Interview, on now, In Brief

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Charlie Caper | Robotricks | 5 With Fringe

Charlie Caper is a magician extraordinaire! He is bringing his unique blend of magic and robotics to FRINGEWORLD 2019. Caper answered our 5 WITH FRINGE questions ahead of his show.

Describe your show in 3 words:

Futuristic, Astonishing, Thought-Provoking

What is your show all about?

Robotricks is a magic show full of robots about artificial intelligence, the future of humanity and the nature of freedom.

Favourite FRINGEWORLD 2019 hangout?

The house of Donnie and Frankie, the lovely American sideshow-couple performing in the Barn in the Pleasure Garden.

What is the best part about FRINGEWORLD 2019?

I love getting to perform my show every night. Robotricks is still new and every night I discover new ways it can speak with the audience. It’s a wonderful exploration.

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

I would recommend La Soireé (which I play in myself some nights so I’m slightly partial). The clown Dado who performs in the Yagan Sqare Garden near my tent. Donnie and Frankie mentioned above. And my fellow Swedes doing the swing dance show Crystal Club. They are amazing!

You can catch Charlie Caper – Robotricks HERE.

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Interview, on now

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Andrew Sutherland | Poorly Drawn Shark | INTERVIEW

Andrew Sutherland is a theatre-maker whose show Poorly Drawn Shark is on at The Blue Room Theatre for FRINGEWORLD 2019. We caught up with him ahead of the show to find out what it’s all about.

Poorly Drawn Shark appears to be autobiographical – how much is fantasy and how much introspection?

A large amount of my theatre work, as well as in other mediums, tries to investigate autobiography and modes of self-construction and the cannibalisation of memory or trauma. It’s incredibly easy to twist autobiography towards whatever point you want to make; it’s a hugely untrustworthy form.

With Poorly Drawn Shark I feel like I’m continually shifting the truth, or ‘my truth’, sideways in order to make the show. That’s the fun of it. So I guess that’s a long-winded way of saying that, like when a younger gay theatre-maker asks how old I actually am, it’s more interesting to keep the answer fuzzy.

Obviously it’s not a literal shark, what is it about sharks that resonate with you?

Ages ago someone told me (or actually, maybe I said it, and there were just a lot of mirrors around that day) that in profile my nose makes me look like a poorly drawn shark. And I really like the idea of the shark already being inadequately constructed, like a half-baked character sketch. But particularly in this narrative, it’s very fertile ground to think of this impenetrable apex predator, this violent eating machine that consumes everything in its path, as so flawed that if it were to ever stop swimming forward it would drown. I think there’s a lot to be mined out of that.

Your previous work has always been physical, how important is movement in performance?

I think I’m actually a very text-centric creator, which is why it’s important to me to try to decentre a text’s sway over me in the rehearsal room and to that end, work with people like Joe Lui who are hugely talented in the art of embedding concepts into performative actions. I like the idea of performative or critical actions because I’d be very hesitant to term anything I’ve ever done as being in the form we think of as physical theatre.

I would say that I think theatre is necessarily physical because the first thing theatre must contend with is the proximity of the performer and audience bodies. But that’s just a needlessly academic hot take for ya. Poorly Drawn Shark is definitely a text-heavy show, but Ming and my bodies are vital in the construction of the work, particularly in the way that we ‘perform’ for each other throughout.

Is the show story telling or metaphor?

A bit of column A, a bit of column B. There’s absolutely a narrative to follow, but it’s told in a variety of ways, and the ‘story’ has to exist in service of provoking the tensions of body, consumption, desire and personal/political belonging that the work wants to explore.

What was your process developing the work?

I sat down with co-creator Vidya Rajan and chatted for a long time about the narratives that exist around white bodies and agency in Asia, and what narratives we could extract out of my body and its (sordid) history. I did a bunch of research, from live-blogging myself watching the Eat Pray Love movie to combing through academic works like ‘Brown Boys & Rice Queens’ by Lim Eng Beng, and started to write possible texts.

