on now, Review

REVIEW: FIFO – Fit In or F**k Off!

How far would you go to fit in? Does the old adage ‘what happens on the mine stays on the mine’ apply when families are in trouble? Is blood thicker than water – or at least molten iron ore? FIFO – Fit In or F**k Off is a gripping three-hander detailing the struggles plaguing FIFO workers. It explores isolation from society, families, and friends, drug culture, feelings of displacement, and twists the notion of hard work and good money – chewing these concepts and heartliy spitting them out onto the red soil that serves as a fitting backdrop to the trials and tribulations of three Aboriginal Australians.

FIFO is a world premiere collaboration between Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company and Goolarri Media Enterprises – their first foray into stageplays, and hopefully not their last! Written by Melody Dia after she attended the Goolarri Media Indigenous Writers program in Broome, the play highlights the disenfranchisement felt by people who no longer feel welcome in either world they inhabit. Jono (Trevor Ryan) vacillates between his Aboriginal connection to the land – his father urges him to stop this mining lark and protect his native areas in a National Park – and the systematic destruction he unleashes with every stint he does on the mines. Mining companies are notorious for digging up sacred sites, but Jono reflects that this might be the only way he can get close to them. Bobbi Henry as Jono’s wife is a victim of the lure of credit cards and a particular lifestyle that is synonymous with the FIFO big bucks. She gets further and further away from her roots only to come full circle when she is grounded once again in her hometown. And Janey (Marlanie Haerewa) struggles with drug abuse and the hedonistic element of having no fixed address and plenty of disposable income.

This drama is played out on the beautiful set designed by Neil Sheriff – which captures the heart and essence of Broome and manifests it onto an intimate, yet vast stage. Sheriff has managed to harness the unique colours and lighting in the Northwest and distill it into the perfect backdrop – the subdued nature of which provides a constant reminder that land is integral to its people. The actors move about the three-levelled platforms as the big trucks would a mining site – they load up and push carved boxes up ramps in a move reminiscent of construction, they sit on stylised rocks, hewn from the land itself, and they are bordered by stunning led light panels that meander across the set like a scar – Henry even references this homage to the waterways that course across the orange land like veins in an elder’s hand. The audience is instantly transported to Broome, and those who have the advantage of seeing the show there will see their landscape and identity incarnate.

FIFO is an intuitive collaboration with Director Eva Grace Mullaley clearly in synch with Dia’s script. Her connection to the work shines through in the clever opening scenes – each character essentially monologuing about their particular issues. Janey opens procedings with a raucus stand-up comedy set, complete with laugh track, it’s clever and punchy and full of relevant humour – ‘how do you know if someone works FIFO? Don’t worry, they’ll tell ya!’ Then Jono begins with a brilliant piece about his schedule, filled with comedy and a darker thread that evokes almost military precision, camaraderie, and a sense that other people just can’t understand what it’s like to be branded FIFO. After that, Mary is talking to her manicurist – Henry gets the rhythm of talking to another person rendered silent in the show. She cheekily waits, but not for too long as it is a monologue, and regales her manicurist with tales of her flippant spending. Mary is a hilarious character, and one that seems to be struggling the most – she acts blasé about her spending but you can see a dark cloud overcome her face momentarily as she racks up the bill. Henry performs the hell out of this role. Mullaley’s direction sees these three characters remain frozen in isolation as each actor delivers their monologue. When they inevitably converge, the emotional payoff is stronger as they had all been together but separate – a painful reality for many families enduring the one week home, four weeks away.

