Wednesday 30 September 2015

I'm Not Alright review - Melbourne Fringe

Daley King has been living with depression for over a decade, and longer, if you consider the fact his father has also lived with it. In his 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival show debut, I’m Not Alright, King takes us on a poetic journey on mental illness via physical theatre, jazz soundtrack and puppets.

Apart from using his own experience, King has interviewed a variety of people with mental illness to create this story. King has a great ability to engage us with the poetic flow of his words as they paint a picture of a person who is struggling with his sadness and loneliness. The jazz music creates a contrasting image of laughter and chatter that signifies the mind-set that people with depression can have without King needing to explicitly state.

Tuesday 29 September 2015

The Reality Event review - Melbourne Fringe

Led by Daniel Gough, The SuicideEnsemble presented an evening of 'fun and death' for the 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival. The Reality Event is divided up in two halves, GAME and SUICIDE. GAME puts its audience in the driver seats of theatre creation whereas in SUICIDE, we are forced to confront the idea of 'safe' theatre and its boundaries between art and life.

In GAME, we are divided into five teams with one of The Suicide Ensemble (Pavle Banovic, Esther Dougherty, Finley Kube, Remi Roehrs and Sampson Smith) as the team captain. If the team loses a challenge, the team captain is publicly "shamed" and sent away. The "shamings" range from a public "dacking" to eating a tablespoon of wasabi. There is a pack mentality to the proceedings as we are encouraged to laugh and cheer while this is happening and despite its title, there is still a deliberately and grimly dark element to GAME.

Monday 28 September 2015

His Ghostly Heart review - Melbourne Fringe

Performed at this year's Melbourne Fringe Festival, His Ghostly Heart is an intimate 30-minute two-hander with a couple lying in bed just after having sex. Written by Ben Schiffer, best known for his work on TV series Skins, and directed by Richard Edge, its exploration of love and what it means to be loved is designed to be performed entirely in the dark.

Unfortunately, due to the necessity of the exit sign inside the performance space, the venue was not in pitch blackness, which was ultimately integral to the show’s overall effect. While you could not see facial expressions, the body outlines and movement were still quite visible. In order to experience this the way it was intended, I did have my eyes closed during the performance.

Bodies Over Bitumen review - Melbourne Fringe

This year's Melbourne Fringe Festival has seen a variety of circus performances using the art form to create some highly unique shows. There's been glow in the dark circus and circus that is inspired by climate change, and now with Bodies Over Bitumen, there is outdoor circus that takes us out to the streets of North Melbourne.

We follow the three performers, Skye Gellmann, Alexander Gellmann and Naomi Francis, down side streets and main roads as they perform various tricks and acrobatics. Similar to other Fringe Festival shows, Suburbia and CitydashBodies Over Bitumen invites its audience to look at their surroundings in a new light and to take notice of what is there. 

Become a Functional Adult in 45 Minutes review - Melbourne Fringe

Sophie Joske wants to become an adult. She wants to be accomplished and respected as a person, but she's not quite there yet. Presented as part of the 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival, Become a Functional Adult in 45 Minutes is a cautionary tale in which Joske explores what life must be like to be a successful adult.

Joske sets her sights on graduating from the Mature Learning Academy as an 'adult' so she can finally go out and live her life. What follows, is a series of satirical 'self-help' tests in a variety of categories, such as work, social skills, relationships and sex, to assess just how prepared Joske is at handling these situations as a fully-fledged adult. Sadly, she fails at each, but not without some laughs along the way.

Sunday 27 September 2015

A Star Is Bored review - Melbourne Fringe

Nick Eynaud doesn't just want to be famous. He wants to be rich, famous and powerful, the triple threat. His 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival cabaret show, A Star Is Bored, reveals the lengths he will go to in order to make his dream come true - so long as he doesn't actually have to do anything to earn it. Thanks to reality TV, he might be able to make that happen.

Eynaud takes us on a journey of his life that begins with his wide-eyed WAAPA school days through to the harsh reality of living back home with his parents in Reservoir. Along the way, he informs us of his obsession with Netflix and more specifically, reality TV shows; including Masterchef, Real Housewives and Toddlers and Tiara  - the latter resulting in an incredibly hilarious audition tape that needs to be seen. 

