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REVIEW: Fully Sikh

Who would agree that Australia has an ignorant view of Sikhism? Many would see the turban and believe they have the same views as Osama Bin Laden! This of course is very far from the truth and sometimes we need a real Australian story to outline this.

Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa is just the right person to open our eyes about being a young Australian Sikh – growing up in the mild-mannered suburbs of Leeming. Our first thoughts of Leeming are a standard white middle-class area – however, this is rapidly changing with the influx of Asian immigration since The White Australia Policy ended in the 70s. The immigrant story has always captured the Australian heart, since most of us come from immigrant heritage – paradoxically there is a xenophobic nature inbuilt into our culture.

Kaur Khalsa is as Millennial as you get where growing up, she would listen to an iPod and the biggest fear in the world was global jihad terrorism. This highly connected world is a very scary place – especially when your family is about tradition and sticking that old path. That typical Gen Y optimism that traditions can change and evolve to something all-encompassing is brilliantly shone through in this poetic twenty something year old. Positivity and openness are the clearest way to gain creative insight and this funky spoken word artist is a true testament to this. Before you enter, there is an option to have a turban created for your head and then we are all asked take off our shoes before entering the theatre that has been turned into an area that represents what going into her childhood house was like.

Once you are in, prepare for plenty of music from everyone – including her brother who showcases his multi-instrument talent with ease andgood-humoured charm. The beautiful sounds coming from the stage will make you want to get up and dance and luckily Kaur Khalsa gets you to that – for a bit! To celebrate people coming together, this show has a few pre-show volunteers learning some Indian cuisine, as it is the best way to a person’s heart – especially if you are from the Indian sub-continent. There is certainly a festival atmosphere that is heightened by the charisma of Kaur Khalsa who talks with a rhythm that grabs your attention and holds it indefinitely and is not preaching negativity against the bigots, but rather educating others about her human soul – where you could laugh or click your fingers in agreeance.

Alienation from both family and peers is the main theme of Fully Sikh and it is certainly a story of overcoming this adversity by embracing the unique balance of being connected to both. There are also the usual teenage stories of unrequited love and peer pressure that keeps it real, in a fully Sikh way! A show for young and old, come see a very friendly Kaur Khalsa take you on a musical, poetic journey about multicultural Australia and Sikhism, at its coolest.

REVIEW | Kieran Eaton

WHEN: 10th October – 3rd  November 2019 | 2:30pm, 630pm and 730pm

WHERE: Perth State Theatre | Studio Underground| Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $25 -$55 | Duration 85 mins | 15+ | THEATRE

LINK: https://www.bsstc.com.au/plays/fully-sikh

 

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REVIEW: Disenchanted

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?

Meet Snow White and her sultry squad of singing subversions. With an all-star cast of appearances from your favourite Disney Princesses as you have never seen them before and will probably never see them like this again!

Grey Lantern Productions can’t help but take great delight in presenting the Perth premiere of this absolute showstopper. Disenchanted is exactly as the tag-line states “the hit off-Broadway adult musical comedy that presents a hysterical and sassy take on the storybook princesses.” A show that has the audience in stitches the entire time with a very tongue in cheek and satirical take on Disney Princesses, damsels in distress and what constitutes a fairytale ending or happily ever after.

Disenchanted showcases some of the most fantastic talent and awe-striking vocal performances you will ever have the privilege of experiencing. Do not miss this down with Disney Diva posse’s incredible break of the glass ceiling as they hit every note with perfection. The show busts apart the stereotypical portrayal of what happens both before and after these Disney Princesses get their ‘happily ever after’ and all of the insane archetypes that come with being a damsel in distress. With just under two hours before the clock strikes and the last bell chimes signalling the last stroke of midnight this bevvy of busty beauties and precocious princesses are determined to have their say.

Prepare for a riotous rebellion of the royal variety. The girls are boycotting boys, cursing cleaning, bagging big boobs, and starving – like literally – to free themselves from the false nature of their fairytale cages. Imagine not eating to fit into your dress, knowing your personal life is nothing more than publicly blatant historical innacuracy, putting up with singing Tupperware and not so charming princes – the list goes on. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is some kind of sexist song list or feminist fairytale attempt barely masking its man-hating moralistic themes. Disenchanted is an honest, bawdy, balls-out demonstration of the negative pitfalls that come from merely thinking positively.

