ARTICLES

on now, Review

REVIEW: Constellations

By Laura Money

The Irish Theatre Players are a not-for-profit independent theatre group shaking things up in Subiaco, Perth. They produce a variety of works thorughout the year and clearly love what they do! This winter’s offering is Constellations, a work written by UK playwright Nick Payne – a compelling and elegant play about the infinite possibilities that multiverse theory offers. It’s also a beautiful love story.

Director Brendan Ellis has stripped back the script into its purest form in a way that places the focus on the intricate and clever dialogue. In a world of possibilities, every word and their sequence is important. As a two-person play, there are only so many interesting positions to put the characters in, yet Ellis creates a pattern of memory for each section. It’s hard to explain, as the piece itself is non-linear, however there are parts of dialogue that are re-spoken and given a different outcome or emotion. Ellis brilliantly treats each portion as though it were a dance, the starting position and dance moves remain constant as a way to ground the story.

The set design is also brilliant – Laura Heffernan has created a memorable space that utilizes the black box of the stage but has the ability to mesmerise. The splashes of star-like paint are paired perfectly with John Spurling‘s sensory lighting design. The whole effect is as if one is floating in the void – adrift in the universe.

Roland (Paul Davey) and Marianne (Madeline Jones) are destined to be together, in at least one universe…or is that multiverse? This fresh take on the ‘star-crossed lovers’ trope is a wonderful concept and is rendered remarkable by the Irish Theatre Players. Davey’s Roland is sweet, funny, and awkward. It’s such a demanding script as the actors must play different versions of themselves, and Davey has developed the sincerity and kindness in Roland perfectly. Likewise, Jones is phenomenal. Marianne is a fierce and feisty character full of intelligence and hopeless jokes. Jone is absolutely endearing as Marianne and her portrayal of the emotional journey of the character is without peer.

If you want a great night out, get yourself out to Subiaco and see this great work. Davey will charm you when reading his bee speech, Jones will crack you up with her awkward pick up lines, and the sound, lights and set will whisk you away into another part of time and space – if only for an hour and a bi!

WHEN: 7 – 16 June 2018 | 8pm

WHERE: Irish Club WA | 61 Townshend Road, Subiaco | PERTH

INFO: Tickets $20 – $25 | Duration 75 mins | No interval | Suitable 15+

LINK: www.trybooking.com/VLKA

 

 

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In Brief, on now

IN BRIEF: Burrbgaja Yalirra

BURRBGAJA YALIRRA

Marrugeku

Three stories for country

From the creators of Gudirr Gudirr, Cut the Sky and Burning Daylight, Burrbgaja Yalirra (Dancing Forwards) is an evocative triple bill of new solo works.

Curated by Marrugeku’s Artistic Directors Dalisa Pigram and Rachael Swain, each work is an invitation from our leading change makers to experience intercultural exchange.

Each performer is exceptional. Edwin Lee Mulligan tells the story of his ancestors through music and dance. His lilting narration is lyrical in his native Walmajarri tongue and his moves are expressive and weave the story in with traditional and contemporary feeling.

Miranda Wheen takes her namesake and re-imagines herself as the girl picnicking at Hanging Rock. Her precise and almost robotic moves are evocative of being pulled through time and also having no control over her body. Her work is phenomenal.

Finally, Eric Avery brings two cultures crashing together, fiercely and defiantly playing the violin and dancing to the frenzy and fray created by the rapid notes. It is apologetically confronting, and one hundred and ten percent brilliant.

Led by visionaries Marrugeku, an unparalleled presence in Australia today dedicated to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians working together, join this vibrant retelling and re-awakening of histories, locations and languages.

WHEN: 7 – 16 June 2018 | 7:30pm

WHERE: Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA) | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $20 – $32 | Duration 80 mins (no interval)

LINK: http://pica.org.au/show/burrbgaja-yalirra/

JG18028_Edwin Lee Mulligan in Ngarlimbah picture by Jon Green.jpg

Image credits: Jon Green

Article, Interview, on now

IN CONVERSATION: Nick Choo & Levon Polinelli

By Laura Money

Nick Choo is the Malaysian songwriter who is taking Perth by storm with his musical, The Edge. I sat down on a slightly chilly afternoon with Choo and director Levon Polinelli and we discussed the challenges of presenting the show over coffee. The Edge is pretty unique, in that while it addresses issues of Depression (and suicide)* it isn’t from the point of view of the person with the illness. Rather, it’s all of the other characters and how their lives are impacted.

As much as this sounds like a heavy subject matter, Choo hopes that at the very least, people are entertained – “It is a musical, after all!” Hopefully it will make you think about how you interact with others, but it’s not a preachy show by any means. In actual fact, the words ‘depression’ and ‘suicide’ aren’t even mentioned in the entire work.

Living in Malaysia, Choo always experiments with his work there first, however he does have close ties to Murdoch University – studying a PhD in ‘mental health in the arts community’ an incredibly timely topic that ties in perfectly with The Edge.

The show was developed around ideas that had been swimming around in Choo’s head for a while. In 2006, two years before The Edge was written, Choo was chatting to a friend online who casually mentioned possibly taking his own life.

And I thought to myself, where are your friends? Where are your family. I didn’t really know him that well, so those were the first questions that were going through my head. When someone you know does something like that, you ask yourself what could I have done? That’s one of the big themes in The Edge.

This particular show has undergone several transformations since Choo began developing it in 2008. “It’s been ten years of re-working and development. There weren’t many other full scale musicals addressing mental health, especially in Malaysia.”

It seems that themes of suicide are more prevalent in theatre than ever before, so what is it about suicide that makes it such compelling material to playwrights?

For me, [Choo] there’s always a more personal reason because I deal with depression as well. There’s a lot of negativity, a lot of bad self-talk so for me it was almost cathartic. It was a way to channel all of these thoughts into something creative.

A lot of theatre covering this topic tends to reiterate the problem but not come up with a solution. Director Levon Polinelli was drawn to The Edge because it’s not like that.

When someone does attempt suicide, everyone thinks – could I have done this, or that, but theatre is always more centred around the act itself. I remember also, filming a video about suicide and we weren’t allowed to use the word. Even now, the media don’t want to have that conversation – you see an article about someone who died and at the bottom it says to call Lifeline if you’re having depressed thoughts. People refuse to talk about it and offer solutions.

In a way, The Edge isn’t about the main character because you never see him. It’s about how the people around him analyse their actions and interactions to see how they contributed to the problem.

When The Edge was first put on in Malaysia, it was a full-scale, large stage production. Polinelli happened to be scanning through Facebook one day when a post by Choo about the show caught his eye.

I was looking for a show to take on, and it was just in the last couple of weeks of FRINGEWORLD last year [2017] when I became involved in actually preventing a suicide…I was co-coordinating between friends to find our friend and thankfully we did, but I found it interesting that saving someone kind of messes with you, mentally.

When Nick posted on Facebook a little after that, it just resonated. I noticed that The Edge had been staged quite traditionally in Malaysia, and I remember when we took [our previous production] Werewolf Priest away from The Blue Room and onto a larger stage, it lost some of its intimacy. So, I thought – that’s what it needs – this should be an intimate show.

And that intimacy is definitely part of the charm; The Edge is all about looking closely at someone’s life – sometimes from the outside in. Its power lies in seeing every emotion cross the performers’ faces. There is a more urgent immediacy in being close to the action. Polinelli loves the challenge of a small space:

A black box does throw up a few challenges, just in terms of entrances and exits, you can’t just drop the curtain and have stage Ninjas change everything for you! It’s great, though, one of the things I love about directing is that problem solving element. You know, we’ve pushed a lot of the scenes together and there’s no real barrier between the stage and the audience, which definitely changes the show.

There is a total freedom in not being weighted down by an elaborate set.

[Choo] You don’t even need a full set – everything is explained in the lyrics. For example, there’s a line ‘you can see the city lights for miles’ but you don’t really need to see the lights. It’s subtle.

The truly lamentable part about putting on a show about mental health in 2018 is the fact that many people are quite sensitive to the topic, and won’t take a chance on the subject matter. Polinelli admits that he has struggled to positively promote the show:

Look, if it was a really heavy, depressing show I wouldn’t be directing it. I’m not interested in the kind of show that makes you want to jump off a bridge!

Choo didn’t write the play to trigger people – although he does hope that they will engage with it emotionally. People see the disclaimer and shy away from it. Polinelli feels that this is to their own detriment:

If you’re not willing to push through what it is that effects you, you’re never going to understand those feelings. Obviously I don’t mean that people who are genuinely traumatised have to set themselves off, I just mean people who are usually not open to that conversation because it’s confronting.

One of the best things about working with The Blue Room is their inclusivity. The Edge has some incredibly uplifting songs, totally hilarious moments, and encourages you to engage emotionally with the people around you, yet it doesn’t weigh you down. Even if you are concerned about the content, I urge you to go and see it. Choo and Polinelli are incredibly intelligent people, and every element of the show has been fine tuned. They really are the nicest people, and the last thing they would want to do is cause anyone distress.

WHEN: 29 May – 9 June 2018 | 8:30pm

12 – 16 June 2018 | 7:00pm

WHERE: The Blue Room Theatre | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $20 – $30 | Duration 2 hours | 10 minute interval | Content warning: themes of suicide and mental health | Recommended 15+

LINK: http://blueroom.org.au/events/the-edge/

*Crisis support and suicide prevention is available. Call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.

on now, Review

REVIEW: The Man and The Moon

By Laura Money

The Man and The Moon is a delightful cabaret/play that channels the atmosphere of a boozy, jazzy New York Basement joint whilst regaling you with a wondrous tale of fantasy and romance. Backed by a three-piece band, St John Cowcher tells his tale of living and functioning in ‘grey suburbia’ and how he fell in love with the beautiful silver orb in the sky through original songs and snappy monologues.

Cowcher is stuck living a life he never wanted – he works in the marketing department for a super-company, lives in outer-middle suburbia, attends office barbeques for socialisation, and has to endure the office wanker on an almost daily basis. His life hits home for many creative millennials (myself included!) and will resonate on a level you didn’t expect. From hilariously written witty office observations, to the impeccable characterisation of Phil – believe me, we all know a Phil – Cowcher shines during his accurate satirical songs.

It is clear that Cowcher has a way with words, under the biting satire there lies a charming and fantastical story, told in a poetic language. As Cowcher becomes truly lovestruck, his music changes into lament. The Man and The Moon is a brilliant piece of theatre – it’s funny, clever, and utterly charming. Cowcher is one to watch, with a powerful voice and an affable nature, he gives his full creativity to this work, and it pays off.

WHEN: 6 – 9 June 2018 | 7:00pm

WHERE: Subiaco Arts Centre | Subiaco | Perth

INFO: Tickets $25 – $28 | Duration 60 mins | No interval | Part of Subiaco Theatre Festival | Suitable 15+

LINK: https://www.ptt.wa.gov.au/venues/subiaco-arts-centre/whats-on/the-man-and-the-moon/

 

 

on now, Review

REVIEW: Tale of Tales

By Laura Money

If you haven’t heard of Bow & Dagger, a unique theatre company that bring the focus back to storytelling, then you must get down to The Blue Room Theatre and see what all the fuss is about. Tale of Tales is the most beautifully rendered World War II story since Life is Beautiful and whilst it won’t compel you to jump over the theatre chairs with joy, it will leave an indelible print on your heart.

Clare Testoni (one half of Bow & Dagger) alongside Paul Grabovac re-tell the real life story of Testoni’s family and their sometimes harrowing journey to an Australian Internment Camp. Weaving real life events and the strange and wonderful fairy tales of Italian folklore, Testoni creates a fantastical landscape of shadows and words that envelop the audience in an unforgettable tale.

Through intricate, hand-cut artworks whose brilliant shadows are projected onto a white background using only the tricks and tools of a true puppeteer – torches, light, and filters – an almost Gothic tale reminiscent of woodcuts found in fairy tale books springs to life. In the vein of Big Fish, Testoni’s Sante is a storyteller who spins his words into a warm and strong story. His words have the power to whisk his beautiful Antionetta away from the realities of poverty and political uncertainty and render her a princess in a crystal castle with her dear, sweet Prince’s love giving her hope.

Testoni and Grabovac set the tone right – speaking in a lilting and comforting pattern, as though telling a bedtime story to a young child. As Antionetta and her boys are separated from Sante and must make a new life for themselves whist interred in a camp in the supposedly welcoming shores of Australia, the stories become frought with danger; Mussolini and Hitler become ogres, soldiers become dragons, and the camp becomes a high tower in which the principessa remains locked.

Tale of Tales is perhaps one of the most charming works you will ever see. It speaks to our almost primal need to make sense of the world through stories. It will transport you back to your childhood bed which kept you safe and warm whilst hearing all of the scary and dangerous tales of a beloved adult. Most importantly, Tale of Tales is full of heart. It is emotional and fragile, beautiful and intricate, and deserves all the praise it gets. So go, and let them tell you a story.

 

WHEN: 22 May – 9 June 2018 | 7:00pm

WHERE: The Blue Room Theatre | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $20 – $30 | Duration 70 mins | Recommended 12+

LINK: http://blueroom.org.au/events/tales-of-tales/

 

on now, Review

REVIEW: The Edge

By Laura Money

A friend or relative of yours is unwell but you can’t reach them. They are pushed right to The Edge and you don’t know if they will return to you or be lost forever. But this story isn’t about them…it’s about you and all of the little things that led to the moment of catastrophe. Nick Choo‘s unique and memorable production of The Edge is not as dark or depressing as one might think – people keep dancing around the subject matter as though it’s going to bite them on the nose, yet The Blue Room production is a great way to address depression, suicide, and a host of mental illness issues that are plaguing today’s society.*

The Edge is ambitious – originally produced in Malaysia as part of Choo’s burgeoning musical career, it’s been adapted and worked on for roughly ten years. Now, in the hands of Director Levon Polinelli the work seems perfectly tailored to Australian audiences. Polinelli and Designer Sara Chirichilli‘s set is pared back and simple – it allows for the cast to tell the story through their own characters and song style. This is a highly character-driven show, beginning with the entire ensemble of six standing in formation and addressing the audience with a powerful piece about how ‘Another Day’ can be so different to one person, but the irrevocable pull of time will render it just another day.

Each character, from the brother Jarod (Emerson Brophy) to the childhood best friend, Mike (Philip Lynch) is connected to the one character Josh who is literally standing at the edge of a precipice – about to jump. Each character relays to the audience how they may have contributed to putting him there. It’s a completely different take on the usual ‘suicide story’ as most of them focus on the actual person, not the impact on the people around them. Brophy’s unrestrained emotion as he sings Josh through the major points in his life is heart-wrenching. As is Claudia Van Zeller‘s stunning performance as the grieving mother. It is clear that Josh is the absolute favourite, and it is interesting to see a character both controlling and completely at the mercy of her young son. She sings of the absolute unbridled joy she finds with her new fiance, but is willing to sacrifice it all for her spoilt son.