Working on the mines is a pertinent and apt metaphor for many of the issues faced by Aboriginal families – whether in the past or present. Mining companies ravage the land and deny people of their own culture. Families are split up and parents unable to connect with their own children properly. Drug culture is rife on the homefront as well as in the mining communities, and families are torn apart by drug abuse. But perhaps the richest vein Dia has mined is a sense of identity. Who you are is intrinsically bound up with what you do for work, where you live and who your family is. FIFO – Fit In or F**k Off tears apart each of these identities and scrutinises them beyond recognition. It’s a sharp and intelligent examination of who we are and how we express ourselves. It stretches the tension felt between these two states – home and away – and doesn’t give up until something snaps, exploding in a fierce burst of emotion. One thing is for sure, though, once the dust settles, we can all see who is standing on which side of the chasm.

Review | Laura Money

PERTH SHOW

WHEN: 13 – 24 October | 2pm & 7pm

WHERE: Subiaco Arts Centre | SUBIACO

INFO: Tickets $26 – $40 | Duration 90 mins | No interval | Recommended 15+ | Warnings: Coarse language, drug references, suicide references, drug paraphernalia, smoke, haze, high pitched frequencies that may cause discomfort and sexual references

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

BROOME SHOW

WHEN: 29 – 31 October | 1pm & 7pm

WHERE: Gimme Club | BROOME

INFO: Tickets $26 – $40 | Duration 90 mins | No interval | Recommended 15+ | Warnings: Coarse language, drug references, suicide references, drug paraphernalia, smoke, haze, high pitched frequencies that may cause discomfort and sexual references

LINK: https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing/666158

Review

REVIEW: The Big HOO HAA’s 18th Birthday Show

What’s the difference between a politician and an 18 year old?

 Nothing….They’re both trying to screw everyone?

And that, my friends is the kind of humour you can expect at a Big HOO HAA show – from just the audience itself!

Welcome to The Big HOO HAA! For those who don’t know The Big HOO HAA is an Improvised comedy sketch show made up of some of the slickest, quickest, wittiest local talents you are ever likely to have the good fortune to encounter or be entertained by. Not only do they boast one of the best ongoing ensemble comedic casts year after year, but they are also one of the most popular, well known, much loved, and long standing performance groups the Perth entertainment circuit has ever seen.

It’s not difficult to see how this Fringe Festival favourite has maintained its regularly scheduled weekly spot as the jewel in the comedy crown that is the Lazy Susan comedy den for over a decade. Time after time this troupe of duelling sketch teams or solo endeavours by their past and present cast of stellar performers they have managed to deliver that much sought after amusement that its audience craves.

Best known for its fabulously funny balls out battles for the best and biggest laughs the comedic cult following of such a local icon has seen The Big HOO HAA celebrate its 18th year at their top of its game.

So how exactly did The Big HOO HAA celebrate their 18th birthday…the coming of age, into maturity welcome to adulthood milestone? With laughter of course! And lots of it. Too big, too bold, too brash to be contained, The Big HOO HAA’s 18th birthday bash took to the beautiful stage that is the UWA’s Dolphin Theatre for a nonstop, no holds barred, 18 plus, battle to the very last groan and laugh.

Skit for skit and sketch for sketch these jesters jousted joke after nonstop joke for points. Armed with only razor sharp wits and quick lines and a ticking clock this group are thrown right into the comedic thick of it. It is uncanny the insane imaginative intelligence with which randomly selected members of each opposing team come up with more and more outlandish ways to make you laugh. The whole show’s method is based on complete madness and the quickest ability to adapt to the unexpected.

I started the night failing a little to see how presented with nothing more than a clothesline of challenging game gambits to complete, an audience full of random call out suggestions and aided with little more than gift wrapped props of unknown inanity, I would manage to find my attention held – let alone my amusement. However after you have seen a group of three performers randomly open a present containing the parts of a plastic skeleton then whip crack fast turn it into what is now my favourite funny skit of all time… ‘mother’s bones’ (starring Geordie Crawley, Brent Hill, and Stephen Platt) it’s hard not to be totally converted.

