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Arts Reviews

Posted 31 Mar 2015 @ 11:25am

★★★★

 

Choreographer Lucy Guerin has always been fascinated by the idea of movement and exploring the limits of traditional dance. Her previous works have been experimental in nature, and her distinctive approach to contemporary dance has evolved and intensified over the years. Her latest production is Motion Picture, which premiered as part of Dance Massive at Arts House in...

Posted 23 Mar 2015 @ 7:30pm

★★★★

 

Rebecca Jensen and Sarah Aiken have created an event rather than a performance. It’s quite some journey. We enter the space to see the four dancers (Aiken, Jensen, Rachel Coulson and Janine Proost) prone, representing the elements of earth, air, fire and water in a pagan pentagram on the floor made up of clothes and accessories. The young women are dressed in...

Posted 23 Mar 2015 @ 7:30pm

★★★★

 

By the end of Young and Jackson you’re in the mood for a bit of a knees-up. This adorable production of Don Reid’s prequel to Codgers delicately recreates Melbourne in 1945, set in Chloe’s Bar in the city’s favourite hotel.  Just before two young navvies are sent off up north to see action against the Japanese they spend a few unforgettable weeks staying at the...

Posted 23 Oct 2014 @ 10:39am

★★★☆

 

This is tricky. On the one hand, Opus is a nasty, disturbing piece of theatre – it was like an episode of The Following at the circus. On the other hand, the Circa ensemble and the Debussy Quartet playing Shostakovich in their midst were extraordinary.
 
It started with the promise of something heart warming – the Debussy Quartet were playing on billowing...

Posted 21 Oct 2014 @ 5:06pm

★★★★☆

 

Bloody hell that was sad, but as the cast pointed out during the post-show Q&A: “sad isn’t bad, it’s just sad.” The show is often promoted as being for kids, but that’s unfairly pegging it – no one’s immune from love, loss, death and grief.
 
Coming in at a short and bitter-sweet 30 minutes, the show’s basically a silent film performed in real time. The...

Posted 16 Oct 2014 @ 4:37pm

★★★★☆

 

Carrousel des Moutons is about a weary dude who just wants to get some sleep, albeit on a grand piano that won’t keep still. The show’s brought to us by Belgian duo Dirk Van Boxelaere and Fien Van Herwegen and is about the most charming hour of circus ever. Ostensibly it’s for kids, but you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you’re into circus and don’t go.
 ...

Posted 16 Oct 2014 @ 4:34pm

★★★★

 

Cirkopolis, by awarded winning Québécoise outfit Cirque Éloize, is a clever nod to Metropolis and loads of other dystopian fantasies – particularly 1984 and Brazil.
 
Set against a steam punk/industrial background, this is the slickest, most polished piece of circus that’s hit our shores in donkeys. While we may have seen some of the tricks before, we’ve never...

Posted 15 Oct 2014 @ 11:30am

★★★★

 

Watching Reggie Watts perform is kind of like listening to an Aphex Twin album – the overarching thoughts revolving around some variation of 'how did this even get made?' Watts’ improvised performance is nothing short of completely bewildering and utterly absurd – the idea that somebody could integrate and improvise so fluidly in front of a packed room while maintaining...

Posted 8 Oct 2014 @ 3:30pm

★★★★

 

Cancel all plans for the first Saturday of the month. We don’t give a shit even if it’s your nan’s 90th birthday – you have to go and see Grain of Truth instead. This is goddmam hilarious.
 
Grain of Truth, the brain-child of Melbourne-based comedian David S. Innes, is a panel based show recorded live at the Wesley Anne for a bi-monthly podcast. Four panellists...

Posted 8 Oct 2014 @ 3:27pm

★★★★

 

10 Things You Can’t Do On Stage is a warm-hearted and delightful hour of comedy and a great way to finish off the Melbourne Fringe Festival.
 
Self-referential meta commentary. Drinking on stage. Technical difficulties. Having your back to the audience. Being too honest. Giving away too much information. Apologising. These are just a few of the things that you...