Perhaps the one element I would do differently is the miming to Josh – the characters vacillate between narrating their memories to the audience and miming to a void that represents Josh onstage. I feel this is perhaps a little trite, and could have been addressed a little less clumsily – in fact the most powerful moments occur when ‘Josh’ is the audience – or at least supposed to be ready to leap at any minute at some point behind us. There is a cohesion to all of Choo’s composition – a unique soundscape that threads and weaves its way through all of the characters, representative of Josh himself – each of the characters sing similar music but with just enough accents and flourishes to represent their own unique voice within the work.

There is so much going on in this work – from the girlfriend who feels like Josh is rushing things (Madeline Shaw) to the room-mate and best friend who would have liked to take things to the next level (if you know what I mean!) (Tate Bennett.) There’s even a concerned co-worker and coffee shop girl (Grace Johnson) who’s impressive voice laments other people’s reluctance to see beyond their noses and help someone in need. As a whole, each of these characters slot together to form a puzzle – an image of Josh on the edge. Whilst epic in scale, The Edge is elegantly simple, with clever and relevant music – there are no huge showstoppers here, but this doesn’t diminish from the absolute talent on show in this ensemble that compliment each other beautifully. As for the warnings – I would urge you to go and see it, although there may be more than a few lumps in your throat.

WHEN: 29 May – 9 June 2018 | 8:30pm

12 – 16 June 2018 | 7:00pm

WHERE: The Blue Room Theatre | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $20 – $30 | Duration 2 hours | 10 minute interval | Content warning: themes of suicide and mental health | Recommended 15+

LINK: http://blueroom.org.au/events/the-edge/

*Crisis support and suicide prevention is available. Call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.

 

 

Past Production, Review

REVIEW: 3.3 and Beyond

By Laura Money

Ochre Contemporary Dance Company‘s latest suite of works challenge the status quo, uplift the spirit, and feed the soul. It begins with Beyond, a new work performed by the talented Floeur Alder and choreographed by Chrissie Parrott. Alder steps into a beam of light that leads to a bush grove projected onto the floor in the centre of the room. The atmosphere is charged – the pool of light enticing Alder to enter a spiritual world, perhaps one of her ancestors. The natural yet discordant soundscape oppresses the audience as Alder makes her agonisingly slow journey to the centre of the light.

Alder is primal and connected to the very land she seeks, clad in white ochre and earthy tones, her hair matted to her skull. Every step she takes is considered – it’s a deliberately slow start that highlights the power and intelligence behind every single move within a dance piece. As Alder reaches the light, her body twists and turns into sometimes grotesque configurations, and stretches to the sky – all the while her strength is rooted in the ground. Alder portrays the connection to land as reverent in her slow and elegant motions, her fear of becoming too wild as the land pulls and tugs at her in sharp, jerky, inhuman movements, and her sense of tradition in her animalistic movements – at times representing the Ochre logo itself.

It’s a truly beautiful performance, we are witnessing something incredibly pure and untainted by modern Eurocentric ideals. Alder is a remarkable talent.

Low-Res_FA_MareeLaffanPhoto_2018-05-31-13

Next is a brief interlude consisting of a ten minute film, Kwongkan (Sand) a beautiful piece that charts the residency Ochre attended in India. It’s a spiritual representation of ritual and love of the land – even if that land is in another country.

3.3 questions what it is to be a young Aboriginal male in contemporary white society. It is the brainchild of renowned classical dancer, Michael Leslie who questions the idea that young black males now have their right of passage in prison. It sees young dancer Ian Wilkes literally caged in a cell with perspex in front allowing us to look in, but keeping him inside. Wilkes is an incredibly visceral performer – he launches himself violently against the bars that cage him in. It’s a powerful statement about masculinity, youth, race and rage and is brought home as Wilkes lashes out against the perspex, spitting, sweating, and swearing in protest.

3.3 Dress Rehearsal-229-1 color

All the while, Leslie sits close by, calmly observing Wilkes work out his aggression. When Wilkes is ready, Leslie talks to him about the systems in place that keep Aboriginal people down. 3.3 refers to the percentage of people in Australia who identify as Aboriginal – yet there is an over-representation in the prison population – 28% to be exact. During their dialogue, and as Wilkes futilely fights against the system, it is important to note that not all prisons are literal – there’s the system of colonialism, deaths in custody, fences around farms, curfews, obstruction of voting, missions, and discrimination.

Leslie’s firm but fair teaching is played out for us, and we see Wilkes learn the lost language of Leslie’s ancestors through 100 dance moves. By breaking each word down, a barrier is also broken between performer and audience, and we begin to appreciate each move with more understanding – after all, knowledge is power. When Wilkes is left alone again to contemplate his situation, he begins the cycle again, this time with art in the forefront of his mind. Wilkes’ sheer athleticism is tremendous – he pours every part of him into the performance, providing lasting imagery that will endure long after the show ends.

3.3 -337-36

These pieces, 3.3 and Beyond are some of the most important and poignant performances to take place this year. They reflect the pressing need to address these issues – Aboriginality, connection (or disconnect) to the land, violence, discrimination, and anger. Yet, both of these works serve to bridge the gap between contemporary and traditional dance. What does it mean to be a young Aboriginal dancer in the twenty-first century? Must they forsake their ancestral traditional moves for contemporary, classical training? Both 3.3 and Beyond spark that conversation and are the perfect fusion of both forms of dance. After all, isn’t dance all about expression and meaning?

WHEN: 26 May – 3 June | 7:30pm (5:30pm Sundays)

WHERE: Subiaco Arts Centre

INFO: Tickets $25 – $40 | Duration 110 mins including interval | Contains coarse language, adult themes, haze and strobe effects | Wheelchair accessible

LINK: https://www.ptt.wa.gov.au/venues/subiaco-arts-centre/whats-on/33-and-beyond/

 

Interview, Past Production

IN CONVERSATION: Mark Howett

Laura Money

3.3 – the percentage of people in Australia who identify as Aboriginal. It’s a shockingly low number, and yet just the statistic alone speaks volumes when one considers the over-representation of Aboriginal numbers in the AFL or prison. I sat down with the remarkable Mark Howett, Artistic Director of Ochre Contemporary Dance Company to discuss the project, their collaborations, and the ways in which Aboriginal stories are being told.

So, what is 3.3 all about? It’s the brainchild and development of Indigenous dancing royalty, Michael Leslie and has been adapted from a PhD thesis.

Michael actually studied the idea that young Aboriginal men have their rite of passage going to prison. He was at university and part of his thesis was responding to this idea of young men in prison, so he incorporated a short physical dance piece as part of his thesis, that he performed as well.

Michael and I go way back to like, No Sugar and Bran Nue Day days, so I always knew that I wanted to collaborate with him. Michael dances classical but also traditional and in this work, he’s pretty torn between these two ideas. How do you show your traditional dance but also stay relevant?

Leslie is all about that authentic portrayal of traditional dance, but the techniques and moves that he learned in his classical training have also shaped his movement.

Michael is from the Eastern States and he moved to Sydney pretty early in his career, so he lost his language. What this piece reflects is his way of re-learning but also re-writing that dance language. So, it’s not completely traditional, it’s like a whole new language.

This idea of re-learning and re-interpreting a dance language is compelling. During his studies, Leslie drew upon his limited knowledge of traditional dance, his extensive knowledge of classical dance, and the concept of growth and restriction in the confines of a prison. After presenting the work as part of his studies, Leslie and Howett decided to collaborate again and turn the work into a much longer piece. Unfortunately, Leslie injured himself and could no longer perform the work as he would like to. Howett and Leslie had to re-imagine the work entirely.

So, we got young Ian Wilkes (Good Little Soldier) to play the young man in prison. Being a Noongar man, his language is entirely different. So, Michael has been a mentor to Ian, teaching him his own moves but also – Ian only dances traditional, he doesn’t have classical training, so Michael is really teaching him how to move like him. He’s changed the piece a bit as well – now it’s Ian in prison, a young Aboriginal man going through his rite of passage. He’s joined by Michael who is teaching Ian to dance but also mentoring him through his prison stay. So it’s a fusion of Noongar and Gamilaraay words that have been put into dance language.

Wilkes’ character is essentially Leslie, torn between excelling on the white fella’s world stage or staying in his country and cultivating his community and culture. Ultimately, he just wants to dance.

The whole piece really explores that idea that prison is a rite of passage for young Aboriginal men, but we’re not just talking about only gaols – it goes back to systems that Colonialism put in place. Fences around farms, massacres of people, missions, curfews, etc. You know, 3.3% is the percentage of people who identify as Aboriginal but 28% of prisoners are Aboriginal. So, it’s about owning that but also getting out the frustrations that are felt.

3.3 isn’t the only work that is being presented at Subiaco Arts Centre – the performance includes a collaboration with Chrissie Parrott and Ochre Contemporary Dance member Floeur Alder. Beyond is a poetic and surreal work that asks the performer to uncover the ‘pure’ form that often lies dormant in classical or contemporary dance – to go beyond the conventional.

Alongside the dance pieces is a screening of Kwongkan (Sand).

So, last year I did a residency with the Daksha Sheth Dance Company, in India – in an area called Kerala. It was a spiritual experience, and they were just so enlightening to be working with.

I asked if, as First Nations dancers there was much in common:

A tremendous amount. Once we started talking, we realised that the list of similarities was much longer than the differences. They are very spiritual – it’s a different sort of spirituality but it’s still about connecting to one another, and using your body as language. They have the same challenges about staying true to your roots but also being relevant in a modern world. So, the video accompanies the dance performance and it’s a great link to the pieces.

Mark acknowledges that it is incredibly important for black stories to be told from their perspective. This collaboration with Daksha Sheth opened his eyes up to how to continue telling his story.

3.3 has also been invited to form part of the program for the Berlin Be-Bop Festival in 2019.

It’s really exciting, yeah, we’re pretty proud of Michael and Ian and look forward to bringing the show to Berlin.

Mark’s own journey is similar to that of Michael Leslie’s – plucked out of Perth and sent all over Europe to learn design and collaborate with some of the edgiest theatrical minds in the world. Yet, it is how he continues to champion Aboriginal stories and themes that are important to his own life (post traumatic stress disorder, reconciling between white and black worlds) that truly asserts him as a powerful voice in the Australian and world theatre landscape.

You can check out 3.3 yourself, see the details below:

 

WHEN: 27 May – 3 June 2018 | 7:30pm (5;30pm Sundays)

WHERE: Subiaco Arts Centre

INFO: Tickets $25 – $40 | Duration 110 mins including interval | Contains coarse language, adult themes, haze and strobe effects | Wheelchair accessible

LINK: https://www.ptt.wa.gov.au/venues/subiaco-arts-centre/whats-on/33-and-beyond/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article, Past Production

PAST EVENT: KISS Club

It’s that time of year again at Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA) KISS Club is back with a whole new line-up of artists. In conjunction with pvi collective, PICA provides a space for artists to present only 10 minutes of a work in progress to fellow creatives.

It’s a great way for theatre devisers and performers to critique and support each other,and try out new ideas in a supportive environment. KISS Club is fun, creative and anarchic and is a great night out for creatives.

The Fourth Wall asked some of the artists five short questions about their experience ahead of the show. Here are the answers to our FIVE KISSES series:

BRIDGET LE MAY

Describe your work in development in 3 words:

Electric, Open, Loving

What are the main themes and ideas behind your premise?

The Mighty is a counterculture exploration of feminism, race and humanity. For me the work is inspired by the frustrations and sometimes open rage of living and witnessing the systems of power and oppressions that limit all people. There is a burning fire in me to talk with people about feminism and racism, but in this work we frame these moments in movement and interaction. And always we move towards ways to see each other with less judgement. To allow space for things to be complicated, honest and ok. The show itself seems to finds ways to bring that rage I have into something expressive and inclusive. It’s good fuel.

How do you pick only 10 minutes of your script, what stays and what do we have to wait for when the show premieres?

This is a brand new work, so we are generating material with KISS club in mind. That means the sections where we want to interact with the audience have taken precedence because it’s a perfect opportunity to test those moments. It is still hard to narrow it down. We have more material than we can use. The time limit makes you really think carefully about what is relevant.

 

Describe the atmosphere of Kiss Club – what are you most looking forward to?

I am really looking forward to the feedback and conversation after the work. I love audiences – and to have an open and intricate conversation with them about the work and how they perceived it genuinely excites me. I am also looking forward to performing for the first time in something like nine years. That will be fun.
What will your contribution to Kiss Club bring?
 
In the larger work we will be bringing a sense of community to topics around sex and race that often hold people apart. During KISS Club we are offering little windows of perspective that challenge simplistic labels such as female or black, by exploring with movement, conversation and song what it is to be fiercely and gently who we are.
CHARLOTTE OTTON

Describe your work in development in 3 words:

Loose. Sick. Titties.

What are the main themes and ideas behind your premise?

I’m looking at ‘ideal femineity’ and the struggle and endeavour to transition into a ‘beast woman’; woman who isn’t barred by the confines of femineity or the patriarchy. The other central theme is the concept of being your own voyeur and dealing with that self-brought-on male gaze and internalised misogyny.

How do you pick only 10 minutes of your script, what stays and what do we have to wait for when the show premieres?

I’m still developing Feminah into a larger piece, so what makes KISS Club so exciting is that you can showcase and or discuss parts of the show that you have questions about and want immediate feedback from. The parts I’ll be showing on the night are sections of the show that I have the most questions about so far. I’m just keen to have the space to take a few risks and see how they land.

Describe the atmosphere of Kiss Club – what are you most looking forward to?

I went to my first KISS Club in 2017 and I loved the experimental and open nature of the night. Everyone in the room is there to explore, listen and engage and to have access to a room like that is really special when you’re developing work. Especially work like Feminah, which is a major passion project of mine and one that is equal parts exhilarating and intimidating to make.

What will your contribution to Kiss Club bring?

Feminah is an intimate cabaret, so you can expect storytelling, comedy, 60s girl bands and a whole lot of feminist rage.

So get yourself down to KISS Club for an evening of fun, creativity and development!

WHEN: Friday 25 May 2018 | 7:30pm

WHERE: Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA)

INFO: Tickets $15 | Standing event (seating upon request)

LINK: http://pica.org.au/show/kiss-club-2/

 

 

 

 

 

on now, Review

REVIEW: MAMA MIA!

By Laura Money

Hey Dancing Queens! Dust off your Super Trooper 70s wonder suits and get ready to rock your socks off at Crown Theatre this Autumn with MAMA MIA! It’s a fast paced, fun night out that is guaranteed to get you up on your feet and dancing the night away. Most people are familiar with the musical, whether you’ve seen Meryl on the big screen or have been to the live show already, then you know you’ll have the best time ever. Maybe it’s the 70s soundtrack by ABBA or the fun story, either way – the party atmosphere of  MAMA MIA! is palpable – everyone is abuzz with energy.

