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

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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

 

on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: The Violent Years |4 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Who would have thought that a 1950s exploitation movie (penned by Ed Wood) could be the source of a fresh 2018 musical that is part rockabilly and part indie rock? Director/writer Rachel Kerry has taken the scandalous movie and reclaimed the violence for the girls.

The Violent Years (1956) sees four teenage girls disillusioned with their affluent American lifestyles who decide to go on a rampage – in their own words – to fuck things up! It’s a rebellion in red – the hot blooded girls course with energy and pent-up rage as they explode into their microphones – it’s The Sex Pistols twenty years early wearing dresses. Kerry’s direction references not only the original film, but the crime/mobster genre itself with fast-paced, adrenaline-filled car chases, violence and robbery.

The music is part Patsy Cline, with the edge of Wanda Jackson and part indie/punk and it works. Sally Alrich-Smythe as Paula is the frontman – screaming into the microphone backed up by Elsa Cherlin, Lucy Green and Billie Miles bristling with energy, loudly delivering their singular brand of anarchy in a corruption of 1950s harmony groups – no longer sugar and spice.

The Violent Years (1956) is funny, clever, and angry. It gives women the platform to shout from the rooftops and challenge the gender and class norms epitomised in 1950s American culture. Adopting the roles of Mother and Father, and even Mob Boss – the young performers place their tongues firmly in their cheeks while acting as adults attempting to guide the youth. It takes the sensibilities of the 50s and dashes them on the altar of punk rock in the 21st century. Go and get riled up! It’s a great way to challenge society – these girls aren’t smiling for you – check out their resting violent face and don one yourself.

WHEN: 18 – 26 January 2019 | 9:30pm

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

INFO: Tickets $18 – $21 | Duration 60m | Age Suitability: M | Frequent coarse language | Themes of violence | COMEDY

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/the-violent-years-1956-fw2019

 

on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2019: Little Death Lates | 4 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Enter the decadent Edith Spiegeltent for a witching hour like no other – Little Death Lates is the debaucherously glamorous older sister of Dead Man Label’s Little Death Club. Dead Man is the champion of the punks, freaks and weirdos – and legendary host Bernie Dieter sweeps all of the kinky strangers under her glittery-feathered wing for a night of song, dance, and weird shit!

Dieter is Kabarett incarnate – a perfectly corrupt Sally Bowles – every inch the entertainer. A boozy haze fills the spiegeltent as Dieter commands attention – splitting the very atoms of smoke to take centre-stage. Part Velma Kelly, part Frank ‘n’ Furter – all sexy, Dieter is the ultimate host. She sings with a throaty, Dietrich timbre – rich and full. Her songs are all funny and clever and above all, sexy.

If you’ve never sat in a tent in the middle of Northbridge fondling a stranger’s leg, then this is your chance! Little Death Lates taps into our desires and fantasies. It takes your inhibitions and leaves them at the door. Dieter nurtures your inner kinks and encourages you to fly your freak flag. The acts are all hand-picked – they are the weirdest, freakiest, sexiest, and most awesome acts from all around FRINGEWORLD 2019.

Little Death Lates will tear you limb from limb and then put you back together again. It is the most fun you’ll have all fringe – because who wants the party to end? Certainly not Bernie Dieter! So, farewell the evening and chase the dawn in this wonderful night of sexy sin and scandal.

WHEN: 18 January – 9 February 2019 | Friday & Saturday nights | 11:20pm

WHERE: The Edith Spiegeltent | YAGAN SQUARE

INFO: Tickets $17.50 – $25 | Duration 60m | Age suitability: 18+ | Content warning: nudity, sexual references, smoke, strobe lighting | CABARET

LINK: https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/little-death-lates-fw2019