Then Vidya and I met up in Melbourne and had an intensive couple weeks of script development, rehearsal room devising, and conversations about how nobody should write plays anymore (another hot take for ya). Then in January we started up with director Joe Lui and performer/collaborator Ming Yang Lim and began to restructure and remould the performance in rehearsal.

How entwined is the direction? I get the feeling you work very closely with your director?

I do work very closely with Joe. I have very little preciousness about the text being morphed and developed in a rehearsal room with Joe because I know we live in the same world and I tend to think less of him directing ‘my play’ than of both of us constructing a performance together. It’s kinda like sex except I’m less likely to cry afterwards.

Is it important to put Poorly Drawn Shark on during FRINGEWORLD 2019?

Possibly slightly more important than if I stayed in my room and masturbated for the month of January. But probably less important than if I went out and, I dunno, tried to assassinate a world leader or something.

What are you looking forward to the most about Fringe?

The Basement Tapes, Cotton Wool Kid, A Westerner’s Guide to the Opium Wars.

What will people get out of your show?

I’ve probably made it sound super academic so I’ll also say it’s hugely funny, a bit sad, and a lot sexy.

You can grab your tickets to the sad and sexy Poorly Drawn Shark HERE.

on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Blueberry Play | 5 Stars

Review | Laura Money

I cannot stress how perfect Blueberry Play is. Ang Collins‘ brilliant coming of age piece is Puberty Blues meets Silver Linings Playbook – it takes the small Aussie town sensibilities and fuses them with wider issues of mental health. Julia Robertson struggles with the typical trials and tribulations of being 17 years old – she like likes Jono, and he seems pretty into her. Her best friend is a fast-talking gossip, and her mate Brandon tries to school her in old-style music – in other words, she is just trying to find herself in a sea of strong personalities.

Being 17 in a small town would be enough for a play, but Collins throws the father into the mix. He is dying of prostate cancer, and that wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for his bi-polar. Robertson’s delivery is flawless – she stands awkwardly in her blueberry costume and explains, shy smile ghosting her lips:

It’s Jono’s 18th tonight and you’re going as a blueberry because the theme is ‘childhood memories’ and you want to look like Violet Beauregard from Willy Wonka…but sluttier.

Blueberry Play is genuinely funny – it captures the awkward moments living in a small town brings, from grabbing a grubby pink house towel and hightailing it to the local pool, to seeing a friend the morning after a rough night because he works at the local Maccas. Collins’ writing and Robertson’s delivery create an intense story that pulls at the heartstrings and is so tremendously real it resonates through the whole audience like a wave. There is a vulnerability in Robertson. She pokes around the wound of her father’s mental illness as if probing her tongue against a cavity. Her versatility as an actor is remarkable in one so young – Julia Robertson is one to watch!

It’s poignant and beautiful – each character is played to perfection – from the hard, yet accepting mother who is staving off her own breakdown, to the teenage lust felt by Jono ‘frothing’ his crush. However, it is Robertson’s depiction of her bi-polar father that is a tour de force. His erratic energy is tinged with sadness and instability and you can’t help but love and resent him at the same time. The language is sublime – common Aussie slang mingles with larrikin phraseology, high school passion and teenage awkwardness.

All the icons of childhood are there as Robertson navigates the end of an era in every aspect of her life. Icy poles, the pool, Maccas, killer pythons, chugging a choc milk, a designer backpack all interweave to create a distinct picture of Australian teen suburbia in the perfect play about the challenges we must all face in life.

WHEN: 18 – 27 January 2019 | 6:00pm

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

Don Russell Performing Arts Centre | THORNLIE

INFO: Tickets $13 – $22 | Duration 60m | Age suitability: M | Content warning: sexual references, mental health | THEATRE

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/blueberry-play-fw2019

Review, on now

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Domestic Disaster |4.5 Stars

Review | Kieran Eaton

What do you do when you become a divorcee after being together for roughly eighteen years? How about turn it into comedy gold! Well this what British comic Susie McCabe delivers in Domestic Disaster. She swallows her pride, moves back in with her parents (till things pick up or she can’t stand it any longer!) and creates a brilliant comedy show while she’s at it.