MAMA MIA! was really one of the first ever ‘Jukebox Musicals’ – in which a new score isn’t written, but provided by material that is already existent – in this case, the music of ABBA. It tells the story of bride-to-be Sophie (Sarah Morrison) on the hunt for her biological father to walk her down the aisle. The problem? Sophie’s free spirit mother Donna (the amazing Natalie O’Donnell) had several ‘liasons’ around the time of Sophie’s conception, so they don’t quite know who the mystery man is! After Sophie invites all three potential Dads to their Greek island, Donna is confronted with her wild past. Throw in a few best friends for Sophie and Donna, a host of island boys and a good-looking fiance and you’ve got one hell of a show!

I loved guessing which song would be used for each situation, and really enjoyed the innovative way they used the music to it’s full effect. Morrison is sweet as Sophie, giving a heartfelt performance as she tries to find her true identity. Donna’s ex-band mates Rosie (Alicia Gardiner) and Tanya (Jayde Westaby) provide all the fun moments – Gardiner’s performance of Take A Chance is so hilarious, the whole audience howls with laughter, and Westaby absolutely slays as she puts a young hothead in his place in Does Your Mother Know That You’re Out? However, it is the brilliant Natalie O’Donnell who absolutely shines as Donna. She goes through every emotion – trepidation, anger, heartbreak, jealousy, and regret – and is constantly trying to stay afloat in an ocean of nostalgia. You’ll definitely have a lump in your throat during O’Donnell’s rendition of Slipping Through My Fingers as she dresses her only daughter in her wedding dress, and feel her unbridled pain as she belts out The Winner Takes It All.

MAMA MIA! really is a great night out! It takes you on a journey through all the best (and worst) bits of your youth – however long ago that was! There are reunions, celebrations, weddings, and of course, parties! Ending on a high note that gets the whole audience dancing and singing along – MAMA MIA! will have you facing your own Waterloo…of fun!

WHEN: 15 May – 1 June 2018 | 7:00pm | SEASON EXTENDED TO 1 JULY 2018

WHERE: Crown Theatre Perth | Burswood

INFO: Tickets $69 – $140 | Duration 2hrs 30 mins | Suitable all ages | Strobe light effects

LINK: http://www.mammamiathemusical.com.au/tour-info/perth/?gclid=CjwKCAjwr-PYBRB8EiwALtjbz8CgG0cHzh0gVThXKcarJ-C9Snpefj3rsEWQF7QK6P3E0CuEpO1gqhoCxVMQAvD_BwE

 

Past Production, Review

REVIEW: Dom Mckee For MP

By Link Harris

The University Dramatic Society – which is now 100 years old – presents Dom Mckee for MP, an original production both written and directed by Matthew Nixon, music by Brock Stannard-Brown & Paris Ceg and choreographed by Noa Gubbay and Nina Willoughby.

This story is about a small but wealthy fictional town called Wolobolee in the middle of the Australian desert circa 1961, which is in the midst of an election for local government and all of the ensuing ridiculousness and chaos which arises from a single lie about communism or rather someone being accused of being one – a big no no at the time if you weren’t already aware.

Heading into the Dolphin Theatre at UWA the red curtain is down and some very jazzy or swing type music is playing whilst we wait, the curtains rise revealing a rather sparse set consisting of two large side panels painted to look like a bar, the town name projected onto a screen on the back wall and some typical pub chairs and tables – all of which will be utilised and changed as the show goes on.  Behind the panels we see a ten piece band playing the beautiful music prior to the curtains raising, and it continues to play their excellent score during the entire show. The singing  throughout is superb albeit the volume is a little low for a few of the actors not wearing mics, the dance numbers and choreography are excellent and again everything is backed by the fantastic ten piece band.

The show is a roller coaster of raucous ridiculousness set at the same time as the Cuban Missile Crisis and, as such, you can expect harsh words to be exchanged between Australia, Russia and USA which really lends to the fun of the whole show. It is choc full of hilarious one liners like “they take the bras off before burning them”and “his teeth look like the entrance to Luna park” not to mention physical/slapstick humour, poking fun at American, Australian and Russian stereotypes as well as plenty of other laughs from taking the mickey out of Vegemite, the great emu war, Russia sending a man into space – with a cannon? – the sheer stupidity with international politics, just how childish politicians can be, the threat of nuclear war, espionage,  the media highlighting just how much power they have over easily led automatons, how the mentality of a mob is a marvel of idiocy to behold and how self proclaimed thespians tend to overact beyond all imagination – one of the characters not the actor playing him.

Dom Mckee for MP is definitely worth a look, if you love comedy and musicals this is without a doubt something which you will enjoy and even if you don’t go along for the fantastic music provided by the brilliant ten piece band and the silliness of international politics.

 

WHEN: 9 – 12 May 2018 | 7:30pm

WHERE: Dolphin Theatre | University of Western Australia | Crawley

INFO: Tickets $15 – $25 | Duration 120 mins | Suitable 18 | COMEDY/MUSICAL

LINK: https://www.ticketswa.com/event/dom-mskee-mp

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Past Production, Review

REVIEW: Hive Mind

By Laura Money

Have you ever felt that you were part of something bigger than yourself? That there was more to the universe than just the atoms and light around you? Did you ever just want to disappear? Rorschach Beast – Perth’s rising star theatre company – addresses all of these mysteries of the universe and turns them into the purest light in their newest work, Hive Mind.

From the singular mind of Geordie Crawley, Hive Mind strives to address the way people interact with each other, the earth, their spirituality, and beyond. Set in the small town community of St Augustine, on the edge of Box Elder Canyon where young schoolgirl Haley Woodward (Elise Wilson) goes missing. As the gossiping small town tries to reconcile what has happened, Lead Detective Dale (St John Cowcher) and returned expat Kate (Charlotte Otton) investigate the disappearance – at times falling prey to superstition and fear-mongering.

Crawley is rather talented when it comes to creating well-rounded characters with instantly understandable back-stories. His experience performing improvisation comedy is put to use here as he is able to create these characters quickly and establish their motivations very early on. We recognise instantly that Dale’s partner Austin (Haydon Wilson) is a caring and nurturing soul who is disenfranchised with his sense of community after losing in his campaign to become a council member. We also have the measure of the victor in the council war – Jackie (Alicia Osyka) whose bullying and gross actions represent every power-hungry politician to have ever existed. On the surface, it may seem as though these characters are cliche – and there may be few tropes used here – but as time goes on, it is apparent that they all represent a different part of a puzzle – the fabric of a tapestry that when interwoven make up the community – or the hive.

Austin’s journey is perhaps the most interesting – he appears to be the only character that is allowed development. He achieves this through his enlightenment upon discovering the secrets of a bee hive. The hive becomes a microcosm of the greater universe, and Austin comes to believe he has unlocked all of its secrets. Wilson is an incredibly visceral performer. He sweats and spits his way through an impassioned performance and sermonises in a disturbingly convincing manner. Osyka shines as the bullying Jackie. Her politician’s mask only slips to reveal her disdain for the people she represents and the nature she wants to bulldoze when someone comes close to threatening her power. Like a child, she pushes her agenda through without listening to others and does so with a child’s mean spirit.

Otton’s Kate is a fairly static character, and when revealed that she used to be bullied by Jackie, it appears that there will be a resolution within their plot lines – I feel like this is a storyline that isn’t explored quite to its full potential, as many people don’t get the chance to confront their past demons in the way that was presented to Kate. She ‘evolves’ throughout the play, yet it seems that it is all for show and there is no real substance to her transformation. It is only when placed on the true path to enlightenment that we see a real change.

There are some wonderful metaphors within the work – the hive as a community that thrives by working as a collective, rather than as individuals; multiple bees representing the atoms of light that can control the universe when truly mastered; wanting to be a part of something bigger. Austin undergoes a Kafka-esque metamorphosis and is able to join the universe. Hive Mind is a strong character-based play. There are quite a few plot holes and several moments feel rushed and unrealistic (not the supernatural elements, as they are justified in the world it is set) and some of the characters are left hovering before their potential, yet overall it’s a clever and considered work. Plus the hexagons and hive motifs, combined with the rather dramatic soundscape and playful lighting create a memorable aesthetic with just enough nods to popular culture throughout to keep you highly entertained.

 

WHEN: 1 – 19 May 2018 | 7:00pm

WHERE: The Blue Room Theatre

INFO: Tickets $20 – $30 | Duration 70 mins | Recommended 15+ | THEATRE

LINK: http://blueroom.org.au/events/hive-mind/

 

Past Production, Review

REVIEW: Hold Your Breath (Count To Ten) 4.5 Stars

By Laura Money

Let’s be honest with one another – you see an advertisement for a play that deals with mental health issues, physical and emotional debilitation, and themes of suicide and psychology – you’re probably thinking it’s not for you. It might hit too close to home. It might not be remotely relatable. I might be scared of the main character. Daley King blows all of those thoughts clean out of the water. It’s an inclusive show that delves deep into King’s own psyche without alienating anyone. If anything, he embraces everyone’s differences to highlight how similar we actually are, deep down.

First off, this is not a conventional play. King – you know what, I think he’d prefer to be called Daley – is sitting in a bathtub (presumably naked) surrounded by mirrors that reflect the audience back onto itself. It’s a powerful analogy, and is used to its full effect later as people are confronted unflinchingly by Daley’s never-ending list of mental disorders. It seems that the play will be linear and contain a beginning, middle and end – yet despite actually following this structure, it feels like Daley has re-written the rule book. What is presented, is an idea – well, multiple ideas. It’s a conversation and a meditation on what a good show should have.

Sitting in the bathtub whilst talking to his phychologist (Amy Murray), Daley essentially lists all the problems he has, all of the dreams and ideas he has, the way the world sees him, and how he fits into the world. It’s a verbal exercise in free writing – a way for Daley to get his thoughts out there without adhering to a restricted format. Daley’s thoughts are usually presented in blocks of ten. He likes the number ten. Describing how breathing and water have been integral to Daley since his diagnosis of asthma (a quantifiable diagnosis) and how they became a psychological crutch in the midst of various mental health issues (a not-so quantifiable thing) he is able to provide a palpable metaphor for anyone who has felt like the water is rising.

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As I mentioned earlier, this isn’t a conventional play, so writing a conventional review would just be naive. To fall back onto cliches surrounding mental health theatre pieces like how brave or candid the piece is would not do it justice. Yes, Daley is incredibly brave baring all (almost all) and sitting in his bathtub of thoughts, literally exposing himself, warts and all, but I feel that it goes deeper than that. It’s raw and honest but not in a trite way. Daley’s fears (both rational and irrational) are just talked out – Murray represents Daley’s inner psyche – someone he can really trust to hash out his thoughts and feelings.

The poignant and sad moments appear more uplifting than anything else. Daley reads from his suicide note, and explains how he tried to do it. In a scene that could come off as clumsy and cliche in the wrong hands – Daley delivers the audience into an almost euphoric state as we achieve a baptism into the world of self acceptance. Daley is a funny guy. His dry wit – ironic considering he literally sits in water the whole time – and intellectual musings are poetic and sardonic at once. He philosophises with the best and does so with a half smile and endearing irreverence. Hold Your Breath (Count To Ten) is the honest conversation with a man of the arts you never knew you needed. It might just make you shout Eureka! when you do.

WHEN: 23 – 28 April 2018 | 7pm & 1 – 12 May 2018 | 8:30pm

WHERE: The Blue Room Theatre

INFO: Tickets $20 – $30 | Duration 60 mins | Suitable 15+ | Warning – themes of suicide | THEATRE

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Article, Interview

IN CONVERSATION: Elise Wilson of Hive Mind

Laura Money

“First you see the light.
Then you step into the light.
And then, finally, you become light.”

On a quiet night in the sleepy town of St Augustine, Haley Woodward goes missing while hiking through Box Elder Canyon. As Dale searches for the missing girl, his boyfriend Austin is becoming dangerously obsessed with a beehive, believing it grants him insight into the true nature of the universe.

This is Hive Mind – the new work from Perth theatre-maker Geordie Crawley. We caught up with Elise Wilson who plays missing girl, Haley, in the lead up to opening night. She was deep in rehearsal mode – trying to learn her lines – but admits that her mind streamlines things to ensure that she only memorises the content she needs. The key is internalisation for Wilson – she truly is her character:

I find that giving myself as little help as possible once I’ve read them. I’ll read a line and then I don’t allow myself to look at it again. Because if I just read it over and over I find that my brain doesn’t really absorb the line. I have to force myself to do it all from memory.

Being line-perfect isn’t as important as character development. Wilson would rather stop and think about the character’s motivation and also how they would react to what’s going on around her. In doing so, she finds that the lines come flooding back! It’s all about text analysis – what is going on?

In Hive Mind, Wilson’s character Haley is predominantly movement-based, so she doesn’t really have too many lines. Interestingly, it’s been a very maleable process.

Originally, I would be speaking at the same time as Haydon who plays Austin. But when we were playing with it, it didn’t really work so we kept the movement and I now don’t have any dialogue but move in sync with Haydon.

Devising and adaptability are Wilson’s bread and butter, being in her final year at WAAPA, where she is encouraged to become a theatre-maker rather than just an actor, singer, writer, director etc. “I like to think I can adapt!” When you’re devising, you get to know the piece much better – the themes, the ideas, what is being said. Not that Wilson doesn’t enjoy reading an established script – she relishes the challenge of analysis.

Rehearsal_Hive-44

So, what are you going to get when you see Hive Mind? Haley goes missing in the woods, and Austin (partner to the lead detective of her disappearance investigation) discovers a bee-hive. Everything is connected to these parallel stories. The play has a five-year time jump but Wilson assures us there are no spoilers!

The only time that Haley and Austin have met is prior to the event – they both go through the same journey – however they choose a different path. Character-wise Haley and Austin are similar in the sense that they both become enlightened.

Beehives and the collective hive are very strong symbols – the entire play is set in a small town.

These events have a greater impact. Everyone knows who Haley is and what Austin is doing. The community is impacted which is seen further in the second half.

I asked Wilson if she is similar to any of the characters and she sympathises with Austin because

he reaches this enlightenment and he’s trying to persuade his partner and the community but no-one believes him, or won’t listen. I sometimes think of it in terms of veganism, because I’m a vegan. In my opinion – it’s like, these are the facts but no-one wants to hear it! You’re crazy, you’re extreme, no-one wants to know.

At the end of the day, people don’t like having their values challenged. Yet, Wilson firmly believes that veganism has increased at such a strong rate that it will eventually become normal. Crawley’s script has created a metaphor for many outlying, fringe movements that are finally coming to the fore.

Wilson was headhunted for the piece – deviser and director Geordie Crawley called her with her in mind for Haley. Jumping straight in, she was happy to be part of the process, especially considering she is still studying at WAAPA!

At the moment it’s really exciting. WAAPA does a show at The Blue Room called TILT every year where we self-direct and devise works to put onstage. So, this is great practice for me!

The Blue Room is a wonderful stomping ground to learn your skills, and Wilson knows how fortunate she is to be given this opportunity. So, come on down to the Blue Room and check out Elise and the crew performing this unique and clever theatre piece. When given three words to describe Hive Mind, Wilson says:

Enlightenment, community, questions.

We hope there is more enlightenment than anything else and look forward to seeing Wilson in action.

