Saturday 31 December 2016

On A Night Like This: The Erin Minogue Experience - Midsumma preview

There is not a household in Australia that is not familiar with Kylie or Dannii Minogue. Whether you love them or loathe them, they are two of Australia's biggest celebrities. But little is known about the other Minogue sister, Erin. The youngest sibling has often been overlooked and overshadowed when it comes to musical talent by her older sisters. Presented as part of Midsumma Festival, On A Night Like This: The Erin Minogue Experience explores the life of the Minogue sister who never existed, based on an entirely untrue story.

Lizzie Moore has been performing as Erin Minogue since 2014 when the show premiered at Adelaide Cabaret Festival but she's been a fan of the singers for a lot longer. "The Minogues have been part of my life since I was little," she says. "I have strong memories of my older sister dressed up as Dannii on Young Talent Time (me as Courtney Compagnino), wearing a very cool oversized black jumper from Dannii's K-Mart range, driving around the streets of Melbourne singing to Kylie's Impossible Princess album, dreaming of being Simon Cowell's not so secret love affair (made that one up. What were you thinking, Dannii??!!)"

Wednesday 28 December 2016

Top 10 TV Shows of 2016

I spent a lot of 2016 watching a variety of TV shows from a broad range of genres and in my need to always finish what I start, I never "quit" a TV show until I finished its entire season - regardless of how bad it is or how much I hate it. But with the bad comes some utterly brilliant ones, so I decided to list my top ten TV shows of 2016, based purely on their most recent season.

If you're not up to date with the season, read with caution as some spoilers may be revealed.

1. American Crime - season 2

This anthology series drew me in from the very first episode. Felicity Huffman is in top form as the principal of an elite high school whose job becomes very difficult when a student on a scholarship accuses the basketball team star players of rape.
Connor Jessup is a phenomenal find, so much of the season rests on his shoulders and in being able to show the conflicting emotions of his character, Taylor, in dealing with the the ramifications of his accusation.
The story is told through various perspectives and therefore you're never quite sure as to what the truth actually is. While dealing with the alleged rape, American Crime is a nuanced look at race, class and privilege and what happens when the status quo is threatened.

While we live in the era of binge watching, the themes that are explored here are quite heavy and emotive, so a weekly episode was perfect with this (and also gets you excited about what happens next - none of this instant gratification stuff!)
The beauty of anthology series' is that you don't need to watch season one first, and while the first season is brilliant, there is so much more to admire about season two, and reflect on as well.

Sunday 25 December 2016

I Am My Own Wife - Midsumma preview

Charlotte von Mahlsdorf was a German transvestite who survived the Nazis and the Communists and helped start the German gay liberation movement. Her story is so incredible that even while learning about it, you wouldn't be alone in thinking think that some of it has been made up, but you would be wrong. American playwright Doug Wright travelled to Berlin and after a series of interviews - totalling hundreds of hours  - with von Mahlsdorf talking about her extraordinary life, wrote I Am My Own Wife.

Since its premiere in 2003, the play has been performed around the world and throughout Australia, and during the 2017 Midsumma Festival, Melbourne audiences will have the opportunity to witness the fascinating story of Berlin's most notorious transgendered woman on stage.

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Baby Got Back - Midsumma preview

If you're looking for some cheeky entertainment during Midsumma, then you really cannot go past Baby Got Back, a celebration of everything ass. That's right, those glutes are getting a show of their own. The all-female homage to the derrière is a 'psychosexual adventure of demented dancehall, projection mashups & remixed soundscapes, burlesque shakedowns and stripper mayhem'.

After sold out season at the 2015 and 2016 Fringe World in Perth, the show is finally making its way to Melbourne and the cast could not be more thrilled. "Basically, we came up with the show because we are a bunch of perverts," Frankie Valentine, one of the performers of Baby Got Back laughs. "We are so excited to finally be bringing this show to Melbourne though! The concept of the show has definitely changed and morphed as we continue to do it. Initially it was simply about a celebration of women's bodies and a mutual appreciation of ass. As we continue with the show we use it as a platform to highlight numerous issues we face as women in our society."

