Tuesday 26 May 2015

The Exonerated review

The death penalty has, and probably always will be, a contentious issue. There will be one side that states you have to pay for your crimes, while the other would say no one has a right to take anyone's life. While no side is "correct", The Sol III Company's production of The Exonerated will have even the most staunch believer of the death penalty questioning their stance.

Writers, Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, spent the year 2000 interviewing a number of people who had all been wrongfully convicted of murder and placed on death row. After spending years and sometimes decades in prison, these people were later exonerated with Blank and Jensen using six of these people's stories in this production.

Sunday 17 May 2015

One Suitcase: Four Stories review

In Italian culture, family and close friends always enter the house from the back door. The thinking behind this being that the back door leads to the kitchen and the kitchen is where everything happens. So, in Barking Spider Visual Theatre's latest production, One Suitcase: Four Stories, it's only fitting that we are taken round the Northcote Town Hall and enter from the back entrance.

Our host, Linda Catalano, welcomes us with open arms into her 'kitchen', and by looking at the set design by Tristan Shelley, you would think it was a real kitchen that has been in use for years and filled with many stories to tell. We take our seat at one of the five dinner tables with six other people and immediately, we all have a sense of familiarity with each other and conversation and jokes flow. Such is the power of good food! 

Thursday 14 May 2015

Endings review

There is a familiar smell in the air as I take my seat at Arts House theatre. Even though I can’t quite put my finger on it, it feels like rain on a cold, wet night with mist and fog in the air, which subsequently fits in nicely with the show I am about to see, about death. In Endings, Tamara Saulwick explores our attempts to stay connected with loved ones after they have passed away.

Saulwick explores this concept in a very intimate setting with pre-recorded conversations with people who have lost loved ones as well as opening up about the death of her own father. These recordings and conversations describe not only the moments leading up to the death but the thoughts and actions immediately following. One person mentions photographing the deceased with family members and another recalls the shock of hospital staff at a request to bathe the deceased.

Fluvial review

It begins with a single chime that resonates through the room. It lingers in the space, bringing a calming, meditative state over the audience, and just as it ends another one begins and another and another.

I can only begin to wonder how composer and performer Matthias Schack-Arnott even began to visualise his installation for Fluvial. It consists of two rows, about five metres long, of various metal, aluminium tubing and glass bottles running parallel to each other. A number of bottles and chimes hang from above with fishing wire, seemingly floating in the air. The pools of water along the rows and the name of the show itself, make this "river of percussion" a sight to behold. 

Monday 11 May 2015

The Last Supper review

Being a leader is not the easiest thing to be. Especially when you are a leader of a mob group or crime syndicate and have to determine who is genuinely looking out for your safety and to constantly second-guess in whom you can put your trust in. In The Last Supper, crime lord Dorian is facing these problems. What follows is an evening of truths being spoken, lies and deception revealed and the extremes that people will go to, to be a leader and claim the power.

Dorian (Gregory Caine) has invited his most inner circle to a meeting, his "trusted" associates and partners. Those invited include his brother Brody (Karl Sarsfield), Madam President, Claudia (Ashley Tardy), the Head of Intelligence, Novak (Kashmir Sinnamon) and the Chief of Police, Vaughan (Christopher Grant). Once Dorian is finished with his interrogations, this may indeed be the last supper for some of them, as failure to perform their jobs results in death. 

Thursday 7 May 2015

Oedipus Schmoedipus review

I went to the theatre where theatre is theatred…and it was magical. And deadly. And Bloody. But magical. My thoughts upon exiting Post's Oedipus Schmoedipus. Using death scenes from every major play in classical literature, ZoĆ« Coombs Marr and Mish Grigor take us on a journey of dying that pretty much covers every emotion you can think of, because that's what theatre does to people. Emotions.

It's a bloody and confronting start to the show as Post take a tongue-in-cheek approach to a myriad of gory famous literary deaths to the soundtrack of Rihanna and Eminem's "Love The Way You Lie". There are disturbingly hilarious stabbings, digestion of poison and severing of limbs, but none are more powerful than the first 30 seconds. And that is all I will say on that.

Frame of Mind review

Sydney Dance Company has returned to Melbourne with Frame of Mind a double bill of extraordinary contemporary dance, featuring the Australian premiere of William Forsythe's Quintett and Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela's Frame of Mind. Although the execution of each work is very different, they both convey the same poignant message about the fleeting nature of life.

The evening began however, with a pre-performance talk with Bonachela and dancers Cass Mortimer Eipper and Chloe Leong. It's always great to hear the thought process that goes into creating any art form, so when the opportunity arises to attend one of these talks, I jump at the chance. It was interesting hearing about the development of the choreography of the pieces; particularly with Frame of Mind and how it grew into the performance we were about to see. Eipper's transition from ballet to contemporary dance and as a choreographer provided an opportunity to learn about some of the challenges that dancers face. The hour flew by and before we knew it, it was show time.

Sunday 3 May 2015

The Humble Tumbler and The Gin Queen gin masterclass

When it comes to alcohol, the only thing I drink is gin. Since I came across it at a London bar in 2010, it has become my drink of choice, which I generally drink with apple juice (yes, it sounds weird but give it a go and let me know what you think). Such is my love for gin that I currently have over three litres of it in my house just waiting to be consumed.

So when I came across The Humble Tumbler (Clare Burder) and the The Gin Queen's (Caroline Childerley) gin masterclass, I knew it was something I had to partake in. Throughout the course of the evening, Childerley and Burder take us on a journey through the early beginnings of gin and provide tastings of nine gins from across Australia and around the world, each with its unique distillation, botanicals and taste.

It is an intimate dinner party style setting for 14 people, all strangers except the two people I attended with. The table is adorned with the varieties of gins we will be drinking along with some mouth-watering olives and cheeses. I'm not a big cheese fiend but I immediately fell in love with the Meredith Feta and the L'Artisan Le Fermier.