WHEN: 1 – 19 May 2018 | 7:00pm

WHERE: The Blue Room Theatre

INFO: Tickets $20 – $30 | Duration 70 mins | Recommended 15+ | THEATRE

LINK: http://blueroom.org.au/events/hive-mind/

 

 

Past Production, Review

REVIEW: Frank Enstein

Laura Money

In 2017, Co3 – Western Australia’s flagship contemporary dance company, teamed up with the legendary outfit The Farm – Queensland’s premier dance and theatre company to create Frank Enstein. It’s a fresh take on the old story that combines movement and physical theatre to question animation, nature, simplicity, communication and genius. It sold out.

This year, Frank Enstein returns to the Heath Ledger Theatre to change the game, yet again! Replacing the two lead roles with young adults adds a fresh and new way of perceiving these characters. Sixteen-year-old William Rees is sheer perfection in the title role of Frank. When he creates the ‘perfect man’ (Andrew Searle) and they compare body parts – Rees’ disabled arm standing in stark contrast to Searle’s muscular one, a rush of empathy envelops the audience – Frank, you are actually perfect, and we all fall in love with the affable genius.

There’s a lot more to loving the character of Frank than just his indomitable spirit – Rees’ movements are balletic, if slightly arrested, forming a spectacle like no other. Frenzied, jerky movements signify his unholy union with nature as he maniacally harnesses the power of lightning. Frank’s zeal is thrown into sharp relief by the wonderful sound and lighting design – it really feels like there is an electrical storm onstage.

Fifteen-year-old Luci Young plays the enthusiastic music and dance lover, Liz. Adrift in a sea of self-doubt and loneliness, Liz begins the show listening to an instructional dance tape – with hilarious results! Young’s indefatigable exuberance is infectious – despite being supposedly ‘bad’ at dancing, her incredible talent betrays her, as she is nothing but sublime. Upon meeting Frank, Liz’s trepidation quickly melts away as she discovers a kindred spirit and many ‘people’ to dance and play with.

Co3’s dancers, Talitha Maslin and Zachary Lopez along with Searle complete the enemble and all of them create a distinct and uplifting environment for their monsters to explore life and creation. It’s not all darkness and turmoil, though – Lopez provides some incredibly hilarious moments that children will giggle over. His character questions notions of gender, human conventions and our relationship with machines. His bizarre movements that include an almost mechanical tumbling and an interplay with some vacuum cleaners address human conventions in a fun and irreverent way.

Frank Enstein is a beautiful and uplifting story, expressed exquisitely through movement and dance. It is about acceptance and love and tells a potentially dark story in a whimsical and accessible way.

WHEN: 11 – 15 April 2018 | 7:30pm (matinee Sun 15 5pm)

WHERE: Heath Ledger Theatre | State Theatre Centre WA

INFO: Tickets $35 – $50 | Duration 60 mins | Suitable ages 8+ (accompanied by adult) | DANCE

LINK: https://www.ptt.wa.gov.au/venues/state-theatre-centre-of-wa/whats-on/frank-enstein/

WHEN: 11 – 15 April 2018 | 7:30pm (matinee Sun 15 5pm)

WHERE: Heath Ledger Theatre | State Theatre Centre WA

INFO: Tickets $35 – $50 | Duration 60 mins | Suitable ages 8+ (accompanied by adult) | DANCE

LINK: https://www.ptt.wa.gov.au/venues/state-theatre-centre-of-wa/whats-on/frank-enstein/

 

 

 

on now, Review

REVIEW: Peter/Wendy

By Link Harris

The Murdoch Theatre Company presents Peter / Wendy starring Felix Camponovo as Peter Pan, Xarna Rappold as Wendy Darling, Clea Purkis as Tinkerbell, Bella Doyle as Mrs Darling/Hook, Sean Wcislo as Mr Darling/Smee, Kelsie Anderson as Tiger Lily, Jordan Tabb, Tarryn McGrath and Domenic Scriva as Lost Boys.

As you would expect this is about Peter Pan, Wendy Darling and the adventures they share together both before and after going to Neverland with the added inclusion of Wendy’s parents, the consequences of them having Wendy in the first place and her leaving them which was left out of the commonly known movie versions.

Going into Studio 411 at Murdoch University we see all nine actors standing still around the set, which is simple with nothing more than a wall and an inset window, a bed and some drapes. The lighting and use of the props more than makes up for its simplicity and actually pushes it further with how simple it is and how well everything is utilised as the show goes on.

Not much can be said about the play as it’s your normal take on the Peter Pan story with some added bits – which I’ve already mentioned – however  all of the actors shine a light on their parts with such skill and finesse which lends to their respective characters; Camponovo is an excellent and playful Peter Pan who definitely plays the part perfectly of the boy that will never grow up, Rappold instills an innocence to Wendy I’ve not seen before as well as the realisation that she needs to grow up and leave Neverland, Purkis provides some dry, tongue in cheek and sarcastic humour to Tinkerbell which has the audience laughing every time regardless of whether she has lines, was just being jealous or playing around in the background. Doyle portrays Captain James Hook flawlessly and spectacularly with a sharp wit and strong presence, Wcislo definitely hit the mark as Smee with rolling laughter following every funny look and remark made as well as his body language, Anderson does exceptionally well as Tiger Lilly vying for Peter’s attention and her speech about dying, Tabb, McGrath and Scriva portray their parts equally as well albeit they are unfortunately more background characters but still manage to get laughs with the little attention paid to them which was a shame as they really needed more to do.

Having been to a fair few student theatre productions normally I would have given this a miss on sheer principle however I would be remiss in recommending this to anyone and everyone as this is without doubt the best production I’ve seen with a simplistic set, great props and brilliant acting lending to how well it is not to mention the skills of the actors. Peter / Wendy is definitely worth going to see even if you’ve seen or read Peter Pan a countless number of times before.

 

WHEN: 26 – 28 February 2018 | 2:00pm & 8:00pm

WHERE: Studio 411 | Murdoch University , Carpark 4 Murdoch University  | Murdoch

INFO: Tickets $15 | Duration 60 mins | Suitable all ages | THEATRE

LINK: https://perthuncommon.com.au/whatson/peter-wendy-2/

Review

REVIEW: The Cunning Little Vixen

By Laura Money

The Cunning Little Vixen is the early twentieth century avant garde work Perth audiences have been crying out for. WA Opera will continue to play it safe in the remainder of the season (Don Giovanni and Carmen), yet for their first foray onto the stage at His Majesty’s Theatre audiences are treated to an incredibly moving and irreverent production complete with turbulent impressionistic score, heartfelt performances, and innovative costumes.

Originally devised by Victorian Opera, the beauty and cyclical nature of the forest is embraced and takes on a new relevance in the seasonal Perth climate. Richard Roberts’ minimalistic set is brilliantly simplistic and majestic at once. Consisting of wooden representations of trees that cast the most beautiful shadows under the lighting design by Trudy Dalgleish, the set is a literal backdrop allowing the vibrant and innovative costumes and sweeping scale and pent up energy of the titular vixen herself to take centre-stage. And what costumes! It is a real treat to see Roger Kirk‘s quirky and clever costuming – from a literal cricket (complete with pads, helmet and wickets) to a bouncy and slippery frog, every detail is precisely executed down to the last feather!

As Janacek‘s enchanting score comes to life, a forest idyll unfurls before us – a lazy summer’s day in the forest glade bursts forth with life – the frog, a cranky badger, grasshopper and cricket, a fussy owl resplendent in Dame Edna-esque feathers and spectacles all ducking the blood-sucking mosquito (a total crack up with its syringes and cylinders of blood!) Playfully flitting about the forest is the little vixen – as the score takes on an almost mythic tone, the Forester (James Clayton) enters and settles down for his ‘midsummer night’s dream.’ A beautifully clever timelapse occurs to depict the capture and eventual growing up of the Vixen (Emma Pearson) from energetic little girl to self-assured and scrappy fighter.

Pearson is absolutely endearing as the titular Vixen – her diminutive figure playfully and cockily flits in between the trees as her fun yet haunting two-note motif reflect her inner emotions, from excitement, to love, and eventually torment. The hen scene is probably one of the most fun and enduring moments to be staged by WA Opera – Director Stuart Maunder captures the flightly, broody, and ‘flock mentality’ of the silly hens perfectly. Dressed immaculately in white fluffy corsets, they prance and primp their way across the stage, tormenting the hungry and feminist Vixen. In a whirlwind of fluttering flutes and dramatic horns and drums, the Vixen cunningly tricks the Rooster and lays waste to the entire henhouse before making her daring and exciting escape.

Returning to the forest, the Vixen’s energy is renewed as she realises how powerful a figure she cuts. Pearson’s confidence soars in unison with her voice as she turfs out the badger and becomes the new Queen of the forest. There is genuine fun as Rachelle Durkin enters dressed as the dandy fox – this costume looks straight out of Wind in the Willows! Durkin is a wonderfully expressive performer, her face says it all and the comic nature of the Fox and Vixen’s courting is certainly not lost in the charm of Durkin’s mannerisms. When Janacek first stumbled upon these forest characters in a comic serial back in 1920, he immediately saw them manifested to life in front of his closed eyes. Durkin, Pearson and the company of forest dwellers really bring an energy to the characters – there is genuine emotional investment and celebration as the score provides a folk-inspired wedding in the final long days of Autumn.

Winter approaches and with it, the drama turns to the human protagonists. Clayton’s Forester is brooding and obsessed with trying to tame the Vixen – or exact his revenge on her. The Parson (Paull-Anthony Keightley) clearly has a problem with alcohol, and could be questioning his faith. Keightley’s unique baritone mires his troubles in the depths of despair, especially as he covets the (unseen) Terynka. Matt Rueben is a sympathetic character as the Schoolmaster, yet his pining over Terynka seems a little incongrouos to an audience that is more invested in the Vixen’s story – the lamentations of the humans feel a little shoehorned, but that is unfortunately the yoke WA Opera must wear when producing a work they can’t manipulate.

Durkin and Pearson continue to charm as this beautifully staged work comes to a close. Pearson’s voice bounces with laughter as she explains to her kittens how she will always outsmart the Forester. The bittersweet conclusion of the work will leave an indelible print on your memory. As the Forester returns to the forest glade, Clayton’s expression perfectly captures the ups and downs of life. He sits down to enjoy another sleep, and is reminded by the grandson of the very frog he saw all those seasons ago, of the eternally renewing power of nature. Full of worldly wisdom, the Forester allows himself to re-set into a calmer state of mind and does not repeat his earlier mistake of interfering with the way of the world.

It’s a stunning production of a turbulent and dramatic work. WA Opera’s The Cunning Little Vixen is the perfect mixture of experimental theatre, innovative design, and intuitive direction. This is the sort of work that sets the bar high, and it would be great if we could continue to raise it every time.

WHEN: 21, 24, 26, 28 April 2018 | 7:30pm

WHERE: His Majesty’s Theatre

INFO: Tickets $30 – $115 | Duration 1 hour 30 mins (including interval) | Suitable 9+ (with adult accompaniment) | Audio described performance 26 April | OPERA

LINK: https://www.waopera.asn.au/shows/onstage/the-cunning-little-vixen/

 

Article, Interview

ARTICLE: Have You Had The Talk?

Article | Laura Money

How fresh are your memories of having “The Talk” with a well-meaning adult? What about having to give The Talk to a teenager who has so many questions? Gita Bezard of the Independent Theatre Company The Last Great Hunt has written perhaps the most pertinent show for young teens trying to navigate the unknown world of sex and sexual education.

Bezard was actually working on another show with her colleagues – about female sexuality – when she started developing ideas for The Talk. It was then that she began to be interested in the conversations we have about sex with teenagers. A lot of us are still quite afraid to talk to teenagers about it:

Teenagers now can access hardcore pornography. We can’t control what they see, so we should really be opening up that conversation more.

In a world that has moved on from asking Dolly Doctor and secretly opening the sealed sections in magazines to read about exotic words like ‘orgasm’ and ‘oral sex’ we need to be more honest and open and stop treating sex like it is still taboo. So much about sexual education is focused on heteronormative ways to avoid STDs and pregnancy. Nothing is mentioned about pleasure, or even if it’s being done correctly. This is highlighted in The Talk when Eva is asked what her experience with oral sex was like and she revealed that she only gave and didn’t receive. This myth that sex is all about male pleasure is perpetuated by the typical conversation surrounding the issue.

008 The_Talk by The Last Great Hunt photo by Daniel James Grant_ pictured L-R Christina Odam, Megan Hunter, Cassidy Dunn-008

Bezard acknowledges the Generation Gap as a major contributor to this lack of connection with the youth of today.

The technology revolution is as big as the Industrial revolution – it has changed every single aspect of our lives. The generation of young people now are the first ones to experience that technology. I remember when we first got a home computer…so there’s not much age gap, yet these young people have always had computers and iPads

The accessibility of pornography and sexual imagery bombarding young people all the time is actually halting the conversation as young girls would rather learn their sexual techniques (read: how to pleasure a man) through watching porn.

It can be quite damaging, in the way that women are treated in that material. It’s never about them. It teaches girls to be there for male pleasure, which I think is something that’s always existed but it’s just another level now.

The Talk explores the idea of women/girls seeking their own sexual pleasure. It’s not overt – they don’t bash you over the head with a dildo or anything, yet it just puts the information out there. In an era of more female sexual empowerment with television shows like Orange Is the New Black and American Horror Story (well, some of it!) theatre has to keep up with the demand, lest it become stale. These shows are starting to open up a conversation about women’s bodies and how it’s ok to want sex.

The Talk never set out to cover everything, though. Bezard is constantly bombarded with questions – have you covered this, have you covered that? Does it reference the #metoo movement? It’s a big show that covers a lot but at its heart, is a character-driven work with a main character who you can’t help but love.

It’s about a girl who’s had a questionable sexual experience and the whole school finds out and she’s very reluctant to talk about it. So, she kind of goes on this journey and it’s really fun. She becomes more and more active as it goes on – taking charge of her sexual empowerment.

009 The_Talk by The Last Great Hunt photo by Daniel James Grant_ pictured L-R Christina Odam, Cassidy Dunn, Megan Hunter-009

It’s definitely a comedy – not serious. Comedy is a clever vehicle to highlight the major issues of the world and Bezard finds that balance easily. She really just likes comedy, but didn’t want it to become a serious, angsty teenage work. There are a lot of Chinese Whispers going around and it’s a lot more fun than if it was a lecture.

I just love satire as a way to highlight what I want to say.

And we couldn’t agree more! The Talk is a hilarious work that really shows the language and attitudes surrounding sex can be confusing and cryptic. Perhaps it’s time to pull back the curtains and actually have an open conversation?

