ARTICLES

Interview, on now

IN CONVERSATION: Elise Wilson & Marshall Stay | Floor Thirteen

Interview | Laura Money

Writer Elise Wilson and Director Marshall Stay chatted with The Fourth Wall regarding their new show, Floor Thirteen – a sensory explosion playing at The Blue Room Theatre. We talked about memory and how unreliable it can really be.

LM: How did the concept for Floor Thirteen come about?

EW: I suppose it started when we just became fascinated by memories and how memory is something that many of us treat as accurate. That’s not the case at all. We change our memories all the time, I mean our brains physically can’t remember every single thing. We like to think that we store things in a way that’s logical, except we don’t.

And then I guess we started writing it after we had talks between Marshall, Courtney and I and then we talked about what the possibilities are for doing a show like this. I gave Marshall two ideas and then he chose which plot we were going to do. From there we did a little devised performance and then just started writing it.

MS: Even before the writing happened, though, the show kind of had origins – like a specific style and movements, like a specific aesthetic. We sort of already knew what we wanted, so before the script I worked with Elise and with the cast doing a lot of movement training. So, just getting the cast to explore a movement style where we are physicalising dialogue. Words rather than music. We kind of explore – how does that manifest? There have been other shows around the world who have done that before so we wanted to draw inspiration from some of their ideas and performances and then making them our own and work with our bodies.

A lot of time was spent on that and then that kind of became that question of what world and what story best suits this aesthetic. Which lent itself to telling this story the best as well, because it was never just going to be a case of us just writing a random story-line we needed to find a story-line that lent itself to this aesthetic and utilises it properly. Otherwise it would have just fallen a little flat.

LM: I always think of memory and dreams as interlinked, so are the physical movements ethereal in parts?

MS: There are kind of a few little moments but I think we didn’t want to go with the show being all ethereal. There are definitely moments when we go back further into the memory – like back to really old memories – maybe they are a bit ethereal bit for the most part it’s fairly clear.

EW: Yeah, clear, sort of stylised, heightened gestures that we would make in everyday life but they’re extended beyond what we would normally look like.

MS: It’s all pretty fast. This show happens really rapidly. So, don’t expect anything too dreamlike!

LM: How many people are onstage at any given time?

EW: There are five performers. Our protagonist, Phoebe, she’s inside an elevator which is in the centre of the space and the audience is in the round – along the outside of the space. In between the elevator and the audience the other four performers are there, they’re not always onstage but they are performing the memories on the outside.

LM: You mentioned earlier that there are these gaps in our brains, so it’s very human to want to fill in these gaps through storytelling. How important is this concept of ‘performing’ memory?

EW: A word that we came across when we were researching memory was ‘confabulation’ – which is where someone produces misinterpreted, fabricated, or distorted memories but they don’t have an intention to deceive. We were quite fascinated with how people tell stories about their lives – and they are sometimes exaggerated but we sort of take their word for it, especially because it’s people actually talking about their memories, so it’s not likely to be a lie. It’s hard not to interject now, and ask – did it really happen like that?

MS: Ever since starting research into the show, I’ve even started questioning my own memories – like I really have to check myself and be like – is that how it happened? But also with other people, especially when someone puts on a voice (I feel like everyone does it!) like they’re trying to explain when someone said something and they put on this real dummy voice, and  think that’s one of the most obvious examples of conflation.

It’s obvious that’s not how it really happened, I actually am really skeptical now when people tell me stories! Like, when someone tells me about their day and they’re like – it was really busy, and all these people were really horrible – and I’m thinking – were they, though? We’re hoping that gets conveyed to the audience and that they will maybe start to call on themselves and maybe others.

LM: That’s fascinating, because we’ve got this running joke in my family that my sister always steals my memories! So, she claims to have had experiences that I actually had.

MS: And the interesting part is that she probably 100% believes that they happened to her, like it’s not a deception, she just genuinely believes that they’re her memories.

EW: We did quite a bit of research into memory error. There are these things called the Seven Sins of Memory, and one of them is ‘misattribution’ where you have the memory but you don’t necessarily attribute it to the right person.

MS: Even just talking to you now, I just this revelation that we’re really only just scratching the surface of this topic in this show. It would be really interesting to do a really big investigation into it.

LM: It’s a very strongly stylised piece, where did the aesthetic come from? The elevator, and the seating in the round?

MS: The aesthetic for the play is one I’ve been playing around with for a couple of years now, and I’ve done a couple of pieces that have a similar aesthetic, but they’ve all been short pieces. So, this is the first time I’ve been able to do this sort of performance as a full length show. I’ve just been counting the amount of cues we have for this show and I think we’re up to 1020! I mean we’re not hitting every single one of those, a lot of them are really close together, but it’s still a lot for a 55 minute show.

I’m not really sure where the aesthetic came from – I think I really enjoy shows with a kind of dark, bold, look so it could just be me trying to get all of that in and explore my own take on that. The actual idea for the elevator was quite funny, I did a short piece about being stuck in a elevator a couple of years ago – solo. When we were trying to figure out what to do for this, Elise was like – I know you’ve done this before, but how about setting it in an elevator? But I think, in the round it just felt like the right vehicle for show like this.

I think people will be a bit shocked – I mean it’s definitely not a show you can just sit back and relax in, your eyes will have to look hard to see through the elevator, and there’s a distortion but I think for us, it’s all part of it. We don’t want the show to necessarily be easy watching.

EW: Yeah, because it means just like power, memory is subjective and as much as people watch one event and get totally different memories of it, we’ve sort of done a similar thing in the show where you will get a different experience depending on where you sit. Some people might get a moment in the show which happens quite close to where they’re sitting, so they can see every detail but then that element in the next memory where they remember the same thing but it changes that time – it might go somewhere else – and it is slightly different to how it was before. It’s a unique experience!

LM: Would you recommend people going more than once?

EW: I think that I would be interested – if I was an audience member, I think if I was curious enough I would go a second time.

MS: I think it would be better. The show is almost like a Christopher Nolan piece. He does a great job of making films where he draws on abstract concepts but adds in a few rules. He does that with Momento – like exploring memories, Inception explores dreams, so you get a different experience when you watch it again, now knowing what I know. All of his movies unravel and more and more is explained.

I’m interested to see whether the audience get to the end of the show and are like – oh yeah, I totally understand all that – or if they’ll get to the end and be like – oh so that meant that this happened, ok, maybe I want to see it again to put it all together.

LM: So, what are your earliest memories?

MS: Oh, I have one! I don’t know if it’s my earliest memory but I think that a lot of the time memories can become abstracted – like they manifest in a smell or a feeling. Like, every time I smell microwaved, tinned spaghetti it just makes me feel like preschool.

But, when I was four years old, I grew up in Brisbane and we went and stayed at a place on holiday and my Mum and Dad’s bed was upstairs on a mezzanine level. Anyway, for some reason, my sister and I were jumping on the bed and then I remember jumping back and forth between the balustrade and the bed. And then, I don’t know if we really did that but in my head I’m thinking – why would I do that, it’s ridiculous! Yeah, and then I fell of – I flipped over the balustrade and I landed head-first onto the glass coffee table on the floor below. And I’m just freaking out and crying and we called an ambulance.

Now I can remember two things distinctly about this – first of all I remember when I was falling. Being four years old, I didn’t realise the gravity of the situation and remember thinking – cool I’m flying. Secondly, I remember I broke my arm, because that exact memory is burned into my brain. And I swear I cracked my head open, I remember Mum making a fuss and going to Emergency and for years I was telling people that whenever the story came up. Anyway, I spoke to my Mum about it recently and she was like – oh no, you were surprisingly fine. There was no real damage to your body – you just kind of bounced back. I was like, what? I swear I cracked my head open!

EW: Well it’s probably your brain logically filling in the gaps. Like if someone falls over a balustrade headfirst, their first thought is that their head would be cracked open.

MS: It’s just such a distinct image because I really actually thought that’s what happened.

EW: My first memory is around a similar age, like four. I just remember being in my front garden and I had Polly Pockets and I lost one. So, my first memory is me scouring the grass out the front of my house trying to find my Polly Pocket! And I never found it. I think we were moving house as well, so it was like – if I don’t find it now, it’s gone forever!

LM: It’s so interesting how our brains take the necessary information and prune away the rest. That must be how you learn lines!

MS: Just, on lines, shout out to Kylie (Bywaters) – this show is essentially a monologue from Kylie – she has a tremendous amount of lines to learn and they’re really specific lines. The cast is learning the choreography specifically off of those lines so if she screws up a line it screws up the choreography.

EW: And it’s not even to do with lines, it’s all to do with phrasing – like we’ll swap the phrasing of one scene on her. It can really stuff up the choreography if it’s wrong!

LM: Ok, apart from confusion, what do you think people are going to get out of the show?

EW: It’s loud, it’s fast – there are so many flashing lights, I think in terms of an experience it’s going to be like a thrill ride.

MS: Just for me, personally, I’m coming from the perspective that I’m totally ready to do a show that is not this loud! Like I think I’ve scratched the itch now, I’m happy to have done it but now I’ll try something else. But I don’t see a lot of theatre that is loud and bold and knocks you around a little bit. It’s going to be interesting to see how people respond to it. In Perth, especially most things are pretty pedestrian.

EW: This is the opposite!

MS: I also hope the show can really bring awareness to the audience, in terms of memory and they can go on their own little journey just like we have. They’ll actually start thinking about memory, thinking about lies, and questioning other people’s memories a bit. I’d like them to leave a little skeptical.

WHEN: 25 June – 13 July 2019 | 7:00pm & 8:30pm

WHERE: The Blue Room Theatre | Perth Cultural Centre | Northbridge | PERTH

INFO: Tickets $20 – $30 | Duration 60m | Suitable 15+ | Warnings: Coarse Language, Smoke Machine/Hazer, Strobe Lighting

LINK: https://blueroom.org.au/events/floor-thirteen/

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
on now, Review

REVIEW: Friday Night Magic

Review | Laura Money

There’s something magical about dodging raindrops and lights glistening through smears of cloud and fog. Perhaps it’s the sheer British nature of winter but there’s nothing better than spending a cold winter’s evening at the pub. Except, perhaps a night of magic! Friday Night Magic is Perth’s only weekly magic show, hosted by the affable Matt Penny (Find The Lady) it features tricks, jokes, and good times.

Lazy Susan’s is no stranger to comedy – hosting improv, stand-up, and sketch throughout the years, but never before have they ventured into magic. The venue lends itself perfectly to magic – there’s a solid brick wall, trick door, and you can take your drinks in! Each week will feature a different line-up so keep your eyes peeled. Host, Penny is hilarious! His ‘Dad jokes’are terrible – they are so clever though, you won’t be able to resist laughing out loud. Penny is a phenomenal talent – his casual banter and laid back approach cause the tricks to sneak up on you but when they do, they are guaranteed to impress.

It’s difficult to review magic as A) you don’t know how the tricks are done, and B) you don’t want to give anything away, but suffice it to say that Penny is a jack of all trades. He will mesmerise you, complete card tricks with flare, read your mind, defy physics, and he plays a mean piano – Matt Penny is the full package. As each night will feature different performers, I can’t review all of them – I’m certainly no mind-reader! – but the opening night featured the wonderfully entertaining Michel Fouche whose modern take on the old ball under the cup trick was truly hilarious and impressive. Even the young assistant managed to show us a very clever trick.

So, keep your Friday nights magic with Friday Night Magic! It’s a great night out and will keep you scratching your head in amazement long after the evening is over.

WHEN: Friday nights | July – September | 8:00pm

WHERE: Lazy Susan’s Comedy Den | The Brisbane Hotel | Hightgate | PERTH

INFO: Tickets $15 | Duration 2hrs | Suitable 15+ (licensed venue) | Warnings: Dad jokes

LINK: https://www.mattpenny.com/friday-night-magic?fbclid=IwAR0LAnQddpiUOubzgz5HOfs01ZBLxZjfflSDZM__qmE96pQTf8Zc_H1t4_4

 

on now, Review

REVIEW: Floor Thirteen

Review | Laura Money

All killer no filler, this high-octane hour of physical theatre will keep you on the edge of your seat and questioning all of your memories. Floor Thirteen straps you into a rollercoaster and hurtles you along memory lane – this isn’t some dream-like meander – it’s intense revision, where every single word and movement that you’ve ever taken is questioned – and potentially fallible. How much do you trust your own memories?

Phoebe (Kylie Bywaters) is trapped in a lift. She stands, stressed out, pacing and drinking champagne from the bottle in a stylised plastic booth in the middle of the room. Here, memories are blurred as she begins to descend down the rabbit hole of the mind and how she ended up here – stuck in a lift. Elise Wilson‘s script is an intelligent descent into unknown territory. Her dialogue begins straightforward enough as Phoebe recounts her movements but blur and shift as though they are slipping from her grasp. Bywaters’ delivery is great – she attacks the language with confidence but also trails off with confidence. It resonates as she is expressing supplanted memories – we’ve all been there – so sure you remembered something, but the more you think about it, the less tangible your grasp on reality remains.

Floor Thirteen delivers a blow to the head like no other – the ensemble, clad in white t-shirts, jerk and move in the physical manifestation of Phoebe’s memories (and their failures.) Tamara Creasey, Courtney Henri, Christopoher Moro and Jordan Valentin execute Director Marshall Stay‘s vision perfectly. Their exaggerated movements and heightened facial expressions create a surreal quality that is rendered even stranger as the memories begin to break and uncertainty washes over them. Here, they twitch and freeze, like avatars in a video game while the player has put down the controller. Stay’s surreal aesthetic – lit up lift in the middle of the stage, slight strobing, and a futuristic, yet warm lighting design – coupled with a muted soundscape of voices and a sinister throbbing make for a sense of unease. There is tension, there is mystery, and there are questions.

Take a trip to Floor Thirteen – it’s an experience you won’t forget.

WHEN: 25 June – 13 July 2019 | 7:00pm & 8:30pm

WHERE: The Blue Room Theatre | Perth Cultural Centre | Northbridge | PERTH

INFO: Tickets $20 – $30 | Duration 60m | Suitable 15+ | Warnings: Coarse Language, Smoke Machine/Hazer, Strobe Lighting

LINK: https://blueroom.org.au/events/floor-thirteen/

 

 

on now, Review

REVIEW: See You Next Tuesday

Review | Laura Money

It’s Tuesday night. Your Mum is out working a night shift. Your little brother is asleep. You are out in the park having sex with a stranger – just a typical night out.

See You Next Tuesday places you squarely in the mind of seventeen year-old Evie and the conflicting voices inside her head. Played by three performers – Ramiah Alcantara, Caitlin McFeat and Tess Metcalf – each embodies a different personality trait that butt against each other but also work in harmony to narrate the vignette of Evie’s life. The dialogue interlocks and overlaps in an energetic cacophony of sound that’s snappy and punchy and will keep you entertained throughout.

Writer, Sam Nerida takes a month of Tuesday nights and recounts them from the perspective of Evie’s head – her thoughts and desires, fears and anxieties, excitement and thrills are all given a different voice which can be adrenaline-filled at times and sad at others. Over the course of several weeks, Evie pours her heart out – she explores her independence, her sexuality, she makes mistakes, and is assertive in other moments. In short – she is a typical teenage girl. The point of difference between this and any other ‘coming of age’ tale is that we never see the ‘real’ Evie – she is played by three different people who make up the sum of her parts. Alexa Taylor‘s direction is inspired. She takes the overlapping script and injects energy. The set is simple, yet a feeling of dynamism is fuelled by constant rhythmic movement, the energetic pacing of a teenager, changing clothes and a great sense of dance and movement coupled with some heady tunes.

As each of the performers embody a different part, the most prominent thought pattern wins out and that performer takes ‘centre stage’ so to speak. The language is so real. Evie is confident in many things – speaking to strangers in the park, having sex her way – and yet unsure in so many ways. When she second guesses herself there is a palpable feeling of insecurity and confidence that dramatically places one back in their teenage years. There is a slight supernatural theme running throughout that acts as a metaphor for tangibility and identity and some beautiful language and – at times – visceral moments that enhance the feeling of immediacy already achieved by the performers compelling stage presence.

See You Next Tuesday is a funny, clever, and relevant play of our times. It’s open and giving, yet pulls absolutely no punches. There are tender moments and awkward moments, feminist moments and silly moments, but above all there are real moments. Watching this play will tap into the feelings you had as a teenager – whether that was last year, last decade, or last century – it will cause you to crash headfirst into the confusing and conflicting thoughts in your head. So, see you at the Blue Room Theatre for one of the best shows they’ve had this year.

WHEN: 18 June – 6 July 2019 | 7pm & 8:30pm

WHERE: The Blue Room Theatre | Northbridge | PERTH

INFO: Tickets $20 – $30 | Duration 70 mins | Warnings: Coarse Language, Adult Concepts | Recommended 15+

LINK: https://blueroom.org.au/events/see-you-next-tuesday/

 

 

 

 

 

on now, Review

REVIEW: NEXT

Review | Kieran Eaton

How often do people in power like to keep things simple – with binary, structured rules that don’t allow people to grow? Next is a three-story assortment of NEXT Productions that challenge this! Led by Scott McCardle – a producer who brings a variety of Murdoch university students/alumni, who possess a vibrant rebellious nature in creating creative theatre. Evil (and what it is), is the main exploration point in this fine collaborative creative piece.