For those familiar with the philosophy behind the happiness trap society has become so desperately dependent on, let Disenchanted be the deconstruction compendium that brings truth and realistic consequence to wishing for a ‘Disneyised’ lifestyle. Whatever you do, do not miss this hilarious look and fun poke at the stupidity of all of those once sought after scenarios. Spend the night watching the damsels rescue themselves in Disenchanted!

REVIEW | AMANDA LANCASTER

WHEN: 10th – 19th October 2019 | 2:00pm and 8:00pm

WHERE: Subiaco Arts Centre | The Studio | Subiaco

INFO: Tickets $30 | Duration 115 mins | 15+ | MUSICAL

LINK: https://www.ptt.wa.gov.au/venues/subiaco-arts-centre/whats-on/disenchanted/

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REVIEW: On Our Beach

Are you ready to go to the beach this school holidays? Spare Parts Puppet Theatre welcome you to a fun new interactive show – On Our Beach and prove that they are the peak of children’s entertainment in Perth. So, slip on your thongs, slop off your worries and slap on a smile because you’re invited to the best beach party in Perth!

On Our Beach takes children and the young at heart on an interactive journey to the beach – but it’s unlike any beach you’ve ever been to before! Your journey begins with the security check-ins where you draw your own passport pictures and are scanned to see how nice you are! After that it’s a few happy snaps and some pre-beach activities until it’s time to kick off your shoes and head to the shore. There are plenty of fun feelings between your toes, so make sure you take off your socks as well!

Once you spread your towel and relax, the Spare Parts crew gently guide you into their world. It’s relaxing – there are velvet cushions and soothing acoustic guitar – light play and stunning silken puppets, flowing above a mesmerised crowd. The charm of the work lies in the detail and feeling evoked by simple, yet clever techniques. There’s not a creepy marionette in sight – instead brilliantly designed and choreographed pieces that all relate to one aspect of the Aussie beach or another. From underwater marvels to barbecues and flies, from cheeky dogs to playing catch, and swimming within the flags, it embodies the quintessential beach experience.

All of the puppeteers are enthusiastic and friendly – they really know how to get a diverse age range of children to interact and pay attention. There are activities and dances for the children to do – love a bit of human volleyball – and many surprises too. The sense of humour and fun that exudes from the puppeteers know no bounds and children delight in getting involved in an experience that is at once familiar and slightly twisted up but one thing is for sure – it’s all fun. So, head on down to the beach and dip more than your toe into the water – you’ll play, dance, create, and even get serenaded by the swimming sirens of the sea!

WHEN: 28th September – 12th October 2019 | 11am & 1pm

WHERE: Spare Parts Puppet Theatre | 1 Short Street, FREMANTLE

INFO: Tickets $23+ booking fee | Duration 50m | Suitable ages 5+ (not really for babies/toddlers) | Will be asked to remove shoes | Interactive theatre

LINK: http://www.sppt.asn.au/events/on-our-beach/

100 SPPT The Beach 190919 JWyld

Past Production, Review

REVIEW: I Feel Fine

Welcome to the Church of the Anthropocene – a space where we lament the decline of animals at the hands of humans. The Anthropocene is the geological era named after the impact humans have had on the planet since their appearance on the time-scale. I Feel Fine takes this destruction but also the love of land and celebrates how humans have interacted with it, for better or worse. No action is chastised – it is all valid and treated with the reverence of a church service – from saying goodbye to extinct animals, to singing hymns celebrating greed, everything becomes fodder for the eager preachers. It may seem like they’re ‘preaching to the choir’ but what I Feel Fine does spectacularly is gather together like-minded people within the arts and address a common concern.

Writer and Director, Zachary Sheridan is quick to point out that the preacher never actually addresses the choir, rather the congregation, yet the idea of creating art for an already willing audience is an interesting concept. It raises deeper philosophies – why create new art if we’re only going to show it to art lovers? Why talk about climate change to an already angry crowd clutching their keep cups? Sheridan’s work explores the primal human need to be included and accepted. It gently pokes fun at the language and rituals that accompany religious ceremonies. Jacob Diamond alongside brother Isaac Diamond have composed hymns and choral music to be chanted by themselves and occasionally Jackson Peele. The music is clever – part hymn, part hippy anthem, it evokes the mother-earth loving free love movement of the sixties but has untertones of contemporary indie music. It’s as if Jose Gonzales and Joni Mitchell had a baby that listened to Otis Reading and Eric Whitacre. Of course, like any good church there is a brilliant call and response that feels silly and fun at the same time. It envelops the audience with its familiarity.

