16 August 2013

A night at The Container Festival

The Container Festival
MUSTMonash University, Clayton
2–20 August
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When Rob was King

As armageddon wind blew Monash Uni a bit closer to the city, I rugged up for a night with MUST and The Container Festival and highly recommend you try and do the same before it ends next week.

My night started in the Container Hub, where there was no wind, a good bar, cheap food and public art wonder Saryraphin Lothian (from the  Pop up Players) was testing a new game called Monarch of Melbourne. King Rob Reid set the standard, but was quickly displaced. Reigns were short and bloody until Queen Fleur decided to extend her rule by knighting the likes of Sir Sarah.

Who's Queen?

And that's before seeing any shows.

The first was Fleur Kilpatrick's Braves. Only 15 people can fit into the festival's  shipping container theatres, which makes for an intimacy that leaves La Mama feel distancing and creates an instant connection between audience and performer. 

Accompanied by Roderick Cairns on strings, Fleur wrote it and performs as Molly. Molly sings and tells us how she married her high-school sweet heart, the boy she lost her virginity to. It didn't work out for ever and she asks if it's even possible to be so brave at 16 to face a truth you don't understand. 

With its delicate, sad but hopeful story and its musical interludes, it reminds me of Daniel Kitson's The Ballad of Roger and Grace (one of my favourite shows ever). Fleur and Daniel are nothing alike, but they both know that the real magic of theatre is telling a story directly to your audience.

Sarah Walker and Fleur Kilpatrick

Next was 6", Uncut. I was a bit sad that I wasn't seeing Taylor Mac at the Recital Centre tonight, but I still got to see a ukelele playing man dressed in his finery with a leopard coat, beige wedge heels and underwear made for adjusting. Bunny Hutch (Jack Beeby) hates love and shares his confusion through ukelele songs, Dr Grin (Grindr) performance poetry, and stories like the first time he was fisted and the importance of telling lovers what you ate that morning. This is a new show that's getting its first outing in a shipping container, but is so adorably filthy and funny that it has to be seen more.

Jack Beeby as Bunny Hutch

It was then a rainy rush to S. Rules, a show that has caused the words like "censorship" and "how dare you" to be bandied about the university this week. I respond with "boring", "prude" and "as if you haven't done similar or at least thought about it". Ok, I take the last one back, because in the 15 minutes  I spent with a young lady (Tom Wells) called Slut, I saw things I hadn't thought about. If you're likely to be shocked about S-E-X and hilarious incest and abortion stories, you might not like Slut. But I got to end my night cradling a dragged-up Slut in my lap as she masturbated to a photo of Jonbenet Ramsey; I haven't done that before.

If it wasn't such an insane theatre week in Melbourne, I'd have happily spent a few nights at The Container Festival. This is an amazing chance to see independent artists and students experimenting and reaching out to see if there's an audience for their art and voices. And everyone gets to hang in a cool club, have a drink and draw a penis or some breasts (there's an art wall that just screams undergraduate).

The festival finishes on 20 August, but there's a gala tomorrow night (Saturday) that will let you catch up on some of the 200 performances and events you've missed. And King Rob is directing a rehearsed reading of Bacche Rising (60s New York meets classics) on Monday. The program is here.

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