Monday 19 December 2016

The Helendale Nude Footy Calendar - Midsumma preview

As the end of 2016 approaches, there are a plethora of 2017 calendars being released, including the first all male redhead naked calendar, the University of Sydney student naked charity calendar and even a calendar featuring near naked 'hunks' helping animals in distress. Well now the Helendale Hornets are now getting in on the action. Written by Jake Stewart and presented as part of Midsumma Festival, The Helendale Nude Footy Calendar will look at the lengths a local football club will go to in order to secure itself a future.

However, this is not the only event to be told, as Stewart informs me there are a number of interesting stories to be told from within these small country towns. "The play is actually three independent stories told simultaneously, with Helendale being just one of them. While we tell the story of the Helendale Hornets photographing their nude calendar, we also delve into the Lynx-scented dynamic of an all-male classroom in Galshank, as well as the events surrounding a hunky celebrity arrival at a caravan park in Karandah Heads.
These three stories are all told with a young gay protagonist at the helm," he explains. "As we have been rehearsing, it's been exciting to watch the ways in which these stories illuminate each other. As is the sheer wonder of watching eleven brave, funny, talented guys work together to tell three complex, socially pertinent stories."

Saturday 17 December 2016

Top 10 Shows of 2016

What a year of theatre! Managed to squeeze in 172 performances in 2016 while working full-time and starting a Masters part-time. Not sure where I found the time or the energy but there's just so much great theatre and live performances happening in Melbourne constantly, that it's impossible to say no to things. Having said that, there are still shows I deeply regret missing out on seeing this year but unfortunately that is always going to be the case, it's impossible to see everything.

Seeing the 2017 programs for Dance Massive, Midsumma, Arts House, Malthouse Theatre, The Butterfly Club and Theatreworks (just to name a few), there is something in store for everyone no matter what your interests so get on it! 
I know it's going to be another busy year for me and I cannot wait, but back to 2016 and my top ten shows of the year. If I originally reviewed the show then a link to the original review is also provided.

So, without further ado, here is my list:

1. Picnic At Hanging Rock

Picnic At Hanging Rock Photo Credit: Pia Johnson
Having been a massive fan of the book and movie, I was initially skeptical as to how Matt Lutton's production would hold up, but I was utterly impressed by this that I decided to see it a second time.
Lutton perfectly captures the repressed sexuality of these private schoolgirls and the harsh landscape in which these people attempt to own and control.
The ensemble (Elizabeth Nabben, Amber McMahon, Arielle Gray, Harriet Gordon-Anderson and Nikki Shiels) are flawless in their various roles, constantly switching between characters - covering both genders and a range of ages - in the blink of an eye.

A thoughtful and inspiring set design by Zoë Atkinson - particularly the ominous 'tree' hanging over the rest of the set in the shadows - together with Paul Jackson's lighting design, Ash Gibson Greig's composition and J. David Franzk's sound design made Picnic At Hanging Rock an unforgettable example of creating horror in theatre.
Full subscription to Malthouse Theatre's incredible 2017 season has already been purchased and can't wait to see what's to come.

Animal - Midsumma preview

For three nights during Midsumma Festival, audiences will have the opportunity to unleash their inner animal with Mikey J White's new work, Animal. This multidisciplinary piece incorporates theatre, music, burlesque, multimedia and spoken word to explore what it means to be 'human' in relation to sexuality, relationships and society through the duality of man and beast.

Earlier this year, White presented SXIINS (TWELVE SKINS), another multidisciplinary piece, which looked at identity and how to 'be a man'. Animal grew from what was conceived in SXINNS (Twelve Skins), but this time, his focus has moved broader by looking at how to 'be a human'. "Both these shows are about self exploration and identity. I like to constantly question and challenge myself and conventional social norms on what is the correct way to 'be a man' or 'be a human' or just to be," White explains. "I think a lot of this comes from being a queer man in a straight world and it has forced me to look at my views not only on sexuality but on the world in general."

Thursday 15 December 2016

Briefs review

Having seen Briefs last year in an upstairs room of the Athenaeum, I was more than eager to see them again for their short return Melbourne season. The six talented performers covering (or uncovering) burlesque, circus, drag and everything else in between, were a highlight of last year and after seeing their show on Tuesday night, remains a highlight for this year as well. 