Posted 8 Oct 2014 @ 3:26pm

★★

 

It’s always interesting to see what Melbourne does when it stretches the boundaries of burlesque beyond cheese cake/classic burlesque tease (not that there’s anything wrong that). However, Pandora’s Dolls is a student production from The House of Burlesque and it’s still got a few creases that need to be ironed out.
 
The first issue was the story itself. The...

Posted 8 Oct 2014 @ 3:25pm

★★★☆

 

This was a hoot – an all singing, all dancing, circus extravaganza, guided by a “straighten up and fly right” vibe. The premise was that two blokes pitted their stable of acts against each other – one slick and precision based and the other revolving around shows of strength. All acts were set in the ’50s or swingin’ ’60s and it was as much a celebration of lounge and...

Posted 8 Oct 2014 @ 3:23pm

 

Careful, because the people you think need rescuing will sometimes bite your head off - in this case literally. Twisted Tales takes six Hans Christian Anderson and Grimm fairy tales and turns them on their arse through a series of witty and mostly aerial acts.
 
Our dainty, prim narrator, full of bitchy asides, peers at a huge tome from behind her cats-eye specs and tells...

Posted 8 Oct 2014 @ 3:22pm

 

The Best of the Boardwalk brings together a collection of the Fringe’s finest circus, with a changing lineup each night. Tonight was simple, straightforward and very effective. While the first act had a narrative, the rest were a celebration of old-school circus skills – the tricks weren’t tricked up. That’s not to say the first act wasn’t great though – it was: geriatric acrobatics...

Posted 8 Oct 2014 @ 3:20pm

★★★★

 

This was an evening full of surprises: first was the discovery of a beautiful and warm theatre with splendid acoustics in a Preston industrial park, and second the compelling juxtaposition of classical music (albeit contemporary composition) with technology – the violin met the loop station.
 
The loop station can be an unforgiving beast – any error will come...

Posted 7 Oct 2014 @ 4:39pm

★★☆

 

In a festival where new works are encouraged and taking a risk is exciting, Mellow Yellow’s production of Reasons to be Pretty is a fairly uninteresting production.
 
Reasons to be Pretty focuses around the breakdown of two relationships. Steph (Steph Lee) and Greg (Jason Schwab) kick off the show fighting over a comment Greg made at work about Steph’s face being...

Posted 7 Oct 2014 @ 4:38pm

★★★

 

A Hard Day’s Night of Beatle’s Parodies is a fun night of music and daggy dad jokes. Discovered by Adam Hills on In Gordon St Tonight, Stewart Walker has pulled together an hour of Beatles songs for his Melbourne Fringe debut.
 
Well-known ‘celebrities’ (I use that term very loosely) such as Franco Cozzo, Geoffrey Edelstein, Shane Warne, Frank Walker and...

Posted 2 Oct 2014 @ 12:00pm

★★★★

 

Presented by Perth’s The Cutting Room Floor, All the Single Lad(ie)s is a provocative and daring show.
 
Two stories intertwine with each other for a thought-provoking debate into gender. In the first story, we are introduced to the beautiful drag queen Georgina (Joel Horwood). When not showing off her amazing dance moves to Beyonce, Georgina talks to the...

Posted 2 Oct 2014 @ 11:58am

★★★☆

 

Highly Flammable Love is an amusing love story with a fiery twist and a surprising heart at the centre of the story.
 
After Dennis (Marcus Doherty) is dumped by his police officer girlfriend (Julia Richardson) the day before his birthday, he chooses to stay in town in the hope he can get her back despite his hatred of Shepparton. Six drunken months later a...

Posted 30 Sep 2014 @ 8:15pm

★★☆

 

If you were expecting a faithful reproduction of Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads on stage, you’d be in for a disappointment. Rather, the show brings together a series of vignettes that nod to the album.
 
The staging is the most effective element of the piece. The ensemble makes good use of multi-media, particularly with a projection of intermittently beautiful and...