All three productions bring as much light as possible for this dark subject, and this is hard as important moral, philosophical and political point are eagerly pushed. Scenic designer, Sam Knox creates brilliant, high impact sets that foster constant curiosity throughout – with an initial image portraying the simplicity of a podcast room towering over a minimalist performance area, creating a feeling of an old-school radio tale. However, the first part of the production, called The Room Downstairs is more than this because it adds the modern opinion pieces from two wannabes. Here it would have been interesting seeing more of a debate between them, as forced conflict is often what I think of with the media nowadays.

Still, what sets The Room Downstairs for success is how the music and sound is – thoughtfully styled by composers Isaac Diamond and Aiden Willoughby – with a strong eerie vibe from start to end that embraces similar creepiness of a horror film! There are strong psychological explorations from the cast with the protagonist leading this. By the end, you truly get a sincere emotional connection with the direction of this story.

After a small break your eyes are mesmerised by the extremely detailed set of Chicken Rock. Set in the Isle of Mann in 1960 – this is a beautiful creation originally developed by Barking Geko Theatre Company and AYTP but with powerful acting by a cast of only three, it truly emphasises the ethos of quality over quantity with dialogue. The tension between the lighthouse keeper (who prefers being called a wicker) and his guest is wonderful – with a feeling of unresolved mystery held by all. A special mention to Laughton McKenzie who gives a wonderful intensity to the misanthropic wicker.  Insightful use of lighting brings you into a dark, isolated lighthouse that has multiple levels, cleverly created – with an ending that makes you wonder.

Then finally, we have our next showcase of what it means to be young person of this day an age, Hail Satan. The Millennial Generation is often described by Baby Boomers as Peter Pan narcissists, and yet their ideals have been created with the technology of their predecessors – Bill Gates and Steve Jobs being their equivalent to Adam and Eve. This more secular, fast paced world is more emotionally vulnerable to the young who need to compete with an increasingly fragile world. No wonder when tragedy strikes this young bunch of twenty-somethings yearn for an idealistic world where New Age is fused with nostalgia – Hail Satan takes you on a rollerblading type of rollercoaster journey that give you heart that the future leaders of the world have a deep grip of how this world has been shaped. This well written script delivers this message with masterful passion.

In all, Next gives us much hope that the arts are still an inspiring force for next generations to come!

WHEN: 20 – 22 June 2019 | 7:00pm

WHERE: Studio 411 | Murdoch University (Carpark 4)

INFO: Tickets $5 – $15 | Duration 2 hrs

LINK: https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=497123&fbclid=IwAR13Iepr0zoecdC2o0fB_JOl-WayDz7nEKqKPhdaaez1NFH9g4m2Ofmnxgo

 

 

on now, Review

REVIEW: The Communists Are In the Funhouse

Review | Laura Money

A lot of literature has been devoted to the human body and its many ailments and inner workings, yet there is a surprising lack of theatrical explorations of menstruation – until now. In a post #metoo era,’ period pieces’ have become de rigueur and exposing the truth about periods, destigmatising them and the pain associated is particularly timely. Tackling this topic head on is Tempest Theatre, a feminist theatre company that makes theatre for women, by women, and about women. The Communists Are In The Funhouse – a euphemism for menstruation – takes a topic made taboo by the patriarchal society we all suffer in and brings it to the fore. It boldly highlights the contradictions and hipocrasy surrounding periods, allows women to tell their stories freely, and shines a light on the dangers of a lack of medical education.

As comedic as this topic can be (let’s be honest, any show about bodily functions is going to have a few hilarious moments!) the ensemble cast provide a more subtle approach to humour and some beautifully poignant moments, beginning with a stunning piece of interpretive dance by Maxine Singh set to Samuel Barber’s hauntingly beautiful ‘Adagio For Strings.’ It takes the beauty of the moment – that transition from girl to woman but has an underlining uneasiness, we all know what happens when girls become sexualised. The devised work is part video presentation, part monologues, part stories, part history lesson, part silliness, and all important. Personally, I think too much is going on – it would have been nice to pare it back and pick one focus but conversely that confusion of everything assaulting your senses sits firmly within women’s lived experiences of menstruation.

Tempest Theatre are keenly aware that the voices in The Communists Are In The Funhouse do not encompass every femme-identifying person and this is one of their greatest strengths – the show comes from the performer’s hearts. The strongest voices in art are those of the artists’ and this is well demonstrated as each ensemble member has a moment. Angela Mahlatje brings an embarrassing story about staining a white couch with her colloquial style that sounds like a girlfriend about to spill the tea. Sankari Sivaramlingam tells the heartfelt story of religious attitudes towards women’s bodies, and Nefeli Perdekouli discusses the callous nature of medical professionals and privacy. Keeping all of this held together is Dawn Farnham an mc-cum-ringmaster-cum-narrator, dropping in with horrible historical facts regarding women’s bodies and hysteria.

Possibly the strongest voices come from Amy Welsh who, despite her stand-up comedy routine deriving mostly from BuzzFeed style listicles, provides an insight into how stupidly we trivialise a damn serious medical condition that effects half of our population. The other voice who is a delight to watch is that of Sabrina Seconi – her story of getting her first period and having to awkwardly tell every single family member is bittersweet. It will literally take every single woman crashing back to the awkwardness felt and the thrill of aging only felt for a very small amount of time – way before we all want to halt the aging process.

The Communists Are In The Funhouse is a well-constructed devised work that explores a delicate subject in a beautiful and intimate way. The ensemble open up and are very giving with their performances, and add new voices that are shining a spotlight on women’s experiences. Not only does it achieve all of this, it might make the women in the crowd realise that their pain is legitimate. That their experiences are shared and the men in the audience to also realise the pain that women undergo is legitimate – and that’s a very commendable message to communicate.

 

WHEN: 4 – 8 June 2019 | 7:30pm

WHERE: Subiaco Arts Centre | Subiaco

INFO: Tickets $25 – $36 | Duration 75 mins | Recommended 15+ | Coarse language, nudity, haze effects, loud noises, flashing lights, explicit medical imagery, adult themes

LINK: https://www.ptt.wa.gov.au/venues/subiaco-arts-centre/whats-on/the-communists-are-in-the-funhouse/

 

 

on now, Review

REVIEW: Unrule

Review | Kieran Eaton

It is understandable to have an aversion to blood but menstrual blood is confusing because it is needed for healthy reproduction. Is it maybe the ignorance and lack of care for those experiencing it that creates a fear of having to deal with it? This ignorance has hardly changed over the years and especially as a man I can attest to living in fearful ignorance! Are we all a bit confused? How do we deal with something that should be taken more seriously? Hey! Precious tackle this taboo subject with a combination of humour and realness.  It’s directed by a deep thinker in Michelle Aitken who is a natural at creating pieces of work that make you want to know more.

Menstruation is the main issue dealt with in this surreal theatrical piece but Unrule also deals in general how women’s bodily issues are made out to be imagined. This is not an easy message to push – especially to those who have it easy, thus the imagery needs to be graphic to almost absurd levels! As the show goes on, you can hear more and more heart, including a personal tale from the director told by a performer. It is a crazy journey you go on, watching this production and still there is enough focus to give it some good punch.

Every line in this show is thoughtfully used with the best one of, “Just take a Panadol” repeated throughout that emphasises how we can laugh at how stupid that statement is. There are many metaphors that not all may get (including myself) – however this highlights the lack of honesty and empathy in the world of menstruation. The dark, and slightly creepy set created in the Blue Room Theatre sets the tone subtly of how society has judged women to be witches, if their body does not function how ‘men’ expect it to be. With lack of help from others we often get the wrong answers, so even Google cannot help you! The only issue the Googled information about medical concerns is that from the back you had to take the word that what was being said was there as the projection could have been bigger. This is only minor as all the performers deliver vocally with true credibility – even while weird hair monsters are parading around!

Each actor creates a feel not just telling their story but showing in a manner that is sincere and yet humorous. Nothing is predictable in what you see and so be prepared to be open minded. From comical wig use to a scene in the bath, this production is still clever in not overusing props. The performers, Chelsea Gibson, Mani Mae Gomes, Alicia Osyka, and Rhiannon Petersen were all part of the devising and you could clearly see this as their personalities shine through.

In the end you get the picture that Unrule breaks all the rules, in typical Aitken style that makes you share your knowledge or lack of knowledge about the perceived scary menstrual blood – with an amazing combination of style and delivery of a hugely important topic!

WHEN: 28 May – 15 June 2019 | 7:00pm

WHERE: The Blue Room Theatre | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $20 – $30 | Duration 75 mins | Relaxed Performance Tuesday 11 June | Warnings: Adult Concepts, Nudity, Strobe Lighting

LINK: https://blueroom.org.au/events/unrule/

Article, Interview

IN CONVERSATION: Gala Shevtsov and Ryan Marano of Unbound

Interview | Laura Money

Desiring, manipulative, dedicated or mad. – these are Shakespeare’s women.

Unbound subverts the oppressed role of women in Shakespeare’s plays, refocusing their stories as powerful and valuable narratives for today. We are exploring some of theatre’s greatest and most complicated female characters, placing them under the microscope of a post #metoo world. This is a theatrical exploration of the mystery, mythology and misogyny in the works of William Shakespeare.

We caught up with Gala Shevtsov and Ryan Murano – two of the six artists involved in this wonderful project to talk about Shakespeare and crowdfunding.

Murano wanted to do a show about Shakespeare. “I just have this love for him. His language, his characters, the universality of it, that sort of thing. I had this idea to do a Commedia del Arte styled improv so then I got in touch with everyone I knew was interested in Shakespeare and we all got together to work on it.”

The group’s creative process was a lot of physical theatre and dance and improv but they also did play readings and were looking at scenes from Hamlet – Ophelia.

“We read scenes and do the scenes and then have a discussion and that’s when the penny dropped that ‘Ophelia has a really toxic relationship with Hamlet.’ And that’s when it just exploded and became a massive snowball.”

Shevtsov “we were looking at all these famous speeches and scenes and iconic characters and we all went ‘all of this is the guy’s stuff. All of this is the male language, the male perspective, the male story.’ So we started looking for moments of female empowerment and moments where their voices are heroed and forefronted and didn’t find a huge amount.”

Let’s be clear here: Shakespeare wrote amazing characters – he wrote amazing roles for women and gave them amazing journeys but they’re just not given the time – they’re given 17% of the text. Only 16% of Shakespeare’s characters are female. Blank Space Productions wanted to do something with Shakespeare as it’s such a huge part of our cultural history. As artists and theatre makers, the crew love and respect the works – Shevtsov says “the language is just so beautiful and the stories he tells as well are just so profoundly human and the fact that they’ve lasted so long – and we wanted to do something with that but also explore why is it relevant now? Why are we still telling these stories written by a male talking about men.”

The project takes famous moments that feature women in Shakespeare and reinterprets them. For instance – Hero and Beatrice become boxing opponents in Much Ado About Nothing, Volumnia’s incredible speech in Corialanus is brought to the fore and they strip back the genius of Rosalind in As You Like It.

So, how can you help? Blank Space Productions have an eight week artists’ residency at Midland Junction Arts Centre from mid June – August. They regularly host artists throughout the year and are really trying to bring the community back to that space. They have been so supportive and the crew would love to pay them back for that. It’s a target of $6000 as part of a crowdfunding scheme. They were lucky enough to get match-funding through Creative Partnerships Australia – meaning that every dollar you donate is matched and therefore doubled.

As Shevtsov says: “We’re all working artists so the more time we can spend in the space the better the end work and if we can pay our artists, that would be great. This is a labour of love so it would be nice to be paid to have the time and effort to put in.”

Marano agrees: “It’s been very liberating to do this crowdfunding campaign. It’s great to seek financial independence – we’re lucky that all donations are tax deductable so we can ask businesses and people who will get it back.”

So don’t delay and DONATE NOW! https://australianculturalfund.org.au/projects/blank-space-unbound/

 

 

Interview, on now

IN CONVERSATION: Susie Conte on The Communists Are In The Funhouse

Interview | Laura Money

Superwoman Susie Conte, Artisctic Director of feminist theatre group Tempest is bringing a newly devised work to Subiaco Arts Centre this June. We caught up to find out all about The Communists Are In The Funhouse and talked feminism, periods, and championing women in theatre.

Laura Money (LM): Tempest is really groundbreaking in that it’s an all female collective. Have you ever considered letting men into your ‘inner sanctum?’

Susie Conte (SC):  A friend of mine was like ‘I’ve got this really great guy’ and I was like, ‘oh, I’m actually interested in finding people outside of the establishment.’ Giving someone mentorship is important to me, so if I can give the opportunity to someone who needs it, I really love that idea. And my friend was like ‘you won’t have a man?’ And it’s not that I won’t have a man, I would prefer a woman because they have less opportunities. Also, why not?

LM: People will argue that you’re doing what the patriarchy is doing to women to disadvantage men. They can’t understand that equality isn’t about making others miss out.

SC: Equality is parity. It’s the idea that women get as many opportunities to get as experienced as possible. There are a lot of young female stage managers at WAAPA and I always poach them because they’ll do well – but I just like working with women. This show and the last they were politically inclined and they had a sense of embodiment that helps when there are only women in the room. We’re talking about periods and we’re talking about pain and embarrassing stories. We will naturally censor ourselves in front of a man – or apologise. So in the development stage it’s important to be able to speak easily and freely. It’s a sense of female equality in the room.

LM: It’s like when you go from being a young girl to a teenager and you’re an adult and suddenly women start talking to each other about sex. It’s so necessary a conversation for women to have with each other.

SC: Absolutely, you need to know that you’ve had the same experience as someone else, you feel less alone. We have some things that are so specific to our sex. In the show, we’ll be discussing that gender is important. That not all women have periods. But there are men who do have periods – which is why I took a review I received once about intersectionality and went with it. We have older women in this cast. I’ve reached out to actresses who haven’t really been onstage before, to women of colour – I’ve really tried – it hasn’t all worked out which is a bit disappointing but I know that at least I did it. It’s coming together really well.

I’m writing my Phd on feminist theatre practices.  It’s been really interesting – what does my rehearsal room look like. I want it to be a place of absolute collaboration. A girl that I’m working with, Thalie – she was in BPA at WAAPA and worked with my on Lysistrata and she kept saying to me ‘sorry if I’m jumping in’ and I was like, you don’t understand, I’m not that kind of director, I’ve cast people based on their incredible abilities and their input. And I know that I don’t always have the best ideas and sometimes it’s a lot of information and I just have to think about it. I want people to feel that the show we’re putting on and embodying is theirs.

LM: Do you feel that you even have to break down the hierarchical structure that is based in patriarchy  and business structures?

SC: Definitely and when I worked in professional theater you need that structure because everyone has someone to answer to, but in a rehearsal room if my stage manager has an opinion, I want to hear it. Stage managers often know more about theatre than actors do. Most SM’s I know could be directors. I’ve written the script but a lot of the devising isn’t me. I’m putting it together so I’m not going to say it’s not written by me. It matters that it’s all of ours. It’s about empowering women’s voices. One of the women in the work is the mother of a friend of mine. When I was doing Lady Beaufort I went into her café and put some fliers in. I got talking and she said ‘my mum is an actress and puppeteer from Italy and since we’ve emigrated here, she’s lost. She is worried she has a thick accent. So I called her and asked her to join me and she asked ‘what can I add to your show?’ I answered: everything. I gave her this big solo piece because she’s so beautiful in her body and soul, she’s in her 50s and has 35 years experience. She comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience.

LM: I notice when older women are put into particular roles – comedic, grannies, witches etc – once you see it, you can’t unsee it.

SC: It’s a radar thing – and my radar is finely tuned to a certain element now! I’m actually not interested in male stories anymore. I’ve seen too many. And you know, there’s lots of shows about periods, it’s become the new thing and it can be gross and in your face which I think is phenomenal, because it shouldn’t be taboo and stigmatized but I’ve come to it form a different angle. I’m really interested in the pain element. The shame and the pain. Why are we congratulated on our first period and then immediately told to shut up?

LM: We all have that ‘first period’ story. I know people who are instantly seen as complicit in men’s feelings towards them.

SC: You’re sexualised straight away. I remember being like I can get pregnant now – I was 11. I have that in the show, I’m only 11. It’s young.

LM: You have two boys – are you a reactionary parent or do you lay the foundations down first? What do you do if one of your sons is watching pornography that degrades women. You’ve obviously said not to do it.

SC: No I haven’t actually, I have never said – my husband and I have always said we’ll never remove or restrict, we’ll always educate. So, we knew that they would watch porn one day and that it would be inadvertent through friends. So we said you will watch it, there’s nothing wrong with it but some can be a bit problematic. We check in with them all the time – what are you watching? Anything that’s scares you or raises questions? They know what I do in the theatre, so they know it’s all fake.

I used to fast forward the sex scenes in movies but not the violence but I stopped doing that. They need to see consensual sex enacted in movies. They’re going to make their own mistakes, they’re going to have to learn and if I tell them not to do it, they won’t talk to me about it. My son went to a party recently and told me there was going to be alcohol there. He said he wasn’t sure if he wanted to try it, and I said if you do just tell us and if you feel sick afterwards that’s on you. At least that way he talks to me about it.