Saturday 26 September 2015

and now we wait. review - Melbourne Fringe

Playing at the 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival, Stephanie Clark's and now we wait. plays out like a grim re-imagining of The Breakfast Club for, in this case, there is a shooter loose in the school and the five teenagers find shelter in an unused theatre. While they nervously remain hidden not knowing where the shooter is and waiting for the nightmare to end, the group gradually faces some truths about themselves and what is ultimately important to them.

Based in Warragul, Impact Theatre is an enterprising company that focuses on young people writing and creating original theatre productions. The cast ranges from 18-21 years of age, is a combination of first-time and regular performers with the company. While the difference in skill levels and ability to play more nuanced characters between them is evident, the entire cast (Emily Legg, Sarah Hartnell, Kyle Wright, Daniel Warenycia and Clark herself) remains dedicated to their characters and the situation they find themselves in. However, Hartnell as uptight smart girl Emily, and Wright as the jokester Nick, provide the most convincing performances of the night.

Dirrty review - Melbourne Fringe

From the opening act of the 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival late-night variety show, Dirrty, it is very clear that this is not going to be a regular type of variety show. To say anymore about what transpires would be to ruin the surprise that show curator Elena Gabrielle has planned. The night itself, involves a variety of performance artists invited by Gabrielle to celebrate all things sex and taboo in their own unique way.

The condoms and lube are freely available and there is a lot of flesh – both male and female – on display. There are songs about the joys of protected sex and the answer to where exactly JonBenét Ramsey has been is revealed. It is indeed, a hedonistic night for all.

I Don't Like You review - Melbourne Fringe

Andrew Milne and Patch Blank have brought their unique clowning and performance art production I Don’t Like You to audiences as part of the 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival. Their debut show initially explores the relationship and emotions between two friends who actually don’t really like each other.

I Don’t Like You starts off strongly and with a seemingly clear aim of where it is headed. The duo are very skilled at finding humour in a range of situations and reminded me a little of the physical comedy popularised by Mr. Bean with their highly expressive faces and exaggerated movements. Milne and Blank play well together and their best work is when they are interacting with each other.

Thursday 24 September 2015

Seen & Heard review - Melbourne Fringe

Earlier this year, Becky Lou dazzled audiences with her debut solo show Shake, in which she recalled moments of her life that in some way, shape or form led her to a career in burlesque. It was a unique opportunity to hear her speak, as well as entertain us with a number of memorable burlesque acts. Presented as part of the 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival, Lou’s Seen & Heard, brings together a number of her favourite performers on stage to share with the audience some highly personal moments of their lives.

There is a rotation of six guest artists from a variety of performance backgrounds for Seen & Heard’s run and tonight’s line-up consists of drag queen Karen from Finance, stripper Perri Hunter, burlesque performer Honey B. Goode and vaudevillian Clara Cupcakes. Tonight’s guests put on quite a show including Karen from Finance’s rendition of “I Will Always Love You”, which had me in stitches and Hunter’s humourous depiction of what a stripper is actually thinking about when giving a lap dance.

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Barbaroi review - Melbourne Fringe

Traditionally, circus is about fun, bright colours and laughter. However in the 2015 Melbourne Fringe circus show, Barbaroi, circus is transformed into a dark, gritty and dirty art form. Coming out of the darkness, there are shady characters and misfits of society. It’s an enthralling hour of entertainment from the seedy underbelly of the arts.

The strong opening sequence sets the mood for the show with The Barbaroi (Avan Whaite, Stan Ricketson, Will Meager, Phoebe Carlson, Caz Walsh and Hazel Bock) entering and exiting the stage, completing various flips and tricks as they do. The lighting work during this is highly effective with six square spotlights on stage shaping the darkness, subsequently allowing the performers to be coming in and out of the shadows. The fast movements of the performers combined with the erratic but perfectly timed lighting choreography is a captivating sight.

Tuesday 22 September 2015

FAG/STAG review - Melbourne Fringe

After rave reviews and an extended season at Perth's Fringe World Festival in 2015, Perth based theatre company, The LastGreat Hunt, have brought FAG/STAG to the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Written and performed by Jeffrey Jay Fowler and Chris Isaacs, it is the simple story of two best friends, one gay and one straight, who are going through some pretty challenging times in their lives. 

Jimmy (Fowler) and Corgan (Isaacs) each take a seat on opposite ends of the stage. At their disposal, they each have a mobile phone (to check their dating apps, grindr for Jimmy and tinder for Corgan) and a PlayStation controller. Using these two items, they recall the moments of their lives leading up to their friend Tamara's wedding. Tamara also happens to be Corgan's ex-girlfriend. Corgan is still not completely over their break up and Jimmy has just broken up with his boyfriend. Life is great.