Like anyone with an ex-wife, McCabe proves that relationship issues are universal – sexuality notwithstanding! Domestic Disasters is McCabe’s realisation that women can be just as sexist as men – especially mothers. This jovial comedian always stays true to her self in seeing the ironic world that we live in. Her description of her family gives you an excellent understanding on how she developed a strong resilience to hypocrisy.

When McCabe candidly downs a beer pre-show, you know she displays a fun attitude towards life. Once the show commences, however, she switches to water – she is a professional, after all. Warming the crowd in an instant, her delivery is strong from the outset.

The show has no bells or whistles, just McCabe at her most funny – with polished material, naturally expressive act-outs and amazing turns of phrase. She is not forceful in her delivery, just crafty in her joke telling ability. This is backed up with strong words of wisdom, fused with humility. The punchlines are so well delivered it makes laughter loud and joyful. McCabe’s life is also very interesting, with more years doing engineering (about fifteen) than comedy! This personal tale is not overtly political, but she makes it clear that she is of Roman Catholic Labour persuasion – colouring enough of her personality to really get to grips with who she is.

Domestic Disasters is thoughtful humour for every kidult – those of us who struggle with ‘adulting’. See McCabe for an evening of warm belly laughs and feel a little better that you didn’t do the dishes!

WHEN: 18 January – 16 February 2019 | 6:15pm

WHERE: Roof Deck | The Court Hotel | NORTHBRIDGE

INFO: Tickets $20 – $25 | Duration 60m | Age suitability: G | COMEDY

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/domestic-disaster-fw2019

 

on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Tease Me Queerly | 4 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Do you like your burlesque risque? Are you up for a night of flirty fun and glitter? Well, look no further than the Queer Wonder that is Tease Me Queerly – a cavalcade of camp, a celebration of Queens and Kings, fun for the femmes and the gender-f**ks and everyone else in between! Proudly brought to the Connections stage by The Great Debacle – a company that pride themselves on showcasing the edgiest burlesque entertainment, Tease Me Queerly gathers together the most subversive acts and celebrates them in a whirl of glitter and glam.

The illustrious Carletta the Great herself acts as go-go dancer and stage kitten, and we are treated to a truly subversive act halfway through the show. Host, Agatha Hardon not only has a hilarious moniker, but is such a class act. Hardon’s entrance is big and memorable – her sarcasm cuts like a knife and her hilarious take on T-Swizzle will have you literally laughing out loud. Carletta wants Tease Me Queerly to be:

a safe space where everyone can come together and celebrate art that has nothing to do with what’s between your legs and everything to do with what’s between your ears and in your heart.

And that’s exactly what you’ll get – just honest, clever and fun entertainment – with a deliciously queer twist. Gender-bender Archie is perfection with their flawless makeup – think glitter beard – and hilarious peacock dance. Bobbie Apples channels her inner Cameron Diaz to provide a deliciously goofy and sexy lobster striptease, Bede is the sexiest hula hooper you’ll ever see – complete with impressive moves and cute smile, and Adam redefines drag chic – it’s a little scary as they are superbly turned out and chic – like Cher, kind of untouchable.

There is hilarity from the incomparable Cougar Morrison as she pulls out all the tradie cliches and applies her distinct brand of glitter spray and sarcasm, and the most titillating striptease you’ll ever witness from the Goddess that is Malaika. This delightful Earth Mother has the va va voom and can shake a booty like no other!

Tease Me Queerly is the place to be for subversive performance. It embraces you all in its perfectly manicured hands and invites you to leave your prejudice at the door. This is a place for gender fluidity, identity fluidity – fluidity! So go and enjoy a night of tease, you’re bound to have a great time.

WHEN: 18 – 25 January 2019 | 9:30pm

WHERE: Connections | NORTHBRIDGE

INFO: Tickets $17.50 – $25 | Duration 60m | Age suitability: 18+ | Content Warning: Nudity, Sexual References | CABARET

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/tease-me-queerly-fw2019