Having never actually been to a large scale, packed cast, off the cuff and definitely off the wall comedic duel I had no idea what to expect…which is apparently exactly the only thing you should prepare to expect. Nearly 2 and a half hours of outlandish skits, sketches, singing, and screaming with laughter two teams, Hearts vs. Bones, battle it out to the very last one-liner to see who will win over the crowd, and of course, The Big HOO HAA’s 18th celebration show. The winner of which I can with all sincerity and assuredly promise you was most definitely us – the audience.

Review | Amanda Lancaster

You can find out more about The Big HOO HAA’s regular shows on their website.

Review

REVIEW: The Little HOO HAA

The folks over at The Big HOO HAA have been entertaining us big people for 18 years – now it’s time the little guys get the opportunity to see improv comedy at its best. The Little HOO HAA takes their adult counterpart’s signature formulae and distills it to its purest form – because let’s face it – kids are everyone’s harshest critics! It’s improv writ small, with big laughs.

Improvisation comedy is synonymous with swearing, risque, and adult content – as everything is made up these can be comfortable tropes to fall back on but the crew of The Little HOO HAA are always on their best behaviour. Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of toilet humour but performing for kids makes the performers more creative. They strip everything down to its funniest essence and deliver big time. And they definitely don’t dumb it down – kids never respond well to being patronised. The players take the pure and crazy energy of their little yet powerful audience and create hilarious scenes full of madcap whackiness exclusive to their very special viewers.

It’s a rollercoaster show for all ages, there are two teams (of two players rather than the usual three), a host, and a keyboard player – not dissimilar to a bumper show of Play School. They start off with ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’ – a firm favourite during the adult shows, and a game that proves that its simplicity and tomfoolery is universal. The kids start to sing along and revel in kicking the losers off stage – I mean, kids are brutal – and in the end it’s the kind of game that they can play in the car on the way home. Next up is a youthful twist on ‘The Dating Game’ where the search is for a baby-sitter rather than a partner. The double meanings to all of these suggestions is classic humour – while the kids are laughing at the act outs, the adults are laughing at the prospect of hiring an ex-assassin to look after their children.

There’s singing, crazy mystery lines, whacky costumes, scenes that are reduced from one minute down to seven seconds, and a great deal of shouting! The players are great with kids – they give them just enough interaction to engage the crowd but remain firmly in control of the stage. The jokes are thick and fast and come naturally as the team of players shirk their adult personae and get to be kids once more – if only for an hour. All of the games are silly and fun – they are easy to explain and the kids in the audience giggle throughout, and of course – there’s a lot of singing. Songs and movement speak to kids on a basic level so watching The Little HOO HAA allows them to feel comfortable and relaxed – it’s a crazier version of The Wiggles but you know, actually funny.

The Little HOO HAA are performing for kids across Perth every school holidays so make sure you add them to your list of activities. Not only will your kids have a ball, you’ll be laughing along with them. The crew have tapped into a niche in children’s entertainment – building on the energy of a bunch of class clowns and exploding it onto the stage. Kids love the unscripted format and laugh in reverence at the idea that you can say whatever you want. Hopefully the show inspires many more little comedians so that the spirit of The HOO HAA stays strong!

Review | Laura Money

For more information about performances you can follow The Big HOO HAA on Facebook or on their website.

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What’s On September – December 2020

What’s On

DRACULA – WA Ballet

Follow Dracula, whose lonely soul is determined to reunite with his lost love, Mina and in doing so begins a reign of terror and seduction, draining the life from those around her to get what he so desires. Brought to you by the always brilliant West Australian BalletDracula is the ambitious show gracing the boards of the beautiful stage of His Majesty’s Theatre – the perfect setting for this adaptation of the classic gothic Victorian tale by Bram Stoker which captured the sensibilities of the era.