Suburbia review - Melbourne Fringe

Most people dream of having their own little slice of a suburban dream; a loving family, a dog and a place to call home. What could be better than that? However, if you look under the surface, you'll find that things are not always what they seem. Playing as part of the 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival, Suburbia offers a glimpse into the lives we know little about.
My fellow two passengers and I meet at the steps of the North Melbourne Town Hall and are led to a parked car and the driver takes us through the streets of North Melbourne stopping intermittently at various locations where we get to witness our neighbourhood in a very different light. We don't stay at any location more than a couple of minutes and there is barely any dialogue exchanged. The soundtrack composition by Simone Gustafsson that plays in the car is perfectly suited to the theme of the night, provoking feelings of uncertainty and curiosity.

Alpha review - Melbourne Fringe

In this day and age, queer identity is more important than ever. Or is it? In Sebastian Robinson and Tamara Natt’s Alpha, the two explore the idea of what modern day queer identity looks like - and if it actually exists. Through poetry, movement, music and sound, the two create a world where the roles we choose to take on in life are revealed and questioned.
Robinson and Natt appear on an empty stage, dressed in matching white shoes and black tracksuit outfits. They spend the next 50 minutes creating some beautiful visuals for us not only through their soft and fluid movements and exploration of the space but also through their words. From a Britney Spears song to an Auslan interpretation of a Delta Goodrem song to one of their original works of poetry, Alpha shows how words can do so much to an environment even when you are staring at an empty stage.

Monday 21 September 2015

Bock Kills Her Father review - Melbourne Fringe

My second play by writer Adam J. Cass during this Melbourne Fringe festival continues with his running critique of society and the treatment of its people. However, unlike the refugee theme of Fractured, Bock Kills Her Father deals with the long lasting effects a group of women must deal with at the hands of one man.

Penny Harpham's strong direction never allows the action on the small La Mama stage to become overwhelming or cramped, especially with five aggressive and angry characters on stage. The choreography for the fight scenes is executed well with some very convincingly painful moments. There is only one time where the fight scenes disappoint and that is when Sarah (powerfully played by Annie Lumsden) is attacked. Due to the hardness of the adult women we had previously seen, it felt more like something young children would do to each other and as such, its intensity was lost.

Plunge review - Melbourne Fringe

Having seen Plunge when it was in its early stages of development last year during La Mama's Explorations season (then known as Blending), I was very interested to see how the work had progressed. Being performed at Melbourne Fringe, the work explores the infinite number of outcomes that can result form a single touch. Some are good and some are bad and some are absolutely crushing.

Choreographer and director, Darren Vizer, continues to push his two performers, dancer Joel Fenton and actor Jean Goodwin, to their extremes relentlessly. They share a good chemistry and have clearly worked hard at driving through the more challenging moments of Plunge and allowing the piece to evolve.

Rama Nicholas in Mary Weather's Monsters review - Melbourne Fringe

Rama Nicholas returns to Melbourne Fringe in fighting spirit with Mary Weather's Monsters. Set in 1890 in London, we are introduced to monster hunter, Lord Protector of London, Mary Weather. She has caught every single monster known to man; giant spiders, werewolves and swamp monsters to name but a few. However, she now she faces her greatest challenge yet, a challenge that will have her questioning her beliefs of what is a good and what is evil.

Nicholas plays all 11 characters in the show and her instant transformation from one to the other is testament to her consummate skill. Each person/monster in her story has a distinct voice and appearance and not once does she waver from her dedication to each character.

All the Animals We Ate review - Melbourne Fringe

Last year, James Tresise’s mother passed away. During that same time, Sean M. Whelan’s pet spoodle passed away after 13 years. In All The Animals We Ate, the two come together to grieve and mourn the passing of someone they love and to celebrate their life. Death may be the end of one thing but it not need be the end of everything.

There is a lot of heart in this show; it’s hard not to feel sadness as Whelan’s recalls the moment he found out his beloved dog, Cady, had died. Despite the show being predominantly about the loss of animals, we are invited to link these experiences to any sense of personal loss we’ve had, let it be animal or human. This empathy is created in part through the animal impersonations the two performers take on throughout, emphasising their connections to human beings.