Members of the Church, Amelia Burke, Kylie Bywaters and Simone Detourbet round out the experience with their ritualistic movements and dry sense of humour. To play this work straight, without a hint of irony gives it a comedic vibe that ebbs and flows from a chuckle to a full belly laugh. This work is incredibly funny – Peele’s hilarious turn as a flower-child with his doe-eyed smile and enthusiasm is brilliant, and Isaac Diamond and Bywaters’ awkward atoms is a piece within the work that encourages introspection at a microlevel. Detourbet and Burke round out the atmosphere with their unbridled passion for anything involving the human experience – a sinister story of colonialism and cultural appropriation becomes and amusing anecdote about pineapples and Smashmouth’s epic song ‘All Star’ becomes a serious hymn with added poignancy as it suddenly takes on a message of climate change awareness.

I Feel Fine is an intelligent, self-aware, and genuinely funny work. It reminds me of the meme with the dog in a blazing room, just sipping his coffee and saying ‘it’s fine, everything is fine.’ There’s nothing normal about the way we treat the planet and Sheridan’s work is able to highlight that in a highly effective manner. So, go and worship at the Church of the Anthropocene – it’s your world, just embrace it.

REVIEW | Laura Money

WHEN: 1 – 19 October 2019 | 7:00pm

WHERE: The Main Space | Blue Room Theatre | NORTHBRIDGE

INFO: Tickets $20 – $30 | Duration 70 mins | Suitable 15+ | Warnings haze/smoke | Group singing encouraged

LINK: https://blueroom.org.au/events/i-feel-fine/

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REVIEW: Two Canaries

When we see icebergs melting, we tend not to think of canaries – right? But icebergs are just larger, meltier canaries in the coalmine – they are the literal first warning sign that something is terribly wrong with the earth’s climate.

In The Blue Room Theatre‘s Studio space, Jess Nyanda Moyle and Zoe Street sit cross legged on two little mock icebergs, in a pool of water, dressed in all yellow hinting at the interconnected metaphors about to occur. Moyle and Street have a natural bond with an ability to banter with each other on the spot that intertwines with the flow of music created by violinist Brooke Wilson – there’s a sense of harmonious camaraderie.

Two Canaries is on the pulse – Lead Creator and Director, Alexa Taylor has found the right aesthetic and tone in Tessa Darcey‘s staging  – it’s powerful enough to warm even the hardest cynic. She recently completed her PhD in Performance Studies and Sustainability, and provides a level of expertise in how the themes of climate change can be addressed through the powerful medium of theatre. The show is thoughtful and taps into people’s sensibilities and shallow distractions. Both sides of the debate are clearly shown in a mixture of dialogues, monologues and comedic act outs that are cleverly interwoven. There is a true arc in our individual dealings with the environment and how it shapes us.

Moyle and Street riff off each other with faux awkward comedic banter. Their language reflects young people trying to grapple with the huge existential threat thrust upon them. They keep the audience on edge, with their unpredictability – a carefully built in feature that perfectly evolves to getting deeper and more personal. Moyle displays herself as the gifted all-rounder; she can sing and do things easier than Street who is the slightly left-of-centre persona – imparting an impression of Moyle being the “straight man” to the more comedic Street.

This comedic double act appears to be truly from the heart as it delves deeper into their personalities. There is simplicity in the styling- the focus is on meditative creation that transcends the earth and becomes bigger than all of us. Moynes and Street’s perceived differences are gradually rescinded to a realisation that environment is one thing that connects us all as human beings. There is a sense of innocence that they embrace, which is refreshing in a world where people in their twenties want to act like they are more worldly and wise than they really are. The screen visuals are poignant and are used to the right degree –  not a distraction from the performing force but rather reinforcing the distracting nature and contradictory good vs bad of post-modernity.

Climate change is most definitely the biggest world issue of our time and yet there is a tendency to only worry about short term problems – much like the superficial canaries cavorting about the stage as the world literally melts beneath them. Two Canaries is the perfect vehicle to gain a bigger picture and to see the forest between the trees.

Review | Kieran Eaton

WHEN: 10 – 28 September 2019 | 7:00pm & 8:30pm

WHERE: Studio | The Blue Room Theatre | NORTHBRIDGE

INFO: Tickets $20 – $30 | Duration 50 mins | Suitable 14+ | Warnings: Smoke Machine/Hazer

LINK: https://blueroom.org.au/events/two-canaries/