Saturday, 17 November 2018

vigil/wake review

One indisputable fact is that we are all going to die. No matter how virtuous we are, how healthy we may be or how intelligent we are, we will not escape death. Yet for something that is so definite, we are constantly surprised by or ill-prepared for death. Presented as part of Arts House's Mere Mortals season exploring death, Peta Murray's vigil/wake is a pair of works that has us questioning what we know about death and how we remember those who have died.

The first part, vigil is delivered as an illustrated lecture with Murray presenting facts and statistics on death in a relaxed and personable nature. The six audience members are seated around Murray and an empty made-up hospital bed. We are informed of various facts to do with death; the biggest killer of men in their 20s and 30s is suicide and the older we get, the higher the risk of heart attacks ending us becomes. As Murray explains the various ways in which 95% of Australians are not prepared for their final days, such as having unwritten wills or not having a playlist for their funeral, she also shares her stories of her mother dying ten years ago, thus allowing us to connect on a deeper level with what Murray is saying and to then relate it back to our own experiences and preparedness with death.

Forest Collective Gala Performance review

With a number of performances under its belt this year, including fluttering hearts // thinking machines and Nico: Songs They Never Played on the Radio, Forest Collective have continued with their reinterpretation and reimagining of chamber music and adapting it to suit the various themes and styles of their concerts. For their final show for 2018, Forest Collective's Gala performance consisted of nine pieces with a number of Australian and world premieres. 

Caroline Louise Miller's Reductionism Is A Dirty Word (2016) opens the night with Kim Tan (bass flute), Bec Scully (double bass) and Danae Killian (piano) taking the unique elements of their instrument and seeing how altering the way they play it changes the dynamics between musician and instrument and as a group.

Friday, 9 November 2018

The Hamlet Apocalypse review

The end of the world is nigh. In fact, it is just mere hours away. But for seven people there is something more pressing at hand. These seven actors have come together for one final time to stage Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Eventually what is fiction and what is reality is not as clear as it once was as the group attempts to accept what is happening outside while remaining committed to their last rehearsal and to their roles.

As Hamlet's story unfolds, links are made between the tale and the actors' personal lives that are impossible to ignore, and everything begins to slowly and painfully unravel. The ensemble - Chris Beckey, Katrina Cornwell, Nicole Harvey, Thomas Hutchins, Polly Sará, Peta Ward and Mitch Wood - deliver utterly engrossing performances as the actors in the play and as the characters within the play of the play. They find nuanced balanced of showing the truth of both their characters and highlighting the similarities and differences to who they are playing.

The Infirmary review

There comes a point in life where it all ends. Life ends. While there are many theories as to what happens to us when we die, nothing is certain about what happens when we have breathed our final breath. Presented as part of Arts House's Mere Mortals season on death and all its facets, The Infirmary is a live art immersive experience designed to leave you questioning your death and what inevitably awaits us.

This is the first part of Triage Live Art Collective's Death Trilogy and in The Infirmary, we are prepared for our death and live through our final hours. This intimate show for a small number of participants begins with individuals being triaged by a clinical nurse. Once formally admitted, we are guided through a hospital corridor and numerous hospital rooms. Despite the movement that is occurring with the various nurses getting their "patients" comfortable, there is a quietness and stillness to my surroundings that I find immediately soothing.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Mockingbird review

Giving birth and becoming a mother are supposed to be some of the most fulfilling and happiest moments of a woman's life. Except when it's not. Postnatal depression (PND) affect 1 in every 7 women who give birth and in Mockingbird, writer and performer Lisa Brickell places PND under the spotlight.

Through comedy, cabaret and mask play, Brickell weaves a tale that follows four generations of women from one family and how PND impacts each woman and the cruel and painful ways that it was treated and the stigma they had to endure. Our protagonist is Tina, a counsellor who is experiencing some anxieties about having children with her partner. Tina begins to share with us the stories of her great grandmother, grandmother and mother and how these events have come to play on her mind with regards to becoming a mother.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Circus Oz's Sidesault review

With Circus Oz's Sidesault, circus companies are provided with an opportunity to present experimental works that challenge what contemporary circus can be. Ranging in ideas and approaches, there is literally something that will appeal to all types of circus fans. In its final weekend of shows, we are presented with ground breaking juggling, a deeply personal look at love and heartache and a deep-dive into the absurd and the unusual.

First up are Byron Hutton and Richard Sullivan with Jugg Life, demonstrating that while juggling requires a lot of skill, it can be more than throwing items in the air. It's a playful, exciting and original exploration on how juggling can be adapted and what can build from that. Their Mortal Kombat street combat is a perfect example of what can happen when you change how you look at something, resulting in some pretty intense moments, and the cause of the widespread terror in the audience (and perhaps Hutton and Sullivan) when a lap top gets in the way of a juggling club.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Moira Finucane's Dance Hall!: The Diva Carousel review

Art has the ability to change people's way of thinking and it has the ability to unite us. In Moira Finucane's Dance Hall!: The Diva Carousel, a number of Melbourne's finest talents come together to celebrate art and to inspire us to be better and do something good, particularly with the way the current Australian Government has been treating refugees, women and people from the LGBTQI community.

While the show is a little tamer than you might come to expect from Moira Finucane, it is still a hugely entertaining evening with a mix of regular faces and new faces within the Finucane family. Maude Davey wins the crowd over with each one of her acts, including her puntastic turn as Earth. Her performance of The Angels' "Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again" is always a joy to watch and was clearly an audience favourite. James Welsby's highly energetic vogueing number is an empowering reminder for constant self-growth and self-exploration and learning to be comfortable in your own skin and never denying who you are. 

The singing and dancing continue throughout the night with Paul Cordeiro literally having people dancing in their chairs with some seated choreography to Tina Turner's "Nutbush City Limit". Chanteuse Clare St. Clare performs a gorgeous cover of Beyonce's "Halo" and counter-tenor diva Mama Alto hypnotises the audience during their performance of Des'ree's "Kissing You". In her Melbourne diva debut, Willow Sizer cranks out a commanding rendition of the Eagles' "Hotel California".