Led by the charismatic and engaging bearded lady Shivannah (alter ego of ringmaster Fez Fa’anana), the performances are nothing short of mesmerizing and laugh-out-loud hilarity with plenty of skin on display - it is called Briefs for a reason, after all.

Wednesday 14 December 2016

#Dragformation - Midsumma preview

Aaron Walker's latest exhibition, presented as part of Midsumma, looks into the world of drag and what it represents. #Dragformation aims to capture and document what 'drag' is, what it means, and who the people who engage with it are through before and after portrait photography of the performer.

Walker's conceptualisation for this project came through photographing the performers of a drag show backstage. "As I was shooting, what really struck me more than the show was the transformation process itself. After the show I knew I had to see if I could capture this on film in a way that needed to be a natural everyday look but also fabulous and spectacular. That’s when I chose to use a diptych to convey the effect of the drag artist’s look and persona from the street to the stage," Walker explains.

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Convergent Pathologies - Midsumma preview

One of the more intriguing exhibitions being presented at Midsumma Festival is Premier Event, Convergent Pathologies. Curated by myriad collective's darcy t gunk, the work on display by trans and gender diverse (TGD) artists living with mental illness, is a representation of their experiences of making choices to resist or comply with being pathologised.

As co-founder of myriad collective - a group that seeks to create performance, exhibition and professional development opportunities for TGD artists in Melbourne - finding the talent for this exhibition was not an arduous one for darcy. "Almost all of the artists in this exhibition have worked with myriad collective before, which meant that they understood how we do things, and our ethics and values as a collective. We did an open call for submissions and the response we got was that they were really excited to be part of this exhibition. myriad collective is all about bringing together a broad diversity of trans and gender diverse experience, so I wanted to fit as many artists into the exhibition as possible, whilst still allowing them to present up to 3 works each," darcy says.

Monday 12 December 2016

The Sparrow Men - Midsumma preview

From humble beginnings in July 2014 to now being a Premier Event at the 2017 Midsumma Festival, The Sparrow Men - aka. Andy Balloch and Marcus Willis - have garnered a reputation as one of Melbourne's most esteemed improv acts. The two have been performing regularly with no script, no direction and no idea on what is going to come out of their mouths for 2 and a half years and could not be more excited to be returning to the festival where they debuted their first full-length performance in 2015.

"Improv is such an incredible art form, and the only one where the process is the actual product. Every night we get to write, direct and star in our own play. And like plays, they can be funny, sad, dramatic, absurd, linear, non-linear, thematic based, premise driven, tackle important issues, non-important issues, it can be meta, non-meta, interactive, non-interactive, in English or not in English. We can play humans, birds, or anything in-between, play 1 character each, or 20, maybe there’s a narrator, maybe not," Balloch tells me.

Cleave review

In 1908, conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton were born in England. About 55 years later, Colleen Burke and her twin sister were born - five minutes apart separated by three years. Burke was born with two vaginas and her sister was born severely disabled with Cerebral Palsy. Presented as part of La Mama Theatre's Exploration season for work in various stages of development, and under the dramaturgy of Doug McLeod, Burke's Cleave explores the relationship that each set of twins has and - despite the decades between them - the similarities shared between their lives.

Having only completed the story very recently, Burke performs a scripted reading of Cleave while placing a select number of props on the stage. There is a toy train set, a sculpture of two fused humans embracing, a photo of the Hilton twins and a rolling pin. There are also a number of props revealed throughout the show, which - especially during a scripted reading - allow us to remain visually engaged with the performance.

Sunday 11 December 2016

The Happy Prince - Midsumma preview

Oscar Wilde's The Happy Prince is a short story for children around friendship, love and compassion between a statue of The Happy Prince and a swallow flying to Egypt. However, the story is also a critique of a society insensible to the world around it. As part of Midsumma Festival, the proclaimed purveyors of high camp, Little Ones Theatre will be producing this tale but with their own queer interpretation. 

"It’s funny, because I only read this story as an adult, so I guess I’ve always seen it as a queer allegory. I never had the innocent response to it that those who read it as children had. It has always had a 'queer take' in my mind. That is why I was drawn to it," explains director Stephen Nicolazzo. "I always saw it as an opportunity to further explore my obsession with sexuality and gender, but in this case, what was unique was that it was a love story. I am a romantic as heart and I think what I have always been draw to about The Happy Prince is its unashamed romanticism. It is tragic and it is indicative of the experiences of queer people throughout history and it manages to do this in the space of ten pages."

