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Arts Reviews

Posted 29 Sep 2014 @ 10:19pm

★★☆

 

La (The Feminine Definite Article) is a fun show about relationships and feminism that just doesn’t quite hit the mark.
 
Set mostly in a share house, the play focuses on three very different girls all struggling with their relationships (or lack of relationships) with men – Andie, (Amira Kingham) the virgin who is more interested in playing Minecraft than...

Posted 29 Sep 2014 @ 10:18pm

★★★☆

 

My Struggle: The Life and Times of an Individ in a World Full of Hipsters is, despite having a really long title, an entertaining show that has a great time poking fun at hipster culture.
 
World War I has finished and four serviceman (Richard, Joseph, Hans and Lionel) are at a loss of what to do with themselves. Rejected from art school, Lionel is particularly...

Posted 29 Sep 2014 @ 10:17pm

★★★★

 

Presented by Fire Curtin Co., You Took the Stars is a whimsical and bittersweet love story about the stars, a pink pegasus, ice cream and singing monkeys.
 
Gathering at the steps of the Fringe Hub, the audience is led into the side laneway by a charming guitar-playing monkey (Matt Furlani). Two strangers stand on their balconies and begin a conversation. This...

Posted 29 Sep 2014 @ 10:16pm

★★★★☆

 

Who Are You Supposed To Be? is a gorgeous, funny love story set in the world of comic conventions and fandom.
 
Upon first meeting, Gene (Robert Lloyd) and Ash (Jennifer Lusk) instantly have issues with each other. Gene cannot comprehend why, as a woman, Ash has dressed up as the Doctor, while Ash is offended by the thought that Gene thinks she is a fake geek...

Posted 29 Sep 2014 @ 10:15pm

★★★★☆

 

1,000 songs in 1 hour…it’s not possible, is it? The Shuffle Show takes this challenge in their stride and gives the audience a hilarious hour of musical comedy.
 
The premise of the show takes you into an Apple store where two employees (Elena Gabrielle and Grant Buse) declare their love for Apple products, mock Android users and try very hard not to tell you...

Posted 25 Sep 2014 @ 2:54pm

★★★★☆

 

If you haven’t seen The Birdmann before - do yourself a favour. The premise for the show is film noir-esque: The Birdmann has a blackout one night, comes to and realises that he’s been handcuffed to an ironing board at some point and is now in possession of a sequinned stiletto. What the fuck? Subsequently, he tries to piece together the evening’s events. What results is...

Posted 20 Aug 2014 @ 4:36pm

★★★★

 

Sharp comedy-drama Appropriate Behavior made a splash at Sundance and it’s easy to see why. Shirin (Desiree Akhavan) is doing it tough, working through a tricky transitional phase. She has a bad case of post-break-up blues, faces constant pressure from her Persian family and, professionally speaking, she’s completely at sea. Appropriate Behavior follows Shirin’s hit-and-...

Posted 20 Aug 2014 @ 4:34pm

★★★★

 

Dean (Josh McConville) is an anxious romantic, obsessed with reliving and preserving the perfect anniversary, forever. He drags Lana (Hannah Marshall) back to the desert to put his plan into action, but it all runs awry when Lana’s dreaded ex, Terry (Alex Dimitriades), arrives at the scene. Dean’s last recourse is to travel back in time, until he gets it right.
 ...

Posted 20 Aug 2014 @ 4:29pm

★★★

 

Formed originally in 1918 in the aftermath of World War I and the break-up of the Ottoman Empire, the former nation state of Czechoslovakia existed for 75 years until it was dissolved in 1989 in the so-called ‘Velvet Revolution’, so named for the relatively peaceful manner of its dissolution in the aftermath of the break-up of the Soviet Union. Yet Czechoslovakia had its...

Posted 20 Aug 2014 @ 4:27pm

★★★★

 

'Integrity’ and ‘honesty’ are not adjectives you’d ordinarily associate with the profession of band manager.  To be fair, a band manager’s modus operandi is necessarily influenced by the dubious business dealings, duplicitous behavior and fragile egos that characterise the music industry.
 
In Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, Michael Douglas describes...

Posted 20 Aug 2014 @ 4:26pm

★★★★

 

The scale of the destruction and tragedy inflicted on Cambodia by Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979 is almost incomprehensible.  Hell bent on creating an agrarian socialist society based on an extreme reading of Marxist-Leninist theory, the Khmer Rouge set out over its four-year reign to systematically recalibrate the country’s social, economic and political...

Posted 18 Aug 2014 @ 5:32pm

★★★★

 

The third film by British director Joanna Hogg, Exhibition brings viewers into the bespoke inner-London home of couple D (Viv Albertine, of punk legends The Slits) and H (conceptual artist Liam Gillick). Both career artists, working on separate floors, their relationship appears to be one of unintended emotional distance. Conversing via intercom and unable to synchronise...

Posted 18 Aug 2014 @ 5:29pm

★★★★

 

Lukas Moodyson’s latest film is an utterly exuberant celebration of the optimism, awkwardness and adult-riling energy of teenagers. Based on graphic novel by his wife Coco and set in Stockholm in the early 80s, it chronicles the formation of a band by young punk fans Bobo and Klara, school outcasts for their weird hair and attitudes. Out of sync with fashion (post-punk and...

Posted 18 Aug 2014 @ 5:28pm

★★☆

 

Elements of director Shinji Aoyama’s latest film are like the polluted river that runs through a riverside suburb of Shimonoseki, the titular ‘backwater’ – it’s grimy, unsavoury and likely to leave you feeling dirty after dipping in it. Based on a prize-winning novel, Backwater attempts to deal seriously with dark themes but is hobbled by the very nature of its execution....

Posted 18 Aug 2014 @ 5:23pm

★☆

 

Like the wizard behind the curtain, Caroll Spinney is the 80-year-old man inside Sesame Street’s Big Bird and underneath Oscar the Grouch and as the title of the film suggests, this is his story. 
 
The movie charts the familiar path of such stories – a child that likes playing with puppets and a disapproving father and continues on in this fashion, throwing up...

Posted 18 Aug 2014 @ 5:19pm

★★★★☆

 

Once Pulp decided to reform for an encore run of festival dates through 2011-12, bookish cardigan wearers around the world rejoiced and it's their voices which ring throughout this heartwarming film. The minutiae of life in the band’s hometown of Sheffield are explored, as well as the town’s integral role in the band’s formation and development throughout Britpop’s heyday...

Posted 18 Aug 2014 @ 5:17pm

★ ★ 

 

The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga is a puzzle of a thing and best described as a slow moving meditation on tradition and change. The white card on the gallery wall would say “Mixed-media.” 
 
The majority of the film is 16mm documentary style clips of eastern Europeans going about their post 20th century lives, from traditional activities such as...

Posted 15 Aug 2014 @ 12:36pm

★★☆

 

Adapted from the Alan Ayckbourn play of the same name, Life of Riley (Aimer, bore et chanter) marks Alain Resnais's third Ayckbourn adaptation and final film. Inspired by its stage origins, the film's hyper-theatrical stylisation is both alienating and alluring, resulting in a slightly imbalanced comedy of manners.
 
Following the reactions of three...

Posted 15 Aug 2014 @ 12:35pm

★★★☆

 

A comparison to Lena Dunham or Greta Gerwig may be unfair and largely superficial, but much of writer-director-actor Desiree Akhavan's, Appropriate Behaviour, draws on the directionless Brooklyn twentysomething archetype. Fortunately Akhavan's debut feature film avoids mimicking HBO's Girls, presenting some fresh ideas on a increasingly formulaic genre, resulting in a...

Posted 15 Aug 2014 @ 12:34pm

★★★☆

 

Tom at the Farm (Tom à la ferme), Québécois auteur Xavier Dolan's fourth feature film, may be a departure from form for the director, but proves to be a cleverly constructed psychological thriller.
 
Tom (Xavier Dolan) heads to the country to attend the funeral of his boyfriend, Guillaume, only to discover his boyfriend's mother Agathe (Lise Roy) did not know...

