Saturday 20 December 2014

Top Ten Shows of 2014

I managed to see 91 shows this year, down 31 from last year - but I blame the three weeks I spent in Peru and the three weeks I managed to watch 51 films at the Melbourne Film Festival! 
Again, it has been a variety of dance, performance, cabaret, burlesque, circus and the list continues. I do feel very lucky to be living in Melbourne, a city that has such a thriving and invigorating performing arts scene. So even if your show ranks in at 91, I would still like to give a big thank you to everyone involved with all the shows I saw and creating pieces of work for people to see and discuss.
However, this will be my list of only my top ten shows of 2014, so here we go...

If I reviewed the show on an official basis, the link to the review is attached.

1. Finucane & Smith's Global Smash Club (Melbourne Fringe Festival)
North Melbourne Town Hall

So I was in two minds about including this in my top ten because it wasn't exactly a show but rather different performances spread throughout the course of an evening at the Fringe Hub BUT when I considered them as a continuous flow of performances, I was gobsmacked and hypnotised by them. The highlight of the evening was Anna Lumb's gimp hip-hop rap in response to what art is. 

It's the third F&S show I have seen (and already got my tickets booked for Caravan Burlesque) and the variety of artists and art forms continues to be daring, bold, affecting, confronting and extremely entertaining.

Friday 19 December 2014

Flashblaks review

With their recent residency at La Mama Theatre, Ilbijerri Theatre Company, Australia’s longest-running Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander theatrical company, performed a staged reading of a new piece of work by Jacob Boehme and directed by Isaac Drandic.

Flashblaks looked at a variety of themes revolving around identity, whether it be cultural, sexual, individual or social. Boehme used three generations of women from one Indigenous family to tell this story and despite these generational gaps, the issues and struggles end in corresponding for each woman.

Monday 15 December 2014

Circus Oz's Close to the Bone review

When I go to the circus I often can’t help feeling like a child again as I watch in awe, wonderment and envy at the acts on display. Fortunately for me, these feelings continue to be felt at the Melba Spiegeltent with the current show from Circus Oz, Close To The Bone.
The first thing you notice upon entering is the surprising size of the Spiegeltent. It’s a small and intimate space, which works well from an audience member perspective because no matter where you sit, you can more or less hear the heavy breathing of the performers, see the sweat dripping down their faces, and really see the strength and flexibility on display. These are highly talented professionals who are pushing themselves to their limits, and possibly even further.

Thursday 11 December 2014

Top 10 TV Shows of 2014

Well here it is, my top ten television shows of 2014, which was actually quite easy to compile because even though I feel like I watch a lot of tv, these ones stood out so much more than any other shows I watch.
I know there will be some shows people will be surprised are omitted, but sadly I can't watch everything - although that would be great - and then there are some shows that completely and utterly bore me; hello Game of Thrones
The only annoying thing about TV this year has been the damn half season seasons. What happened to the days when the whole season was aired in one go?
Anyway, without further ado, here we go:

1. The Walking Dead (season 5)

It's an interesting choice for me because I feel like this show is very hit and miss with its plot and character development but my obsession for zombies and the stellar performance by Melissa McBride, Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln make this an unmissable series for me.
The quick but brutal wrap up of Terminus was definitely some smart writing and Carol going all Rambo-like was awesome. Slight lull mid-season but picked up again in the last few episodes.
In a show where characters are killed off regularly, the two deaths this half season have been very unexpected and brutal and am looking forward to the second half of the season in February.

Kindred review

Every week in Australia a woman is killed by a current or former partner. It is an astonishingly frightening statistic and yet doesn’t seem to be reported by much of the media. Produced by Goldfish Creative, Rachael Blackwood’s new play Kindred brings this issue to the surface as she explores one woman’s struggle to escape from a violent relationship.
We are introduced to this relationship between Princess (Aimee Sanderson) and Knight (Ben Ridgwell) through the eyes of Princess’ various “personalities”: the childlike Minnie (Jessica Martin), the sexual Selina (Madeleine Mackenzie), the motherly Faun (Gabrielle Sing), the wise June (Aisha Jakszewicz) and the aggressive Diana (Blackwood herself).
From the initial fairy-tale beginnings of meeting the charming knight, through the gradual abuse suffered by Princess, right up to the difficult-to-watch final moments, Blackwood’s script is brutal, honest and unflinching.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Dog Day Trio review

Michael Olsen’s Dog Day Trio presents a trilogy of monologues of people lamenting and reminiscing about their contrasting and varied lives. While the narratives are linked by themes of love, loss, death, and life passing us by, they are highly individual stories about an assassin, a widower and a hotel housekeeper.

We open with Cynthia (Rosa Nix), as she irons her handkerchiefs and gradually reveals that she was – and still is – an assassin. As she teaches us the 9 steps to being an assassin, she beguiles us with her past identities and kills: “You always remember your first,” she fondly says. 

The story is intriguing and filled with light comedic moments from this seemingly gentle murderess, in an intelligent believable performance by Nix. All the elements of writing, directing and acting come together so seamlessly in this piece that I could easily have watched Cynthia’s story unfold for an hour.

Unfortunately I felt the other two stories of mournful George (Kirk Alexander) and hotel housekeeper Betty (Kelly Jane Harrison) are not as absorbing. With Betty’s narrative timeline traveling back and forth, and with many characters introduced, her story is difficult to keep up with. On the contrary, while George’s narrative is more linear, it felt a little too long to sustain audience interest. Both these stories have potential to be just as affecting as Cynthia’s with some fine-tuning to the narrative. Despite these issues, Alexander and Harrison’s performances are also well-thought-out and authentic.

Thursday 4 December 2014

It's GIN-tastic!

There are only three beverages that I drink; water, fruit juice (except orange) and gin. That's it. I don't like the taste of wine, coffee, tea and the rest of them. Weird I know. So when my friend advised me that a Bombay Sapphire inspired gin pop-up bar was opening in Melbourne for a limited time, I got more than a little excited!

Called Project Botanicals, Bombay Sapphire created a unique bar with ten brilliantly designed gin cocktails, each one specific to one of the botanicals found in Bombay, including juniper berries, coriander seeds and bitter almonds. Paired with these cocktails were some mouth-watering tapas style dish created by chef Gary Mehigan.

For a $38 entry fee, you received two cocktails and accompanying dishes, which is more than reasonable but I was a little disappointed by the lack of vegetarian options. There were two desserts that were meat-free but of the 8 'tapas' dishes, only two had a vegetarian alternative. Fortunately, you could mix and match your dishes, and so I ended up with:
Cubeb Berry Fizz and Tartine of Field Mushrooms and
Orris Root Aviation and Strawberries and Cream.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

The House Of Yes review

It took me exactly 37 seconds to realize that I was going to be in pure bliss watching Little Ones Theatres production of The House Of Yes, a bizarre yet hilariously witty play by Wendy Macleod.
It’s Thanksgiving in 1983, and Marty (Benjamin Rigby) has returned home with his fiancĂ©e Lesly (Anna McCarthy). As we meet the rest of the family – his mentally unstable and Kennedy-obsessed twin sister “Jackie O” (Genevieve Giuffre), younger brother Anthony (Paul Blenheim) and matriarch, Mrs. Pascal (Josh Price, in a superb casting decision) – the domestic Pandora’s box is well and truly opened in this satirical play on class, incest and mental illness.