28 October 2012

Melbourne Festival review previews

Melbourne Festival 2012
Before Your Very Eyes
CAMPO/Gob Squad
24 October 2012
Merlyn Theatre, The Malthouse
to 27 October

Seven 10- to 15-year-olds perform and play in a box made of two-way mirrors with a camera in the corner. They do what a disembodied voice tells them to do. We watch; they can't see us.  It's not as creepy as it sounds and gives children something rare: a voice equal to adults.

CAMPO (formerly Victoria) are from Ghent in Belgium. Every time I see something from this city, I want to go there. Before Your Very Eyes is the third and final in a series of works for adults performed by children. The second was That Night Follows Day, which was directed by Forced Entertainment's Tim Etchells and seen at the 2008 Melbourne Festival.  This is a co-production with Gob Squad, a collection of UK and German artists.

Melbourne Festival 2012
The House of Dreaming
Arena Theatre Company
25 October 2012
MTC, Lawler Studio
to 27 October

I didn't want to leave The House of Dreaming. Neither did my artistic advisor, five-year-old Scout.


Melbourne Festival 2012
The Rabble, Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne Festival
12 October 2012
Tower Theatre
to 27 October

Tell me a story. Tell me in a way that it's not been told before. This is the bliss of theatre. The Rabble's Orlando is so far from the experience of reading Virgina Woolf's book, but as close to knowing its essence, I want to say soul, as possible.

Woolf's 1928 novel Orlando was a love letter to Vita Sackville West about a young man who never grew old, became a woman and lived through the 16th to 19th centuries. This Orlando is a lusty and passionate response to Virgina Woolf (and to great women writers and to all writers and poets) that's as gentle and beautiful, as cruel and painful, as liberating and celebratory, and as embarrassing and shameful as love.


Melbourne Festival 2012
After Life
Melbourne Festival, Michel va der Aa
11 October 2012
Regent Theatre
to 13 October

There's still an odd belief that capital A Arty Farty festivals should open with an opera. Opera is grand and epic and shatters crystal glasses with high Cs to prove its power. So why open the Melbourne Festival with a semi-staged version of an intimate opera in a cavernous theatre that ensures that most of the audience have no chance of experiencing the truth of this work?

After Life is by Michel van der Aa from the Netherlands. At your death, you have to choose one memory, one moment to spend your eternity with. Wow! I don't know if it's possible to watch this and not try and find that one memory for yourself. What memories will you lose? What if it's so painful that an eternity with it is unbearable? How do you choose? My memories of this show are already the post-show discussions about memories.


Melbourne Festival 2012
No Child
Theatre Works, Brisbane Festival, Melbourne Festival
9 October 2012
Fairfax studio
to 14 October

Nilaja Sun's from New York and let's hope Melbourne audiences can make up for the disgraceful welcome to Australia she experienced on QandA on Monday night.

Yes, we're still going on about it and will continue to go on about it as long as it keeps going on. She was invited to be on the panel to talk about education; she was ignored by most of the panel and witnessed the kind of bullying and disrespect (towards our Federal Minister for Early Childhood and Childcare) that she works to stop in high schools – and that's before the panel stopped any chance of actually having a public discussion about education.

After seeing her wonderful No Child, can we pass around the hat to get her to spend a few weeks with our Federal parliament? And Victorians can donate extra for time with those who think it's a great idea to destroy our TAFE system.


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