Posted 15 Aug 2014 @ 12:33pm

★★ 

 

An admission from Elliott Smith that “I’m the wrong kind of person to be really big and famous…” begins Nickolas Rossi’s documentary Heaven Adores You. And nothing for the remaining 100-odd minutes comes close to explaining the cult singer-songwriter with such clarity.
 
From Steve the class clown to the morose and brilliant artist, Heaven Adores You...

Posted 3 Jul 2014 @ 12:31pm

★★★★

 

Part two of MTC’s Neon Festival, Doubletap and Angus Cerini’s Resplendence is a bleak, yet fascinating examination into the psyche of a broken man at odds with the world.
 
This unnamed man, alienated from the world, is angry, alone and frustrated with everything and everyone. Through spoken and pre-recorded dialogue, the man lets loose with his anger at the...

Posted 3 Jul 2014 @ 12:30pm

★★★★

 

The opener to MTC's second Neon Festival, Little Ones Theatre's production of Dangerous Liaisons has everything you would expect from a Little Ones show, including eyecatching sets and costumes, hilarious musical numbers and a cast who know how to have fun.
 
Staying faithful to the original text written by Christopher Hampton, Dangerous Liaisons is the story...

Posted 1 Jul 2014 @ 3:52pm

 

There is something wildly beguiling when discussing the concept of relevance with a devotee of the 'high arts'. With a turning circle of the Titanic, it is intriguing to listen to someone half your age attempting to convince you that everything created after 1794 is beyond redemption and should be excised from human existence. But yesterdays Mona Lisa is today's Banksy and tomorrows...

Posted 5 Jun 2014 @ 10:04am

★★★★

 

David Grieg’s Yellow Moon is a modern take on the Bonnie and Clyde narrative. It tells the story of Lee Macalinden (Luke Ryan) and Leila Suleiman (Naomi Rukavina), two teenage runaways tied together by a tragic encounter and a moment of violence.
 
“Stag” Lee and Silent Leila seem like an unlikely couple. At first glance, the two 17 year-olds appear...

Posted 26 May 2014 @ 6:59pm

★★

 

When Ghosts premiered in 1882 it was received with torrents of negative reviews. Words like ‘nauseating’ and ‘downright dull’ were bandied around newspapers and Ghosts quickly became one of the most scandalous plays of its time. It does seem a bit of a pity that adjectives used in the late 1800’s could be easily recycled and reused for a review of an adaptation of the same...

Posted 16 Apr 2014 @ 3:07pm

★★★★

 

The Legend of King O’Malley is a bold, energetic and over-the-top musical and a most welcome addition to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. After selling his soul to Mr. Angel (an incarnation of the Devil), Texan preacher King O’Malley ends up moving to Australia and becomes a Member of Parliament. Fighting for the rights of women and immigration, his stand...

Posted 6 Apr 2014 @ 1:26pm

★★★★

 

It's easy to get overwhelmed at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. So many shows, so little time. Which makes it especially wonderful when you dig a little deeper to find a performer who isn't a big name. Like Juliette Burton. Hailing from the UK, Burton's When I Grow Up is an enchanting, whimsical and engaging docu-comedy filled with colourful powerpoint...

Posted 12 Mar 2014 @ 4:32pm

★★★★

 

This Is What It Feels Like is a bittersweet look into the breaking down of relationships between family, between friends and between lovers. After being away for a few years, Eliza returns home. Humiliated when interviewed on tv over her involement in a human rights scandal, she struggles to reconnect with the life she left behind. Arriving at a dinner part at Georgie’s...

Posted 12 Mar 2014 @ 4:30pm

★★★☆

 

A mysterious and powerful work, Karen Corbett’s The Orphanage of the Animals is a theatrical exploration of the ethical portrayal of childhood trauma.  Determined to eschew any objectification of victims, Corbett’s acuity and sensitivity creates a beautifully affecting piece whose impressionistic approach weaves a dark magic. Non-linear, fragmentary and measured, this PhD...

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