Sunday 4 December 2016

F. review

It's probably rarer now for parents to need to sit down and speak to their children about the birds and the bees. Books such as "Where Did I Come From?" now seem obsolete, and by the time teenagers are learning anything to do with sex education in high school, they already seem to know it all. Presented by Riot Stage as part of the Poppy Seed Festival, F. attempts to explore how a group of teenagers come to terms with sex and sexuality as most people of the last decade have - through technology.

Unfortunately the execution is not always successful, as the production's central concern with how technology is used with sex is at times completely ignored, or does not explore issues raised to any great depths. Thus, one of the main story lines - where two friends enter into a sexual relationship - is surprisingly developed without the use of any social media or technology whatsoever apart from one scene where the male character refers to the three voicemails he left her. In contrast, a female character's revelation that an ex-partner has put a naked photo of her on the internet is initially met with mediocre disgust by her friends but is immediately dropped and never mentioned again, nor do we see any impact this has on the character.

Monday 28 November 2016

Reefer Madness review

Reefer Madness was originally a 1939 film intending to dissuade youth from smoking cannabis and highlighting the risks linked to this "pastime". In 1999, Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney opened their musical version of the show in Los Angeles and 17 years later it is presented by RL Productions, and the entire time watching, I kept wondering - why?

While I understand the tongue-in-cheek humour and the satirical nature of the cult show, I simply cannot find any laughs in rape or domestic violence. I will admit that I am not familiar with the film and unsure to what extent it makes these references but stating women will be raped if they are stoned and watching a female character being physically and verbally assaulted by a male - and played for laughs - is not on. Yes, you can argue that it was in the musical's book (from 1999), but these issues are so problematic for today's audience that I felt this production needs to consider and address this in some way.

What's Yours Is Mine review

"Give me a home among the gum trees, with lots of plum trees..." How the Australian dream has changed since 1974. But has it been for better of for worse? Presented as part of the Poppy Seed Festival, Hotel Now's What's Yours Is Mine explores Australian values and ownership of a land that was never ours to own, with an elaborate touch of campness.

The show begins at a reunion for Olympic Games volunteers where three friends - Milly, Ollie and Syd - reconnect and decide to go on a road trip together; Milly has just quit her job, Ollie has a car and Syd just wants to get away from everything. Cue road-trip montage and offbeat adventures as the three friends travel through the country.

Saturday 26 November 2016

Bijou: A Cabaret of Secrets and Seduction review

We've all made choices in our lives or been in situations that we've lamented over. In Bijou: A Cabaret of Secrets and Seduction, we are taken back to 1933, into Bar du Papillon where Bijou, shares her memories of secrets, sorrow and love through story-telling and song. 

Chrissie Shaw has selected a variety of songs and music authentic to the era and her voice perfectly encapsulates the emotions experienced with each song, from anger to sadness to joy. While I don't understand a word of French, when Shaw breaks into French vocals throughout the show, her body language, facial expressions and tone still allow the meaning behind the song to be conveyed. Accompanying Shaw on piano is the highly talented Alan Hicks, who plays - and sings - with aplomb and is very much at ease in his interactions with the audience.

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Madame Nightshade's Poison Garden review

When Madame Nightshade appears in her garden and welcomes the audience in her own unique style, you quickly realise that all bets are off and anything can happen in this absurdist clowning show, and that no matter where you sit, you are not safe. Performed as part of La Mama's Explorations seasons for work in various stages of development, Madame Nightshade's Poison Garden is a show that will leave you stunned and flabbergasted with plenty of laughs.

Madame Nightshade's Poison Garden is like watching two shows. The first half has a twisted, macabre and imaginative whimsy to it. Vegetables are manipulated into hilarious firearms and grenades and while there is a scene with liquids and test tubes that could cause some anxiety in audience members, there is a sadness and a disturbing sweetness to Madame Nightshade's actions and behaviour. However, upon drinking her "poison" Madame Nightshade transforms into a creature that is difficult to describe, but one that closely resembles a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde situation.