WHEN: 11 – 21 April 2018 | 7:30pm

WHERE: Subiaco Arts Centre

INFO: Tickets $22 – $28 | Duration 60 mins | Suitable 14+ | Coarse language, sexual themes | THEATRE

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

 

 

on now, Review

REVIEW: Tom Vickers and the Extraordinary Adventure of his Missing Sock

By Laura Money

Spare Parts Puppet Theatre have long been innovators in children’s theatre and they have absolutely outdone themselves in their latest interactive work – Tom Vickers and the Extraordinary Adventure of his Missing Sock. Teaming up with WA Museum, the interactive experience sees you navigating the secret rooms, nooks and crannies of three different museum sites to reveal the story of Tom Vickers, understand more about the earth we tread, and perform small acts of kindness.

Opening at the historical WA Shipwrecks Museum in Fremantle (before moving on to Geraldton and Albany), Spare Parts have taken over the whole building with nineteen unique installations. It’s a beautiful aesthetic – the building really lends itself to the charm of the work, and it’s great to see previously unused spaces – well, unknown to the public anyway – as the backdrop for the activity. Tom Vickers begins with a video presentation of Vickers himself reminiscing about the Christmas truce in World War I. It’s a familiar story, but one that is so beautiful I could hear it over and over again. The threads of WWI and the conditions that everyone endured are woven throughout the piece. After the video you are asked to choose your own adventure – picking either a trail of wool or shoelaces to follow.

The installations are tucked into cupboards under the stairs, disused offices, large open spaces, sheds and more. You learn about the initiative by the Australian Government to send knitted socks to the front, how the regulations were so strict that even the colour grey was the only one allowed to be used, how some women ‘went rogue’ and slipped in bright coloured wool with pompoms and fun decorations – you even get to contribute to the sock making effort by knitting a few rows yourself! The giant sock pile is the eighth wonder of the world – a truly spectacular effort produced by many talented people. It stands as a sobering reminder of how many soldiers we sent to the front lines, yet is also serves as a whimsical and amusing installation that encourages a sense of wonder and imagination. There’s something wonderful about being small in a world of giant objects and this mountain of socks skimming the ceiling will endure in your memory for many years to come.

Credit Matt Sav_Vickers

The story progresses through campsite cooking stations – I’ve never seen children so excited to peel vegetables before! – to propaganda lined offices; from stories of people who served to the dreaded trenches themselves. Let’s be honest here: anything that lets children squelch their way through mud is going to be a winner! It then takes a philosophical turn and encourages you to contemplate the concept of land. The dirt and soil we walk on; the unique composition of our own backyard; concepts of identity and what it means to be Australian; but mostly how land can regenerate and grow after devastation. The children are encouraged to perform a small act of kindness that will impact the future and read about what makes people happy.

Tom Vickers and the Extraordinary Adventure of his Missing Sock is about making connections with each other, it transcends generations and reveals that we all have more in common than we realise. Through the act of following the threads and knitting, we are literally weaving together people’s stories and experiences, their hopes and dreams, their sense of place and the indomitable spirit of humanity. It’s full of fun twists and turns, incredibly detailed installations, puzzles and clues, and of course…mud! Get yourself down to the museum for the experience of a lifetime – forget escape rooms, this is the adventure for kids you just can’t miss!

WHEN: 14 – 29 April 2018,

10 – 13 May 2018

1 – 4 June 2018

 

WHERE: WA Shipwrecks Museum| Fremantle | 1 Cliff Street, Fremantle (APRIL)

Museum of Geraldton (MAY)

Museum of Great Southern | Albany (JUNE)

INFO: Tickets $25 | Duration – 50 – 90 mins (at your own pace) | Recommended ages 5+ | Various times from 10am| IMMERSIVE THEATRE

LINK: http://www.sppt.asn.au/events/tom-vickers-extraordinary-adventure-missing-sock/

Wireless_Vickers

Past Production, Review

REVIEW: The Talk

Review | Laura Money

Do you remember having The Talk with your parents? How about the awkwardness of sexual education classes en masse at school? I remember that I just had more questions than answers – a problem that writer Gita Bezard highlights in her hilarious and timely script. The Talk is the latest work for independent theatre group The Last Great Hunt – a collective of Perth-based theatre makers and innovators whose shows usually reflect the zeitgeist while making biting commentaries on masculinities, feminism, Millennials, the environment and current affairs.

Eva (Cassidy Dunn) wants answers. As a teenage girl who has recently had a sexual encounter, all she wants to know is whether it was done right. She is dissatisfied with her experience and doesn’t know why. Dunn’s expressions of confusion and frustration are brilliantly underplayed – her embarrassed cringe is everything. Megan Hunter and Christina Odam take on multiple roles throughout, hilariously whipping back and forth between bitchy schoolgirls to world-weary young adults, desperate teenage boys, and ‘progressive’ parents.

A mint and coral minimalist set is full of fluffy towels and other teenage accoutrements (bananas feature heavily) just hinting at a hidden world of sexual education. The absolute stand-out moments of the performance come in the form of coordinated dances – mash-ups of popular songs (mostly from the 90s and 00s.) They serve as a reminder that music about sex – in particular masculinity and male pleasure – is pervasively marketed to young people – but the lyrics still don’t make sense to people who don’t quite understand them. Dunn, Hunter and Odam transport you straight back to the school yard with their ridiculously knowing facial expressions and ironically sexless schoolgirl moves.

008 The_Talk by The Last Great Hunt photo by Daniel James Grant_ pictured L-R Christina Odam, Megan Hunter, Cassidy Dunn-008

This show is hilarious – from the dances to the sex ed class, the awkward encounter in the boy’s toilets to the ‘Dolly Doctor-esque’ advice about sex that the teenage girls spout. Hunter is brilliant as the weird kid, Mikey – nailing all the awkward teenage boy moves, and Odam’s jaded but empowered Sally (a very mature 18 years old) really shines as she watches Eva’s bold character development. The Talk is snappy, funny, well-written and brilliantly acted. It strips away the ‘adult’ layer of doubt and highlights the absurd reactions they have to talking about sex. It brilliantly questions why male pleasure and notions of pornography minimise women’s role in what is essentially a two-person party.

The Talk probably raises more questions than answers, but it starts the conversation, and that’s all that matters.

WHEN: 11 – 21 April 2018 | 7:30pm

WHERE: Subiaco Arts Centre

INFO: Tickets $22 – $28 | Duration 60 mins | Suitable 14+ | Coarse language, sexual themes | THEATRE

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

005 The_TalkThe_Talk by The Last Great Hunt photo by Daniel James Grant_ pictured Christina Odam and Cassidy Dunn

In Brief, Interview, Past Production

INTERVIEW: Grayson Millwood

Grayson Millwood is one of the devisers of Queensland dance company The Farm and they are collaborating with Perth’s Co3 to create the unique and beautiful work Frank Enstein. We caught up with him to find out what the performance is all about.

How did Frank Enstein come about?

It came about because Gavin and I have children of our own now, and we have a belief that work made for kids doesn’t have to be dumbed down…

What does the performance say about how we perceive our bodies?

Our main protagonist has a disability, and he is creating these hyper able bodied dancers as his monsters. He sees them as perfect, and yet they also see him as perfect. As an audience we simply see that they are different.

Do you sympathise with any characters in particular?

Oh I keep moving all over the place with that one, Luci’s nervous loner character is the first character I sympathised with, but I have also sympathised with Andrew when his loyalty is betrayed, with Talitha when her love is not reciprocated, with Zach’s attempts to fit in and Will’s struggle to find love. 

Wow, you would never guess from that description that it’s an uplifting show, in which everyone finds what they want!

How does the show relate to the current issues of 2018?

It reminds us that despite the 24/7 distractions, it’s the people close to us that are important.

We need to start with ourselves, accept who we are and connect to others.

Describe the show in 3 words.

 For the adults:

Self-acceptance. Inclusivity. True connections

For the kids:

Silly gags. Vacuum cleaning monster. Magic tricks

That is sort of 3, isn’t it?

You can catch Frank Enstein at the State Theatre Centre WA from 11 – 15 April 2018.

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE: https://www.ptt.wa.gov.au/venues/state-theatre-centre-of-wa/whats-on/frank-enstein/

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In Brief, Past Production

ON NOW: The Talk

The Last Great Hunt is one of Perth’s most edgy and pertinent theatre companies offering a fresh and youthful look at the issues and current affairs that surround our society. Gita Bizzard brings her feminist and important play The Talk to Subiaco Arts Centre.

Think back to when you had ‘The Talk’ (you’ve probably tried to forget it). Maybe your mother told you to “be careful”. Maybe your teacher told you to “abstain”. You felt prepared, right?

Eva is 15 and all she wants is answers. No more condom demonstrations or close-up slides of chlamydia. She needs honesty, and she’s not afraid to get it.

One petition, one riot and one school suspension later, Eva sets out on her own quest to discover just what it is that everyone is hiding.

Written by Gita Bezard (The Advisors, Girl Shut Your Mouth) this hilarious and pointed new show from The Last Great Hunt holds up the fears of the adults against the questions of the teenagers. This is: The Talk.

WHEN: 11 – 21 April 2018 | 7:30pm

WHERE: Subiaco Arts Centre

INFO: Tickets $22 – $28 | Duration 60 mins | Suitable 14+ | Coarse language, sexual themes | THEATRE

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

Past Production

PAST PRODUCTION: Frank Enstein

Co3 is Western Australia’s flagship contemporary dance company, contributing a unique perspective to Perth’s theatre scene. Teaming up with the legendary outfit The Farm – Queensland’s premier dance and theatre company to create Frank Enstein. It’s a fresh take on the old story that combines movement and physical theatre to question animation, nature, simplicity, communication and genius.

Frank’s a lonely guy who wants to make his imaginary friends real. Harnessing electricity from a storm he creates his world from nothing but his imagination and the garbage in his lab. Battling a physical impairment, Frank creates monsters to fulfill his desire to be normal and to be accepted by others. Can he control what he creates? And who is the real monster anyway?

Frank Enstein is a retelling of the classic tale for children and adults – magical dance-theatre illuminating a path to self-acceptance.

WHEN: 11 – 15 April 2018 | 7:30pm (matinee Sun 15 5pm)

WHERE: Heath Ledger Theatre | State Theatre Centre WA

INFO: Tickets $35 – $50 | Duration 60 mins | Suitable ages 8+ (accompanied by adult) | DANCE

LINK: https://www.ptt.wa.gov.au/venues/state-theatre-centre-of-wa/whats-on/frank-enstein/

Interview

INTERVIEW | Struan Logan

Struan Logan is the Scottish comedian taking Australia by storm. After road tripping around Australia and New Zealand headlining gigs whilst meandering through, he then made his way back home via South East Asia performing stand-up in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

In his show, Logan regales you with stories about how Scottish privilege was his best travel ally, doing jokes about Islam in a Muslim majority country and how he understood religion by seeing Buddhist Hell. We caught up with him to find out all about it!

How did you get into stand-up?

I always liked stand-up on TV when but Youtube when it first came out was what single handedly made me obsessed with comedy. Getting all of these shows and albums at the touch of your fingertips is very good to learn about comedy but terrible if you are still a student at that point. What made me want to do it was going to the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time and working as a flyer. I got to see so much live stand-up where someone got to tell their stories and share a different point of view to the world. Long form solo shows are where you can get something better across than just by being there for 5 minutes on stage.

What have you learned about comedy from being on the scene?

The main thing I’ve learned is that individual “scenes” don’t matter, it is just about being a good comic and understanding to tailor your sets right for the correct place. The main problem with staying in an individual place is that you only get good in that area. You occasionally meet a comic with a huge ego because they are a ‘big deal’ in the scene. I was headlining a gig in Berlin and had to deal with some jacked up comic because he was “big in German.” He didn’t understand why I shook my head at him after he said that.

Toughest Gig?

I did a split show in Edinburgh Fringe with a UK act called President Obonjo who plays a character act based on an African Dictator. One day we had a very quiet show and did what essentially became a private show for a Nigerian family of mum, dad, the three kids 10, 8, 6 and Granny! Kids are tough to do stand-up to as they have a low concentration but I managed to crack a few laughs out of them. As hard as I tried I never won granny over.

Why do you like storytelling?

I have come from a family who are good at storytelling, many Australians say it is a very celtic tradition of sharing stories but I have met plenty of Scots who can’t tell a tale to save themselves. Every comic has the version the want to be and the one they actually they are. Whilst many of us comics would like to be dropping harsh trust bombs like the resurrected ghost of Bill Hicks, I am far better at spinning a yarn.

What do you adapt to your audience being from overseas?

A lot, sometimes you can change the references but often it is just better dropping things and writing a whole new thing for the crowd. Some tales in the show aren’t so much adapted as exclusive to that country. I have a story about being attacked by a iced-up junkie in Melbourne at a show which I feel is the true blue Aussie experience. That doesn’t work anywhere else because ice is a very Aussie experience (dealing with people on it not being high themselves). Outside of Australia they think you have to be wary of poisonous snakes, spiders or crocs but you realise a meth-head on the tram is much more of a common inconvenience.

Your show is about backpacking, why do you think so much comedy comes from those experiences?

Because you are meeting so many new people and in new situations it is impossible not to have comedy come out of it. In hostels you hang about with other backpackers who share stories then you contribute yours. There is the cliche that people who go off travelling to ‘discover themselves’ a far more accurate version is if you go backpacking and don’t have a good story out of it they failed miserably.

Comedy allows us to gain insights into thoughts that are different from ours. Would you find this is true when you perform?

I agree from seeing other shows but you can’t always know it from your own work because you are rarely the person present when they are talking about your own show. I get a little bit of that feedback from reviews or close friends being completely honest but normally you will not entirely know what people think of your show as everyone has a different opinion about each bit.

Travel broadens the mind, do you try to bring much wisdom to the performance?

Not really. Of course you sneak in a couple of little agendas in the show through jokes but nothing derails a comedy show like trying to impart wisdom. It is like those really boring sermons you get at school where a minister tells you a long, uninteresting speech but then relates it back by saying, “And do you know what the football represents? Jesus!”

As you have experienced being in Australia what do you find the funniest thing about Australians?

In Australia when people say “How ya going?” as a greeting, they don’t mean it literally. I find this after a lot of blank stares whilst I described my day.

Why should people see the show?

I am committed enough to bring this show to Australia by getting a plane halfway across the world and live in this country for two months. If it was shit I would be very much bankrupt and be having a horrible time out here. Thankfully the shows have been fun, crowds have been delightful and I have caught some other people’s kick-ass shows whilst out here. I couldn’t afford to bring a mediocre show out here.

Review

FRINGEWORLD 2018 | Mavis (And Other Broken Objects) | 4 Stars

Review | Kieran Eaton

Mavis (And Other Broken Objects) is a wonderfully produced cabaret show by Megan Hunter, Conor Neylon, and Jackson Peele. This is the tale of a young woman named Mavis (Hunter) going on the hunt in the search for love. This is a realistic journey of sexual risk-taking in the hope that Mavis would fall in the arms of the man of her dreams and live happily ever after. Of course, life is not like the scripts of Hollywood!

Hunter creates a bubbly character on stage and yet this show would not work without the assistance of four well chiselled, musically talented, young men. On stage they create the contrast to Mavis’s brash nature – with bashful, silly playfulness. This works like a treat, especially with one of the men being the piano accompaniment. He does it in a cheeky style that is perfect for the feel of the night. These good-looking men all end up being part of Mavis’s love adventures, that allow her to showcase a full gamut of emotions.

