Friday 31 March 2023

Greece Lightning review (Melbourne International Comedy Festival)

Garry Starr's Greece Lightning has been doing the rounds for some time and it's a show that has been on my radar, but I’ve never been able to make its seasons. Last night, I finally did, and boy oh boy, do I regret having waited so long, because Greece Lightning is a comedy masterpiece.

This is Damien Warren-Smith’s third outing as the dim but absolutely delightful Garry Starr, (Garry Starr Performs Everything and Garry Starr Conquers Troy), and he is bigger and better than ever before as Garry attempts to perform all of Greek mythology to save his homeland from economic ruin.

Odd Sock review (Melbourne International Comedy Festival)

Within the first few minutes of claiming to have nothing left to sing about, Gabbi Bolt has already brought up gender, race, privilege, anxiety and a whole range of other issues and topics. But yet, she still feels like an odd sock, and with her new comedy show Odd Sock, she describes the various ways in which this manifests through music, singing and storytelling.  

Bolt covers a number of relatable topics, including the relationship and power dynamics between a dog and its owner, the perils of lusting after a celebrity obsession (and in the case of Bolt's pick, you really can't blame her), and the joys of working retail (spoiler alert, there aren't any). Each song consists of sharp, witty observations of not only the world around her but also about Bolt's own life.

Thursday 23 March 2023

IN-VOCATION たまおこし review

After an utterly incredible show with Buried TeaBowl - Okuni last year, performance artist Yumi Umiumare returns with IN-VOCATION たまおこし, a potent pairing to the 2022 show. With its predecessor exploring time, ritual, the past and the present through her connection to Okuni, a 17th century Japanese dancer credited as being the founder of kabuki theatre, this new show digs deeper into Okuni's life, with a focus on releasing the "Okuni spirit" inside all of us.

Joining Umiumare are two Japanese artists, Kayo Tamura, a shaman in theatre and Kyoko Amara, a professional clairvoyant and singer. This trio perform music, dance, rituals and storytelling as they share and discover the many characters of Okuni. With the Japanese title of the show translating to provoking / awakening the soul, it's fitting that a shrine to the womb sits in the middle of the stage as the three build and release the female power and energy of Okuni. They go big and bold in their acts but maintain an intimacy and authenticity with their audience that allows us to open our minds and hearts to what we are witnessing.

Saturday 18 March 2023

Triptych review

Anyone who has witnessed a Phillip Adams dance work knows to expect the unexpected. Adams has a knack for creating daring and disruptive pieces that explore themes around sexuality in its rawest form. His newest work Triptych, takes inspiration from Francis Bacon’s 1970 triptych painting, Triptych, in which Bacon used distortion and fragmentation to call attention to his own ideas around love, sex and religion.

In the first of three parts, four dancers (Harrison Hall, Samuel Harnett-Welk, Benjamin Hurley and Oliver Savariego) dressed in simple yet stunning Toni Maticevski designs, spend forty minutes writhing and convulsing on a circular pink carpet to a highly piercing and penetrating score by David Chisholm and Duane Morrison. While one pair appears to have more intimate and vulnerable interactions, the other pair is more aggressive and brutal. The two pairs circle each other, and at times make physical contact with each other, indicating how civility and animal instincts can easily be interchanged, something that Bacon depicted with his art. There are times where you wonder if Adams has choreographed this or if the dancers have completely given themselves over to these urges and being spellbound by the stirring composition. It's a rare experience to watch a performance and feel such intensity permeate throughout the room and be utterly transfixed by what is unfolding.