13 October 2011

MIAF review previews 2

For a few days, I've indulged in the joy of seeing shows without a notebook (thanks Carmen's Verandah).

Undisputed favourite was The Manganiyar Seduction. Pure joy that starts deep in your gut and ripples to the surface until it's impossible not to dance, or at least stand, cheer and whoop.

And how lovely to hear the director thank everyone at the festival, including the publicists. Tatia and Mary, if you weren't there, you were thanked and applauded.

I also loved The Magic Flute. If Mozart had marimbas, drums and tuned water bottles, he may have dumped those keyboards. The production suffered because the State Theatre is a sound-sucking beast for unamplified voices, but it didn't take away from the passionate performances. I haven't seen that kind of love for Mozart, or for opera, on a stage in a long time.

Josephine Giles's review

Was Assembly really a week ago? Moments of exquisite and moments of twee.  Musically, I adored it, but was too concerned about the dancers to fully enjoy the choreography; especially as comments from later in the season were so much about, "We could see the blood and the bruises."

JG's review

The full reviews, and those by Josephine Giles,  are on AussieTheatre.com and will be published here soon.

The New York Theatre Workshop
12 October 2011
Merlyn Theatre, The Malthouse
to 14 October

If you're joining the festival debate about appropriating and telling stories,  Aftermath cannot be missed. 

Based on interviews conducted with Iraqi civilian refugees in Jordan in 2008 and performed by The New York Theatre Workshop, it's created for all of us who have believed what politicians and the media tell us,  for us who have no idea what an exploding bomb sounds like, for anyone who has used the term collateral damage, for anyone who thinks that anyone would flee their home if they had any choice.
It left me shuddering.

the rest

Ilbijerri Theatre Company
13 October 2011
Fairfax, the Arts Centre
to 15 October

I saw Foley surrounded by teenagers from Warrnambool.

At first I wanted to shhh and glare at the boys behind us who didn't know theatre etiquette, but listening to their comments was as fascinating as the story Gary Foley told.

As us who were alive in the 70s saw parts of our history that we missed, chuckled at the recognition and despaired at the lost opportunities, these teenagers were so bored that they may get a detention from their embarrassed teacher.

Chatting to them after,  I has a much better idea of the show through their eyes and am now despairing about an education system that doesn't seem to reflect on Australia's recent history or current affairs. They had no connection to any of the events or stories being told.

However,  I was quietly pleased to hear them giggle at the word "boong" because they thought it was "bong" – and they kept saying "bong".  They may not have studied Keating's Redfern speech – or know who Keating is or where Redfern is – but these are teens who have never uttered "boong" or even know what it means.  Perhaps, they're not so bad after all.

Rhinoceros in Love
National Theatre of China
7 October 2011
Playhouse, the Arts Centre
to 9 October

Rhinoceros in Love stomps to MIAF with some mighty big footprints. First performed in 1999, it's considered China's most successful play and has been performed over 800 times to over a million people.

Visually striking in black, white, mirrors and water, the dream-like story's dark satire is balanced with moments of buffoonery and contrasted with the frustration and beautiful pain of being young and in love.


Because I'm a theatre nerd I'm so glad that I saw Rhinoceros in Love, but I'm left wondering if I'm an old fart who doesn't care about young obsessive love. I still love rhinoceroses though.

This review originally appeared on AussieTheatre.com.

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