Sunday 20 September 2015

Alice Tovey: Malice review - Melbourne Fringe

Alice Tovey has a lot to say about many things. Mainly it's about things that frustrate her and anger her. Things like racism, anti-vaccine supporters and organised religion. In her Melbourne Fringe cabaret show Malice, Tovey sings her way through these contentious issues with with and charm and with no care if she is going to offend you or not.

While she performs a number of brilliant songs, the highlight of the evening would have to be her loving tribute to “Today” show host Karl Stefanovic, in which Tovey sings about her suffering from Stefano-sickness. "Disciple of Satan" is also a great song that is infused with Tovey's sharp wit and humour.

Perhaps There Is Hope Yet… review - Melbourne Fringe

Having recently seen Rockie Stone perform in Finucane and Smith's Glory Box and being blown away by her sets, I was very much looking forward to seeing her in Melbourne Fringe show, Perhaps There Is Hope Yet, and it did not disappoint. Along with fellow circus performer Vincent van Berkel and with music by Sam Keevers, it is a wonderfully constructed show that is inspired by climate change and the slow disintegration of our environment.

The stage is littered with a number of glass bottles, a makeshift seesaw and a kinetic sculpture by Callan Morgan that while only acknowledged a few times, has a strong visual presence throughout the show. Initially reminding me of a traditional windmill and later, due to its movements, that of a wind turbine, it keeps the idea of retaining a sustainable environment for the future churning.

Saturday 19 September 2015

Backwards review - Melbourne Fringe

We've all been there. We've all experienced the highs, the lows, the excitement, the fear and the joy. But eventually, we have to let go of our childhood. No matter how hard we try, we must become adults. Or do we? In Emily Taylor's Backwards, the idea of childhood and adulthood coexisting is shown through a number of characters, both children and adults, who are all played by the talented and engaging Taylor.

There are a variety of stories in Backwards, and Taylor knows the exact moments in which to switch from one to the other and how much of each one to actually show. There is an implicit understanding that we, as the audience, do not need to see everything or be told everything to be drawn into the story and connect with its characters. It is this great skill that Taylor possesses that allows her to be the engaging storyteller that she is.

Friday 18 September 2015

['fraktʃəd] fractured review - Melbourne Fringe

We are now living in a dystopian world of the named and the unnamed. Where safety and comfort are a thing of the past and children are now brought up in a society where the only games they remember are guessing how many bombs are going to go off in the night. Adam J.A. Cass' Fractured, explores this frightening world through five "broken" souls. 

Danelle Wynne is the standout of the cast as Astrid, the almost feral child who is too afraid and suspicious of anyone to let her guard down. Her animal like qualities and habits show how deeply she has been affected by her experiences and are a strong contrast to the rest of the people around her, such as Suzi Loo played by Nicole Morgan. Morgan is also strong in her character and her concluding scenes were completely and utterly engrossing. Rounding out the great cast were Natalie-Lynne Pillar, Josh Vasilev and Amy Firth.

Luminous review - Melbourne Fringe

Created by champion body painter Jessica Watson Miller, Luminous is circus with a twist. The show is performed under black lights with the performers covered head to toe in various glow-in-the-dark coloured body paints and costumes that create a truly singular viewing experience.

The performers appear on stage, reminding me of wild animals in the jungle as they slowly slither, slide and stalk into the space. At various points throughout the night, the body painters (themselves dressed head to toe in black so they are almost invisible) rub the paints on one of the performers, thus gradually bringing him to life. It's a visual feat that is exciting and intriguing to watch.

Thursday 17 September 2015

Cougar Morrison, RAWWR! review - Melbourne Fringe

New Orleans native, Cougar Morrison debuts his cabaret show RAWWR! at Melbourne Fringe in which he recounts stories of beauty, love, gender and modernity to some re-imagined classic songs.

There is a huge variety to the songs and the style in which Morrison performs them. While “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” has become a staple of the cabaret scene and generally not that exciting to watch or hear, Morrison’s rendition is perfectly suited to him and he manages to make it something quite personal and ultimately, his own.

Wednesday 16 September 2015

and now we wait. by Impact Theatre - Melbourne Fringe Festival preview

Imagine being at school and suddenly hearing guns being fired and people screaming and running for their lives. In Impact Theatre's and now we wait., we follow five teenagers who must hide in an abandoned theatre as they try to escape a high school shooting. Fortunately it’s not a scenario that Australia has ever faced, however writer Stephanie Clark, hopes that what will resonate with the audience will be on a wider scale.