I’ve never been one to shame either – because if we shame them for what they like then they grow up and they project it onto women. We watch movies and I always call out – Why is she in a bra? And I don’t say anything else. And now they go, she didn’t have a point in that movie. So it’s little things.

LM: I’ve always been the one to call out stuff like that in ads.

SC: Conversely, I call out the other stuff – there’s not enough paid paternity leave, baby changing facilities in male toilets. The kids aren’t the problem, they’re the solution.

I don’t like the word bitch – it implies that you’re hysterical.

LM: Bitch is so gendered.

SC: Pussy and bitch are used against men when they’re being weak. To men who are not being manly. It’s so intertwined with so much. I feel more political – since Donald Trump got in in 2016.

LM: I feel like there are political turning points for women – Julia Gillard was it for me.

SC: Women’s issues are my main motivation. In the USA Trump is putting all these restrictions on the pill and women are pointing out that we don’t just take the pill for sex – it’s about hormones and other things.

LM: But why can’t we take it for sex?

SC: Well, exactly. It’s really important to fight for things that you don’t necessarily follow yourself.

LM: How did this show develop? Were you just sitting around one day thinking – not enough people talk about periods, or talk about them in the way I wasn’t to?

SC: I have always had really messed up plumbing. I’ve had polycystic ovaries, I’ve had miscarriages, I got diagnosed with endo a few years ago after extreme pain. I kind of went, huh. I’d heard the word endometriosis and I think I’m pretty well-informed but I didn’t know anything about it. One in ten women suffer from it. It’s underfunded – Viagra is very well funded. Then I saw the link to hysteria and that’s something about getting older is it’s an awakening – you go, actually this is bullshit! Why is it we can’t say I’m in so much pain without being weak, or asked are you on your period, are you pregnant? We’re tied to our uterus. So, I wanted to write a show about hysteria – the women’s disease and how pain is in your head and makes you unstable. Hilary Clinton couldn’t be President, she might hit the nuclear button when she’s on her period.

So we either have to please, consistently which makes us ill, or we have to stand up for ourselves which makes us in danger.

LM: I hate how women aren’t allowed to be angry.

SC: Without it being tied to your uterus – how dare you be angry. The way my brain works, I wondered how many women have been misdiagnosed because it’s just a bad period. Or it’s normal. It’s always this thing like it’s because of the age you are or whatever. It’s never oh, you have pain – I see it. And if you go back into the history, women have been burnt at the stake for being witches which was tied to the womb, Ancient Egyptians used to fumigate people, they were hung upside down, leeches and blood letting all because of their wombs. Then there are the don’t’s: don’t bake bread because it won’t rise, don’t make mayonnaise because it will curdle, don’t exercise, don’t not exercise – and some of them are dangerous and others ridiculous.

There’s a lot of movement in it. It’s drawing the line over a physiological thing that we have no control over. We just need to take control back and this is my little snapshot of – I have pain but everyone just goes it’s normal, you should have pain on your period…Historically, we haven’t known how to deal with endometriosis – Queen Victoria had it, that’s why she was told to keep getting pregnant. Marie Antoinette supposedly had it and they called her a nymphomaniac because she went to the doctor a lot for ‘female symptoms.’

LM: I’m not sure if my level of pain is normal or not – I need to speak to other women about it. Or at least hear from them.

SC: Pain thresholds, hormones and other physiological differences are important. Just because one woman has a higher pain threshold it doesn’t negate the woman who is on the floor.

So, come on down to Subiaco Arts Centre from 4 – 8 June 2019 and let’s talk openly about periods and pain. Tickets HERE.

 

on now, Review

REVIEW: The Line

Review | Amanda Lancaster

Cuts leave scars, scars leave tracks, tracks can be followed.

Shadow Lines; Stephen Kinnane

Kinnane writes of the lines and boundaries created and imposed upon society, how the definitions of these niche areas in physicality and social structure can be of such an inflexible and narrowly definitive nature around us that they in turn create echos and ripples within us which is what Kinnane calls shadow lines.

Shadow lines are the places within our own minds that hold certain beliefs and make up our own sense of self and belonging or alienation. These are the area’s of negotiation, cognitive understanding and connectivity the lines we draw, cross, follow or erase throughout our history stories and lives.

Co3 has taken on the bold and heady task of putting some of Kinnane’s philosophical ideologies about lines and boundaries, how they are created, changed and altered not just in a sense of the physical or geographical but also our very base thought function an interactive systems as human beings.

The Line tells of the often forgotten, unspoken and unfortunate period in WA’s historical background that saw a geographical segregation line on a map cause a traumatic long standing shadow line of oppression drawn between colonising parties of the time and the Nyungar people of Perth.

Created by Co3 founding director and one of the foremost professionals in the field of dance to date Raewyn Hill and associate artist and co-director the Award winning Mark Howett it’s not hard to see why The Line is getting rave reviews from audiences.

Featuring an almost skeleton cast for such a huge topic the show features just a trio of – as always – exquisitely talented dancers. Nyungar dancer and guest artist Ian Wilkes, CO3 founding dancer and guest artist Andrew Searle and last but not least Co3 founding dancer and artist Katherine Gurr. Alongside and also interspersed quite literally at times during the shows performance The Line also stars the renowned musical artists classical-accordionist James Crabb and composer/musical director Eden Mulholland.

The performance is a dense textured layering of haunting melancholy and sadness which is at times quite palpable to the point of bringing audience members to literal tears. This serious vibe and often unrelenting mood of tension is beautifully handled. The music, lighting, movement and everything that has bought the audience so powerfully up to a single moment of what feels like almost breaking point is then cleverly broken up at repetitive intervals with an almost black humoured slapstick violence and humour akin to that of a vaudevillian shows aesthetic and then just as suddenly bought to a halting stop.

Cue the slow motion, silent, screaming, nightmarish, captured realism of violence and trauma played out with such aesthetic beauty and grace of movement that one might be forgiven the momentary lapse that this is all stemming from our actual historical and cultural make up.

The use of minimalist setting design is both beautiful in look and almost eerie in feel, a hand full of unadorned chain link swing sets hang and sway gently seemingly by themselves from the rafters, condensed lighting barely shines down in narrow pyramids and lines. The choices one assume are made to further heighten the segregated elements between light and dark and does so with subtle elegance.

Contemporary dance for some may be hard to understand to define what is happening within the narrative flow, however Co3 have once again taken an often hard to swallow topic and laid it out for the world to see.

It is important I think to mention that Co3 have beautifully taken the philosophical inspiration of Kinnane’s work, the delicate subject matter of our Australian history and amalgamated the elements of this show, not to show u something concrete, not to tell you what to think or feel and not to define this moment in our cultural background with their own line of understanding but to ask the audience to perhaps consider where they draw their own lines from now on.

Whatever you do, do not miss this thought provoking heart aching performance.

WHEN: 16th – 19th May 2019 | 7:30pm & 4:00pm

WHERE:  Heath Ledger Theatre | State Theatre Centre of WA

INFO: Tickets $55 | Duration 60 mins | DANCE

LINK: https://co3.org.au/program/the-line-2019/

on now, Review

REVIEW: Cracked

Review | Amanda Lancaster

Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company is company closely involved in the representation and development of artists and the performing arts alike with a close focus on indigenous storytelling, cultural representations and opportunities for up and coming performers. They work hand in hand with some of the best seasoned playwrights and scripted works, which means that this company continues to offer some of the most powerful viewing you are likely to have the privilege of ever experiencing. It is with little to no wonder that the company’s latest offering Cracked is getting rave reviews.

Cracked is a self professed 90 minutes of complexity. It’s filled with the aptly all too realistic plight of not only the judicial system’s successes and failures but also that of our mental health and substance abuse systems, whilst being bitterly disenfranchised, utterly heart wrenching and humourless at the same time. Follow along with Frankie and the small intimate cast as they so beautifully and tacitly demonstrate the non stop pitfalls of basically being human.

Written by Barbara Hostalek  – coming off her first play Banned which sold out two seasons at the Blue Room Theatre – and starring Bobbi Henry, Bruce Denny, Holly Jones, Luke Hewitt, Matthew Cooper and Rayma Morrison, it is impossible to say too much about the details of the performance itself without giving any of its very important powerfully layered build up and narrative flow so forgive my unwillingness to disclose more in depth for fear of it being too much, however I will say that the minimal and malleable sets work exquisitely, the venue is superb and that it is impossible not to fall in love with or in pieces over absolutely every single character in Cracked.

Whatever you do make sure this show is on your must see list for the year and everyone elses for that matter.

For a company whose chosen Noongar name Yirra Yaakin means to stand tall, the company certainly always manage to keep a tight grip on the audience’s heart strings and conscience and have you all thinking about just how desperately hard that can sometimes be to manage.

WHEN: 14th – 18th May 2019 | 7:30pm

WHERE: Subiaco Arts Centre | Subiaco

INFO: Tickets $50 | Duration 90 mins | MA15+

LINK: https://yirrayaakin.com.au/production/cracked/

Interview, on now

IN CONVERSATION: Doubling up with Clare Testoni

Interview | Laura Money

The Double is a brilliant new work devised by an intelligent team of young theatre makers from Bow & Dagger. Lead creative, Clare Testoni admits that the play definitely asks more questions than it answers, but that’s the beauty of the work. We chatted to Testoni about how the work was devised and what some of the challenges have been in mounting the show.

It’s a very technologically based work. Testoni explains that it’s part of what how her practice has been going, working with cameras and technology.

Last year I worked on The Second Woman and Le Nor which used live filming. So you know, there’s something in the air but I also realised it’s where my skill set comes from – I make shadow puppetry and shadows and projections are very interlinked.

You know shadow puppetry is quite cinematic. So to use technology was just a natural progression

Testoni’s previous works with Bow & Dagger – The Beast and the Bride and Tale of Tales – explore folk stories and the cultivation of mythology through delightful and intricate shadow puppetry projections. In The Double, Testoni

wanted to tell this story about a girl and the devil and [was] engaging with ideas of doppelgangers and the uncanny. I really wanted to address some of the ways that the uncanny and new technologies interconnect.

One of the interesting aspects of the show is the use of the technology that is being not so much criticised as contemplated. “I just wanted to use the technology we’re talking about. I think it’s useful to talk about social media but it’s [also] the idea that we we sort of condemn social media but we also need it!”

Of course when we think about artificial intelligence and service robots we often assume that they are non-gendered. It’s when women’s bodies are being replicated that a whole new discourse emerges.

To me that’s just an extra layer of complication for when a woman is replicated because you deal with the objectificationOne of my anxieties about technology is the way in which it’s being built predominantly by men and they are predominantly making service bots.

Men have always been using language surrounding services to be feminised. And tech writers who follow this more closely. And the white people.

We also have to be careful how people talk to their technology. The thing is that you can have a male voice, like Google released that, you know for Siri but people much prefer the female voices – yelling at the women telling them he wrong direction. And telling her to shut up. People feel comfortable doing that to a female voice.

But also they had to program in all these disengagement protocols around sexual harassment. So Google and Siri and Alexa all have very careful disengagement if you ask. Have you got a boyfriend? So what are you wearing? They make jokes so you laugh it off.

And it’s very much the kind of behaviour I do when I’m harrassed. Because you sort of disengage, don’t you? You sort of feel like “Oh did you really say that?” Your reaction is to laugh. You’re going to make a joke.

It’s as if these robots are being programmed to be polite in the way that we are socialised as women. Testoni goes on to explain her fascination with the doppelganger effect and Faustian pacts.

Stay tuned for the second half of our conversation!

 

WHEN: 23 April – 11 May 2019 | 7pm & 5pm

WHERE: The Blue Room Theatre | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $20 – $30 | Duration 70 mins | Suitable 16+

LINK: https://blueroom.org.au/events/the-double/

 

 

 

 

 

 

on now, Review

REVIEW: Death Throes

Review | Laura Money

This review doesn’t have a beginning, middle or end. It simply serves as a statement about how this piece of art – Death Throes is made and how it achieves its outcome. Combining the creative talents of Joe Lui, Julia Croft and Harriet Gillies, Death Throes challenges the concept of power structures in language, hierarchies, capitalism and more. It dissolves the myths we keep perpetuating and reclaims language for those at the bottom of the totem pole. It’s post truth, post myth, and most certainly post language.

The only way to truly escape language as a power structure is to step away from what is generally considered a way to tell a story – clear arc, narrative and plot, characters with dialogue that has been carefully constructed. There are many ways in which theatre can challenge this, but it still remains in use. Lui, Croft and Gillies corrupt the language at play here by not using it. By becoming physical beings and expressing themselves through their bodies with visceral physicality – every grunt, breath, pant – becomes a new rhythm and language. They literally carve out a space for themselves on the stage – running endlessly in a controlled chaos that feels warm – the gold clothing and soft buttery light pulses about them as a dance track builds the tension.

There are darkly humorous moments – from Gillies munching away at KFC during a panel discussion on capitalism and language, to Crofts’ deadpan delivery, every moment carries a binary of hilarity and potential depression. House lights begin up during a panel – like Q&A and the audience feels just as scrutinised and involved as the performers – Death Throes intially invites a discourse about mythologies yet slowly allows the lights to dim and the power to be given back to the performer. Light is power on this stage. From wielding lights and searching through a haze, to literally expanding the horizon of clouds projected onto the performers in a way that references sexual awakening and ‘The Neverending Story’ (just me?!) the way that certain topics are given weight through enlightenment is a brilliantly codified language that I, for one, can happily get on board with.

There is whimsy. There is pain. There are highly emotional and animalistic moments of exhaustion. If you don’t feel any of these things, did you even go and see Death Throes? Remember – language is only as important as you make it. Why not order in a little corruption and take back some control?

 

WHEN: 30 April – 18 May | 7:00pm & 8:30pm

WHERE: The Blue Room Theatre | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $20 – $30 | Duration 70 mins | Warnings: Coarse Language, Thick Smoke/Haze, Flashing Lights | Wheelchair accessible | Recommended 15+

LINK: https://blueroom.org.au/events/death-throes/

on now, Review

REVIEW: The Double

Review | Laura Money

How do you define your identity? Is it what you look like? That’s hardly a tangible thing as it changes over the years. Is it what you sound like? Is your image and your ‘brand’ connected to your soul and your inner you? Bow & Dagger seek to raise these questions in their brilliant new work, The Double. Devised by an intelligent team of young theatre makers, headed by lead creative, Clare Testoni, the play definitely asks more questions than it answers, but that’s the beauty of the work – it gets people thinking…and soul searching!

Duality is at play here, from the literal doubling of characters – multiple actors performing as the same characters, to doubling of facial identities – the use of cutting-edge technology to add facial filters to moving images is remarkable. The plot seems to be the only simple thing about this work – an actor sells her image (and her essence) to a software company that uses the image for a Siri-like service – but one that is more of a ‘bot’. As time goes on, she finds herself becoming less and less and the image of her gains momentum. All of her relationships are complicated – especially that with her boyfriend, and in the end the selling of her image has terrifying consequences.

Every single element of the show is meticulously executed. There is nothing accidental – from “The Picture of Dorian Grey” on the bookshelf, to cartoons about spawning superheroes, and stories from folklore involving selling shadows or making Faustian pacts. Despite the sterile white environment, there is an undercurrent of the Gothic being drawn upon here. With so many stories about doppelgangers but not many involving women’s bodies, the team at Bow & Dagger unearth some pretty disturbing cultural themes when feminising technology. How does technology change when it is applied to a female body, as opposed to a male? One of the first pieces of bootleg software to develop after launching Victoria’s image is augmented versions – ie, larger breasts, blonde hair filters, language that is more subservient. This goes beyond disturbing when one thinks about the way female bodies are usually objectified and how non-gendered technology either takes on a feminised or masculine positions. (Plot twist: it’s always the service machines that are feminised.)

The actors switch between being physically on stage in front of the audience to being filmed in real-time using augmented reality filters. The screen is projected onto the wall above the main space but the actors are still visible filming their segment to the side of the stage. This is another layer of duality that explores the role of screens and filters in gendered identity – the team are reclaiming a medium that is traditionally objectifying and highlighting the double standards for men and women in society. The Double is a brilliantly intelligent work. It is confronting and terrifying at times, as Victoria (and the three women playing her) struggles to retain who she is. Phoebe Sullivan, Amanda Watson and Michelle Aitken are all brilliant performers – they each bring something different to all of the roles – as each performer embodies all of the characters at one time or another, it begs the question: what is the essence of each character? What are their defining characteristics, and can multiple people express them in a way that defines them?

As stated above, The Double is very clever. It’s the kind of work you should go to if you are worried about inequity, feel disconcerted by technology but also want to embrace it. The team at Bow & Dagger have done just that – used the very technology they are unsure about, and therein lies its genius. It’s one thing to observe these trends, and another to do something about it. The Double takes some of the power away from the cis white men who write the programming and gives a voice back to women and the language and power structures at play. And that’s amazing.