When Mavis first comes on stage in just her underwear and swearing – the audience is braced for a character that will put herself out there quickly and with attitude. Her story opens by her trying to get into a nightclub at sixteen and this ticked all the boxes of what occurs in these establishments. Much thought is put to create a hyper-real story from the mind of a young Perth woman. This is achieved with lots of sass and cleverly subtle humour.

Then ending takes you by surprise but it all makes sense when reflect on the show title, Mavis (And Other Broken Objects). Do see this musical performance for a night good for your eyes, ears and general wellbeing!

 

WHEN: 20 – 24 February 2018 | 7:30pm

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

INFO: Tickets $36-42 | Duration 50 minutes | Recommended 15+ | WA artist | CABARET

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/mavis-and-other-broken-objects-fw2018

Review

FRINGEWORLD 2018 | Flight of Fancy | 5 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Flight of Fancy is the best value for money variety night you’ll find all FRINGEWORLD 2018. Seriously, it’s such a great night out – I went to the final one and it went way over time, but believe me I didn’t mind because I didn’t want it to end.

It’s unfair to review individual acts in a variety night, but I will say that the magic combination of the quick-witted host Andrew Silverwood and the hilarious stage kittens kept the night at a really high level of entertainment. Curator, and finale act Whisky A’more really knows how to create a winning line-up.

We got a sneak peak of Logy on Fire – a street entertainer who brings old-school classic juggling and the like crashing into the twenty-first century. He gave us a little taste of his street show in a cigar box manipulating trick that left us in tears with laughter and then ensured our jaws crashed firmly to the floor and stayed there!

There is still ONE MORE CHANCE to see Logy on Fire at Fringe Central Sunday 25th February, 5pm.

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/logy-on-fire-fw2018

Next up was the charismatic Scotsman, Elliott Bibby who cracked us up with his silly antics and then blew our minds with his amazing talent. Bibby is (at the time of writing) the Scottish Magician of the Year and for good reason. He got an audience member up from the crowd and read her mind – before blowing it! I enjoyed his natural comedy more than his tricks – but don’t get me wrong, I was pretty damn impressed with them, too.

There are still TWO MORE SHOWS left of Elliot Bibby Scottish Magician presents: McMagic Moments Sunday 25th February 8:00pm & 9:00pm

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/elliot-bibby-scottish-magician-presents-mcmagic-moments-fw2018

Just as the guys up on stage were making things look pretty easy, Silverwood asked if anyone in the audience wanted to give Burlesque a go. I honestly fell for this for a split second, until I realised that the dream team from Improlesque were the ones to answer the call. Think Whose Line Is It Anyway meets Striptease! Baron von Envy and Trigger Happy got dressed in the funniest, extra af outfits and proceeded to improvise a full burlesque routine in the ballet style to Destiny’s Child’s ‘No Scrubs’ and I can tell you, those moves will stay with me forever! These guys are ridiculously funny – watching them was a better ab workout than any Pilates session could ever be.

There is STILL ONE SHOW left on Sunday 25th February at 7:00pm so don’t miss out!

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/improlesque-fw2018

As a writer and a theatre-lover, the wonderful Dee Dee Luscious performing her librarian burlesque striptease was right up my alley. Reading an oversized volume of ‘How To Burlesque,’ Luscious looks around guiltily – slowly stripping off with a shy grin and a hilarious technique. Her facial expressions were a bit silly for my liking – I mean, she’s meant to be repressed, not backwards – but those dance moves were so perfectly and hilariously timed. It’s clear why Dee Dee Luscious won Burlesque Idol Perth 2018.

It was also a huge treat to be entertained by the phenomenal wonder, Clara Cupcakes. I haven’t been lucky enough to catch her this FRINGEWORLD 2018, so to see her at Flight of Fancy was extra special. And she did not disappoint. Whirling onstage like the Tassie Devil, Cupcakes whipped us into a frenzy with her brilliant hoop routine. She has been doing this routine for a while, but it just seems to get better and better! You can still catch Clara Cupcakes’ FINAL SHOW Sunday 25th February 8:00pm.

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/the-worst-fw2018

Of course, Flight of Fancy wouldn’t be complete without the incredible Whisky A’more and she burst onto the stage in a brash, blue, Braveheart blitz! A’more’s unique routine was truly exciting to see – fiercely bold and intimidatingly sexy, Whisky A’more dominated the stage and titillated while terrifying the audience. Her brilliant curation and vision is what solidified Flight of Fancy as an absolute highlight of FRINGEWORLD 2018 – it was a night I will never forget!

Unfortunately Flight of Fancy is all over red rover – but keep your eye out for the acts you’ve read about and check one of them out – you won’t regret it.

Review

FRINGEWORLD 2018 | Dirty Jazz Cocktail Hour | 4.5 Stars

Review | Laura Money

The irrepressible Jessie Gordon is back in a night of saucy songs and cheeky tunes all themed towards drinking and alcohol. Accompanied by the incredibly talented pianist, Chris Foster the duo tackle everything from old jazz standards from New Orleans to Nina Simone and Frank Sinatra – if it involves alcohol, it’s here!

Dirty Jazz Cocktail Hour is a pretty sedate evening, full of class and jazz standards. The Ellington Jazz Club fills with jazz lovers and offers you a ‘Filthy Gordon’ – well it’s a White Lady Cocktail, but I think it’s far more novel to sip on a Filthy Gordon while watching the real thing onstage! Gordon’s sublime voice carries throughout the whole club as she charts the origins of jazz in her opening song about Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Not only do you get a good theme, but you get a history lesson, too.

Gordon’s throaty tones seduce you through cheeky jazz songs like ‘Let’s Get Drunk and Truck’ and ‘Long John’ about her dentist. These songs are full of innuendos, and Gordon’s cheeky eyebrow raises and winks really offset the material! There are some really beautiful pieces, like ‘Lilac Wine’ once covered by Jeff Buckley and ‘One For My Baby’ by Old Blue Eyes himself – and Gordon pulls no punches, hitting every note and adding that certain extra quality that goes with her charming stage presence.

There is a powerful message here, though. Music and popular culture are real indicators of cultural memes and can be agents of social change and the zeitgeist of the time. Little quips about inflation and how the songwriters of the 1930s were probably not quite as innocent as we like to think of them combine with Gordon’s acute observations about inequality – especially feminism – to firmly place these songs in context and possibly highlight inequity in our current world.

Get yourself down to The Ellington Jazz Club, grab a Filthy Gordon and watch one on stage, because this is one fantastic night out!

WHEN: 21 – 25 February 2018 | 9:00pm

WHERE: The Ellington Jazz Club | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $22 – $26 | Duration 50 mins | Suitable 18+ | WA Artists | MUSIC

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/dirty-jazz-cocktail-hour-fw2018

 

Article, Interview

ARTICLE | Enter The Little Death Club with Bernie Dieter

Bernie Dieter is the divine cabaret star of the deliciously debaucherous Little Death Club, a late night variety of the darkest and sexiest acts of FRINGEWORLD. It’s on at 11:15pm on Friday and Saturday nights, so don’t miss out! We caught up with Bernie before the shows to see what all the fuss is about.

Ms Dieter travels around the world to Festivals, Fringe Festivals, Bars, Clubs, Dive bars – anywhere that will have her. She writes brand new songs or adapts songs for The Little Death Club and essentially chooses acts from her ‘carnie’ family – people she has met over the years.

I get my friends to join me on stage and they do their naughtiest, filthiest material! It’s a big after-party really, at the end of the night you come and really let your hair down!

The show was developed with Tom from Deadman Label and their mission was to find the funniest and filthiest line-up. All of the material is cutting edge and relevant to now, but it’s also about the material they want. It’s described as ‘Punk Cabaret’ because

pretty much anything can happen! The audience is very much involved in the show, I like to get up close and personal with them. It’s about breaking down those walls and boundaries and really connecting with people. We don’t like a passive show – we want something that is anarchic and dynamic!

Dieter laments the fact that people are less and less willing to reach out and touch each other these days. “You know, I hug the audience, I lick the occasional forehead…” There is a lot of audience interaction, but Dieter will never pick on anyone without their consent. She remembers one lovely bearded man (Dieter loves her beards!) at one of her shows who she encouraged to break out of his shell and ended up on stage in a moment of triumph.

It was an interesting journey to cabaret and performing for Dieter – it comes naturally and is definitely in the blood. Finding out recently that her grandmother was in a German travelling circus before the war. It was such a beautiful thing for her to find out, and is proud to know that it’s in her family tree.

I was always an attention seeker! I always wanted to sing from a very early age – family functions, they couldn’t shut me up. Cabaret was a really exciting place to develop my own stuff. I watched Rocky Horror Picture Show at the age of nine although, I was never allowed to see the orgy scene till I was about twelve!

After watching some cabaret shows in Melbourne and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Dieter was inspired by the powerful women she watched in those shows and also the German 70s Pornography her family videos were taped over! She loved watching powerful women in corsets and fishnets completely in control. It’s because of this, though that Dieter isn’t afraid to converse with her family about sex.

We’ve always been pretty open about it. I remember as a kid, my parents would be upstairs and going for it, and we’d get the broom and bang it on the ceiling and be like “shut up!”

As Little Death Club is a cheeky nod to ‘le petit mort’ or the little death that is the human orgasm, her audiences are happy to be liberated within the Speigeltent. Dieter points out that sex is basically what we all have in common. It’s something we usually speak about with friends, so why not talk about it with strangers? Her new songs cover contemporary sex talk like dick pics and emoji porn.

Dieter acknowledges that we are living in a very important time when it comes to feminism and consent.

Women are stepping up and saying – hey guys, there’s still a lot of work to do. I think we do address it [in the show] by being a powerful woman. I don’t like to lecture on it because I think there are a lot of good guys who are really respectful and also fighting for the movement. I think we should be showing rather than telling.

There are a lot of shows out there that have a stronger feminist message, but Dieter believes (and rightly so) that by being a strong woman it makes her a strong role model. “You need to lead by example.” Being a single female host of a late night cabaret in the middle of Northbridge is transgressive as it is, so in my opinion, Dieter is a trend-setter.

Little Death Club has a remarkable, loose and relaxing vibe. A lot of the acts that don’t normally do variety nights are attracted to the relaxed atmosphere of the show.

They get to do something different and relax without the pressure of their shows. We usually see them doing stuff they don’t normally do in their solo shows. They can do something a little bit edgier, wilder, or ruder.

Get yourself down to Little Death Club for a VIP experience and grab a ringside seat to seeing artists let loose and create a unique night of fun and filth!

You can get your tickets to LITTLE DEATH CLUB here: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/little-death-club-fw2018

See our 4.5 STAR review here: https://fourthwallmedia.wordpress.com/2018/02/13/fringeworld-2018-little-death-club-4-5-stars/

 

 

 

 

Review

FRINGEWORLD 2018 | Boris & Sergey | 5 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Whatever your plans are tonight, cancel them and get yourself down to see Boris & Sergey! This is the hottest puppet show in town, it’s a wild ride from vaudeville, to interpretive dance, to action and adventure, and avant garde surrealism. It’s all those things and more!

Flabbergast Theatre have been delighting audiences all around the globe with their debauched and deranged little leather puppets the titular Boris & Sergey. It’s a completely unique brand of comedy – drawing on the traditions of the Music Hall duo, these ‘brothers’ are so in sync with each other, they hilariously bounce off each other and constantly crack each other up.

The puppetry techniques are pure beauty – if one steps back from the comedy and the trappings of a show, what you get is complex co-ordination simply rendered. Three puppeteers operate each puppet and all are masters at their craft. The sheer joy and expressionism in each movement – from climbing up onto the table, to jauntily tap dancing – is a delight to watch.

Of course, Boris & Sergey are not satisfied with a sedate show. They turn up the heat, ramp up the energy and run hell-for-leather in a flat out hour of dirty jokes, dark humour and of course, popular culture homages. Boris’ cheeky parody of Kate Bush will have you in stitches, Sergey’s avant garde expressionism is a clever parody of an art form the company are rather passionate about, and the team throw absolutely no punches when showing the downfall of the beloved puppet stripped bare.

You’ll be on the edge of your seat watching these wonderfully talented puppeteers navigate the unrealistic, yet high octane world of car, motorcycle and plane chases, you’ll beg for more as the two face off in the darkest and funniest fight scene ever – think Mr Squiggle meets Tarantino! And, of course, there is the dark and sinister finale that brings it all crashing down around you. From the crazed mind of the man who made Warhorse naughty, Henry Maynard, comes the adventure of a lifetime complete with feuding brothers, debauchery, and hilarity.

WHEN: 15 – 25 February 2018 | 7:45pm

WHERE: The Shambles | Fringe Central | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $25 – $27 | Duration 60 mins | Suitable 15+ | CABARET

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/boris-sergey-fw2018

 

Review

FRINGEWORLD 2018 | How To Period Like A Unicorn | 4 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Lucy Peach is here to preach the power of your period! The beautiful husband and wife team, Lucy Peach and Richard Farley (live graphic artist) gently educate you about the menstrual cycle through song, story, art and the occasional graph – oh and chocolate – lots of chocolate!

How To Period Like A Unicorn is a friendlier sex education class – designed to be a safe space for women of all ages to learn about their wonderful bodies and how to tap into the power of their cycle. Starting, as all of these tales do, with Peach’s own ‘first period’ story rendered beautifully in the style of an indie song as Farley adds graphics behind her, one instantly takes a shine to the lovely Peach. Farley sits onstage and adds little clouds, bubbles, and generally whimsical artwork in response to Peach’s words which are projected up behind her. They are perfectly in sync and clearly, in love. It’s sweet to see Farley’s love for his wife so openly on his face as he watches her.

And who wouldn’t be in love with Lucy Peach?! She is so kind and encouraging as she tells the audience about each phase of the mentsrual cycle – yes, it’s more than just ON/OFF – and tells you in one succinct show what the teachers at school neglect. Sure they tell you the science, but Peach breaks it down further and helps you tap into the potential of each phase. Using real life heroes from the audience, Peach gently celebrates women in all phases of their period – older and younger alike.

The music is soft and beautiful, the art is whimsical and fun, Peach herself is encouraging and so loving – it really is a big love-fest! I was impressed with the amount of young women I saw, and I strongly encourage more young women to grace the audience because this is honestly the best lesson you’ll ever get on your period – because it’s not a lesson – it’s a celebration. If only Peach had been there when I was a teenager!

WHEN: 22 – 25 February 2018 | 5:45pm

WHERE: De Parel Speigeltent | The Pleasure Garden | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $16 – $20 | Duration 60 mins | Suitable all ages | Teenagers encouraged! | WA Artists | THEATRE

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/how-to-period-like-a-unicorn-fw2018

 

 

Review

FRINGEWORLD 2018 | Rude Awakening Sex Shame Liberation | 4 stars

Review | Laura Money

Join the effervescent Amber Topaz as she takes you on a journey through the origins of life, the wondrous nature of our sexual organs, and starts an open conversation about love, life, sex, and taboo. Rude Awakening Sex Shame Liberation is about tearing down those barriers and realising that it’s 2018 – we should be comfortable talking about sex!