"The event that underpins and now we wait. happens all over the world in various forms every day. It is not always gun-violence. It is not always in schools. But it is always prevalent. Australia isn’t immune from that, and that is why I wanted to write this", she explains. "The Lindt Café Sydney siege is so exemplary of this. And then there is the far too common occurrence of family violence, sexual violence and violence against women."

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Plunge - Melbourne Fringe Festival preview

I first saw Plunge (then called Blending) at La Mama during its 2014 Explorations Season, which supports new works in various stages of development. Almost a year later, this evocative performance piece is now debuting at Melbourne Fringe. Looking at the various possibilities that can develop from a single moment of two people meeting each other, Plunge merges contemporary dance, narrative and text using one actor, Jean Goodwin, and one dancer, Joel Fenton.

"A lot of the show comes from the idea of touch, unwanted or wanted, the desire of some one you want and the acceptance and rejection of advances," explains Darren Vizer, choreographer and director of Plunge. "There is also a power play going on as we look at love, first romance and the not so nice side of being rejected."

Monday 14 September 2015

Christopher Doesn't Live Here Anymore by Christopher Welldon - Melbourne Fringe Festival preview

Everyone hate's moving house. The need to pack everything you own into boxes and then transporting it all to the new house. And then there's the unpacking and making everything feel just right. I thought I had it bad having moved 7 times in the last five years, but in his debut show, Chroistopher Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Christopher Welldon shares his story of how he moved house an epic 60 times in 34 years.

Welldon came up with the idea—one story from every address he’s lived at—in 2011, when there were still only 57 addresses.  "This is my first show. On one hand this has helped with its creation, because I have had absolutely no idea what I am doing. I don't know the process, or the right ways/wrong ways to do stuff. I've just blundered through, hammering up an eight-ish thousand word monologue and hoping it goes for an hour. I also learnt that the more traumatic an event from my childhood is, the more comedy I can wring from it. It's perverse!" He explains. "But it's also been really daunting. Luckily my director, Daniel Lammin, has pulled double duty as a script editor, and together we've crafted a solid, cohesive story.

Sunday 13 September 2015

His Ghostly Heart - Melbourne Fringe Festival preview

As a theatre critic, one of the things I always look for is how comfortable the actors appear on stage in their character as well as in their interactions with the other actors. Furthermore, the set and costumes are always indicative of how much effort and thought has gone into a show. However, with Melbourne Fringe show His Ghostly Heart, this is all going out the window as the show is performed entirely in the dark. Pitch black darkness.

"Performing in the dark is challenging, but it simply heightens the focus you need to have to connect with your other actor through touch, smell and hearing. It is actually quite liberating," says performer Riley Nottingham. "This is definitely a show that requires the audience to engage and it will challenge them. There are a lot of issues explored in the play and some audience members will want to see it a second time."

Saturday 12 September 2015

Lost In The Looping Glass by Helen Bower - Melbourne Fringe Festival preview

The great thing about Melbourne Fringe is the sheer range of shows on display and one that promises a unique experience is Lost In The Looping Glass. Created by violinist and sound artist Helen Bower in collaboration with composer Charles MacInnes, this is a unique musical show not to be missed. An exciting sequel to Bower’s 2014 fringe show Through the Looping Glass, this new work delves deeper into the fascinating new music that can be created with just one violin, a loop station and some well-placed sonic effects. 

"Looping is taking a fragment of music (a melody or a chord sequence of a rhythm for example) and making it go round and round - a bit like having a song on repeat, once it gets to the end it starts again at the beginning," Bower explains. "Live electronic looping is when you record those fragments live and then loop them and layer them on top of one another to create a piece of music.  It's a really fascinating way to create rich and interesting textures with just a single instrument."

Friday 11 September 2015

Suburbia presented by Gold Satino - Melbourne Fringe Festival preview

For those who dare, how about taking an evening drive through the suburbs of the inner north and watching some of its residents going about their lives? With Suburbia, you can do just that. Three audience members are picked up at the front of the North Melbourne Town Hall and squeezed into the back of a Honda to see suburbia in a very different light. It's a literal journey through everyday yet surreal streetscapes and experiences. There will also be snacks.