 

WHEN: 23 April – 11 May 2019 | 7pm & 5pm

WHERE: The Blue Room Theatre | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $20 – $30 | Duration 70 mins | Suitable 16+

LINK: https://blueroom.org.au/events/the-double/

 

on now, Review

REVIEW: MIMMA a musical of war and friendship

Review | Laura Money

Mimma is the truly remarkable story of war, heartache and friendship set against the backdrop of World War Two. It speaks of courage and truth, family bonds and the power of female friendships. At the heart of Mimma is a passion for justice and kindness that shines through in every musical number and poignant moment. Librettist Giles Watson and Ron SiemiginowskiMimma’s composer and producer have collaborated on something unique and wonderful – a WA original production full of heart.

Traversing the globe through musical history, the original score moves sweepingly from the jazz age to operatic influences, and everything in between. Mimma is an absolute triumph! Siemiginowski’s score compliments the epic tale perfectly, feeling vast and encompassing yet intimate and tender. Opening on an exhilarating rumba, Turin’s 1930s elite celebrate the eponymous Mimma’s birthday. Sequins and skirts fly as the scene is set – now this is a musical! Mirusia Louwerse shines as Mimma – from the moment she glides down the stairs to delighting in the wonders of London and showing strength and compassion in hardship, Louwerse is a shining light – a beacon of hope and goodness in the world. Her voice is clear and bright and the character of Mimma will charm even the hardest of hearts.

After leaving Turin for London at the outbreak of war, Mimma is received by her uncle Lorenzo – played with gusto by the legendary Igor Sas and up-and-coming singer Sarah (Holly Meegan). The music once again tells the story along with some fancy footwork in the song ‘Whisky Neat’ – a nod to 1930s and 40s musical theatre complete with tap dancing and a big band sound. This sums up Soho, the song captures the essence of the times, and what it was like for Italian migrants living and working in London. Through Sarah Parker, Mimma receives a cultural education – learning about London with a love ballad to the good old city. Sarah offers her friendship so readily and it is so beautiful to watch their relationship grow. Of course, it’s not all roses. Mimma’s mother Ada (Suzanne Kompass) and brother Aldo (Jason Barry-Smith) are still fighting the fascists in Italy. Their fear and resilience is on show in one of the most heartfelt and passionate duets I’ve ever seen. Kompass and Barry-Smith are phenomenal talents and their sublime notes of comfort support each other in a heavenly pairing that is guaranteed to produce goosebumps.

Mimma is a little bit of everything – it’s sorrowful and mourning with human cruelties and life’s hardships portrayed in graphic detail (Michael Carmody‘s moving images work well when used to depict bombings and a general sense of overwhelming, but are perhaps a little overdone at times.) It’s uplifting and fun with some big musical numbers and jaunty jazz tunes – Sarah Parker’s indomitable spirit and absolute Britishness provides a happy Mary Poppins-esque quality to the London scenes. It’s revolutionary and passionate with Ada, Aldo and Mimma herself fiercely fighting for their rights and freedom. It’s dramatic, especially in Ada and Aldo’s operatic scale duets that soar to the rafters. It’s funny – there are little moments of joy with Mimma’s twin sisters, Lorenzo’s happy-go-lucky attitude and the two ‘everyman’ characters played to perfection by Caroline McKenzie and Geoff Kelso Perth heavyweights in absurdist theatre, who almost appear to reprise their rolls of Nell and Hamm from Samuel Beckett’s Endgame as they banter in as many ways possible.

Whilst at first glance it seems that the dark and harrowing themes in Mimma would not make for a great musical, definitely delve a little deeper because then you’ll see just how perfectly they are achieved. Mimma is simply wonderful – the music is perfect and intelligently composed with each era referencing the time and place it is from. The acting and dancing are superb, it features a very strong ensemble cast with each and every one giving us something to look at. Mirusia Louwerse and Holly Meegan will make you fall in love with them – Mimma and Sarah are such well-rounded and accomplished characters. WA can hold its head up high with an original production like Mimma under its belt.

WHEN: 9 – 21 April 2019 | 7:30pm (+ matinees)

WHERE: The Regal Theatre | Subiaco

INFO: Tickets $82.85 – $133.85 | Duration 2hrs 45mins with interval | Wheelchair accessible | Please note: Loud Noises, Smoke Effects, Live smoking on stage, Guns, and Theatrical Haze

LINK: https://www.mimmathemusical.com.au/

on now, Review

REVIEW: Peter Pan Goes Wrong

Review | Laura Money

The crew from Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are back with another evening of farce, slapstick, and hilarity in Peter Pan Goes Wrong. It takes the genius of The Play That Goes Wrong and ramps up the madcap antics to a whole new level, every single second of this play will elicit not just a few chuckles, but whole-body laughs that will rack the audience long after leaving the theatre!

I didn’t think it would be possible to top the previous work, yet here I am, gleefully corrected. Familiar jokes are heightened, yet still stand alone if you missed the first incarnation. The cast and ‘crew’ move about the audience in a pre-show that gets the laughter building from the beginning. Improv skills are on show here as the audience assist in the setting up of everything from electricity to set. The titular Peter, Jonathon (Darcy Brown) walks in late, coffee and dark glasses displaying his importance, Director Chris (Connor Crawford) and Co-Director Robert (Luke Joslin) argue audibly about the show, and the ‘crew’ inadvertently reveal the flaws in the set – of course these will come to a head in the third act.

The timing of Peter Pan Goes Wrong is as precise as clockwork – every element must fit into each other to create a chaotic effect. Of course, there is more to the title than just lights crashing to the stage and props going missing – there are broken bunk beds, quick costume changes that border on hilariously risque moments, stage fright and slip ups. Slapstick is this work’s strong suit – from broken flying wires, to broken legs, Joslin getting stuck in a doggy door, sound guy Trevor (Adam Dunn) forced to step in yet again, and of course, Robert’s accident prone niece Lucy (Teagan Wouters) encountering hilarious mishap after hilarious mishap, they just get it right. Part Some Mothers Do Ave Em, and part Mr Bean – it’s the perfect combination for laughter.

Once again, the funniest elements for me are the dramas from the actors – and this time, we see a lot more of that. Dennis (George Kemp) is still so useless at learning his lines they have resorted to feeding him his lines through headphones that are anything but discrete! This leads to some predictable, yet funny moments where wires get crossed, and Kemp is brilliant in his timing. After her flirtation with fame in the last production, Stage Manager Annie (Tammy Weller) multitasks as Mrs Darling, Eliza, Tinkerbell and probably a few more characters I missed, and her delivery is hilarious. From strange dance moves, to deadpan delivery, watching her onstage is a delight the entire time.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is truly witty and incredibly clever. It hits you over the head with slapstick and tickles your cerebral cortex with hilarious group dynamics – a hilarious love triangle, over-acting from the pint-sized Sandra as Wendy (Francine Cain), and the accidental playing of audio that are hard to ignore. Not since The Play That Goes Wrong have I laughed from beginning to end – actually after the end (do yourself a favour and stay for the post show entertainment, I can guarantee a good laugh!) Poking fun at the pantomime genre, when adults play kids, and the politics present in Am Dram, but the actors are playing actors who can’t act – or think they are better than they are – and therein lies the genius.

If you want to see a flawless evening of hilarity, look no further than Peter Pan Goes Wrong. Every single element is brilliantly rendered and perfectly performed that it can be difficult to realise just how incredibly clever it really is. There are subtleties here – Robert falling down when the phrase ‘I don’t believe in fairies’ is uttered – and of course, hugely farcical moments – the entire set turning around like a side-slpittingly hilarious carousel. As I wrote about its predecessor: it’s a perfectly timed, perfectly executed, and perfectly performed masterpiece. You can only go right when you see Peter Pan Goes Wrong.

WHEN: 7 – 17 March 2019 | 8:00pm

WHERE: His Majesty’s Theatre | PERTH

INFO: Tickets $84.90 – $110.90 | Duration 110 mins including interval | Age recommendation: 6+ | Wheelchair accessible venue

LINK: https://www.ptt.wa.gov.au/venues/his-majestys-theatre/whats-on/peter-pan-goes-wrong/

FRINGEWORLD, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Absolute Zero – Jez Watts | 4 Stars

Review | Kieran Eaton

Jez Watts has absolute zero funds on him – in fact he is in the red of $16,000 of an $18,000 loan that he has from his now fiancé, a vet from Singapore and he used to be a neuroscientist! This amusing story explores how love can appear unconventional but still work. The loan was given to assist him tour the world and do festivals – just proving how tough being an independent artist can be.

While the crowd is settling down on to their seats, we observe Watts use a loop box machine, while interacting with the crowd. This creates a quirky feel to the night and displays improvisation that some may think is unusual, but this comic is able to go with the flow with a sense of self depreciating cool. When all the crowd is in, he explains the concept of the show, including a bit about people thinking the show is called loser. Watts embraces this because he does not mind making a fool of himself, however he has little patience for fools.

Watts consistently gains laughter and is quick to interact with the audience to defuse any awkwardness. To add some variation to the night, the loop box machine is used to add an extra layer is used about half way through the show, in combination with a mini story about working in IKEA. The honesty in this show is refreshing as it does not shy away from themes like depression and suicide.

This Perth comedian who states he will be basing himself in Melbourne, in two weeks, is a comfortable storyteller and show how he has gained maturity from adversity. By the end, you feel like you have a strong idea of this man that just seems to go with the flow.

Absolute Zero – Jez Watts is a humorous show to see how comedy does equal tragedy plus time.

WHEN: 12 – 17 February 2019 | 9:15pm

WHERE: The Craft – Beer & Cider Garden | NORTHBRIDGE

INFO: Tickets $18 – $21 | Duration 50m | Age suitability: 18+ | Content Warning: Sexual References, Occasional Course Language | COMEDY

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/absolute-zero-jez-watts-fw2019

FRINGEWORLD, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Mark Turner and Jessie Gordon: Best Friends |4 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Perth is the luckiest city to be home to these two fabulous musicians – Mark Turner and Jessie Gordon: Best Friends celebrates the 15+ years the pair have known each other. Playing in a community swing band and then moving on to various bands throughout the years, Gordon and Turner’s friendship has strengthened over the years, as has their talent. The chilled out evening sees the friends playing some of their favourite music and loving every second of it.

Both Gordan and Turner are at home at the Ellington Jazz Club, a very supportive and frankly, really cool space for musicians. They sit on high stools, various guitars and ukuleles casually arranged nearby. Tonight’s show will be completely different to all the others – picking from a set list with 33 songs on it, the audience shouts out the numbers to create a unique show every time. The chemistry between these guys is infectious – they really have a deep friendship, the same sense of humour, and an incredible affinity for each other’s musical improvisation. Beginning with a silly quickie in ‘Ragg Mopp’ the two remain faithful to the list system, Gordon attempts to introduce each number with a cute little anecdote but mostly Turner just starts playing!

Because they are best friends and are so comfortable with their setting, the show has a jam session vibe and it’s wonderful to be privy to that. Mark Turner and Jessie Gordon: Best Friends is the most fun you’ll have this FRINGEWORLD 2019. It’s casual and laid back but definitely not at the expense of the talent – every song packs a punch and showcases Gordon’s phenomenal voice and Turner’s flawless guitar playing. There are original songs, jazzy/blues arrangements of old classics, and of course old classics themselves – each one is performed to perfection.

So, join the circle of friends, these guys have a lot of love to spare! Oh, and go and buy their CDs – I’m pretty sure Mark Turner mentioned it once at the beginning – faintly…

 

WHEN: 13 – 17 February 2019 | 8:45pm

WHERE: The Ellington Jazz Club | NORTHBRIDGE

INFO: Tickets $21 – $30 | Duration 55m | Age suitability: M | Content warning: sexual references | WA ARTISTS | MUSIC

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/mark-turner-and-jessie-gordon-best-friends-fw2019

 

FRINGEWORLD, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Age of Stephen | 4 STARS

Review | Link Harris

Age of Stephen is exactly as the description states: “a night of unforgettable music, stories, and laughs in an epic celebration of the greatest voice our country has ever produced” as Stephen Valeri tries his hardest to convince the audience not only that John Farmham is the greatest voice our country has ever spawned – not that you would be here if you didn’t love him already however if you aren’t a fan, you know where the door is – but that his spirit animal is or that he is spiritually connected to Farnham.

Valeri’s voice is incredible doing near perfect renditions of some of Farnham’s biggest hits from ‘Sadie’ to ‘Chain Reaction’ – backed by Caleb Garfunkle on guitar/backing vocals and Kelly Ann Kimber on keyboard/backing vocals – Valeri takes us on a very tongue in cheek look at their similarities – Valeri and Farnham – all the while cracking jokes and interacting with audience members displaying exceptionally good improvisational skills – as you never know what is going to be said when throwing the audience into the mix – even going as far as recruiting “boy band members” from the audience and choreographing dance moves to songs.

Valeri’s charisma, presence and vocal range are highlighted in this production and are without a doubt  why this is such a brilliant show. If the season hadn’t already ended I would say get off your bum and go see this hilarious and brilliantly entertaining look into an artist such as Farmhan by arguably one of his biggest fans Valeri.

WHEN: 14 – 16 February 2019 | 8:30pm

WHERE: King’s Lair | His Majesty’s Theatre | PERTH

INFO: Tickets $31 – $35 | Duration 60 mins | Age suitability: PG | CABARET/MUSIC

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/age-of-stephen-fw2019

 

FRINGEWORLD, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Beautiful Girls: The Bruno Mars Show | 3 STARS

Review | Amanda Lancaster & Link Harris

Walking up the stairs of Air Nightclub the music is pumping, everyone is smiling, drinking and generally having fun waiting for the show to start as Jake Dennis, his dancers and band finally get on stage and Beautiful Girls: The Bruno Mars Show begins.

It’s unusual for a Northbridge Nightclub venue to be described as mellow and chilled out but that was exactly the type of setting that came along with all attending this performance, much to the – clearly mixed generational – crowd’s satisfaction and delight.

Treated to a plethora of Bruno Mars’ hits spanning his three albums and interspersed with a DJ  playing top 30 R&B hits from similar eras – like that of the recently made popular throwback sessions   introduced by well known radio stations- you can be assured there is a little something something for everyone to be enjoyed.

The singing  voice of Dennis is superb but unfortunately seeming as though it wasn’t quite given the opportunity it could have been to show us just exactly how vocally talented he truly is. The choreography of Dennis and his dancers was on point an in fine form, the backup band was excellent, the lighting and backdrop screen set the scene beautifully lighting up all of the excellent Air Nightclub but unfortunately the music always seem to be a half or full beat ahead of where it should have been and drowned out Dennis’ voice…

If you like Bruno Mars and can forgive minor alterations to his music go along and have fun and even if you can’t get past these changes go along anyway and have a good night and a fun time. Regardless of these minor issues  these reviewers can attest to being seduced by the soulful and  upbeat  funk atmosphere enough that by the end of the show they had us on the dance floor enjoying ourselves.
WHEN: 15 & 16 February 2019 | 7:30pm

WHERE: Air Nightclub | NORTHBRIDGE

INFO: Tickets $25 | Duration 120 mins | Suitable 18+ (restricted) | WA ARTIST | CABARET/MUSIC

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/beautiful-girls-the-bruno-mars-show-fw2019

FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Femme | 4 Stars

Review | Kieran Eaton

FEMME is a variety night about issues facing women and/or if you identify as femme. The creation of a warm and giving burlesque artist in Lola Cherry Cola, who wants to create a supportive environment for femmes to explore their feminine side and promote feminist issues. Host, Cherry Cola knows that some sensitive issues are going to be put out into the audience and that you can leave the room at any opportunity. There are also fans in the shape of pussy – cats that this MC jokes that can be flapped!

Each night has different performers that are part of FRINGEWORLD 2019. The night I watched it, Charlotte Glance, a stand-up comedian opened with zeal and gave the right number of well-timed punchlines to get the audience open to laughing at life and thinking about double standards.

To mix things up, the experimental cabaret comedian, Jamie Mykaela mixed energetic wit with sombre spoken word poetry and then finished highlighting her amazing voice, with a quirky ukulele song with attitude.

To add to the interesting introspection, Camden Champagne decide against showcasing her famed burlesque dance act by instead doing a monologue on smiling and why it is OK not to smile. It uses computer slide images in bringing attention to how often fake smiles often used to please people in power and that a ‘natural’ smile is quite rare to find.

Then burlesque performer, Chelsea Smiles did a strip with a dark side to it. Coming on fully clothed, and these clothes displaying messages of prudishness. Then as she stripped the messages were more about being a sexual piece of meat and had audience members pull off the meat images, one by one, with each displaying real stories of sexual harassment and assault.

To clear all this heaviness, Gabe Hogan give us a beautiful visualisation meditation. We all then came together from the heart of Cherry Cola to be strong and speak out against forces hurting the FEMME spirit.

For a wonderfully constructed, socially aware show, come see FEMME for a message that more should embrace.

WHEN: 12 – 17 February 2019 | 7:45pm

WHERE: Paper Mountain | NORTHBRIDGE

INFO: Tickets $20 – $25 | Duration 55m | Age suitability: 18+ | Content Warning: Sexual References, | THEATRE | PERFORMANCE ART

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/femme-fw2019

FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Let Me Finish | 4 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Let Me Finish is the brilliantly titled brainchild of the hilarious Charlotte Otton – WAAPA graduate and relative newcomer on the Perth Independent theatre scene. It’s a collaboration and celebration of and with women and what it means to identify as women. There’s laughter, pain, insecurity, a capella singing, and solidarity in a series of sketches, monologues, games and devised pieces that showcase the sheer power of women and what it is like to be a woman in this world.