Tuesday 22 November 2016

LadyCake review

When you hear the quote "let them eat cake", you can't help but think of Marie Antoinette. Interestingly enough, there is no official account of the lady ever having said this, and most facts point to it being almost impossible for it to have been coined by her. Performed as part of the Poppy Seed Festival, LadyCake looks at the life of Marie Antoinette through the eyes of three of her handmaidens and how there is much uncertainty on what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to the last Queen of France. 

The three performers, Candace Miles, Madelaine Nunn and Anna Rodway - who also created the story - seem to relish playing the three handmaidens, and to be having real fun in messing with history in such a macabre and ostentatious way. While set in the 18th century, the script includes references to modern innovations - such as the internet - darkly reminding us that despite the centuries, the roles women play in society have not changed that much. This is further highlighted in the scenes where they each play Marie's disapproving mother Maria Theresa, and of the general population who slowly began to turn against the Queen.

Monday 21 November 2016

Animal review

Watching Animal is a rare theatrical experience. It has such a visceral effect on you that you are left shaken and feeling extremely vulnerable and angry as you walk out. Created by Susie Dee, Kate Sherman and Nicci Wilks, it is an exploration of domestic violence and how women are meant to react in a world where violence against women and male brutishness is celebrated - and it is as gritty as physical theatre can be.

The stage design by Marg Horwell feels like a large shipping container; dark, cold and empty except for a number of small square cages. The two sisters climb and crawl over them, the whole time emoting that they are also caged, desperately looking for a way out. The tattered netting that covers the roof could be seen as protection from the outside but with the many holes in it, it is only a matter of time before it is destroyed. 

Sunday 20 November 2016

Hands Over Eyes review

There were times while watching Hands Over Eyes that I felt like I was watching a live episode of Black Mirror, a TV series that looks at how our over-reliance on technology can have far darker consequences than we could have imagined. Presented as part of La Mama Theatre Explorations season for work in various stages of development Peter Danastasio's Hands Over Eyes raises discussion on perceptions of truth and honesty and how the impact this can have on people.

Danny Carroll plays Paul Havour, a conversationalist who works for a company that conducts simulated experience sessions to assist patients with their past traumas or phobic treatments. Through the course of the week he begins to question his beliefs and work ethics while attempting to assist his patients with treatments he finds troubling.

Thursday 17 November 2016

Blessed review

The Poppy Seed Festival returns to Melbourne for its second year, opening with Fleur Kilpatrick's Blessed, a modern retelling of the angel Gabriel's visit to Mary informing her that she is to be the mother of Jesus. While her previous work, The City They Burned, successfully re-imagined the story of Lot and the fall of Sodom into contemporary times, in this production there is too much effort in pushing the religious undertones, whereupon I felt the authenticity of what Kilpatrick is attempting to create gets blurred.

The story follows Maggie and Grey (Olivia Monticciolo and Matt Hickey) who after years of no contact are reunited in Grey's grimy and shabby home. These are people who are from the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum, living in community housing who are struggling to make ends meet with low paying jobs.

Friday 11 November 2016

Shining City review

The effects of grief and guilt are hauntingly explored in Q44 Theatre's latest production of Conor McPherson's Shining City. Set in Dublin, the story revolves around a therapist and his patient, each with his own set of demons to face, and it's another example of the exemplary work on which this theatre company is building its reputation.

Anthony Scundi is exceptional as Ian, an ex-priest struggling with his loss of faith who has just opened up a therapy clinic. While initially coming across as someone who has his life in order, the ensuing scenes paint a picture of a man who is gradually unraveling. Scundi is well-paired with Sebastian Gunner as John, his new patient and the rapport they share feels genuine. Gunner nails a lengthy monologue that requires him to find the right balance of a range of emotions as he recount the events leading up to the death of his wife.

Friday 4 November 2016

Anicca review

In Buddhism, anicca (impermanence) is seen as the first of three marks of existence and the idea that existence is by nature, evanescent and inconstant. With his new show, Anicca, composer and performer Matthias Schack-Arnott manages to bring these beliefs into the thoughts of his audience as we reflect and ponder on the transient nature of not only moments in our lives, but of life itself.