Topaz is a brilliant performer – she struts onstage in 4 inch heels (I know they’re that length because Topaz informs us that the clitoris is the same size!) and entertains the bejeezus out of us. Ginger locks and pin-up makeup combine with sexy burlesque clothing and hazard tape to create the unique Amber Topaz. She tackles the science of conception, and sexual health and incorporates it all into a cabaret show like no other.

The songs are a real treat to witness, from a period enlightening rendition of ‘Wuthering Heights’ to a song extolling the virtues of drinking, Topaz pulls out all the stops! She has a remarkable voice and is so quick – her lightning reflexes during the German version of ‘I Touch Myself’ is a delight to witness. Topaz is a true talent in burlesque and her crowd interaction is smooth and easy. Despite the topic, she doesn’t encourage people to expose themselves or even talk openly about their sex lives but eases you gently into demystifying the big topic.

Topaz is an incredibly giving performer. She reaches into the ‘Womb Of Truth’ to answer your secret sex questions, giving advice that is consistently kind. She takes her cue from nature, encouraging the audience to ‘Shake it Off’ like a hunted gazelle and literally strips bare to show her human side. This show is all about love, acceptance, and being kind to each other. If you were expecting stripping and a raunchy night out, you would be wrong – this show is about exposure but only to love.

WHEN: 20 – 25 February 2018 | 10:45pm

WHERE: The Shambles | Fringe Central | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $25 – $29.50 | Duration 60 mins | Suitable 18+ | COMEDY

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/rude-awakening-sex-shame-liberation-fw2018

 

In Brief

FIVE WITH FRINGE | Anna Thomson

Anna Thomson is the mastermind behind MADAME NIGHTSHADE’S POISON GARDEN – a postmodern wonder that is here in Perth for FRINGEWORLD 2018. She answered our ‘Five With Fringe’ series ahead of the show.

Describe your show in 3 words:

Madness. Mayhem. Mess! That or… Putridly Sweet Satire.

What is your show all about?

Madame Nightshade’s Poison Garden is the garden party from hell, where vegetables are transformed into semi-automatic weapons, Snow White becomes a spring onion wielding Samurai, and Mars Bars represent the ‘shit’ of the world. Queer performance art meets contemporary clown in this absurd, dark physical comedy that digs deep in our own backyard. A humorous, hell-bent, messy ride!

Favourite place for a post-show drink?

I don’t know Perth super well but I’ve heard that The Blue Room Theatre’s bar is a pretty lively spot!

How would you describe your FW experience?

I did Fringe World last year with my comedy troupe PO PO MO CO we had lots of fun – I’d describe it as jam-packed, buzzing and tonnes of fun!

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

Oh I’m definitely going to check out Kaitlyn Roger’s Can I get an Amen?!, also Almost Lesbians by West Australians Anna Piper Smith and Sophie Joske. And Deanna Flehser’s Butt Kapinksi is back at the Blue Room after a rockin’ season last year and is a sure thing!

You can get your tickets for MADAME NIGHTSHADE’S POISON GARDEN here: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/madame-nightshade-s-poison-garden-fw2018

Check out our 4 STAR review here: https://fourthwallmedia.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/fringeworld-2018-madame-nightshades-poison-garden-4-stars/

 

In Brief

FIVE WITH FRINGE | James Chesters

James Chesters is part of the wonderful Indie Choir MENAGERIE. They have a new show this FRINGEWORLD 2018 all about secrets! James was kind enough to answer our ‘Five With Fringe’ series ahead of the show.

Describe your show in 3 words:

Secrets, songs [and] music

What is your show all about?

Menagerie Choir Presents Keeping Secrets is about that universal, yet uniquely personal experience of knowing something you think you can never tell. Everyone has secrets, whether they are funny, or embarrassing, or sad, or painful, and what we’re saying is you don’t have to keep them to yourself. We’re exploring real secrets, as shared by the choir and the public, and in true Menagerie style pairing them with quirky, foot-tapping arrangements of indie pop songs.

Favourite place for a post-show drink?

The Bird has long been a Menagerie favourite — we can often be found there after rehearsals, as well as for their various nights. During Fringe time we also enjoy the various bars that pop up for the festival, including the Pleasure Garden, Urban Orchard and obviously the Budgie Smuggler.

How would you describe your FW experience?

Menagerie’s FRINGEWORLD experience is completely unique. You’ll be hard pressed to find another show that takes you through a full range of emotions, has big singalong numbers, and leaves you with a smile on your face. Especially not one that also features 80+ performers on stage at the same time.

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

There’s so many! We are particularly excited for Gavin Nicklette: That’s What She Said, as well as Songwriting With Good Lighting, and A Capella, and Acapocalypse, and

Manbuilding With Men Of The West. And about a hundred others I’ve neglected to mention…

You can get your tickets to MENAGERIE CHOIR PRESENTS: KEEPING SECRETS here: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/menagerie-choir-presents-keeping-secrets-fw2018

See what we had to say about the show here: https://fourthwallmedia.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/fringeworld-2018-menagerie-choir-presents-keeping-secrets-3-5-stars/

 

Review

FRINGEWORLD 2018 | Songwriting With Good Lighting | 3.5 Stars

Review | Jordan Baynes

Saskia Fleming and Georgina Cramond invite their audience into the cosy space of Paper Mountain to enjoy an intimate session where we get to know how they became best friends and discover, through their songs and storytelling, some of the good and bad times they’ve had or shared. Throughout the show, Fleming and Cramond  interact with their audience completely breaking the fourth wall and making the experience that much more intimate and genuine. The lighting of course is suitable, though personally I feel the fairy lights along the top of the couch do distract sometimes when they strobe!

The show definitely exemplifies the main idea of Fringe being a chance for artists to perform and share. Songwriting With Good Lighting feels a lot like a school presentation which comes from the very informal way the two interact with each other and the audience. The flow of the show moving from one point to the next is akin to a Powerpoint presentation. This informal style doesn’t mesh with me but the audience reaction was positive leading to my next point. My experience felt like I was the odd one out in an audience that seemed full of people who personally knew Fleming and/or Cramond and not every joke landed when it seemed like it would’ve if I was acquainted with the performers. However the songs were very enjoyable especially when they had emotional backing to them and both Fleming and Cramond’s chemistry was great.

Songwriting With Good Lighting is enjoyable to watch and you will feel relaxed as they take you through their lives with good and bad times that at least some will resonate with you. Go and see it for yourself and you’re guaranteed to have a slightly different experience to me.

WHEN: 22 – 25 February 2018 | 8:30pm

WHERE: Paper Mountain Common Room | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $20 | Duration 70mins | Suitable ages 15+ | WA Artists | MUSIC

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/songwriting-with-good-lighting-fw2018

 

In Brief

FIVE WITH FRINGE | The Ghosts of Fremantle team

THE GHOSTS OF FREMANTLE is a multimedia show featuring original horror music and soundscapes. All performed live alongside compelling imagery of Fremantle’s architecture and it’s ghosts. The team answered our ‘Five With Fringe’ series ahead of their FRINGEWORLD 2018 show.

Describe your show in 3 words:

Gothic history reactivated.

What is your show all about?

The show is a reimagining of the dark past of Fremantle, hosted by the ghost of WA’s most infamous convict ‘Moondyne Joe’. Old Moondyne leads the audience through a rocking’ musical expose of Fremantle’s supernatural landscape. Supported by a haunting original film and eerie soundscapes Moondyne shares the highlights and lowlights of his life as an ‘escapologist’ and his afterlife as a wandering spectre. Gothic imagery of Fremantle melds with an original score and piercing sound effects to bring the atmospheric prison theatre to life once more.

 Favourite place for a post-show drink?

The Local Hotel Fremantle (282 South Terrace)

How would you describe your FW experience? 

Enthusiastic supporters, first time performers.

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

Swinging Safari movie Feb 22nd at Rooftop Movies

You can get your tickets for THE GHOSTS OF FREMANTLE here: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/the-ghosts-of-fremantle-fw2018

 

Review

FRINGEWORLD 2018 | Liam Ryan – In Your Dreams | 4.5 Stars

Review | Kieran Eaton

Liam Ryan is a typical comedian in that he is neurotic and what greater way to explore his neurosis than in a show about dreams! This manic act creates an absurd journey into the subconscious in a way that highlights his comedic strengths – crowd improvisation and telling funny stories. Ryan is wacky personified, so we go on a rollercoaster journey into his out-there mind!

Ryan is a Melbourne comic, originally from Perth so you can see an entertainer comfortable in his surrounds. Initially, he gives off a weird vibe that things are not totally in control but further into the show you realise this is all part of his character. Half his laughter appears created in moment, dealing with the crowd as a seasoned pro should. Ryan’s style is conversational – creating a feel that you are listening to a friend talk in tangents. Still, there is method to his madness as Ryan does know how to structure an interesting story.

Looking at Ryan with his wild, curly hair you can see a man who embraces his naturalness and that is what dream interpretation is all about – in seeing the inner you. Dreams are fascinating if you think about them, however some folk find them not so this is a risky theme concept that luckily Ryan has strength with his interesting tales that are cleverly linked to common dreams. Created is a contrast of the relatable with the unrelatable that is like real life dreams. Ryan even includes a sleep like sound to get you thinking that this all just a dream.

Liam Ryan – In Your Dreams is an artistic performance and a good show to open your mind, so see if you want to explore this.

 

WHEN: 20 – 25 February 2018 | 9:30pm

WHERE: Belgian Beer Café | Palace Society | Perth CBD

INFO: Tickets $18 -$25 | Duration 55 mins | Family friendly | COMEDY

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/liam-ryan-in-your-dreams-fw2018

Review

FRINGEWORLD 2018 | Glenn Grimwood: Unf*ckable | 3.5 Stars

Review | Kieran Eaton

Glenn Grimwood has the most apt surname to describe his show (get the pun?)  Unf*ckable is about a cult anti-hero of comedy with stories of true self depreciation.  A true battler – this style can work, aka Dave Hughes before he became famous. Don’t worry about this being an imitation, as Grimwood has his own unique sense of humour that will only get better with experience.

Grimwood is a local act and doing his first solo show – with slight signs that he is not sure how this will all go. A very humble act, he achieves laughter from the start with a visual gag about him wearing a hat. This sets the tone for the night, with the shorter jokes gaining more laughs than his little stories. Grimwood is more comfortable doing shorter bits – sometimes an issue of a comedy club scene where longer bits are less encouraged, so you do not get as much practice to be fine-tuned.

Seeing this bearded fellow come on to some heavy rock tune, from the onset you know that he likes things a bit rough – yet he jokes he still is a big crier. This self-aware dichotomy that he has put himself into is what makes him super endearing. People are often bigger than the labels given and Grimwood embraces this sensitive side that you’d see more in a poet, not an ex tradie. His tales fuse the everyman Aussie ocker, with beautiful maligned pathos. This comedian just needs to not let lack of reaction stop him being who he is.

I strongly encourage people who prefer comedy to be not too up beat to see Glenn Grimwood: Unfuckable, this FRINGEWORLD 2018.

 

WHEN: 20 – 25 February 2018 | 7:30pm

WHERE: Supper Room | Town Hall | Perth CBD

INFO: Tickets $10 -$15 | Duration 50 mins | Recommended 18+ | WA Artist | COMEDY

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/glenn-grimwood-unf-ckable-fw2018

In Brief

FIVE WITH FRINGE | Megan Hunter

Megan Hunter is Mavis in her upcoming FRINGEWORLD 2018 show MAVIS (AND OTHER BROKEN OBJECTS) on at His Majesty’s Theatre. She answered our ‘Five With Fringe’ series ahead of the show.

Describe your show in 3 words:

Glitter. Trash. Wild.

What is your show all about?

It’s all about loving yourself, even when you shouldn’t. A bit of a self-love journey told through this one very outrageous character.

Favourite place for a post-show drink?

The Globe

How would you describe your FW experience?

It’s been a rollercoaster! The quality of performances I’ve seen has been incredible this year, it’s a testament to how valuable this festival really is.

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

ELF LYONS: SWAN. A truly beautiful experience. (She’s on until Sunday so there’s still time to catch her!)

You can catch MAVIS (AND OTHER BROKEN OBJECTS) here: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/mavis-and-other-broken-objects-fw2018

 

 

In Brief

FIVE WITH FRINGE | Clara Cupcakes

Clara Cupcakes is the hilarious cabaret comedian behind the new FRINGEWORLD 2018 show, THE WORST. In it, she has made what is probably the worst video game ever – so go and see just how bad it can be! She answered our ‘Five With Fringe’ series ahead of the show.

Describe your show in 3 words:

8Bit Octopus Adventure.

What is your show all about?

It’s the tail of a heartbroken Octopus trapped in a video game of her own making. It has sword fights, electric eel bodyguards and a heap a tragedy-tinged fun.

Favourite place for a post-show drink?

Anywhere my friends are that has cheap drinks!

How would you describe your FW experience?

I adore everything about Fringe World. It’s the reason I’m performing and I wouldn’t be where I am without it. It’s friendship, it’s fun, it’s art, IT’S THE BEST!

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

SO MANY. Gillian Cosgriff is a favourite of mine always and she’s doing a best of so you know it’s going to be good. I have head nothing but good things about WE ARE IAN so you know I’ll be seeing that. Elf Lyons in Swan is side-splittingly good and Beau & Aero look AMAZING.

You can get your tickets to THE WORST here: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/the-worst-fw2018

Check out our 5 STAR review here: https://fourthwallmedia.wordpress.com/2018/02/20/fringeworld-2018-clara-cupcakes-the-worst-5-stars/

 

In Brief

FIVE WITH FRINGE | Elliot Bibby

Elliot Bibby is the charming Scottish magician bringing his unique brand of comedy and magic to Perth this FRINGEWORLD 2018. He answered our ‘Five With Fringe’ series ahead of his show, ELLIOT BIBBY SCOTTISH MAGICIAN PRESENTS: MCMAGIC MOMENTS.

Describe your show in 3 words:

Scottish, Magic, Fun

What is your show all about?

It’s a fast paced comedy magic show – with a Scottish twist.

Favourite place for a post-show drink?

This is my first time performing at FRINGE WORLD – but somewhere that sells whisky!

How would you describe your FW experience?

I’m really looking forward to it.

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

Stunt Magician – Danger Dave Reubens

Chris Henry: Around The World in 80 Dates

Kevin Quantum: And For My Next Trick

You can catch some of those McMagic Moments here: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/elliot-bibby-scottish-magician-presents-mcmagic-moments-fw2018

Read our 4 STAR review here: https://fourthwallmedia.wordpress.com/2018/02/20/fringeworld-2018-elliot-bibby-scottish-magician-presents-mcmagic-moments-4-stars/

 

 

Review

FRINGEWORLD 2018 | SUPER-FANNY -TASTIC| 3 Stars

Review | Kieran Eaton

Angela Scaturro, Caitlin McFeat, and Clare Thomson love their vaginas –  and this is important in this ‘negative body image’ world. To preach this, the MILK BOX Theatre Company creates a production of personal accounts relating to this wonderful body part. This intense set of monologues spoken by three millennial aspiring actors brings honesty centre stage!

