Wednesday 26 July 2017

Incognito review

The expression 'the mind works in mysterious ways' rings true in the stunning new work by Red Stitch Actors Studio. In its Australian premiere, Nick Payne's Incognito - a poignant play about the brain, Albert Einstein and love - is a beautiful exploration of how our mind works and how we use memories to create our identity and become the people we are.

The story focuses on three non-linear narratives, two of which are centred on real people. Thomas Harvey is the pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Albert Einstein and became obsessed with what could be revealed from research into his brain. The second story based on fact is of Henry Molaison, a 27 year old-man who - after an operation to cure his epilepsy - lost his short term memory which left him unable to remember the detail of conversations he had been having seconds earlier. The third story revolves around a fictitious neuropsychologist, Martha, who has a somewhat nihilistic view on identity and memories.

Monday 24 July 2017

Burgeois & Maurice review

Satirical cabaret artists George Bourgeois and Maurice Maurice have been performing together for ten years and at Provocar√© festival, Melbourne audiences are treated to an evening of comedic political activism with their fabulous show How To Save the World Without Really Trying. 

Capitalism has failed us. As has fascism and communism. So what's left? Well according to Bourgeois and Maurice, it's time to explore the benefits of their unique form of hedonism as the duo rip through various political issues such as marriage equality, Brexit and feminism with razor sharp wit and joy.

At one point, Burgeois and Maurice ask us to lament for the turmoil that the richest and most powerful people in the world feel in having to be in charge of all that money and needing to decide what they should do with all that fortune. It's not easy at all. Meanwhile, Maurice's emotional feminist call-to-arms performance to "kill all men" speaks volumes of truth regarding (in)equality between genders, while also providing plenty of laughs for the audience.

This Boy's In Love review

Ado is looking for love. He's 35 years old and working as a casual drama teacher, contending with obnoxious teenagers and work frustrations. And then along comes Felix. Presented as part of Provocaré festival, This Boy's In Love is a sweet and endearing cabaret about falling in love and not letting fear stuff it up.

The show opens with Ado (Adriano Cappelletta) preparing for a first date, full of nervous excitement as he tries on various outfits. This montage allows Cappelletta to highlight his clowning abilities (having trained at the famous Gaulier clown school) and establishes his story is driven by heart. It is this last point that really makes his show stand out from others that also have an affable protagonist unlucky in the world of romance. Ado has such an adorable quality to him (as with Cappelletta) that it is not surprising just how quickly and unexpectedly we become invested in his quest for love.

Sunday 23 July 2017

The Book of Revelations review

Our memories are our most prized possession. They are a reminder of who we are, where we've come from and what we've achieved. But what happens when our memories are no longer reliable and begin to fail us? Initially performed at La Mama Theatre's 2013 Explorations season, Black Hole Theatre's The Book of Revelations is an immersive, performance installation on the disorienting experiences had by people with dementia and other mental illnesses. 

Alison Richards, who also serves as writer of The Book of Revelations, delivers a strong and captivating performance as Ada as she cleverly shares snippets of her memories and thoughts through operatic moments, utilising the beauty of the sung voice to contrast the internal horrors that are unfolding. The use of Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from The Nutcracker heightens the tension as the nightmare continues while exposing the vulnerability of Ada as she succumbs to her illness.

Saturday 22 July 2017

Next Fall review

Being in love is never easy. Geoffrey Naufft's Next Fall tells the story of Adam and Luke, a gay couple who begin a relationship spanning five years before tragedy strikes when Luke is hit by a car. Opening with Luke's friends, family and Adam gathering at a hospital waiting room to hear news on his outcome, the story flashes back to various moments in the lives of Adam and Luke and those closest to them.

Each flashback builds on 40 year old Adam's (Darrin Redgate) frustration with where his life is heading, and Luke's (Mark Davis) attempts to reconcile his sexuality with his Christian faith. Redgate does a capable job as the neurotic candle-seller who seems to subconsciously be attempting to self-sabotage his chances at ever finding happiness, even when it's staring at him right in the face. Davis evokes a naive self-assuredness in Luke with regards to his dogmatic beliefs but he is also able to bring out a warmth and kindness to him as his relationship with Adam grow.

Noises Off review

It's been 34 years since playwright Michael Frayn penned his farcical comedy Noises Off and I have patiently waited decades to see this production on the stage. As part of its 2017 season, Melbourne Theatre Company has fulfilled my wish and the production does not disappoint with this wild and witty play-within-a-play.

While this is a fast-paced farce, one of the strengths of Frayn's script is that we are still provided time to get to know the characters and understand the relationships between them all. Once these are established, the laughs begin to build until the absurd and ridiculous circumstances the cast get themselves into hit peak hilarity. The second act where we are privy to the goings on behind the scenes are the most entertaining of the show, as the actors struggle to separate the drama of their personal lives with the drama happening on stage.

The You Pilgrimage review

the boon companions you pilgrimageMost people would find it very difficult to switch off from the demands of the day and take the time to reflect and think about themselves for a while. Fortunately, The Boon Companions seem to be all too aware of this and with their new immersive and interactive live art event ‘The You Pilgrimage‘, have provided people with an opportunity to have a break from the craziness of life.

This was the third event by The Boon Companions which I have attended and while their silent party and their 1920s literary themed event were highly memorable, The You Pilgrimage surpassed all these with the truly unique and entertaining opportunities of self-love and self-reflection experienced during our excursion through Fitzroy.

Friday 14 July 2017

By A Thread review

Circus doesn’t come as bare as One Fell Swoop’s By A Thread. Presented at Gasworks Arts Park, the entire show consists of one prop: a 30 metre piece of rope held up by two pulleys. The way in which the rope is used throughout the show, in both a literal sense and a metaphorical one, leaves audiences thoroughly entertained with the opportunity to consider the relationships in their life and what trust means to them. 

The spool of rope is used as a representation of trust; trust that the performers place in each other and the trust that we place in people in our own lives. The seven emerging circus artists (Jonathan Morgan, Charice Rust, Sarah Berrell, Ryan Darwin, Ela Bartilomo, Hamish Norris, and Jordan O’Brien from Melbourne’s National Institute of Circus Arts) completely and utterly depend on each other to execute their routines as they are constantly being flung into the air, spun around and dropping into each other’s arms. 

The ensemble work confidently as a cohesive team who are able to communicate with each other by just a glance and know exactly where each of them are at any given time. Their amusing and playful acts include an imaginative interpretation of pass the parcel and a brilliant see-saw routine that showcases their immense flexibility, agility and strength. There is a strong feeling of innocence and openness flowing throughout the show but there are numerous times where more complex thoughts are explored.

Monday 3 July 2017

The Rapture review

Any show created by Moira Finucane is going to be visually arresting and have people in awe by what they have witnessed. Her new show, The Rapture, is no exception as she grapples with the themes of art, extinction and the space in between through a variety of storytelling, live art performances and a whole lot of heart.

Finucane's strong storytelling skills are evident as she has us hanging of her every word. It's a shame however that the sound was not always up to scratch, with moments where we are unable to hear what Finucane is saying. Her recollections of her time in Chile and France are fascinating and linked in well with the performances. "A Sunny Afternoon" is a breathtaking act, and a personal favourite, where Finucane makes a powerful statement about our expectations and idealisation of beauty and women in society. This non-verbal piece is paired with U2’s hit song "With or Without You" and its gradual fierce impact is easily felt throughout the audience.