While his previous show, Fluvial had its own impressive concept and visual design, Schack-Arnott has truly outdone himself with the design of the instrument for this performance. An array of bamboo sticks, pebbles, shells, felt and other tactile items are glued on to a flat round surface and with the use of a motor from an electric pottery wheel, Schack-Arnott gets the instrument spinning, where it begins to resemble a large roulette wheel. This variable-speed rotating instrument created with engineer Richard Allen, has no name and this adds to the mystery and wonder of the show.

Sunday 30 October 2016

Mr Naismith's Secret review

Performed inside the historic Gate Lodge at Melbourne Cemetery, TBC Theatre's production of Mr Naismith's Secret is an intriguing and entertaining piece of immersive theatre. Having gathered at Edward Naismith's residence to celebrate his engagement to Jane Adair, it soon becomes apparent that not everyone wishes the couple a happy future with a number of guests and staff within the house having their own schemes and plots to attend to.

We enter the house interacting with the characters, but we are soon ghost-like creatures that are left to wander the rooms and observe interactions and eavesdrop on private conversations. Secret letters are read out and locked rooms are explored in our ignored presence but there are also times when characters stare directly at you as they deliver their lines or perform in a scene. It is somewhat unnerving but works extremely well in heightening the tension of the narrative.

Friday 28 October 2016

Sizzling summer fun is coming to The Butterfly Club

GRUMBLE: Sex Clown Saves the World
Summer is on its way and so is The Butterfly Club's curated summer program. Nestled just off Little Collins St. (between Swanston and Elizabeth St.), this iconic Melbourne bar and theatre space has put together a very interesting and varied collection of shows completely in line with its own quirkiness and slightly off-centre vibe.

Opening the season is Betty Grumble's Sex Clown Saves the World, which is bound to leave you wondering what the hell you just saw. The show includes wild neo burlesque, self-defence aerobics and a butoh kookaburra, so go along and witness the Queen of the Obscene and all her rage, desires and internal organs in a shamanic striptease.

Thursday 13 October 2016

The Money review

"Are you a benefactor or a silent witness?" That is the question we are asked upon entering Kaleider's The Money. Presented as part of Melbourne Festival, the show is a live experiment on the way society works and how people with different background and experiences can come together for a common goal.

Those who choose to be - or become - benefactors sit in the middle of the chambers in the Prahran Town Hall. They each provide $20 to the kitty and have 60 minutes to decide what to do with the money. The money cannot be given to a registered charity, the money cannot be split, it must be spent on legal activity and it must be a unanimous decision between the benefactors. Other than that, we can do whatever we choose.

Sunday 9 October 2016

Motor-mouth Loves Suck-face preview

There's a new apocalypse in town, and it's a musical; a zombie musical. Written and produced by Anthony Crowley, Motor-Mouth Loves Suck-Face takes place during the final days on Earth before a zombie apocalypse will wipe out humanity. So how does one prepare for such a catastrophic end? For high-school geeks, Motor-Mouth and Suck-Face, it's to throw a party to end all parties.

"Motor-Mouth Loves Suck-Face is high on energy and absurdity and music. The characters are a mix of archetype with their own idiosyncratic twist, which makes them real in a human sense, but stuck in our absurd world," Crowley tells me. "The story is told out of sequence as we zip back and forwards through time. The plot is bizarre and has its roots in comedy shows like Red Dwarf, The Young Ones and The Mighty Boosh, where the story is crazy but there’s also a sustained logic and the characters - as well as the audience - are completely trapped in the craziness."

The Dark Chorus review

You don't notice it as you first enter the Meat Market, but then a shadow catches your eye and you stop and take a second glance. And it's then you see a figure cloaked in a black gown, head down slowly walking in the darkness around a circle of light. And then you see another, and another, and another, until it’s all you can see, and you wonder how you didn't see them in the first place, which is the perfect way to describe the thoughts and themes explored in Lucy Guerin's brilliant dance work, The Dark Chorus.

Presented as part of Melbourne Festival, the show is an intimate look at the darker thoughts and voices in our heads and how they can consume us. Throughout the performance, The Dark Chorus can be heard whispering and chanting and while you can only make out some of what is being said, feelings of dread and fear slowly seep inside you.