SUPER-FANNY-TASTIC deals with a mix of subject areas – the science of the vagina, childhood to adolescent experiences, and finally some sexual experiences. This is an impressive range to cover and the sincerity is clear. However, the acting does not have the same range – creating a lecture-like feel to the night. Occasional humour is spattered throughout to ease the tension of the serious subject matter but some matters are kept serious to send the message that sexual assault is not on. There is minimalist styling to keep the audience focused on every word that is being said – leaving a mixed reaction to people connecting with them. The three performers display varied outcomes of being a young a woman in these current times – and it is a complex issue that is hard to portray without coming across as glib.

When you first see Scaturro, McFeat and Thomson standing together you feel a sense of friendship and solidarity. This is vital when you think of current movements like #metoo breaking the isolation caused by fears mainstream judgement. This subject is a strong part of the current zeitgeist and so there will always be cynics that could believe they are just jumping on the bandwagon, but this is not the case as these three thespians are part of the generation that are more open about speaking out about things personal to them.

Check SUPER-FANNY-TASTIC to see a solid show from the heart.

 

WHEN: 20 – 25 February 2018 | 10:00pm

WHERE: Black Flamingo | Pleasure Garden | Northbridge

INFO:  Tickets $22 – $25 |Duration 50 mins | Recommended 15+ | WA Artists | THEATRE

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/super-fanny-tastic-fw2018

Review

FRINGEWORLD 2018 | Madame Nightshade’s Poison Garden | 4 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Enter Madame Nightshade’s Poison Garden but do not be afraid! Anna Thomson takes you on a journey of eco-feminism, cultural relationships, nature vs nurture, queer politics, and physical comedy all through her masterful, absurdist clowning. The garden is already there when the audience files in – there’s a charming Victorian style outdoor table setting, a cornucopia of fresh produce, and a strangely plastic looking vine covering rubbish bags.

Then the rubbish pile begins to move.

Thomson emerges as the affable guide to the garden. Dressed in a Biggles-style pilot’s hat and dusty jacket, she emerges carrying her trusty spoon in her top pocket, and starts scavenging around the bin. This character is unique and wonderful, with her shrill and comical giggle and her knowing tone, she tells the story of the secret poison garden with reverence and knowing. She guides you through the story like a latter day Tony Robinson from Fat Tulip’s Garden, slowly and carefully articulating every element.

There are so many references to fairy-tales and children’s stories here – cautionary tales like Little Red Riding Hood, princess tales like Snow White, tales of homecoming like Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland – yet Thomson takes back autonomy on behalf of the damsels. She obliterates the stupidity of turning to woodland creatures for comfort – let’s be honest, all those birds hovering around, that’s some Hitchcock shit right there.

As Madame Nightshade herself, Thomson presents a series of clowning vignettes, all silent and all slightly dangerous. From simulating Snow White’s foray into Samurai fighting, to literally weaponising her garden to defend it to the hilt, Thomson does all of this with a sweet, ironic little smile. There’s audience participation, but don’t worry, it’s gentle (ish) and plenty of food for thought. The poison garden itself is a surreal microcosm of femininity – it’s a literal breadbasket, but it is owned by Madame Nightshade and only Madame Nightshade is allowed control. In culture, women are often aligned with nature – Thomson is just solidifying that alliance.

Moving away from the Nightshade character, Thomson’s lovable scamp returns to teach us about the power of secrets, stories, and sustainability. She blurs reality with revulsion, forcing the audience to contemplate the connection between what goes in and what comes out of our bodies. This show is unashamedly messy! It’s brazenly confronting. It’s intelligently inviting. In short, Madame Nightshade’s Poison Garden has a lot to say and a very effective way of saying it.

WHEN: 20 – 24 February 2018 | 9:00pm

WHERE: The Blue Room Theatre | Fringe Central | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $21 – $26 | Duration 60 mins | Suitable 15+ | Contains gun violence | Contains food | THEATRE

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/madame-nightshade-s-poison-garden-fw2018

 

 

 

 

Review

FRINGEWORLD 2018 | Jessie Gordon is Ruining Your Night | 6 stars!

Review | Brandon Taylor

With eight Fringe World awards and a number of international tours under her belt, veteran Perth-born jazz singer Jessie Gordon comes to Fringe World 2018 as an all-star. As such, Jessie Gordon is Ruining Your Night is her well-earned chance to reminisce about the ups, downs and songs that have paved her way to present day. Part jazz set and part narrative, the performance mixes Gordon’s silky vocals with her uncanny knack for storytelling in a delicious sundae of swing.

A collection of four hand-picked jazz musos plus Gordon make a comfortable band of five on The Ellington’s lofty stage. An impeccably classy Michael Perkins on drums, ravishing Mark Turner on Saxophone, incandescent Jon Mathews on guitar and enrapturing Karl Florisson on bass plus Gordon make up what has to be one of the very best Perth-based jazz bands on record. Gordon calls this combo her ‘dream team’ of musician/friends, but that’s an understatement – they are absolutely incredible.

Jessie Gordon’s anecdotes are both moving and hilarious, and the music is truly something else. Talent and taste are all well and good, but Gordon and her band transcend beyond technique into the ecstatic place where notes are relished rather than played, melodies lived rather than sounded, and fellowship felt as well as heard.

If you even so much as suspect you might like jazz, your age, art preferences and other obligations are irrelevant – just go see Jessie and her dream team.

WHEN: 21 – 25 February 2018 | 7:15pm

WHERE: The Ellington Jazz Club | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $22 – $26 | Duration 55 mins | Suitable 18+ | WA Artist | MUSIC

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/jessie-gordon-is-ruining-your-night-fw2018

 

Review

FRINGEWORLD 2018 | Miss Westralia | 4 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Tracing the real journey of Miss Beryl Mills, the very first Miss Australia as she travels from Geraldton to New South Wales to the USA, this delightful musical is guaranteed to get your toes tapping!

Miss Westralia charts the real-life success of Beryl (Madeline Clouston) as she sings about her hopes, dreams, confusions and contradictions. With Mr Packer (of newspaper fame) at the piano, and later taking centre-stage, Clouston sings with honesty and vulnerability which endears you to the plucky young girl from Gerro. Noemie Huttner-Koros and Amelia Burke complete the trio and take on multiple roles, most notably Beryl’s mother, Kitty and the reigning Miss USA.

It’s a musical like no other. Gentle, yet fun, the music style is reminiscent of the 1920s but not nostalgic. The humour is subtle and close to the bone – Beryl is extolled for virtues she finds arbitrary in the Miss Australia pageant, she is called a ‘tall poppy’ by her peers but decidedly embraces the moniker, using it to further galvanise herself for the trip. Burke is smashing as the irrepressible Kitty Mills – gripped with power and hedonism in the USA, her facial expressions and sheer unbridled joy at ‘letting go’ is infectious. Huttner-Koros has perfected the American’s frozen smile and jealous attitude but it is the ‘tall poppy’ herself, Clouston who, as the titular character brings a subtle hubris to the show.

Miss Westralia is a powerful show. Clouston’s charming voice may crack a bit every now and then, but this just adds to the down-to-earth vibe of Miss Mills herself. The set is simple, actors weaving in and out of stacked suitcases, the music is sublime – if a little gentle – there are no big showstoppers here, but everything is technically brilliant and impeccably executed. This show highlights the strength of women, the west, and way-down-under, so go and see a little gem of Australia’s history and hear from one our best and brightest – in her own words.

WHEN: 20 – 24 February 2018 | 7:30pm

WHERE: The King’s Lair | His Majesty’s Theatre | Perth

INFO: Tickets $34 – $39 | Duration 50 mins | Suitable PG | WA Artists | THEATRE/MUSICAL

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/miss-westralia-fw2018

 

Review

FRINGEWORLD 2018 | SNACKS – A Musical Tasting Plate | 3.5 Stars

Review | Link Harris

SNACKS – A Musical Tasting Plate consists of the fantastic pianist – who also acts as MC, and the actors/singers who together create three short musicals.

First up, is a scarecrow who longs to move about and be with the farmer’s daughter whose farm he is situated on. In enters Anzu – the magic wielding crow – who turns everything upside down as he grants the scarecrow life. The shoe drops as he finally meets and speaks to the farmer’s daughter and then all hell breaks loose after a fight with Anzu’s magical staff turning the tides or tables on each of their lives.

Secondis a very odd crossing or amalgamation between Peter Pan, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Jack the Ripper, situated in London. Wendy who just wanted to see the world and is constantly looking to the second star to the right – Venus, flies by thinking unpleasant thoughts and the Whitechapel serial murders of female prostitutes.

Lastly we have the story of a mid-western farm girl from Ohio who is sent to stay with her incredibly rude cousin in Long Island, New York. Her cousin – who can best be described as a dilettante, treats her poorly, making mention of her rural upbringing and poking fun at her supposed inability to read – she can read perfectly fine – as well as her overly pompous friend who’s name is too long to write and how she teaches them a lesson.

All of these short musicals are well done, the vocals are superb and the piano backing is exceptional, the only downfall is the non-singing parts which, if bolstered would have resulted in a higher star rating.

Definitely worth a look if you like musicals, so head on down and see the show to hear the superb vocals and pianist.
WHEN: 22 – 24 February 2018 | 6:30pm and 8:30pm

WHERE: Subiaco Arts Centre | Subiaco

INFO: Tickets $19 – $22 | Duration 60 mins | Suitable PG |WA Artists | THEATRE/MUSICAL THEATRE

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/snacks-a-musical-tasting-plate-fw2018

Review

FRINGEWORLD 2018 | 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche | 2 Stars

Review | Link Harris

5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche is – in its core – as the tag line suggests “1956 America. The ladies of the Susan B Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein are having their annual quiche breakfast, when Russia drop a nuke.“ which basically sums up the entire show in one sentence with the exception of them coming out of the closet during the crisis.

Going into the show with absolutely no idea what to expect other than quite literally watching 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, every audience member was given a female name tag – regardless of their gender. As we were seated, cast members were going around speaking to various people in character and I noticed one poor gentleman in the front row getting the cold shoulder straight off the bat, it became clear throughout the show this gentleman  – now named Marjorie – was continually picked on and berated for the duration of the show as apart of the act for various fictional sleights ‘Marjorie’ had done.

There were a few funny one liners such as “God gave me eggs and I knew I needed to hatch one” and cheesy quotes such as “if you build it, they will come” from Field of Dreams, some sexual innuendo regarding meat and female genitalia – mostly when the lesbianism got into full swing – but overall the performance was fairly flat, flaccid and lacklustre.

The exceptions to the above ribbing were when one of the cast members blew up and covered the impenetrable door with fake blood, one is found to been pregnant and her excuse is that she “fell onto a turkey baster” to which another cast member exclaimed “I fall onto turkey basters all the time, but they weren’t filled with semen!” and the fact that she knows that the baby is a boy because she has been craving meat.

If you like the 50s housewife attire/hair, if you like lesbians or if you like quiche then give this show a peek and even if you don’t, go and warm a seat and support the artists.

 

WHEN: 21 – 24 February 2018 | 7:00pm & 10:00pm

WHERE: Henry Summer | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $23 – $26.50 | Duration 75 mins | Suitable 18+ | WA Artists | THEATRE

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/5-lesbians-eating-a-quiche-fw2018

 

Review

FRINGEWORLD 2018 | The Dot | 4 Stars

Review | Brandon Taylor

The Dot is a collection of stage pieces by Perth based youth theatre group Modicum. Six shorts, originally published as video by YouTuber Mikasacus, explore the nagging questions that modern society seems determined to smother. Am I a good person? Why can’t I connect with the people I’m surrounded with? Why do I stick to the same routine every day? And what happens if I break the rules?

The audience is invited into the minds of several ‘normal’ characters as they calmly go about their daily routines. Their disjointed thoughts are relayed to us by a narrator, exposing tangled circuitry behind the expressionless faces worn on the bus, the street corner, the coffee shop queue. These droll realities are paralleled by internal monologues that go to hell in a handbasket. The contradiction is unsettling – especially when the parallel lines intersect.

Stage production leverages the close space between actors and audience in this Fringe venue. The Shambles, as it’s called, sits most of the audience in folding chairs on a level with the stage. There is no barrier between the chairs and performers. Actors in plain clothes, workaday settings, spare use of props and lines delivered directly to the audience all serve to further blur the boundary between viewers and performance; theatre and daily life. Shy theatregoers can take refuge in the wooden bleachers towards the back, but most needn’t worry – although the actors often face the audience, they don’t directly interact.

The Dot is a well-acted and intriguing production that can easily be recommended to all audiences. The only disclaimer to make is this is not a typical flashy or raunchy Fringe show. This is experimental theatre, meant to entertain with ideas as much as it does with theatrics. Come ready to listen, leave ready to ponder.

WHEN: 20 – 25 February 2018 | 9:15pm

WHERE: The Shambles | Fringe Central | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $20 | Duration 45 mins | Suitable all ages | WA Artists | THEATRE

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/the-dot-fw2018

Coming Soon, Review

REVIEW: Find The Lady | 4.5 stars

Review | Laura Money

Can you Find The Lady? Matt Penny, magician extraordinaire tells the ultimate story of the conman conned. He is charming and delightful, and a bit of a mind-blower!

Filing in past Penny sat at a keyboard he is awkwardly and badly attempting to play, one isn’t quite sure what to expect. It’s a dark room with only the piano, a small packing box and a tiny glass case propped up in the corner.  After minutes of frustrated banging, Penny gives up and starts to explain to the audience how the famous Find The Lady card trick is played. It’s a sleight of hand – a con. Listening to Penny as he deftly manipulates a pack of cards in one hand, smile playing on his lips, it feels intimate – like sharing an extraordinary story with a bunch of friends at a pub.

Penny weaves the tale of his magical discovery in a colloquial manner – he also gives a masterclass in the cheeky con – with his London lilt. Penny’s secret weapon allows him to play the piano beautifully – hands flying effortlessly across the keyboard  – and also to do magic. Not Harry Potter kind of magic, Penny’s tricks are more impressive as he incorporates his mentalist skills to their full potential. He is such a charming and affable figure, that even when the audience is wary, they still fully embrace the interaction.

The story reads like a larger than life fable – it seems extraordinary because it is. The combination of strange but possibly true story and charming, impressive tricks is where the real magic lies. It’s not showy, it’s not brash, it’s even tinged in sadness at times. Find The Lady will not fail to elicit a few smiles, and even more gasps of amazement – it’s an understated masterpiece, much like Penny himself.

WHEN: 6 – 9 June 2018| 9:00pm

WHERE: Subiaco Arts Centre | SUBIACO

INFO: Tickets $25 – $28 | Duration 50 mins | Recommended 15+ | WA artist | THEATRE

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