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.