10 October 2010

Review: Carnival of Mysteries

MIAF 2010
Carnival of Mysteries
Finucane & Smith
9 October 2010
the Arts Centre, Playhouse
to 30 October

There may be a handful of tickets still available for Carnival of Mysteries, but not for long. If you have yours, don't let them out of your sight because people like me will cast morals aside and plot to steal them so that they don't miss or can have another wondrous visit to the best carnival ever.

Using such a definitive phrase is never good for objective reviewing, but Moira Finucane & Jackie Smith create worlds so wonderful that it hurts to leave them.

45downstairs has been exquisitely transformed by the Sisters Hayes into a nostalgic but timeless world of sideshow and cocktail bar where there's room to sit with a drink, play a parlour game and watch the bar stage for surprises like Azaria Universe's butterfly dance or the special guest appearances like singer Lois Olney. 

But your ticket was exchanged for a stash of the illegal carnival tender, which lets you buy entry into the mysteries of the tiny sideshow rooms or the hand-painted carnival tent for intimate and very personal performances by Finucane & Smith's favourite artists. 

Focussed on themes of innocence, passion, mercy, forgiveness and love, these shows are as voyeuristic and confronting as they are personal and liberating. This carnival celebrates all that is wrong with our perceptions of beauty and art, and questions all our notions of right and wrong. It's a world that welcomes the out of place and leaves everyone feeling like they are in a world where they can and will find love, passion and acceptance. And, of course, it's all a bit naughty and very funny.

The only disappointment is not being able to see every secret and mystery. I saw Sosinia Wogayehu's too sexy ball juggling, Maude Davey's glorious library discussion of her grandmother's implied cunt, Brian Lucas's monstrous gigolo, and Moira's Ice Queen and her gothic horror librarian.  All were wonderful, but it wasn't enough. I missed treats like Carolyn Lee writing me a letter, Derek Ives not being hanged and Paul Codeiro being the handsomest dancer ever born. And so much more that I'm only just seeing in my keeping-for-ever carnival passport.

The Carnival of Mysteries is the hottest ticket in town and as this first carnival fades into legendary status, those who missed out will claim to have been there.  So, do what ever you can to be among those who really were there. And, as it's on in a street that has ACDC and Dame Edna lane, I say we remember the Mysteries and re-name and the alley at the back of 45downstairs Finucane & Smith Lane.

This review appeared on AussieTheatre.com.

photo by Jodi Hutchinson

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely the best carnival show ever, and Oh! to visit Melbourne again and again and each time to see the Carnival of Mysteries. Biggest disappointment - it finished, and we'd only seen half the show. Biggest thrill - just being there. Please come to Sydney.