Saturday 8 October 2016

Thank You for Coming: Attendance review

Attendance is the first work of a three-part series entitled Thank You for Coming by Brooklyn-based choreographer and director Faye Driscoll. Presented as part of Melbourne Festival, the dance performance explores how we react in social situations and how we perceive ourselves and others in these environments.

After an entertaining reminder to switch off our phones, the five dancers (Giulia Carotenuto, Sean Donovan, Alicia Ohs, Toni Melaas and Brandon Washington) enter the stage, set in the round, and their bodies begin to intertwine and form various intricate tableau-like poses. Legs rest on shoulders, arms grab legs and heads rest on stomachs; despite the chaos and the unnatural poses created, there is a sense of calmness and tranquility in the moment.

Friday 7 October 2016

Heaps Gay Heaps Yummy preview

Melbourne Music Week is nearly upon us (11 - 19 November) and the queers are coming out to play with Heaps Gay Heaps Yummy. For one night only, Kat Hopper (director and founder of Heaps Gay) and James Welsby (creative director and founder of YUMMY), will be hosting this event, which will see queers and their allies taking over the State Library of Victoria for what promises to be a night of spectacular music and fabulous performance.

Fresh from hosting "a deliciously twisted cabaret of queer-lesque delights" with YUMMY Up Late at the Melbourne Fringe Festival, Welsby is more than excited about his upcoming collaboration with Melbourne Music Week and Heaps Gay. "The scale for Heaps Gay Heaps YUMMY is like nothing that I've coordinated before. We have booked over 30 performers, and are taking over an iconic venue in Melbourne," he says. "It feels so amazing to have that level of support for an indie queer event. The skill and diversity of all the performers we have scheduled is completely out of control. It is going to be huge."

Sunday 2 October 2016

Top 10 shows of 2016 Melbourne Fringe Festival

Well, it's that time of year again! After seeing a mere 61 shows, here are my top ten shows of the 2016 Melbourne Fringe Festival. 
Admittedly, there are shows I really wanted to see but timing and life meant that I just couldn't make it work!
If the show was reviewed, you will find a link next to its name for more detailed thoughts and opinions. 

1. Notorious Strumpet and Dangerous Girl - review

Winner of New Original Circus at the Festival, Jess Love's Notorious Strumpet and Dangerous Girl is a great mix of circus, theatre and performance that explores her relationship with her family, particularly Love's affinity with her great, great, great, great grandmother Julia Mullins and her addiction to drugs and alcohol.
It is an incredibly touching show and the way Love explores her addiction through the circus acts is extremely skillful and emotive. 
One of the most striking visuals of the evening occurs when Love dresses up to resemble what Mullins might have worn back in her time, and presents a cheeky but touching homage to her distant relative.

Directed by Ursula Martinez, this was an undeniable favourite of mine three days into the Festival.

Saturday 1 October 2016

Black Is The Colour - Melbourne Fringe Festival review

New theatre company Deafferent Theatre is just a little bit deafferent, in that they create new and engaging pieces of work for hearing and deaf audiences. For their first production, presented as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, they have chosen Daniel Keene's Black Is The Colour, which is performed entirely in Auslan.

The story revolves around two friends and their experiences with domestic violence. Catherine (Anna Seymour) is a victim of physical abuse from her husband, while her best friend Irene (Hilary Fisher) struggles to makes her understand the situation she is in. This production results in a unique exploration regarding loss of voice: in the text, the two characters have lost their voices and in reality, so too have the people of the Deaf community. There are some powerfully directed scenes by Jessica Moody where the characters express their rage and frustration by letting out a scream only to have the room remain empty with silence.

Friday 30 September 2016

___day Night's Dream - Melbourne Fringe Festival review

One delightful certainty during the Melbourne Fringe Festival is that there will be a number of performances being held in random and uncommon locations, and ____day Night's Dream is another great example of this. This immersive show explores the dreams of seven people, and it does so on a 16th floor apartment overlooking the city.

Interestingly, the dreams are all based on the performers' (
Iryna Byeylyayeva, James Christensen, Aram Geleris, Daniel Holmes, Madeleine Johnson, Sara Laurena and Freya McGrath) own dreams, and performing them within the confines of the apartment creates a literal intimacy as well as a metaphorical one, having been invited into this very personal space, to be privy to these personal dreams.