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Arts Reviews

Posted 31 Mar 2016 @ 5:09pm

★★★☆

 

As the capacity audience files into the crammed confines of the Victoria Hotel’s Acacia Room, we are greeted with a projection of the publicity image for Sri Wanka: a topless picture of a perturbed looking Dilruk Jayasinha in a swimming pool staring back at us. Often you’ll see rather goofy publicity material for comedy shows that hardly seem relevant. In this case, the...

Posted 30 Mar 2016 @ 3:10pm

★★★★☆

 

As expected on the Tuesday after Easter weekend, Tommy Little and the sell-out crowd seemed fairly relaxed as he took to the stage – warming up by heckling some patrons as they arrived late, attempting to guess their occupation based on their look and usually failing miserably. 
 
This was all part of the show, of course. The comedian – known mostly for his...

Posted 30 Mar 2016 @ 11:07am

★★★★☆

 

Thirty year-old comedian-turned-breakfast-radio-host-turned-TV-presenter-turned-ARIA-winner Matt Okine is full of existential questions in his self-titled festival show this year. It's been fueled by a couple of serious changes in his life. Namely, getting a "real" job and becoming rich (“I mean, I’m not ‘parking at the airport’ rich, but I’m ‘four hours on Lygon Street’...

Posted 28 Mar 2016 @ 4:22pm

★★★★

 

Geraldine Quinn's act is notoriously hard to pin down. There is definitely and proudly a cabaret edge to what she does - that's kinda how her show is marketed, after all - but there is also a kind of bombastic rock and roll edge that fits in with her '70s David Bowie-worshiping ways, even when her sense of theatricality veers a little more to the side of scoring laughs...

Posted 28 Mar 2016 @ 3:58pm

★★★★

 

Comedian Richard Lewis is widely credited - by the Yale Book of Quotations, by general pop culture records and by he himself - as being responsible for the term ‘from hell.’ Y’know, ‘the neighbours from hell,’ ‘the boss from hell,’ etc. And yet the phrase has so penetrated the vernacular that people who have never even heard of Richard Lewis use it all the time. It’s just...

Posted 28 Mar 2016 @ 10:56am

★★★

 

Dinosaur Park came off as more of a drama production than a comedy act. While overall it was fairly enjoyable, the winning factors for the performance came not from the jokes but from the clever acting and the use of minimalist stage props to help tell the story. The actors performed well, the story was involving, but ultimately it all seemed very foreign and detracted from...

Posted 24 Mar 2016 @ 6:06pm

★★★★

 

The good ol’ American copper movie – it’s classic, it’s action-packed, it’s hairy. That’s the usual blockbuster pitch that gleefully enters our living room every night. We accept it, knowing fully well that the package will inevitably include absurd melodramas, ridiculous villains, and trite references to America.
 
But, a young trio from the UK rejects the...

Posted 21 Mar 2016 @ 1:34pm

★★★★

 

Ah, popular culture in the blessed ‘90s. A world where Fox Mulder and Dana Scully were our heroes, Michael Jordan reigned supreme, kids rollerbladed through the streets in a flying V formation, people chanted “Rufio" and Jonathan Taylor Thomas actually existed. And then there was Jurassic Park. Anyone around in the early ‘90s can indeed recall being constantly bombarded...

Posted 17 Feb 2016 @ 11:05am

★★★★☆

 

Two years after his debut Australian tour, Jimmy Carr returned to Hamer Hall with a brand new exhibition of transgressive gags, as well as a masterclass in sparkling repartee.
 
Carr’s fearlessness must be admired: everything was fair game, from Oscar Pistorius to paedophilia. Notably, though, his penchant for dark humour and disregard for political...

Posted 17 Feb 2016 @ 10:59am

★★★★☆

 

If you’re thinking of not seeing 45 Years because it looks like Oscar-bait, don’t do yourself the disservice. With its wonderfully accented, BBC veteran cast, it would be easy to assume: but you would be wildly wrong. 45 Years looks at the relationship between Kate (Charlotte Rampling) and Geoff (Tom Courtenay) in the week leading up to their 45th wedding anniversary...