Posted 30 Sep 2014 @ 8:12pm

★★★

 

Well, that was disturbing, but that was always the point. The elaborately turned out goth audience should’ve been a give away, because in the style of the Grand Guignol this was properly macabre and grotesque.
 
Le Théâtre du Grand Guignol had its heyday in Paris from 1897 until 1962 where it specialised in over the top horror. Nothing was off the table: stories...

Posted 30 Sep 2014 @ 8:06pm

★★★★

 

It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt isn’t it? Left, the excellent new production from the Long Answers To Simple Questions circus company, reminds us that the kick we get from circus can come at a pretty steep physical price for the performers. Left’s narrative cleverly unfolds through a series of circus warm-up games, which are interspersed between the main...

Posted 30 Sep 2014 @ 8:03pm

★★★★☆

 

Iconic branding? Tick. International appeal? Yep. That inimitable x-factor? No doubt. Stand-up superstar Gabriel Iglesias is taking his winning comedy formula around the globe yet again. As the house lights go dim in Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena, the crowd of 6,000 begin to chant Iglesias’ affectionate nickname “Fluffy”. The anticipation grows as the stage lights start...

Posted 30 Sep 2014 @ 8:00pm

★★★

 

There are no squeals or ghostly visitations tonight but Stephanie Osztreicker, our charming guide, is a knowledgeable and compelling story teller. Holy fuck Melbourne’s been blood thirsty in its time.
 
We convene at Fed Square and the crew’s pretty disparate – there’s a hipster birthday party, two genteel ladies, two rockabillies and one lady bravely flying...

Posted 29 Sep 2014 @ 10:41pm

★★★★☆

 

Bucket’s List is a gorgeous and heartbreaking story about love, buckets, possums and weddings.
 
Buckets (performed by Justin Kennedy and voiced by Felix Nobis) is a simple man with simple pleasures. With a love of dried apricots, he lives alone and, with little connection to his neighbours, his only confidante is an uninterested and horny possum (Rhys Auteri...

Posted 29 Sep 2014 @ 10:40pm

★★★★ 

 

New company 3 Actors have come up with a dark, gothic and beautiful re-imagining of the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast.
 
A merchant lives with his three daughters. Two are cruel and ugly, while the youngest, Beauty, is beautiful inside and out. After attempting to take a white rose from the Beast’s castle for Beauty, the merchant is threatened with...

Posted 29 Sep 2014 @ 10:39pm

★★★★

 

Presented by Don’t Look Away, a company dedicated to reviving classic Australian works, The Great God Mogadon continues this tradition and gives the audience a very smart and witty interpretation of Australian politics.
 
Originally written as a radio play by Barry Oakley, Mogadon tells the story of Edward Searle, a balding, 40-something, absolute nobody...

Posted 29 Sep 2014 @ 10:37pm

★★★★

 

“I’ve worked tirelessly to create this atmosphere of bemused silence,” joked Joshua Ladgrove, aka. Neal Portenza, towards the end of his off-the-wall performance. It was a fitting quip, Ladgrove’s Friday night crowd merciless in their indifference. Now, let’s be clear about something: this is not a terrible show. In fact, it’s a very good show. Even if you don’t buy into...

Posted 29 Sep 2014 @ 10:22pm

★★★☆

 

If public sentiment is anything to go by, few people would pass up an opportunity heckle the Federal Treasurer. It’s fair to say, then, that Joshua Ladgrove - creator and star of the one-off experimental show Come Heckle Hockey - may have made a few dreams come true this Melbourne Fringe Festival. Donning his ‘Hockey mask’, Ladgrove bravely invited punters to air their...

Posted 29 Sep 2014 @ 10:20pm

★★★★

 

Clem Bastow’s Escape from L.A. is a hilarious and self-deprecating hour of comedy.
 
With dreams of becoming a screenwriter at a young age, Bastow, with a press visa in hand, finally moves to East L.A. in 2012 to work on this dream. However, L.A. can be a cruel mistress and what the audience is treated to is a very funny account of life in L.A. as a struggling...

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