Everything is covered – from harrassment while dancing in clubs, to the solidarity of the ladies toilets! The cast work so well together and each bring something unique to the work. Jess Moyles acts with dignity and sincerity as she searches for love and recounts her terrible account of sexual assault. Perth wonder, Izzy Macdonald provides a manic energy that is hilarious and becomes calmed down throughout the work. Ana Ika and Angela Mahlatjie are both hilarious and heartfelt – Ika has a mature quality about her, way beyond her years. Mahlatjie’s laugh out loud account of finding a cheating boyfriend and her over-the-top reaction is all of us.

The sketches are hilarious – from parodying the ladies’ book club type with Otton’s face a masterclass in comedic acting, to a clever piece on race Let Me Finish brilliantly and succinctly tackles intersectional feminism head on and doesn’t care if any feelings get hurt along the way. There are moments of intensity – the game ‘Don’t Know, Now You Know’ sees rapid-fire stories shouted at the audience, and a moment of pure rage is expressed by the women literally reduced to their hands and knees chanting ‘fuck off, fuck off’. It begins with laughter and intensifies as their pure rage finally finds an outlet.

Let Me Finish takes the thoughts and feelings of women and thrusts them, warts and all, into the spotlight. It features some truly heartbreaking moments of introspection when looking at old photographs, and a beautiful love story (I totally ship Jess & Ana!) and will certainly resonate with anyone identifying as a woman. It’s an important piece of theatre that #YesALLMen should see.

 

WHEN: 12 – 17 February 2019 | 9:40pm

WHERE: Circus Theatre | FRINGE CENTRAL

INFO: Tickets $28 – $35 | Duration 60m | Age suitability: PG | Content Warning: Occasional Coarse Language, Sexual References, Strobe Lighting, Sexual Assault, Mental Health, Loud Noises | WA ARTISTS | THEATRE

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/let-me-finish-fw2019

 

FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: A Migrant’s Son | 5 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Musical powerhouse Michaela Burger (Exposing Edith) graces the stage once again, this time with a biographical tale of the most important person – her father. In Exposing Edith, Burger told Edith Piaf’s story through theatre and song – now she has dug deep into the roots of her family tree and shares the struggles, love and loss, hard work, and delights of her own family. Her father, Vincent Luke was A Migrant’s Son and Burger explores what that really means in an absolute triumph of song, dance and theatre. With original compositions, and beautiful community choirs led by the wonderful Carol Young, and an old suitcase full of memories, A Migrant’s Son is the heartwarming tale that will prompt you to go home and call your father.

When Michaela Burger set out to write this show, she wanted to showcase her father’s strength – through adversity, heartache, love – but as she dug a little deeper, she realised that his indomitable spirit came from generations before him. Beginning with her Yaya (Grandmother) and her journey to Australia at the age of 14 in 1936. Burger dons a gypsy-style long skirt (sequinned of course, this is a cabaret show after all!) and sings a heart-wrenching ballad about her grandmother’s apprehensions and mixed feelings leaving her homeland. She goes even further back to her Propappous (great grandfather) a man who left war-torn Greece to become a baker in Adelaide. The absolute passion and love that Burger injects into his character is overwhelming at times. She never met him but every word she sings in vibrant and full of love.

Every family has a story, and Burger tells her father’s story with heart – building up the fundamentals of his family and the work ethic drilled into him as a young boy baking and delivering bread for hours before school, to opal mining in Coober Pedy – this plucky, quick-thinking, soulful man is brought to life in the most stunning way possible. One of the most interesting elements of this show is how often Burger references Victor’s pride in his family – he sounds like an absolute character! From bursting with joy at his daughter’s wedding, to holding his first grandson with tenderness and trepidation, and even proudly declaring that his daughter was the best performer in Australia to any celebrity who would listen. But to me, the most touching part of the whole show is the pride that Michaela Burger feels for him.

A Migrant’s Son is a stunning piece of theatre. The music is simple, sweet and full of emotion – swelling to majestic heights with the voices of Indie Mix Pop Choir and the Dal Segno Singers. It is a spiritual experience to hear Burger’s clear and heavenly tones. She is passionate and loving and every note is sublime. Brimming with emotion, this exquisite show will pull on every heartstring and you will have to clap and cheer through eyes blurred with tears. This is one for the family.

WHEN: 13 – 16 February 2019 | 8:00pm

WHERE: Upper Burt Hall | Cathedral Square | PERTH

INFO: Tickets $30 – $35 | Duration 80m | Age suitability: PG | Content warning: Occasional coarse language | CABARET

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/a-migrant-s-son-fw2019

 

FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Equinox | 5 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Equinox is a love letter to all the witches and magical creatures who have graced our stages and screens. Velma Celli is utterly spellbinding as she sings the siren songs of the hags and creatures that go bump in the night. She weaves her magic in the truly bewitching arrangements of any song with a link – tenuous or not – to magic.

Black sequins shimmy through the crowd as all eyes stick to the divine mistress herself. There are classic witch manifestos in ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’ and ‘Defying Gravity’ – immaculately performed. Celli’s voice is so phenomenal that the audience’s jaws cannot fight the forces of gravity and remain firmly on the floor! There’s a stunning reimagining of ‘1000 Years’ and the most chilling rendition of ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ that is gentle and giving and warm.

Of course, no evening with Velma Celli wouldn’t be complete without a few surprises and she doesn’t disappoint. Equinox will bring out your dark side, so embrace it and howl at the moon a little. With bitchy, witchy and wonderful tributes to the devilish and disenfranchised, Velma Celli will put a spell on you and now you’re hers!

WHEN: 11 – 17 February 2019 | 7:45pm

WHERE: De Parel Spiegeltent | WOODSIDE PLEASURE GARDEN

INFO: Tickets $27 – $30 | Duration 75m | Age suitablity: M | Content warning: occasional coarse language, sexual references | CABARET

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/equinox-fw2019

 

FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Angels’ Share | 4 Stars

Review | Laura Money

The top ten percent or so of whisky in a barrel gets evaporated – just dissolves straight into the air for the angels. It is the angels’ share.

So the saying goes. When writer Michael Ramus discovered this and the life of ‘whisky boys’ on a trip to the Scottish Isles, he was, quite rightly enamored. Angels’ Share is a quirky tale about two ‘whisky boys’ – best friends entrusted to guard the barrels of whisky in the long abandoned distillery on an isolated island. Nicknamed Feints and Fallshorts, slightly derogatory terms for the unusable whisky as part of the distillation process, the two lads realise they are sitting on a goldmine and then all hell breaks loose.

Angels’ Share sees Carl (Mark McDonald) and Mike (Jordan Valentini) distill their philosophies through small town sensibilities and isolation. Their realisation that the barrels are worth a lot of money is the catalyst for both their recklessness and their guardedness. McDonald is hilarious as the goofy Carl. He bounces around the stage and one can’t help but feel affection for him As his budding relationship with Claire (Jen Bagg) grows, a real tenderness creeps in and you start to care for this character. Valentini’s Mike is a little more brooding. As a homosexual man hiding his true self from people who probably wouldn’t care anyway, he is a tortured character who has grown a little too big for the island he inhabits. Hanging over his head like a cloud is the alcoholism that has seen him lose almost everyone he loves, and the dire warning that he is heading in the same direction.

Jen Bagg is great as the impish Claire – you kind of don’t like her much at first as your loyalty will be with Carl, but after a while you realise how well she performs the role. Likewise, Sophie Lester who plays the cheerful police officer, Rosie and a rather sinister character later on. She’s a great foil for the two boys and her charm is in her teasing delivery. Director Jared Barkla does a fantastic job of keeping the action concentrated. The set is small and intimate, at times taking on the claustrophobia of not only the space but the plot squeezing down on the characters. He also steps in as Richard, Mike’s lover and provides a reasoning voice to the whole thing.

Much like the barrels of whisky that are guarded so tightly, the story of the ‘whisky boys’ is a quirky one that has long been forgotten to the outside world. I for one, am glad that some of its magic leaked out, that we got the Angels’ Share of the tale.

WHEN: 14 – 16 February 2019 | 6:30pm

WHERE: Nevermind Smallclub | NORTHBRIDGE

INFO: Tickets $25 | Duration 60m (Likely to run overtime) | Age suitability: PG | Content warning: Occasional coarse language, Sexual References, Depicts Violence | THEATRE

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/angel-s-share-fw2019

 

FRINGEWORLD, In Brief, on now

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Stephen Valeri | Age of Stephen | 5 With Fringe

Stephen Valeri is the die-hard fan of John Farnham gracing Perth stages with his tribute show Age of Stephen this FRINGEWORLD 2019. He answered our 5 With Fringe series ahead of the show.

Describe your show in 3 words: 

ULTIMATE. FARNHAM. CELEBRATION.

What is your show all about?

It’s a very, very loving tribute to Aussie musical icon, John Farnham. I spend the show attempting to convince my audience that John and I share a spiritual connection, whilst cramming as many of his iconic hits as possible into an hour!

Favourite FRINGEWORLD 2019 hangout?

I’m loving the vibe at our venue, His Majesty’s Theatre – the place is buzzing with audiences grabbing a drink and bite to eat before and after seeing their shows. There’s also pop up performances every night that add to the lush atmosphere.

What is the best part about FRINGEWORLD 2019?

I haven’t had a chance to see a lot of shows just yet, as we’re only here for the last week of the festival – but I am enjoying everyone’s friendliness! Fringe Artists are usually a pretty friendly bunch, but everyone in Perth is so relaxed and up for a chat – it’s great!

Apart from your show, what other shows would you recommend?

  • Dolly Diamond’s ‘BLANKETY BLANKS’ – Not many people in the world make me laugh like Dolly! She doesn’t miss a beat and this show is her in her absolute element. Downstairs at the Maj until Saturday.
  • Sinsational Rita & Mae – Melody & Lucinda Beck are bringing back old school glamour with their classy (and cheeky) tribute to Rita Hayworth and Mae West. And they can SING! King’s Lair (His Majesty’s Theatre) until Saturday.
  • The Boy, George – Patrick Livesy’s show tells the future story of Prince George (yes, the sassy son of Will & Kate) and his quest to take over the world. His show sounds hilarious and I can’t wait to see it this week! Shambles at The Woodside Pleasure Garden til Sunday.

You can grab your tickets to Age of Stephen HERE.

FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019 | Captain Spaceship: Maiden Voyage | 4 Stars

Review | Kieran Eaton

Space: the final frontier and often an area that artists are scared to explore because some feel that science and art are domains that do not overlap. Weeping Spoon Productions attempt to tackle this challenge by use improv comedy and this is possible with star actor and producer, Shane Adamczak being a Sci Fi geek. Meet Captain Spaceship (Esther Longhurst) and follow along as she brings her rag tag crew (regulars Shane Adamczak, Daniel Buckle and sound tech Alwyn Nixon Lloyd) along with a rotating lineup of guest improvisers, as they hurtle through space and time.

As they all they all have performed on the theatre sport creation of The Big Hoo Haa, their comedic chemistry is excellent. However, there is much difference as this team has to each night create a new storyline that goes for an hour that only relies on crowd suggestions and their improv skills.

Adamczak gleefully sets the scene for the night by interacting with the audience, asking what Sci Fi shows they are fans of. Happily, this host acknowledges the few hard core geeks in the crowd and makes some great jokes about it. It is all from the top of his head as he states the night before had much weirder, drunker audience. Still with his long experience in the comedy caper, Adamczak easily goes with the flow. The crowd suggestions can be hit and miss, so the most potentially funny and challenging suggestions get chosen.

The hilarity of the show comes from each performer having a different interpretation of what is suppose to go on and seeing their creative minds deal with the chaos. A beginning, middle and end is masterfully made that incorporates the unpredictability to make you wonder at incredible skill they must have.

Captain Spaceship: Maiden Voyage is a great show to see a creative way to achieve comedy on the spot.

WHEN: 12 – 17 February 2019 | 8:20pm

WHERE: Deluxe | YAGAN SQUARE

INFO: Tickets $20 – $22 | Duration 50m | Age suitability: PG | WA ARTISTS | COMEDY

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/captain-spaceship-maiden-voyage-fw2019

FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Paper Doll | 5 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Gripping from the very start, Paper Doll is confusing, intense, and packs an emotional punch. A man stands at a woman’s front door, dripping wet and clutching at a plastic bag. He is expected but still shocks her. Martin Ashley Jones and Hayley Pearl are absolutely flawless in this two-hander that will put your guts in a vice and slowly squeeze. Jones is welcomed in and immediately things are awkward. You can’t quite work out their relationship – ex-lovers? Father and daughter? As the play progresses it becomes clear that the answer is somewhat more sinister.

It is clear that Pearl is on edge – her tone is light and airy, but her eyes bulge out of her head in fear and she approaches Jones with a wariness borne of pain. She clearly doesn’t want to get hurt again. Jones is phenomenal. He speaks to Pearl as if approaching a frightened animal. His words trip and stumble in nervousness – revealing a tenderness unexpected in someone so rough. He is like a pressure cooker, fighting to hold back his intensity – but there are moments when the steam escapes and we glimpse the monster underneath. Jones is quite simply, acting his heart out and I could watch him all night long.

Paper Doll is not for the faint-hearted. It is intense. It peels back layer after layer and reveals at its heart a twisted knot of thorns. Playwright Katy Warner was inspired by Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge and has stripped back the key relationship in the play. The language takes you on a rollercoaster of emotion – from sweet and almost cautionary first love, to hatred and resentment, fear, and affection. Jones and Pearl pour their hearts out onstage every night. Their stuttering and inability to complete sentences whilst talking over each other not only create a realistic feeling but intensifies the gritty reality of the action.

If you like your theatre intellectually and emotionally stimulating, do not miss out on this gripping psychological thriller, played to perfection by two actors at the top of their game.

WHEN: 12 – 16 February 2019 | 8:00pm

WHERE: The Main Space | The Blue Room Theatre | FRINGE CENTRAL

INFO: Tickets $24 – $28 | Duration 45m | Age suitability: M | Content warning: Occasional coarse language, Sexual Assault, Sexual References | THEATRE

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/paper-doll-fw2019

 

FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Tony Galati the Musical | 5 Stars

Review | Kieran Eaton

When we think of the word Perthanlity, it’s hard not to think of Tony Galati – known as the ‘Spud King’ for his potato revolution that lead to the business Spud Shed. Aarnav Productions have maximised their creative skills to make a musical that tells the story of Tony Galati, right from when he was a child and his family travelled all the way from Sicily to Perth. Using some of the best talents from local theatre groups, like The Big Hoo Haa – this show is certainly a perfect fit for FRINGEWORLD 2019.

Aarnav Productions are a collaboration between Dan DeBuf and Sonia Arakkal, who with those surnames would have experienced the prejudice of old school WASP thinking – especially in small-town, isolated Perth. Intelligently, this musical does not adhere to revision history but keeps it light with plenty of well peppered gags, and we first learn that Tony’s passion for the potato came from his father, Francesco (both roles played by Thomas Papathanassiou).

Tony’s voice is beautifully captured by Papathanassiou’s acting and DeBuf’s writing. It is surprising how respectfully this is done, as ‘The Spud King’ is mostly caricaturised by the media in a typical simplistic manner. There is even a hilarious mimic of an interview with the Sunrise Team of David “Kochie” Koch and Samantha Armitage, where two of the performers from the Perth Improv troupe use their comic talents to bring many great moments of laughter.

In terms of musical direction by Caleb Garfinkel, the songs are aptly coordinated to align with the theme of the story – from old Italian music sounds to up beat music to signal the Perth’s obsession with modernisation, in the expense of character and charm.

This weaves all together to create a friendly show that will make you feel good inside. Go see Tony Galati The Musical to laugh and sing with a local Perthanality hero.

WHEN: 12 – 17 February 2019 | 6:00pm

WHERE: De Parel Speigeltent  | Pleasure Garden | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $27 – $30 | Duration 60m | Age suitability: All ages | THEATRE | MUSIC | COMEDY

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/tony-galati-the-musical-fw2019

FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: 10,000 Decisions | 4 Stars

Review | Laura Money

We make approximately 10,000 Decisions every day. No wonder we’re exhausted by the time we go to bed! US comedian, Robyn Perkins is here to help you make some of those decisions easier. It’s an interesting premise – the self-confessed most useless person at making a decision (to the point she has literally gone hungry in restaurants) aiding us, but Perkins has the (pseudo) science to back it up!

Perkins used to be a biologist but now spends her time making people laugh and I for one, am glad she made the switch. Sorry ecosystems – we need this funny-lady more than you. No-one is more aware of the need for laughter than Perkins herself – an American in London – what a sucker for punishment.

The show is educational as Perkins gives you a crash course in neuroscience and how the brain goes about making a decision. She is hilarious! Self-depreciating but not self-hating, Perkins’ inability to decide in love, lust, food – thankfully not politics – will probably scrape close to the bone – Perkins is all of us.

As a comedian, she is great at getting an audience on side but it feels so much more than that. Perkins is conversational and honest, she is just like that funny friend who comes to you with their love-life issues and gets drunk with you. At least one decision will be made tonight – what it will be is up to the audience as Perkins offers up not only a sympathetic ear but a great feeling of togetherness.