Posted 10 Feb 2016 @ 11:50am

 

Remember the movie Zoolander? It’s pretty much impossible to forget when your annoying co-worker keeps quoting that stupid line about the Derek Zoolander Centre for Kids Who Can’t Read Good (it’s been 15 years, Ben; you need to chill the fuck out). Well, the sequel you were definitely not hanging out for is out now, and oh god it is just awful.
 
Zoolander and...

Posted 12 Jan 2016 @ 9:17am

★★★★1/2

 

The pairing of Warhol and Weiwei might strike some as slightly incongruous. What’s a 1960s pop art guru, dandy and socialite got to do with an activistic contemporary heavy-hitter from China? Well, a lot actually. Their respective artworks are set up at either side of the gallery rooms. Early on, there are corresponding assemblages of black and white photographs taken...

Posted 2 Dec 2015 @ 10:46am

★★★★

 

The third show in Melbourne's newest festival, the Poppy Seed Festival, Man With A Plan's Gin Sister highlights the acting talents of three talented women in a poetic and often thought-provoking theatrical response to women's drinking culture.
 
Originally inspired by Anton Chekov's Three Sisters, the show draws from a wide range of influences, including Greek...

Posted 1 Dec 2015 @ 11:40am

 

An alien council, in trying to decide whether or not to eliminate earth, bestow limitless power onto an average human being (Neil, played by Simon Pegg). If he can use his powers for good instead of evil, the planet will be saved. The idea of a comedy film ‘without limits’ is a relatively overdone concept: we’ve been subjected to these often ‘feats’ of imagination over the...

Posted 1 Dec 2015 @ 11:38am

★★★

 

Taking heaped buckets of inspiration from Patrick Bateman, Nicholas Hoult plays coked out '90s A&R man Steven Stelfox in Kill Your Friends, based on the novel of the same name by John Niven, which takes inspiration from his own experiences as an A&R man. In a megalomaniacal effort to become the head of A&R at the record label he works at, Stelfox engages in the...

Posted 4 Nov 2015 @ 11:15am

No stars

 

Hey kids! Wanna know about rape culture? Why not check out Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse?
 
Ben (Tye Sheridan) is a Nice Guy torn between his two best friends – Augie (Joey Morgan), a scouting enthusiast trapped in pre-pubescence, and Carter (Logan Miller), a loathsome little weed obsessed with getting laid. They’re forced to grow up just that...

Posted 20 Oct 2015 @ 3:44pm

★★★★☆

 

For whatever historical reason, science and theatre tend not to coexist – both in practice, and in our mental representations of the two domains. Andrew Schneider boldly proves everybody wrong with YOUARENOWHERE, by blending physical theatre and physics lecture with ease he creates one of the most striking theatre performances in recent memory.
 
Strobing...

Posted 20 Oct 2015 @ 3:43pm

★★★★

 

There's a woman in a long blue dress jogging on an invisible treadmill at the back of the stage. Batsheva Dance Company’s Last Work opened on her and her blue dress and 20 minutes into the performance, she is still running. A seven-year-old girl named Tara sits behind us, conferring in loud whispers with her cousins, a pair of seven-year-old male twins. One of the boys...

Posted 14 Oct 2015 @ 2:58pm

★★★★

 

John Crowley’s Brooklyn tells of young Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan; Atonement, The Lovely Bones) navigating her solo migration to New York City from small-town Ireland in the 1950s. When tragedy forces her back to Ireland, Eilis agonises over the choice between her two homes and the romances that pull her back to them. Irish director Crowley – best known for his 2003 debut...

Posted 13 Oct 2015 @ 4:41pm

★★★★

 

Gold Santino's production of Suburbia is an intense and exceptional immersive performance experience that takes the audience through the dark streets of North Melbourne and the dark stories that they have to offer. The audience of three sit in the back seat of a car while various performers drive us around, past houses, down dark alleyways, into empty lots and through...