"It's about driving with mum and dad at night and also about being frightened about all the weird shit that happens after 10pm in the suburbs," Davina Wright, writer and director of Suburbia explains. "It's also about looking at things and how looking at things helps us be okay. I guess we can say expect the unexpected! No one has said that before right?"

Thursday 10 September 2015

Citydash presented by Pop Up Playground - Melbourne Fringe Festival preview

Earlier in the year, I wrote about my experiences at the Melbourne International Festival of Games, which you can read about here. For the Melbourne Fringe festival, Pop Up Playground is returning with one of the most enjoyable games I have ever played, the immensely fun and exciting Citydash. Created by Fire Hazard, Citydash is a high-energy game of speed, stealth, and strategy, played in throughout the city streets. 

"We've been friends with the Fire Hazard crew in the UK for a couple of years and we invited them out for festival this year because they offer a kind of game that Melbourne hasn't seen much of really," explains the company's Constructive Communities Director, Sayraphim Lothian. "Digitally supported street gaming is popular in places like London and New York but its only just starting to emerge here.  When the opportunity arose to keep running it here for them, we jumped at the chance."

Wednesday 9 September 2015

The Merchant of Whimsy by Clara Cupcakes - Melbourne Fringe Festival preview

Whimsy: to be playfully quaint or fanciful behaviour or humour, which is exactly what you get with The Merchant of Whimsy, a playful celebration of the different and strange that lives within us all. Clara Cupcakes utilises every skill at her disposal with acts ranging from mind boggling hula hooping to stop motion animation filled with whimsy and wonder, all tied together with her cute yet surprisingly dark and insightful character.

The brains and talent behind Clara Cupcakes, Elly Squire, burst on to the burlesque scene six years ago and hasn’t looked back. After performing in Fringe World in 2012, she packed her bags and travelled the world, performing everywhere and anywhere she could, in as many different disciplines as possible. All these experiences culminated in the debut season of The Merchant of Whimsy at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, which rightfully earned her a 2015 Golden Gibbo nomination. 

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Do You Fear The Dark? review

We're all afraid of something, no use in denying that. Sometimes it can be irrational and other times it can be rational and justified. In Do You Fear The Dark? we are presented with two short stories by theatre company Dramatic Pause that looks at both of these fears. Written by Hayley Lawson-Smith, both stories focus on a mother's relationship with her children in two very different ways.

In the first and stronger story of the pair, Perhaps, a mother (Victoria Haslam) worries about what's become of her two runaway daughters. Her minds races through various scenarios, some of which are humorous, like joining the circus, while others are direr, like being taken by a man under the ruse that he had lost his dog. Her thoughts are acted out on stage by Ariel Simone and Shae O’Reilly as her daughters and Zak Zavod as quite literally everyone else.

The Sparrow Men - Melbourne Fringe Festival preview

Speaking from experience, improvising on stage to a roomful of people can be a completely exhilarating experience while for some, a completely petrifying one. There is no script, no director and no safety net. You are literally in the moment and have nothing to work with except your fellow improvisers and your imagination. Retuning to Melbourne Fringe this year with their own brand of impro humour and style are Andy Balloch and Marcus Willis, aka. The Sparrow Men.

The Sparrow Men have no sets, no props, save for two or three black chairs, and have only a suggestion from the audience to begin their shows. "Because each show is entirely unique, we approach each one differently. We don't really have a "framework" that we use to guide us through. However, we generally assume everything is happening in the same world," Balloch says. "At the heart of it, Marcus and I just listen really hard to each other and pay attention as best we can. We've run scenes in the dark to help us listen to each other, trailed different ways to create and endow characters and practiced running longer scenes."

Sunday 6 September 2015

Bad Jews review

Already a hit on Broadway and the West End, Joshua Harmon's Bad Jews has crossed continents for its Australian premiere. The “bad Jews” here are three family members, siblings Jonah and Liam, and their cousin Diana (who prefers to be called by her Hebrew name Daphna) who have come together for the funeral of their grandfather. Over the course of the evening, their relationships, cultural identity, class and life are all explored, often with hilarious results. 

Daphna (Maria Angelico) is not concerned with any form of financial gain from her late grandfather, and all she requests from her cousins (Simon Corfield and Matt Whitty) is her grandfather's “chai”, a gold ring that represents his soul, that he had since he was a child. While this "simple" request soon creates much tension for the three, it creates an equal amount of laughs for us.