Making the decision to see 10,000 Decisions is a no-brainer – let your amygdala blurt our yes and your frontal cortex pay for the tickets! It’s one decision you won’t regret.

WHEN: 11 – 17 February 2019 | 6:30pm

WHERE: The Gold Digger | FRINGE CENTRAL

INFO: Tickets $18 – $25 | Duration 60m | Age suitability: M | Content warning: coarse language, sexual references | Note: Performance on Saturday 16th February will be at Teatro in the WOODSIDE PLEASURE GARDEN | COMEDY

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/10-000-decisions-fw2019

 

FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Underemployment: A Show about Not Enough Work and Way Too Much TV | 5 Stars

Review | Amanda Lancaster & Link Harris

Employment: Use, purpose, the activity in which one engages or employed. An instance of such activity. This show however is a clearly and cleverly a demonstrable instance of the ensuing consequences of those instances of inactivity.

Written and performed by Keren Schlink who made us laugh in Pupperotica: Foreplay, Underemployment: A Show About Not Enough Work and Way Too Much TV is exactly as the title suggests – a show about not being employed and watching way too much TV but it is oh so much more than that.

Think Bridget Jones diary meets a kind of ironic 12 step program and you might be almost in the ball park of just how terrifically funny and self identifying this performance piece will become over the course of this non stop channel hopping 45 minute laugh fest with every member of its audience in some way. So hilarious, charming and talented is our one-woman powerhouse and with such effervescent personality that its hard to remember that this piece was itself created in the face of such unlucky and seemingly ongoing mishaps and misfortune.

Be uplifted by the downward spiral of knowing someone else and in fact numerous someone else’s out there know just what it is like to tread the waters of not the “employment vs unemployment” deep end of the work pool. Empathise in guilty pleasure as the phases of loss of purpose and identity have not only the good, bad and ugly laid out for all to see but also the eccentricities and inanities of exactly how it feels to be human in today’s day and age.

This show will resonate with anyone who has been through unemployment and rigmarole of dealing with Centrelink, applying for jobs, getting rejected from jobs either you are qualified, under-qualified or over qualified for, going to job interviews and your pants being too tight – they fit when you were employed- not to mention the day to day happenings of getting out of bed or being too drunk and binge watching TV in such a clever manner that you will just love this show even if you haven’t had the misfortune to do any of the above.

Not so much a statement about the underemployment of one within the work force but the underemployment of oneself within our own existence to feel useful needed worthy successful and fulfilled in our very own lives

Forget the it could always be worse idiom and instead o yourselves a favour when I tell it could always get better …. just as it does with each and every one of Schlink‘s performances I’ve viewed to date.

If we could give this show a 10 out of 5 we would.

WHEN: 13 – 16 February 2019 | 8:30pm

WHERE: The Windsor Hotel | SOUTH PERTH

INFO: Tickets $15 | Duration 45 mins | Suitable 18 | WA ARTIST | THEATRE/MUSICAL THEATRE

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/underemployment-a-show-about-not-enough-work-and-way-too-much-tv-fw2019

 

FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Bumble Me Tinders | 4.5 Stars

Review | Peter Spence

Patrick Melton from Las Vegas’s hilarious, naughty and revealing show will have you red in the face from laughter and excitement as Bumble Me Tinders reveals the best, worst and most embarrassing Tinder stories from the audience. Cheesy pick up lines that do and don’t work? You decide. The audience are engaged throughout the whole show, including a “perfect-match” style live SWIPE OFF. Even midweek this show is a sell out and an absolute riot!

Each night a different special guest comedian joins Patrick on stage to roll with the jokes and politely poke fun, with the help of saucy and suave sidekick Chad, deciding on the best and worst pick up lines, you’re likely to ever hear.  *cue air-horns*

Stories from the audience flow as best stories earn liquid rewards and one lucky punter perhaps winning a prize which brings to mind – there’s always time for lubricant!

The vibe is red hot and the audience are entertained to the point of not getting up to refill their drinks, a few dry mouths but a few damp seats.

SWIPE RIGHT for this high energy, riot-risqué – not a dry seat in the house!

4.5/5 right-swipes

WHEN: 18 January – 17 February + 14 February VALENTINE’S SPECIAL! | 8:20pm & 5:00pm

WHERE: Terrace Lounge | Universal Bar | NORTHBRIDGE

INFO: Tickets $21 | Duration 55m | Age suitability: 18+ | Content warning: coarse language, sexual references | COMEDY

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/bumble-me-tinders-fw2019

 

FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Silence My Lady Head| 4.5 Stars

Review | Kieran Eaton

Ahh, the 80s – a time where an explosion of new ideals, allowed for more women to rock it, as lead singers of rock groups. This was a gigantic leap from the disco era of the 70s and many people did not know how to take it. Women often had to battle conservative ideals and that is contrasting to music that is darker and sexually provocative. Women had to be strong feminists to fight these black and white perceptions of femininity. One thing that nobody could disagree on is that these women had powerful voices that spoke strongly from the heart.

Solo performer in this production, Indigo Keane, is a young performer that matches these rock heroes of the 80s, with an awesome voice and an intense stare that tells a thousand stories. Dressed in black leather she stylistically moulds into the black background, in this edgy piece of cabaret. Keane highlights all the emotions exposed that are as raw as the animals that she acts out. There is a punk rebellion to it but sound-wise there feels to have a channelling of the goth tones of Nick Cave. I love this combination where the soul of the story brims out clearly for all to see deeply. The intensity is kept throughout, even when Keane’s character of Lady Head’s nature is chaotic.

Lady Head, as a singer shows discomfort in singing the toxically masculine Kiss song, “I was made for loving you baby.” She puts her own feminine spin on it but notices that her fictional audience has people that want to put her down, just because she is a woman. She asserts herself against these kinds of people and evolves more realness throughout. Eventually leading to full expression of the complexities of being a woman to display how mentally draining it can be. You will be stunned with awe by this superbly crafted piece of theatre. Silence My Lady Head is a show that you will certainly not want silenced!

WHEN: 12 – 16 February 2019 | 9:00pm

WHERE: The Studio | The Blue Room Theatre | FRINGE CENTRAL

INFO: Tickets $18 – $21 | Duration 50m | Age suitability: 18+ | Content Warning: Mild nudity, occasional course language, strobe effects, loud noises, sexual references | THEATRE

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/silence-my-ladyhead-fw2019

FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Paradise! A Cool & Smart Show | 3.5 Stars

Review | Kieran Eaton

What is paradise? If you think you know what paradise is then you are most likely naive. This show by Barney Pollock and Matt Young is a series of silly sketches to explain a journey of two fraternity boys Alec Rose (Young) and Robert Tumb (Pollock) to find The Ice-cream Man. They know that this messy story is going to sound crazy, but they appear to want to come across as a Jackson Pollock in comedy form. This creates some bits to be highly meaningful and others you must use your imagination more. The ideas are a bit vague but the bottom line it is about friendship and coming together to solve problems. Whatever you feel about this show, you know these starring performers have a strong bond.

Alec and Robert represent young men that are smart academically but emotionally immature. The more recent generations (millennials) can especially relate to this – world of stuff and spoiling parents. These two are desperate to be cool but don’t know how. They don’t realise that trying too hard is not cool. They think making a long train journey to Perth to meet The Ice-cream Man will make them cool. In their journey some bizarre characters appear, in possible reference to Alice in Wonderland. There is small amount of crowd interaction that is done well because of Pollock and Young’s exceptional improvisational skills.

In the end they get to meet The Ice-cream Man, played by a very funny performance from Tim Quabba. His facial expressions are amazing as a crazed man that explains his distorted views of reality. There is also an amusing moment when Robert body gets turned into super buff, where Cam Pollock comes on wearing only briefs. All this chaos is cleverly resolved to highlight the pointlessness of their existential journey.

To see some clever ideas, expressed in an artful way, Paradise! A Cool & Smart Show may be the journey you need to be destined for.

WHEN: 12 – 16 February 2019 | 7:30pm

WHERE: The Studio | The Blue Room Theatre | FRINGE CENTRAL

INFO: Tickets $21 | Duration 60m | Age suitability: M | Content Warning: Frequent course language, loud noises, sexual references, drug references   | COMEDY

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/paradise-a-cool-smart-show-fw2019

062-890

10173802

FRINGEWORLD, Interview, on now

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Luke Bolland | INTERVIEW | Part 2

Luke Bolland is the brilliant comedian behind award winning show Fame Dropper and new show Weight Dropper. Comedy correspondent Kieran Eaton caught up with him before the show.

Haven’t read part one? Click HERE to read it now!

How do you think your last show, Name Dropper went? Do you enjoy [doing] Name Dropper? Especially winning Best WA [comedy] act.

Yeah, it was pretty great because it that thing of, you know when I’m doing a show I put so much effort into it will be pretty much a year of hard work, and so to have that is my fourth year in a row and I had never even been nominated for an award so to not only get nominated but win an award in the same year, it felt a justification. That is four years of hard work, it is paying off right now – it felt amazing. I think it was a good show and people who saw it said it was amazing, and an outstanding review from you which I appreciate. But I think it has pushed me, this year that I hope that I have created an even better show – I feel good about this one.

 

Have you tested a bit of material at the [comedy] clubs?

Yeah, absolutely – it has literally been 10 months I started working on it. I started working on it on March, going up the open mic rooms and doing bits from the new show and then be like, “That worked, that’s going in the show, that didn’t and so that’s no.” But there are a lot of bits that doesn’t work outside the show, so I’m doing it for the first time. I did two test shows last week – one was to a friend who was going to be away, travelling so could not make it. So, I went to their house to the show and their feedback was it was better than last year’s show. And, I did the show for two complete strangers – who were co-workers of my producer, one of them did not speak very good English, and so if this could work in front of them, I know I am on to something. And, they loved it! I needed to it in front of somebody other than my wife and get feedback. I’m feeling pretty good about it now.

 

What has made success not change who you are?

The main thing for me is because I’ve got kids, I don’t really get to perform outside of Perth. People in Perth don’t care if you’ve won an award and had sold out shows. They’ll come see you at a pub – if you are not good, they will tell you very quickly. So, having to constantly work every week and prove myself all over again, keeps me very grounded, very level-headed – because as soon as you get out there and say, This next comedy act won best comedy act at Perth Fringe World Festival,” and the audience is like, “I don’t give a shit, make me laugh or not.”
How can you not stay humble when that is your constant mindset that you have to constantly put yourself in.

 

I am guessing also children also keep you grounded?

Definitely – they don’t care what awards you have won. All they care is that your there each night, making them dinner, running their bath, tucking them into bed, reading them stories – you’ve got to do all of that. It keeps you level headed

 

Was it easy to get ideas for the show?
It an interesting one because I didn’t know what was going to be the strategy, what I was going to do. So, I said I’m going to write about the story – the timeline of ten months of trying to lose this weight. I had no idea starting out, what I was going to do. I had no idea how I was going to lose the weight. The show just became about that and I met some interesting people along the way, where I’m offered up advice and work out buddies. So, it was a weird thing that there was no, this is where the show is about the start, this is going to be middle part – I just knew this is the start and this is where I’d like it to finish. So, I recorded part of the show back in March when I first started, so there are some video components to the show, and that is the only bit I knew at the beginning, All I knew is that the video is going to open the show – everything else we’ll see what happens next year.

 

So, I guess you just went with the flow and the main thing is it gets laughs?

That’s the most important thing for me because you people to laugh, you want people to have fun and have a good night out.  It is what I like to call a slow build – it is starts out pace out well, but I think it build to a really fun finish. The last twenty minutes are very funny and entertaining, so I can’t wait for that moment – it is my reward for all the hard work, the last twenty minutes of the show, seeing people hopefully going crazy and enjoying it

 

In three words, how would you describe your show?

Funny weight-loss adventure.

 

Anything else you’d like to add?

Weight dropper, I won’t do again. It has been a ten-month journey and this is the end of the journey. It is not going to be relevant for me to go back and dig it up in a years’ time, it is relevant right now. So, if you want to see you’ve got to come to Fringe World now because I won’t be doing the show again next year

You can check out Name Dropper HERE.

Or read our review of Weight Dropper HERE.

FRINGEWORLD, In Brief, on now

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Robyn Perkins | 10,000 Decisions | 5 With Fringe

Robyn Perkins is an American comedian gracing our shores this FRINGEWORLD 2019 with her show 10, 000 Decisions – a heady combination of science and trivial pursuits! She answered our 5 With Fringe series ahead of the show.

What is your show all about?

In short, it’s a show about decision-making, combining personal anecdotes and neuroscience. But really, it was a show inspired by a bad decision I made. I look at that decision and investigate all of the reasons that led to that decision. We also make a decisions anonymously submitted by an audience member…so come armed with a decision you are struggling with!

Favourite FRINGEWORLD 2019 hangout?

Budgie Smuggler. Friendly people, [usually] great music. And the cheap drinks help.

What is the best part about FRINGEWORLD 2019?

The people. I mean, the weather is amazing. But the people are the best. Not just people at Fringe World, but the audiences. The positive feedback I have had after shows has been so nice.

Apart from your show, what other shows would you recommend?

Comedians Against Humanity is a really fun show, and different every time. I loved 52 Days by Aidan Jones. YUMMY Cabaret is also great. And whilee I have not seen the shows, I really want to see Dion Arnold and Rory Lowe’s show.

You can grab your tickets to 10, 000 Decisions HERE.

FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Talofa Papa | 4 Stars

Review | Laura Money

 Talofa everyone! Please, sit, drink, celebrate – it’s good to see you all! Talofa Papa (hello, Papa) sees Kasiano Mita embody the titular character and welcome the audience into his home for Grandma’s birthday party. Mita is gentle and warm. His character is clearly derived from a place of love. He greets everybody as though they are family – and for one night only, the audience actually become that family. Rich in Samoan culture and tradition, Talofa Papa embraces its roots and proves that whatever the culture, family is not only important but strong bonds are prevailing. 

Mita is amazing as Papa. His characterisation is perfect, from subtle nods of the head, to a stiffness of gait, from switching between praise and annoyance at his grandson, to inducing mild wariness in the audience family. There is a feeling of reverence about this character – he is compelling in every way. Papa teaches the audience how to celebrate Samoan style – how to dance, how to sing, how to party! Talofa Papa is hilarious and heartfelt. There are serval laugh out loud moments, mostly derived from Mita’s flawless crowd interaction. 

There is a unifying element in this character. Everybody knows a patriarch or elder figure in their own family who is like this. They unite the family and although hugely likeable, are often just a little unpredictable! Talofa Papa is the sweetest, gentlest show this FRINGEWORLD 2019. It pulls the audience in for a big hug and doesn’t let go until the end. You’ll feel uplifted, nostalgic, a little sad, and ready to call your grandma. 

WHEN: 12 – 16 February 2019 | 6:00pm

WHERE: The Studio | The Blue Room Theatre | FRINGE CENTRAL

INFO: Tickets $18 – $25 | Duration 60m | Age suitability: All (general) | THEATRE

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/talofa-papa-fw2019

FRINGEWORLD, In Brief, on now

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Indigo Keane & Nicole Harvey | Silence My Ladyhead | 5 With Fringe

Indigo Keane and Nicole Harvey are the wonderful creatives behind Silence My Ladyhead playing during FRINGEWORLD 2019. They answered our 5 With Fringe questions ahead of the show.

Describe your show in 3 words: 

Indigo Keane: The. Teeth. Underneath.

Nicole Harvey: Disco, nightclub, exorcism OR…  unpredictable, irreverant, visceral

What is your show all about? 

I: What is left of one woman’s performance as she begins to exorcise ‘character’. Who does Lady Head think she is after her purpose begins to dissolve in front of the audiences very eyes…

N: The show is about Ladyhead – a larger than life, powerhouse of a front woman who has been performing for her adoring fans since the beginning of time. Ladyhead will do anything to stay in the spotlight but her one-woman show is falling apart and we’re there to watch the whole catastrophic explosion.

The show is an exploration of the tension that exists between the performed self and lived experience – an exorcism of character and a brutal resurrection of self. Silence My Ladyhead is a declaration of female power, a celebration of female desire and a rebellion against social expectations of gender.

Favourite FRINGEWORLD 2019 hangout? 

I: You’ll find Lady Head downing a post show champaz at The Blue Room Bar.

N: The Blue Room Theatre and Budge Smuggler…

What is the best part about FRINGEWORLD 2019? 

N: Connecting with artists from all over the country (and world) and seeing so much new work in the one place.  I love the variety of FRINGE and being able to go into a venue and see works by both upcoming and more established artists. It’s always such a fun and exciting vibe and there’s usually work that experiments with form as well as content.

FRINGEWORLD has a feeling of potential and unpredictability – which I love. In particular I’m really excited to see diverse and experimental works that play with form as well as content and I’m super excited for Ladyhead’s DJ set at the silent disco

Apart from your show, what other shows would you recommend? 

I: Feminah – I feel like we are sister shows.

N: Only Bones v1.0, Feminah, Betty Grumble LOVE & ANGER, Micromove

You can get your tickets to Silence My Ladyhead HERE.

FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Night Cap | 4 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Out and about on a Friday or Saturday night and don’t want your FRINGEWORLD experience to end? Are you left wanting more after the regular cabarets are over? Fancy a late night tipple? Then look no further than Night Cap and end your evening with a bang! Join local burlesque star Whisky A’More as she brings a stellar line-up of subversive, innovative, and artistic burlesque acts. This isn’t a show for those seeking glitter and sequins – it’s a thinking person’s cabaret – so sit back and ponder and let the crew from Night Cap stimulate your intellect.

Opening the night is Whisky A’More herself, the boss-bitch firmly in charge of her crew as the squad entertain with a very sexy group number. It sets the tone for the night – sophisticated, inclusive, and goddamn hot! Hosting this sensual evening is the fabulous Barbie Q and we couldn’t love her more. She is quick with a quip and has a razor sharp tongue but believe me, you’ll be begging to get a few cuts by he end of the night! She calms the rabble and is in genuine awe of the acts. Plus, she’s just plain hilarious!

Night Cap puts Perth talent centre stage and celebrates the innovation and artistry borne out of isolation. There really must be something in the water over here as all of these acts are unique and explore interesting themes within society. From the phenomenal Scarlet Adams – the first Drag Queen to win Miss Burlesque 2018, to the flexible Karl Kayoss – winner of Mr Boylesque 2017 we see diversity and difference celebrated here. Adams is a delight to watch. She is all class – a dangerously sexy mix of Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe with silky moves, she will keep you on the edge of your seat. Kayoss is a new favourite of mine! His costuming is wonderfully subversive and blurs the line between gender and body identity. He decides what is covered and what isn’t – reclaiming dominion over his own body, keeping the audience in a trance-like state with his hypnotic supple movement.

Both Lulu Liqueur and Wild Kat keep you on your toes with their unique stylings and whip-cracking entertainment. You’ll probably want to go home and watch Star Wars after the Princess Leia inspired costume – and I’m not talking the buns – you know which one I mean. There are sultry sounds from songstress Malaika Moon, whose flawless tone brings a hell of a lot of sex appeal to the crowded tent. She croons Mein Heir from Cabaret and has every breath caught in anticipation – each note more perfect than the last.

Of course, it’s not all safe – be prepared for the firey antics of Smokey LaBare whose blend of humour, sex appeal and sizzle factor will keep you burning for hours. her routine is funny and sexy and dangerous – the perfect combination for late night burlesque! Perhaps the most subtle performance comes from the legendary Whisky A’More in the most understated and classy headline act ever. Stepping out like a naughtier Judy Garland in Get Happy – suit jacket, fishnets, fedora and not much else – A’More proves that classy is always best when it comes to burlesque.

So, go and have a few stiff drinks – cap off your night with a clever and stimulating evening of burlesque, sex appeal, subversion and fun. Don’t miss out on this Night Cap.

 

WHEN: 8 & 9 February | 15 & 16 February 2019 | 11:15pm

WHERE: Shambles | WOODSIDE PLEASURE GARDEN

INFO: Tickets $27 – $30 | Duration 60m | Age suitability: 18+ | Content warning: Nudity, Coarse Language, Strobe Lighting, Smoke Effects, Sexual References, Loud Noises | WA ARTISTS | CABARET

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/night-cap-fw2019

FRINGEWORLD, In Brief, on now

FRINGEWORLD 2019: | Matt Young and Barney Pollock | Paradise! A Cool & Smart Show | 5 With Fringe

Matt Young and Barney Pollock are the lead creative of Paradise! A Cool & Smart Show, a funny and clever sketch comedy show playing as part of FRINGEWORLD 2019. They answered our 5 With Fringe ahead of the show.

Describe your show in 3 words:

Matt: Worth your money

Barney: Existential, messy, superdumb

What is your show all about?

M: Two friends trying to make each other laugh and hoping other people fall into the vortex.

B: Paradise! A Cool and Smart Show is about wanting and desires. What does paradise mean to you? What happens if you actually get it?

Favourite FRINGEWORLD 2019 hangout?

M: I’m terrified of the heat so I’ll be at the beach.

B: Mum and Dads House. Its a 24/7 bbq and everything is free. Also the shower is really good.

What is the best part about FRINGEWORLD 2019?

M: I get to see where Barney’s from and add to my ever-growing psychological profile of him.

B: Having a good reason to walk through Northbridge yelling on a Monday night. Itsssss Fringe BABYYYYY!

 And the shows 

Apart from your show, what other shows would you recommend?

M: Bella Green is Charging for It and Ben Russell’s Fylleangst.

B: Bella Green is Charging for it , Double Denim and Ben Russell’s Fylleangst.

All very funny very talented people doing A+ show.

 

You can grab your tickets to Paradise! A Cool & Smart Show HERE.

FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Dolly Di*mond’s Bl*nkety Bl*nks | 4 Stars

Review | Kieran Eaton

What a star is Dolly Diamond! She is so engaging that I could watch her all night but beware, she might think that you are interested in her sexually – that is if you are a young man. Her comedy talents are exceptional, and she is immensely cheeky. Yet, this show does not just revolve around the extravagant Diamond, she also works with a daggy offsider who will wave at the audience at any opportunity. Then there are the rotating ‘Perthanliaties’ that range from comedians to cabaret acts. Lastly, there are two contestants from the audience! (They are required to fill out a little participation form so Diamond can work off their bio.) The winner of the contest gets a good prize, no silly jokey prize – so worth being made fun of by the host.

A self-described ‘Queen of Cabaret’, Diamond works her magic on an old TV show – so old that even dust is on it! With her tight-fitting dress and larger than life hair, the show is seamlessly converted into a live performance, at the intimate Downstairs at His Maj. It does not matter if you have not watched the show before because it is simple: The contestants must fill a blank in a given sentence and they get a point for every match with a guest celebrity answer. Now, this is a late-night show, so the answers tend to lend themselves to sexually explicit language but with the right amount of silliness, it works like a treat.

Looking at the set you feel like you have been teleported back in time with a cheesy look that is well parodied. Everything is done in jest, from the camera photos to the group wave at the end. There are so many reasons to laugh but if you can’t muster up a chuckle there is a bar to have a drink, relax and not take yourself so seriously!

For some well-constructed, light entertainment Dolly Di*amond’s Bl*nkety Bl*nks is certainly a match.

WHEN: 12 – 16 February 2019 | 9:00pm

WHERE: Downstairs at Maj | His Majesty’s Theatre | PERTH CBD

INFO: Tickets $34-$42 | Duration 60m | Age suitability: M | Content Warning: Sexual reference and occasional course language | CABARET

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/dolly-di-mond-s-bl-nkety-bl-nks-fw2019

 

FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: The Voice Behind The Stars | 4.5 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Intimate and giving, The Voice Behind the Stars is a witty and genuine look at the ‘Ghostess with the Mostest’ – the incomparable Marni Nixon. Eliza Jackson embodies the role in a one woman tour de force that not only highlights the amazing talents of Ms Nixon but cements Jackson as an absolutely legendary performer. She is one to watch – and it will be a delight to do so over and over again!

So, Jackson plays Marni Nixon – Hollywood’s worst kept secret! Switching between the recording studio and lounge room complete with cozy armchair that is begging to have a story told from it, Jackson complies with honesty and heart. If you were expecting a one-woman expose and harshness towards the film industry, look elsewhere, because The Voice Behind The Stars finally puts Nixon’s voice centre stage but gently. Jackson’s portrayal of Nixon is a sheer delight – her shy smile and joy of recounting Nixon’s early life is nostalgic and sweet. There is a tenderness here when speaking of the family, friends and above all, the music. Jackson places the story firmly in Nixon’s hands.

Of course, we all know that Marni Nixon had a sublime voice and that she could match the stars she was dubbing. Well, Jackson has the remarkable ability to mimic Nixon mimicking the stars! I cannot stress how phenomenal this talent is. Jackson, like Nixon before her matches Marilyn Monroe, Deborah Kerr, Audrey Hepburn, Natalie Wood with aplomb. There are all the old favourites, ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’, ‘I feel Pretty’ , ‘Getting to Know You’ that almost invite the audience to join in – of course once you hear how remarkable Jackson’s voice is, you won’t sing because you couldn’t come close if you tried!

I love the little surprising moments in this play. Jackson’s effervescence is infectious, and you can’t help but smile in sympathy as she gently exposes the world of old Hollywood. The Voice Behind the Stars is a simply stunning piece of theatre. It pulls on every heartstring with Jackson’s angelic voice accompanying. There really was no-one quite like Marni Nixon, but thanks to Eliza Jackson, we know her story. It will make you want to get out all your old records and listen to the wonderful talent captured between the grooves.

 

WHEN: 10 – 13 February 2019 | 8:00pm

WHERE: The Gold Digger | Matsuo’s Broome Time | FRINGE CENTRAL

INFO: Tickets $15.50 – $24.50 | Duration 60m | Age suitability: All (general) | CABARET

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/the-voice-behind-the-stars-fw2019

FRINGEWORLD, Interview, on now

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Colin Ebsworth | Ebz Dispenser | INTERVIEW

Interview | Kieran Eaton

I am here with Colin Ebsworth. He is doing a show for Fringe World 2019 called Ebz Disperser. So, what is it about?

It is a brand-new hour of comedy. It is the best stuff from last year. It is the same way that I always do it. I take hours, hours and hours and cut it all down. I then take it to Fringe and give them something new that is very, very funny, I hope. It is just exciting because this is the biggest venue in terms of the number of people I’ve got coming, the number of shows I am doing, the material I think (I hope) is the best which is great because last year was really good – you guys [Fourth Wall] reviewed it and gave it four stars, which is really good, I am happy about, that really nice. I think this year will be even better and I am having lots of fun already.

Yeah, I’m excited – saw your show last year and was at a Greek place (Yeah, The Helenic) ?

Yeah, I think I bitten off more than I could chew, that was a very big venue and I my hungry little eyes saw more than what I could do.

So where now? You have moved on from that spot, haven’t you?

Yes, so I don’t think that venue is running any shows this year, but I managed to have a complete fluke this year. I got sent over to London by the Comedy Lounge and which was great. When I got back, all then venues had been snapped up and I was like I don’t have a city venue. I had all these hubs but no city and then The Laugh Resort Comedy (Australia’s oldest running room) establishment came out of retirement and hiatus with a venue smack bang in the middle of Yagan Square which I later found would be fifty feet from the main box office, and they did not have anyone because everyone had locked in their runs so I applied and they said, “Yes of course, it is a local thing and we want to provide for local artists.”

And I love the guys who run it, it was just nuts, a complete fluke.

What is that venue called?

The Shoe Bar, it will be at the back venue. The have a really nice, sweet setup because that is run through The Laugh Resort which is the comedy club. Then I have the Balmoral which is in Vic Park, which is on the 20th. I’ve got the main run in Northbridge which runs from the 21st to the 3rd of Feb. I’ve got the 7th of Feb which is in Fremantle at the Sail and Anchor. Then Scarborough is a giant two hundred-seater tent which I did last year, which was unreal. That one in Scarborough is at The Sunset Veranda which will be on the 15th Feb. The last show is the 16th of Feb and that is at Midland and I maybe, maybe, if I’m good will have another sneaky show, but I can’t talk about it too much right now. The hype is there, it will be cool.

How many shows are you doing?

So this is eight. Last year, it is down four from last year but still this is the biggest in terms of number of hubs because I found last year I found the hub venues were great. I had a lot of fun at Fremantle, Scarborough went like gang busters so yeah, I ‘ve been doing a lot of hub stuff and I see.  I’m finally in a position financially where I can have a fun Fringe and not just stress about things, I’m really looking forward to it. It’s really weird, isn’t it weird when the onus and impetus of money of money is removed you can become such a better performer.

Would you say that is one of the hardest things of festival shows?

Absolutely, the money is awful. If we could do, a lot of people have spoken about things – there is a few things that would be good in the short term. Things like reducing the comp ticket price – in Adelaide it is 30 cents per comp ticket, over here it is a dollar so even if you even if you decide that you know what I am not going to make any money but at least I want people to enjoy my show, it will cost you money to even just give it for free.

If you really want to have an inclusive festival on top of that I’ve heard that small venues are given a mid-season payout, which would be huge for international acts and being able to go over here and get at least half their profits or half their money they have earned back sooner. If Fringe World Could do something like that it would be great.

I guess FRINGEWORLD is not as old or established as Adelaide?

Well Adelaide was in a pickle, they had a lot of problems and it only took a max exodus of the international and interstate acts coming in for them to go, “We are going to change it up.”

I feel like Perth kind have had that last year but whether this year will be a continuation of that or enough has changed, we’ll see.  I know it is bigger and I am excited for it personally. I know a lot of less acts are coming over, but it has been difficult.

I guess the key is numbers, right?

Yes, we will see how the artists are doing and we will see how many know about it. It really comes down to: Does the city know that it is on and if they do know and go, do they go and have fun and the artists make it financially viable, will hopefully lead to a successful, fun experience and their efforts to provide that.

There is three things; visibility, you know it’s on because of visibility; how much fun the audience has because of course it is the audience because if they are there and we are not doing anything; and if it is viable for the artists, mentally, emotionally and financially.

Yeah, the less stress the better?

Yeah, I completely agree. There is always going to be stress at the festival, it is just about minimising that. Like this I have a producer and she is doing such a good job, so it such a weird kind of divergence, where it now like, “You send this email, not me.” But yeah, it’s been a breeze this year, so I guess more of that management side of things.

So, is it your first time, having a producing?

It is the first time! I was explaining to a friend who is in theatre what I did, and she was like, “That is insane, what do you do?”
I was like, “I send a couple hundred emails out, visit a couple hundred venues.”
She was like, “That is crazy.”

That was the first year I factored in my time, which is what a lot of artists don’t do. Which is where on paper it appeared that I was making money – not a lot but enough to get by. As soon as I added my time as an asset or an expense, I realised I not making as much money as I thought I was.

Yeah, because you are losing time that you could be doing other things?

Yeah, even putting up posters this year. I used to be vehemently against poster distribution because they are making it harder for us. Then I paid for some more recently last year and not only were they friendly, good, very quick and very cheap; they took the time out where you talk to venues and worry if they are going to be taken down. It was a completely worthy experience for the one hundred of two hundred dollars that I spent, to see posters that I see everywhere and now I can run promotions where I am like, “Hey, take a photo of my poster and send it to me on your Instagram, tag me and blah, blah, blah, get a free ticket.”

You are just building so much more traction with it.

You sound like you are in an improved headspace?

Yeah, I can’t wait, it these new meds baby!

Do you talk about your well-being in this show?

Big time, yeah, so last year’s Fringe show you saw?

Yeah, last year’s one you mentioned about being diagnosed with Bipolar, right?

Yeah, which turned out to be a false diagnosis, which is great because now I have a whole new bit where I talk about a new psychiatrist that I met, and he is hilarious! He is an incredibly intelligent man, but he has the thickest Ghanan African accent and it is so funny because I am a huge marvel fan and as hard as I try, I can’t get it out of my head that every session with him I’m in a dream sequence, speaking to Black Panther’s dad. He speaks in a way you are like, “You are being ridiculous, you are quoting Lion King, I know you are doing that.”

He’d like to say these ridiculous analogies, crazy colloquialisms. You be like, “You are making this up to mess with me.”
That bit might not have been finished when you saw it last year and now, I’ve done a continuation of the story with different material, you get to see how it rounds out.

Yeah, it seems like last year you were only freshly diagnosed with it.

Yeah, I did not think of it like that. That’s a very astute point.

So, you have gone on a bit of a journey, last year?

Yeah, I am more excited this year and my perspective on comedy has kind of changed. It is not [now] the be all and end all and that is good because I have more fun with it now and a more relaxed vibe means I am not stressing myself out to get laughs. I enjoy the material more. I have removed the self-imposed limitations or restrictions that I have had: How long a bit should be; how many laughs it had to get; how it had to be deconstructive; how much energy to put in, etc. Which was after a while very strenuous, so now the pressure is off, and I think the audience likes it more.

It is almost more natural, ironically?

Yeah, completely. It is the stuff that I find funny. I think I went overboard, I overcorrected. In the past I did not write very much material and I was like how I get more in and I started writing a lot quickly. As the years went by I wrote a lot but I got these ideas that I had to write so much, like x amount before a bit is finished and now I kind of redirected and reorientated myself.

I am now like no longer has the writing of previous years help me find what I find funny but I now don’t have to write it to it’s fullest 100% extent because I end up cutting it down to the three jokes that I liked anyway. It is like this interesting efficiency that I’ve hit where I can go straight to the jokes that would have made the final cut, without having to do all that waffle to write all these long bits. So, I’ve satisfied both criteria, the creative side of the writing because it has been better able to reach the points that I want.

So, you get to the good bits quicker?

Quicker than when I first began. Yeah, you are never going to get straight from point A to point B in any creative endeavour because you are will be always wondering if there is something better out there, so I had to explore the whole map to realise that there was a straight line possible. But if I had of had that straight line, I would have been wondering is there a better way of doing this. So, you must do everything wrong before you can find out what is right, it’s a paradox.

It is kind of like life?

Yeah, that’s why sometimes wear different shoes, I’ll walk backwards, I’ll talk in different languages. You’ve got to do everything wrong, I’ll stab my toes on any corner, sip a coffee too hot straight away, people who go for a hand shake I high five them straight away. Everything wrong!

Living life in the moment?

Exactly! Get fired from one hundred jobs so when you don’t get fired you appreciate it!