WHEN: 11 – 26 September 2020 | Various times

WHERE: His Majesty’s Theatre | PERTH

INFO: Tickets $22 – $120 | Duration 2hrs 25mins | Interval | Contains stylised violence

TICKETS: https://waballet.com.au/whats-on/dracula2020/

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‘Dracula’ WA Ballet Production 2018 – 4th September 2018 / Photography © Jon Green 2018 – All Rights Reserved

THE NIGHTINGALE – WA Opera

Based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen the opera tells of an Emperor who is enchanted by the singing of a nightingale in his garden. The Emperor convinces the nightingale to sing for him but when gifted with a new mechanical nightingale, he becomes obsessed with his toy and the real nightingale flies away.

WHEN: 3rd & 4th October 2020 | 11am & 2pm

WHERE: His Majesty’s Theatre | Perth

INFO: Tickets $25 – $45 | Duration 50 mins | Relaxed Performance 11am 4th October | Suitable 4+ | Sung in English

LINK: https://www.ptt.wa.gov.au/venues/his-majestys-theatre/whats-on/the-nightingale/

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THE OTHER PLACE – Fremantle Theatre Company

Sharr White’s THE OTHER PLACE is about a very brilliant doctor who watches her world slip through her fingers, unraveling thread-by-thread without her; she is a woman at once taunted by her daughter, the echo of loss and a whisper of hope, striving to make sense of her place in the world and a grasp on a very elusive peace of mind.

WHEN: 14th October – 8th November 2020 | 2pm & 7pm

WHERE: Victoria Hall | Fremantle

INFO: Tickets $86 – $130

LINK: https://premier.ticketek.com.au/Shows/Show.aspx?sh=THEOTHER20

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WE WILL ROCK YOU – Platinum Entertainment

Join outcast Gallileo Figaro as he fights the power in a dystopian world filled with internet obsessions, a Killer Queen and no music! Ben Elton’s classic jukebox musical features the music of Queen brilliantly woven into a clever, hilarious, and heartwarming musical. So don’t feel Under Pressure, just Break Free and find Somebody to Love on your Bohemian Rhapsody journey.

WHEN: 30th October – 22nd November 2020 | Various times

WHERE: Crown Theatre | Crown Casino | Burswood

INFO: Tickets $59 – $119 | Duration 2hrs 40 mins | Strobe Lighting and Special Effects, including Haze Machines, may be used during the performance | Parental Guidance recommended

LINK: https://www.ticketmaster.com.au/venueartist/304372/949844

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography
www.stephenheathphotography.com
Image: Stephen Heath Photography

RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’S OKLAHOMA! – Black Swan State Theatre Company

Tensions simmer between the cowmen who have long worked the territory, and the increasing number of eastern farmers staking new claims to land which disrupts the cowmen’s trade. Meanwhile, farm girl Laurey works to maintain her independence while being courted by both Curly and Jud – two very different kinds of suitor.

Black Swan State Theatre Company is delighted and proud to present the music in the style of its bluegrass, country, square-dance roots, and for WA audiences to enjoy a 360° experience in the round right in the heart of the action on the Heath Ledger Theatre stage.

WHEN: 28th November – 20th December 2020 | 2pm, 6:30pm & 7:30pm

WHERE: State Theatre Centre WA | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $36 – $93 | Duration 2hrs 30 mins | Age restriction 12+ | Adult themes | Seating is in the round on the Heath Ledger stage | Limited seating available due to COVID-19 restrictions

LINK: https://www.ptt.wa.gov.au/venues/state-theatre-centre-of-wa/whats-on/rodgers-hammersteins-oklahoma/

BSSTC
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Have you dreamed the dream? This could be your chance to get onstage!

Have you always wanted to be on stage? Are you a theatre-lover who wants to get out of your seat and get up on the stage itself? Well if you’re in WA this could be your chance!

Platinum Entertainment are giving lucky Western Australian actors and curious types the chance to be in their biggest productions to date. Auditions will be held for Les Miserables, The Boy From Oz and Priscilla Queen of the Desert in January 2021. If you want to try your hand at acting alongside some of WA’s hottest talent head to https://www.platinumperth.com/ for all of the details on audition dates.

Break a leg!