Saturday, 9 February 2019

Q review

The greatest mystery in life is death. Not only what happens after we die but also the not knowing when death might come. I could choke on the food I am eating as I write this review. Death comes for everyone but it is always unexpected. In Aleksandr Corke's Q, we meet a young man called K who has died and must now wait and see what comes next.

The first act opens with two workers (played with subtle comedy flair by Reilly Holt and Ashleigh Gray) preparing for something - or someone - as they attempt to open a locked folder. Eventually K (Wil King) arrives. He has died and the locked file is the file of his life. An inspector (Alanah Allen) is called in to determine why the file will not open and discovers that K has been taken too early from Earth and he must decide if he'll go through the arduous task of returning back to his life or simply sign a waiver and allow himself to die, which will unlock his folder.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Become The One - Midsumma Festival review

The writer's notes in the program for Become The One tell us that in 2018, there were over 790 players on club lists in the AFL. Of those 790 there were no players who identified as anything other than heterosexual. While this is possible, it is highly unlikely, and in Adam Fawcett's new play, a high profile AFL player struggles to keep his relationship with a man out of the news for fear of ruining his career.

Chris Asimos (Tom) and Henry Strand (Noah) share great chemistry on stage, with both of them comfortable in their characters and in their more intimate scenes together. As time moves forward in the play, so too does the familiarity and affection the two have for each other develop. Fawcett's sharp and witty dialogue between them shows two people who are in love and devoted to one another but ultimately trapped by their circusmstances. Homosexuality, masculinity and sports are openly explored and rather than giving simple solutions to these issues, the script veers towards a more realistic and complex resolution.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Orpheus - Midsumma Festival review

After a stellar year of concerts in 2018, Forest Collective kicks off 2019 with possibly one of its most ambitious projects to date. Presented as part of the Midsumma Festival, Orpheus is a new ballet-opera based on the myth of Orpheus, Eurydice and Calaïs. Accompanied by a ten-person orchestra led by Composer and Musical Director Evan Lawson, an opera singer and a dancer pair up to share the three roles, conveying their thoughts and feelings through their individual art form.

Once again, Lawson has put together an exemplary group of musicians with a variety of instruments to create a powerful composition that guides the audience through Orpheus' relationships with Eurydice and Calaïs. Lawson also highlights the queerness of this story with his inclusion of lesser-known parts of the myth as he explores Orpheus' love for Calaïs. Told in four parts, the composition clearly distinguishes the episodic sections and with whose perspective we are witnessing the story unfold.

Friday, 1 February 2019

The Maids - Midsumma Festival review

It was the brutal murders committed by sisters Christine and Léa Papin of their employer and her daughter in France in 1933 that inspired Jean Genet to write The Maids. In his play, two maids, Solange and Claire, fantasise about and role play murdering their Madame when she is away. Performed as part of the Midsumma Festival, Samuel Russo and Adam Ibrahim present a bold queer reimagining of the play that is still just as revealing about class divide and the way “Others” are perceived by society.

Russo and Ibrahim are in their element with this style of theatre, camping it up with some dazzling costumes, wigs and accessories while firmly establishing the relationship between the sisters and those around them. However, as we edge closer to Madame’s arrival, the show loses some if its momentum as the two actors begin to mirror each other’s energy and character and it feels like they're running out of steam. 

Once Artemis Ioannides appears as Madame, there is new life breathed into the production and it keeps riding this wave right up until the end. While Ioannides is only on stage for a short time, she demands the audience’s attention and you wish she’d come back for more. This isn’t her story though, and Ioannides serves her purpose marvellously, making evident the privileged life Madame leads and why her maids have so much hate for her.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

The Butch Monologues - Midsumma Festival review

Butch. A butch woman. A woman who has masculine traits, behaviours and styles. For The Butch Monologues, playwright Laura Bridgeman interviewed numerous butch-identifying women living in America, the UK, Europe and the Caribbean. There are currently over 100 entries in The Butch Monologues, and 54 of these have been selected for the Melbourne premiere of this show to be read out by five members of the Melbourne queer community, some with little or no stage experience.

The stage is bare except for one chair and a small round table, but once Fiona Jones, Anne Harris, Quinn Eades, Jax Jacki Brown and Jacques De Vere appear on stage, it becomes filled with the lives and personalities of the people whose stories are being shared. While the topics and themes that are raised vary from being humourous to affecting to profound, they all work towards highlighting the trials of butch identity and politics.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

The Miss Behave Gameshow - Midsumma Festival review

There's a strong sense of excitement running through the audience as we take our seats for The Miss Behave Gameshow. All the way from Las Vegas, this part game show part variety entertainment leaves us all wondering what we are in for. Right up until the very end it's constant surprises and a little bit of shock. After all, how many shows do you go to where your sock ends up around a man's cock?

Miss Behave (Amy Saunders) is a standout as our host and ensures everything runs as smoothly as can be in a show where nothing can be planned. While there's a structure present, due to the heavy involvement of audience participation, responses and reactions are always going to be unexpected and on the evening I attended, Miss Behave ended up in a brilliant pash with an audience member which she took in her stride. Her glamorous and heavily tattooed assistant Tiffany (Bret Pfister), dressed in a tight safari shirt and shorts, brings playful cheekiness to the proceedings and also delights the audience in showing her flexibility and appreciation for Britney Spears.

Friday, 25 January 2019

Father Figure - Midsumma Festival review

Appearing from back stage in a sparkling sequenced black suit cabaret artist Andy Johnston immediately gets into his George Michael homage with "I'm Your Man". Presented as part of the Midsumma Festival, Father Figure explores how Michael's music influenced and shaped Johnston's perspective on life.

From a musical performance perspective, Johnston delivers the goods. Not only does his voice give a unique sound to Michael's music but his body language and movements show how in tune he is to the songs with impressive renditions of "Freedom" "Father Figure" and Queen's "Somebody To Love", one of Michael's favourite songs.