Your whole brain will work out what is best for you anyway!

Perspective on these things is the key. Anyway, I think it is going to be a relative experience.

So, you evolved psychologically, philosophically, and comedically?

I hope so, or maybe I just bought a dictionary and learnt some new words.

What would you say is the main difference between club room comedy and festivals?

I very much enjoy Fringe shows for the artistic freedom that is offered. In comedy rooms, Perth especially because we have a less evolved comedic sensibility, purely for the fact that it has been for a less amount of time. You can see the quality of the scene and judge it based on purely how long stand up has been around.  The UK/US scenes will be a lot better than Eastern European scenes which have had comedy for literally long as the end of the Soviet Era and even more recently you see places like Lithuania and Estonia starting to get comedy room, having them for a couple of years. In that regard, Perth has an alright comedy scene because it is part of Australia and Australia is (pretty) developed.

We have an interesting mix of American and British styles that results in some interesting satire and delivery, narrative and storytelling, act outs. Perth as part of the scene is the least evolved, I’d say Perth and Adelaide. Perth is doing very well but the actual – the comics are doing good but the audience and what they want. That is where the disconnect is. We have some phenomenal comics here, great with crowd work, great everything, but the audience just is not clicking. You can be the best comic in the world but if the audience is not laughing – I think that is that understanding. If you are a good comic, you will be able to make it work. The compromise is that WA acts must do some simpler comedy, some less flourishes that they personally like. There are a lot of act out that I really like because they are super silly, and I love fully committing to a ridiculous scene. The audience goes that is step too far, we don’t understand. I must give them – let’s say the first couple of pages of what would have been a funny chapter of comedy but because of the audience and the way Fringe being like this artistic expression to its fullest means when people come to the Fringe show I can give them the full chapters and experience.

What I usually do is write a bit up, write it for ten, twenty minutes – however long it takes. Then I cut it back to the five I like. That five then goes into Fringe but a club set takes the best two minutes. Because that best two minutes are going to have jokes that are steady and it is not going to have the longer, more dynamic stand-up that might be offered to me at a Fringe – for people who are coming to see me.  The compromise I am trying to get now is how do I get the Fringe stand up as good as the club set, in terms of the hit ratio laughs per minute. How do I get my club set as artistically explorative and as dynamic, as the Fringe set?

I guess you just are learning the more you do it?

Exactly, because Perth is a small scene and this a big opportunity for us to make money and get seen, but it is for us to see other people – so many acts here. In terms of what I can view outside of Netflix specials or sometimes touring people, I get to see so much acts so it is great for us to it because it can be done. We often think, no you can’t do some long winded political piece in Australia, especially Perth because of the political apathy that is rampant in the scene because you don’t want to bore audiences or get them angry and then you see a touring comic do it and you see it is possible and they do it very well. I was wrong and it was one of those things that until you see it you won’t believe that you are wrong. You must see it for it to be done, which is great.

Because you went to the UK, didn’t you?

Yes, John McCallister from the Comedy Lounge jumped on stage after a set that I was hosting and just said, “Hey, Colin has been doing very great here, here is a gift voucher.”

I was enamoured, it was so nice of him.  I love the guy and they have given me so many opportunities. Shout out to those guys, Brandon The Lounge for making it happen. So, he handed the gift voucher I thought it was like one hundred dollars, and thought it was cool and I could use it in Melbourne but when it was like five hundred, I was like, “Oh geeze, I’m going to Europe baby.”
So I went to London and man, I was born and raised in America, raised by an American mum, got a lot of American centric  comedy I was raised on. So, I always felt a fondness for that and a defensiveness when they said there are other comedy forms. Like, I can appreciate that Monty Python is funny but I just have never super clicked on to it but I have had so many people over the years say, “Oh, your comedy style is like the English comics.”
I would just get defensive and be like, “ No, you are wrong!”

Then gradually I’ve been exposed to it and I’ve been like, bit more UK, bit more UK and I have found that the James Akisses of the world, the Phil Wangs – I like their stuff. Going over there was the final push that I needed to go, “Oh, I love UK comedy.”
I still love American, but it still resonates with me more, the UK. I feel that I’ve been living this double life. I’ve been in the comedy closet, so to speak and now I’m out and now I love UK comedy it almost aligns with me more – in terms of what they do with stories, in terms of satire, the wit and the dryness in the material, the beats.

How many gigs did you do there?

Only a couple because I was just trying to get a feel for the scene, but they were all great. We had Open-Mikes that had about forty people, which was is a good crowd, but they were like apologising to us, saying, “So sorry that there is only forty, usually there is about eighty.”

That is like crazy – there would be Open-Mics that would do donations at the end, a model that hasn’t successfully transitioned to Australia yet. People have mixed feelings about it here but in the UK, it works, in a lot of the venues.

They do it in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?

Yeah, they have tried to do it Perth and people are like, “We don’t understand it.”
It is either you pay for it or you don’t, but don’t say it is for free and then ask for money. Perth audiences have a weird – Australians are weird.

It is like how we are with tipping?

Yeah, it is like how we are with niceties. I think Australians like a very clear arrangement. They are like you have done this and I’ll provide you with this. You know, X is Y.

They don’t want to think too much?

Yeah, it is like, “You said it is free and now you want money? You lied to me!”
No matter if they enjoyed it, they would be like why you would lie to me like that. They don’t understand that it is whatever you feel. What they feel is hurt and betrayed. Donate, your masculinity is not going to be threatened, everyone still thinks you are funny at the construction site, and this no way reflects on your moral character.

We need more place like the food donation ones, like Annalaksmi?

We need more Hari Krishna comedy – is what we need. It is comedy that comes with a 5 out of 10 Chickpea Masala but you give twenty bucks anyway because you feel bad – I won’t be stingy,

I love Annalaksmi.

Yeah, Annalaksmi is great. Let’s give a shout out to Annalaksmi, sponsoring this. You do great food, I don’t know what you put in that orange juice, I am hoping it is orange because it really is the bees knees.

It’s good.

Yeah, so the rooms are great for the open mikes. They even gave money to the acts, so they got home safe – a spilt from the money they take from the donations, it crazy, I loved it. As you know, from Melbourne, New York, Toronto, places that give you stuff over the years in the scene function – when you get a big concentrated group of artists together the price bottom falls out and you end up with shitty rooms, no punters, no pay. London was a complete 180, an anomaly that I was so pleased by it.

Have you done any other Fringe venues, other than Fringe World?

Oh, Adelaide Fringe. So, I have done Adelaide Fringe and Melbourne International Comedy Festival and done my own travels around, but you can go to a scene and check it out for a fraction it would cost to invest in a show – time and money, and contacts, energy. It is so much more demanding to say I am going to do the festival in Sydney or in Melbourne, or Toronto than it is to say that I am going to do gigs.

 

As they say in China, you are in the long plan?

Are you referring to Mao’s grand plan? That is funny because I was reading about the history of the centralised plan to modernise agrarian China. Man, that’s the kind of reference I’d like to do in one of my shows.

Maybe we could workshop on that.

Next year coming at you, 2020 – Colin Ebsworth: 5 Year Plan.

My metaphor is that you are not too focused on time, anymore. You are more about getting it right?

Yeah, everyone has got to do their own thing and I’ve found it really daunting and not worth the energy in terms of the financial, creative and emotional outlet to do other places. I love Perth. People say Perth is small, Perth is this – but that is the trade off for a scene that pays as well as it does, gets crowds the ways it does, with opportunities that we have. We have three huge festivals every year.

I mean, it is insane that we have that. We have a regional circuit, a dedicated comedy room that is the best in the country – it’s nuts. The trade off is that you can’t do five average gigs in one night that you’d be able to do in New York, to only comedians for no pay. I’ve don’t that scene and you know what, five gigs a night, you pump out less material because you have less time to write, less time to reflect and less money because you can’t work, as you are waiting for two hours for them to get back to you.

Yeah, I’ve heard some interesting stories.

It doesn’t work. If it made better comics the ratio in the world would be 90:10 to New York. Everybody should be from New York. I should be from New York, statistically. If the New York system worked, judging by the number of people there and start comedy, all of them in America should be from New York.

Yeah, it just that they have the history, so people come near and far to go to it.

Every comedy room that I ever performed in would have been New York comedians, if the New York system worked and it doesn’t. You go to New Jersey, Perth – there is great comics from Adelaide!

Yeah, the world is like a smorgasbord, where you can look all around it and say I like that one.

It all goes down to writing, performing and watching. Those are the three things – you can be strong in one but you can’t completely avoid one, and you have to do all three to some extent and you’ll get better. Whether that is one gig a year or one gig a month or whatever, you make your opportunities. [Rodney] Dangerfield did twenty years not doing standup but he wrote every day, selling door to door rollershutters. He still wrote it all, put it in a chest and so by the time he returned twenty years later, he had twenty years of material. So he really bulked down on that one thing but if he did not complete that trifactor and started performing he would have never become famous.

You can be anywhere. Look at your friend, Sami Shah?

Yeah, Sami Shah’s first gigs were on the computer program, second life! He’ll perform on virtual comedy rooms, online, with microphone and headset on his computer, performing to a bunch of NPCs and other characters from around the world – who would laugh at a delayed reaction because of slow internet speeds. You make your opportunities – you totally do it.

He must love comedy.

If you are funny, you are funny. Bill Hicks started doing skits in the middle of his high school, while he was waiting between transfer from classes. During his timetable he would do skits with people – it’s totally feasible.

Are those people who go against the grain of finding success your inspiration?

Yeah, I have got a lot of respect for them, for people that can do it like that.  I guess I get down on myself, like any artist would thinking that I’ve not done enough, blah, blah. Then I look back and go I’ve kinda done a gig but even if comedy wasn’t there, I’d still be doing silly things. Even before comedy I was writing dumb skits and filming them – they were so bad, but I was doing it because I enjoyed it.

You pretty much know if somebody wants to be a comedian, even if they stopped doing it after a couple gigs?

Yeah, they are hooked. Everyone always said it to me [do stand-up] and I’d be like no, I don’t see it. I was afraid, I was terrified. I did not know to write material, either. So, I was like, “No, I won’t do it!” but you gradually come to the idea and you do it and you think of it more.

Do you think they [comics] are people that need to embrace their inner quirkiness?

Yeah, totally – but there are hilariously funny people off stage, terrible on stage, and vice versa. There are people hilarious on stage who are just boring, reserved.  What I do know is there are people that should be doing stand-up, if they had more confidence, support, pay structure throughout their entire lives – reinforcing that it is ok to be funny and two, that you are funny and that you  are better for it because it is another form of expression of who you are and what you see.

The bottom line is we recommend anything creative.

It is the same with writing. People say if you can’t write material, just write anything, whether it a diary entry, whether it is poetry, whether it is rapping or music. Whatever you do, get the words out and the brain rolling and moving because – it is like one of those paintings where you put a blob of paint and roll the marble through it and tilt the canvas and that makes a thing. It is not where it goes, it is just the fact that it is going that will make the art.

It is part of the human condition, the need to be – to explore your consciousness.

Absolutely, it the same way we have the need to move because our body was designed to move – we have a need to think and explore these things. Otherwise we’d just lie in bed all day just breathing.

Bam, we’ll wrap it with that! Your show in three words?

Dynamic, energetic, creative.

YOU CAN GRAB YOUR TICKETS FOR COLIN EBSWORTH – EBS DISPENSER HERE.

AND CHECK OUT OUR 4 STAR REVIEW HERE.

FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Worship | 5 Stars

Review | Amanda Lancaster

To Worship is to honour, to adore, to show reverence for. As if observing a divine being or supernatural power or force…… And believe me when I say upon viewing this show, worship you will –  with full undying need, desire and devotion .

Worship is one of the most amazing shows FRINGEWORLD 2019 has to offer. Bringing together some of the sassiest and the sexiest performers and acts ever assembled in a seamlessly interwoven sensory overload. In a festival that has its fair share of burlesque, circus, singing, dancing and dark seductive themes, Worship and Foxglove Productions are at the very top of the creativity game.

Opening the showcase is aural chill, a flushing of goose bumps to the skin, haunting, beautiful, a voice aided mysteriously by a very conveniently timed zephyr of wind, quite literally shakes the house. As you can imagine, this only succeeds in setting firmly in stone the tone of things yet to come over the duration of the show’s performance determined to do no less than bring a dark world into a sexy light.

The whole show is an overload of each of the senses, touching on all facets of the term ‘worship’ and what it can mean – bringing some very dark qualities and subjects forward, keeping the audience enthralled – on the edge of their seats and their deepest desires. The acts include fire dancers, contortionists, singers, burlesque dancers, and one incredible dance with a fur coat and pvc wide brimmed hat that is truly unforgettable and needs to be seen to be believed!

Observe in idolatry one of the most incredibly athletic circus performers as he bends and twists his body in the most amazing feats of strength and balance right up to the point of drawn in breaths of unison. Hands cover mouths as shock ensues – as the audience sways, spellbound by the seemingly devilish characters. At first glance the personalities are so darkly comic but quickly become more and more thrilling with each and every hauntingly gothic portrayal of the shows layering of talents.

My pick to watch, being that of the sultry singing stylings of sex kitten seductress Miss Veronica Lily – who this reviewer and her guest can now attest to idolising. A recommendation for lovers of sinful pleasure, seduction of the senses, and a powerful performance of outright perfection for lovers of the cabaret genre. This show encompasses all. Bewitching acts that your mind will be unable to let go of long after they vanish from view. An insatiable craving an unsated yearning for more throughout the performance and for nights and days to follow.

On your knees people: it’s time to worship.

WHEN: 7 – 17 February 2019 | 9:30pm

WHERE: Megamouth | YAGAN SQUARE

INFO: Tickets $25 – $30 | Duration 60m | Age Suitability: 18+ | Content warning: Sexual References, Strobe Lighting, Smoke Effects | WA ARTISTS | CABARET

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/worship-fw2019

FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: The Stevenson Experience: Takes One to Know One | 3.5 Stars

Review | Kieran Eaton

What does it mean to be a twin? I should know being one but I am a fraternal (non-identical), while Beej and Jimmy Stevenson are identical twins, so they have a whole different bunch of identity issues. Nature vs Nurture tend to subtly work together, so any variation this pairing have would create a vibe of a sliding doors situations, and we learn early on that labelling them as the same person is not on, just like racism.

Performing in the action packed Rosie O’Grady’s, they seem to compete with the noise by being loud themselves. Twin fights are quite normal things but these two know each other so well that it became intense and sometimes the funny did not have time to be processed. Their material is interesting and intelligent but sometimes feels self indulgent. Their banter is their strong point, even though their musical abilities are quite high. Musical comedy used to be quite a novelty but now with success of bands like Flight of The Concords, any similar song can lead to pale comparisons. What keeps it together is their self and pair awareness that allows for for quick witted retorts to the audience. They enhance this with an original idea of having a few audience members throw tennis balls, each with different house belongings. This is to decide who gets what when they move to separate homes.

This duo is a slick combination and when they try to appear loose it appears too contrived. Their material is mixed from celebrating country bakeries to contemplating who is the evil twin, with them asking who is their favourite and using compliments to sway the judgement.

The Steveson Experience: Takes One to Know One is a solid experience of laughing at a duo that know each other as well as themselves.

WHEN: 5 – 17 February 2019 | 8:30pm

WHERE: Cabaret Bar | Rosie O’Grady’s | NORTHBRIDGE

INFO: Tickets $20 – $30 | Duration 60m | Age suitability: M | COMEDY

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/the-stevenson-experience-takes-one-to-know-one-fw2019

FRINGEWORLD, In Brief

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Sian Murphy | Angels’ Share | 5 With Fringe

Sian Murphy is the Public Relations Manager for the brilliantly Scottish play Angels’ Share playing this FRINGEWORLD 2019. She answered our 5 With Fringe questions ahead of their 3 show run.

Describe your show in 3 words: 

Dark, scottish, and spirited!

What is your show all about?

The play follows the adventures of ‘Feints’ and ‘Fallshorts’, two best friends and uniquely Scottish characters who have spent the last 10 years as caretakers of an abandoned Scottish whisky distillery on their remote island in the Scottish Hebrides. One of them is content with life as is, however the other is struggling with his identity and family and feels trapped on the small island.

Their adventure begins when they do the math and work out the value of the whisky they are safe-guarding and start to plan on how they can change their lonely lives on the island…with some dangerous consequences for them and the people they love.

Favourite FRINGEWORLD 2019 hangout?

Our team loves the Pleasure Gardens! It’s super close to Nevermind Smallclub which is we’re Angels’ Share is playing and is a garden of delights. It’s just like a big bar with some of the worlds best entertainment!

What is the best part about FRINGEWORLD 2019?

The broad range of high quality shows on! No matter what mood you’re in there is something for you. Also the way it ignites the city and Perth in general, it’s just buzzing at this time of year!

Apart from your show, what other shows would you recommend?

This is a tough one because there are so many great shows on so we’ll have to list!

* YUCK Circus- was a fantastic show

* Let Me Finish. -If you didn’t get a chance to see this when it sold out at The Blue Room Theatre then definitely get along!

* The Summer Nights Program at the Blue Room in general, but I love DAD and have seen so many good things there this season!

You can get your tickets to Angels’ Share HERE.