Posted 13 Oct 2015 @ 4:40pm

★★★

 

A good story holds its own, in this case numerous good stories nicely told by Dan Pavatich from The Improv Conspiracy in his Fringe show, Big Strong Boy. He relates family tales and moments from his life in a gentle and appealing way – the man’s a raconteur and has a future as such. Pavatich knows how to extrapolate the absurd details which make small stories sing loudly...

Posted 13 Oct 2015 @ 4:38pm

★★★

 

Dear Diary, written and performed by Andi Snelling, is beautifully honest and funny. Using decades of diary keeping Andi has crafted a compelling show that anyone who’s been a girl can relate to. Snelling is a skilled vocalist and an ever engaging performer and knows how to milk a comic pause and what to leave in and what to leave out. The issues 14-year-old girls are...

Posted 13 Oct 2015 @ 4:38pm

★★★★

 

The name Miss Friby has come to mean many things in the cabaret world - “high end entertainment” is how their website describes them. And as each performance, each show, each appearance passes, Miss Friby’s persistence towards creating such a standard is very clear. Their 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival show, Top Spot, is set in a typically intimate Fringe environment,...

Posted 13 Oct 2015 @ 4:35pm

★★★☆ 

 

Sometimes, the reckless absurdity of existence throws you into the deep end of life. In instances like those, you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. For Luke Ryan, that absurdity meant getting cancer - twice. Amazingly and triumphantly, Ryan created, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Chemo based on his experience. In other words, he chose to laugh.
 
While...

Posted 6 Oct 2015 @ 1:45pm

★★★★

 

Wet Cement is a show made of candy floss with the odd iron nail hidden inside – enjoyable and frothy yet original.  Playing on the notion that she’s some kind of loser in life – a joke you just agree to go along with since the performer here is an uncommonly winsome, husky-voiced, confident young woman who can belt out a show tune like the best of them – Stephanie...

Posted 22 Sep 2015 @ 5:51pm

★★★☆

 

Some films are made for the big screen, and Everest is one of them. It’s hard to say how enjoyable the experience would have been on a smaller screen with less wholly encompassing sound, but witnessed in the comforts of the IMAX, it’s an engrossing and nail-biting man vs. nature thriller.
 
It’s 1996, and numerous international agencies are vying to get...

Posted 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:57am

★★★★☆

 

Biopics, like history, are skewed narratives by nature. There are all sorts of agendas involved in representing the legacy of a group of artists, for instance. F. Gary Gray’s slick and polished tale of five boys from urban California who changed the rap game forever is prone to this, of course, but Straight Outta Compton is an explosive and surprisingly emotional journey...

Posted 1 Sep 2015 @ 3:10pm

★★★★☆

 

Director Neil Armfield has been away from the silver screen for too long – last gracing us with the hard-hitting Candy in 2006 – which makes his return with this adaptation of Timothy Conigrave’s beloved memoir all the more splendid. Holding The Man is a simple yet deeply moving account of a great romance, told with genuine warmth, humour and astonishing intimacy....

Posted 25 Aug 2015 @ 10:16am

★★★☆ 

 

From its high-profile cast (Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone) and its high dialogue-to-action ratio, right down to its tortured, however brilliant protagonist, Woody Allen’s silver screen offering for 2015 has all the markings of his signature films. Like we would have expected anything less.
 
In typical Allen fashion, the cast is short and sweet. It encompasses...

Posted 18 Aug 2015 @ 4:45pm

★★★☆

 

Featuring a powerhouse performance from Elisabeth Moss, writer-director Alex Ross Perry’s Queen of Earth is a tense psychodrama that makes for both admirable and unnerving viewing.
 
After being unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend while dealing with her father’s recent death, Catherine (Moss) seeks solace in a week away at her friend Virginia’s (Katherine...

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