Mary Weather's Monsters by Rama Nicholas - Melbourne Fringe Festival preview

In 2013, we had the western themed Death Rides A Horse and in 2014, we had the fairy tale based After Ever After. In 2015, and as part of the Melbourne Fringe, Rama Nicholas is back with Mary Weather's Monsters, a gothic adventure that takes us into the world of monsters and explores the thin line between being a hero and a villain.

"I have always been in love with the Gothic genre and fascinated by the creepy and macabre. I love vampire stories and ghost stories. This genre appeals to my obsession with adventure and romance. I am a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dracula stories, Tim Burton, a lot of the writers from the 'gothic era' of the 1800's, Penny Dreadful and I love Victorian era style," Nicholas says.

All The Animals We Ate by Sean M Whelan & James Tresise - Melbourne Fringe Festival preview

If the Internet has taught us anything, it's that we love watching videos and pictures of cats and dogs. In their upcoming Melbourne Fringe show, All The Animals We Ate, spoken word poet Sean M Whelan and performer James Tresise explore the complex relationship between humans and animals and how we deal with love and loss. 

'The reason we started making All the Animals We Ate was because I was struggling to respond to the passing of my mother last year. I saw that Sean's beloved spoodle Cady had passed and that was the impetus for me to ask Sean to collaborate on a new work," Tresise explains. "We built this play from the ground up using a series of theatre games that I adapted to generate a written script. It was a really fun and lively way to deal with some of the more challenging themes we decided to tackle. It also became very evident that this work required both Sean and I to perform it, so excitingly Melbourne audiences will be treated to the acting debut of Sean M. Whelan!" 

Friday 4 September 2015

FAG/STAG & Minnie and Mona Play Dead presented by The Last Great Hunt - Melbourne Fringe Festival preview

I saw a play called Hope Is The Saddest during the Melbourne Comedy Festival in 2013 and thought the entire production was brilliant. So I was thrilled to see the writer behind it, Jeffrey Jay Fowler, is coming to Melbourne Fringe with two shows being presented by Perth based theatre company, The LastGreat Hunt: FAG/STAG and Minnie and Mona Play Dead.

"With Hope is the Saddest we were exploring loneliness specifically, and lack of connection or understanding between people. FAG/STAG however, came from an interest (co-creator) Chris Isaacs and I had in what makes a friendship between straight and gay men different to other friendships," Fowler explains. "It explores how people of different sexualities can benefit from one another's company. I find my friendships with straight men much less tricky than my friendships with gay men."

Thursday 3 September 2015

Is That A Burrito In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Happy You Have A Burrito by Lauren Bok - Melbourne Fringe Festival preview

To some, life may have been a box of chocolate, but for Melbourne comedian, Lauren Bok, life is like a burrito. "We’re born, we are shoveled into a channel of carbohydrate, and the weight of life's commitments are thrown on top of us. The Cheese of Career. The Tomato Salsa of Broken Dreams. The Guacamole of Expectations. The Sour Cream of Regret," she says.

Which leads us to her festival show, aptly titled Is That A Burrito In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Happy You Have A Burrito. This is Bok's solo debut show for the festival desperate beings a seasoned stand-up and comedy performer for a number of years. "I finished doing the sketch show Wander Women for the Melbourne Comedy Festival, and while I had an amazing experience collaborating and being a sketch performer, I missed stand up. Melbourne Fringe registrations opened up the week after and it felt like the right time to just go out and do my own thing, my own way. I felt sick with nerves doing it, but I registered quickly without telling anyone, then it was done, so I had to just go through with it!" She explains. "It feels different then other festivals as it's just me, without any other influences. That makes everything a lot quieter on the outside, but a lot louder in my head."

Tuesday 1 September 2015

#DearDiary by Andi Snelling - Melbourne Fringe Festival preview

It can be pretty overwhelming to decide what to see during the 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival, especially when you have over 400 events to choose from! In order to ease the burden and guide you in the right direction, I'll be chatting to a few performers who I think are going to be providing something unique or special to this year's festival, starting with Andi Snelling and her solo debut show, #DearDiary

Snelling has kept a diary since she was 9 years old and to put it in a more concrete term, she has had over 5,000 pages of entries to read through to get #DearDiary to where it is now. "I’m not sure how many other shows in the Fringe have been written over a 24 year period without knowing they were a show, but mine is certainly one of them!" She says. "All the entries in the show are verbatim and so I’m exposing a lot of embarrassing, hilarious, tender and completely twisted parts of myself."