She may hate it, but she's very good at it; she's like the Olivia Pope of wedding planners. She gets the job done. At one wedding, she meets a man whom she ends up dating for numerous years.

Dylan (Leigh Scully) on other hand has been unemployed for 18 months but has some money stashed away while he discovers himself playing video games. It also helps that he is living back home with his wealthy parents. Dylan's brother is the golden child of the family, so moving back home brings with it some anxieties. Through a series of shocking and tragic events, Phil and Dylan's lives become entwined as they deal with the fallout of toxic masculinity and processing their own trauma.