29 October 2013

FESTIVAL review previews

Links to reviews published on Issimo and AussieTheatre.

The Listies, Melbourne Festival
19 October 2013
Federation Square, Deakin Edge
to 20 October

Here's my list of things that are funnier than The Listies:
  1. ummm
  2. errr
  3. I'm thinking
  4. maybe ...? Nup
  5. more of The Listies

A gazillion billion mazillion stars.


The full review is on AussieTheatre.com and will be here in a few days.

Life and Times: Episodes 1–4
National Theater of Oklahoma, Melbourne Festival, Debbie Dadon and Naomi Milgroam AO
26 October 2013
Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne

Over ten hours with the National Theater of Oklahoma may have ruined theatre for me.

Ten hours wasn't enough.

The eventual plan is a 24-hour show, and if the next 14 hours are as joyfully glorious, astonishingly complex, and deliriously insane as the first ten, then I have to make sure that I live at least as long as Kristin Worrell, whose life and times it's based on.

Episode 1 of the Life and Times mararthon started at 2.00 pm, Episode 4 finished just after midnight and, despite hints of DVT from sitting too long in cramped seats and the mania of over-triedness and too much sugar, I wanted to go back in for Episode 5, which has been created but wasn't brought to Melbourne.


Life and Times was ten hours of pure insane joy created by people who love life and theatre, and know that they will find like-souls all over the world. And it was spent with friends, writers and a good chunk of Melbourne's theatre makers. A day at the theatre doesn't get better than that.

The full review is on AussieTheatre.com and will be here in a few days.

The Shadow King
Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne Festival
16 October 2013
Merlyn Theatre, The Coopers Malthouse

We're here to tell you one of your Dreamtime stories and make it one of ours.

Kamahi Djordon King's Fool had me from those words.  The Shadow King is the King Lear story re-told as an Australian Indigenous story.

Even if you haven't read it or seen a production, it's a story that existed before Shakespeare's version and it's hard not to know about the King who divides his land based on his daughters professed love for him.


The full version is on aussietheatre.com.au and will be published here in a few days.

Room of Regret
The Rabble, Theatre Works, Melbourne Festival
22 October 3013
Theatre Works
to 3 November

No one makes theatre like The Rabble do. It's like co-creators Emma Valente and Kate Davis take the concept of theatre and re-create it into something that looks like theatre, but feels like a trip – I don't mean holiday – that simultaneously assults and calms and awakens bits of your brain that you didn't know existed.

Room of Regret is their reflection on Oscar Wilde's only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Compared to their recent Story of O and even last Festival's Orlando, it's close to being a literal re-telling. But don't expect a lot of words from Dorian's tumble through perfection, hedonism and despair.

Instead, expect to be immersed into, sometimes almost drowned in, a pool of pure emotion. With no restraint, it batters and confronts, but there's love and comfort around the next corner and the only fear is that of missing out.


The full version is on  AussieTheatre.com and will be published here in a few days.

Teenage Riot
Ontroerend Goed, Melbourne Festival
15 October 2013
Fairfax Studio, Arts CEntre Melbourne
to 18 October

Belgium’s Ontroerend Goed makes theatre with teenagers for adults. It’s nothing like an end-of-year school concert; this company tours the world.

In Teenage Riot, eight 17ish teens shut themselves in a large box. Hidden from curious/suspicious adult eyes, the space is theirs and they let the audience peek with a hand-held camera.

The full version is at issimomag.com and will be published here in a few days.

And here's Kerith Manderson-Galvin's wonderful response on AussieTheatre.com.

The Rite of Spring / Petrushka
Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre, Melbourne Festival
13 October 2013
Comedy Theatre
to 14 October

In 1912, Paris’s theatre elite loved Stravinsky’s ballet score Petrushka. In 1913, the same crowd rioted because his new work offended their sense of harmony and the choreography kneecapped classical ballet traditions.

The Rite of Spring is considered the beginning of modernism and is music that’s still impossible to forget.

As is the new version by the, perfectly named, Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre from Ireland. Presented in two parts, the choreography reflects the first Rite but puts it firmly in our urban now.


The full version is at issimomag.com and will be published here in a few days.

Brief Encounter
Kneehigh Theatre, Arts Projects Australia, Melbourne Festival, John and Janet Calvert-Jones, The Brenda Shanahan Charitable Foundation
12 October 2013
Athenaeum Theatre
to 27 October

In their West End and Broadway hit, Cornwall’s Kneehigh Theatre pay enthusiastic homage to the 1945 film Brief Encounter.

With an almost verbatim script, Kneehigh capture its unmistakable style, but inject a nudge and a wink of joy into its constricted morality, and play with the unearned passion of its melodrama with touches like replacing the Rachmaninoff music with Coward songs.


The full version is at issimomag.com and will be published here in a few days.

Daniel Schlusser Ensemble, Theatre Works, Melbourne Festival
11 October 2013
Theatre Works
to 16 October

One very exciting thing about creative director Josephine Ridge’s first Melbourne Festival is the number of local commissions, including M+M  by the Daniel Schlusser Ensemble.

Words are inadequate to describe Schlusser’s work. “Wow!” doesn’t come near.


The full version is at issimomag.com and will be published here in a few days.

In Spite of Myself
Sans Hotel, Arts Centre Melbourne, Melbourne Festival
10 October 2013
Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne
to 13 October

In Spite of Myself was developed for the Melbourne Festival in a two-month residency, at Arts Centre Melbourne, by local performance artist Nicola Gunn and her company, Sans Hotel.

With old women making Plasticine animal sculptures, a dance called ‘Carpet Burn’ and the introduction of the word ‘hopening’ to our arts language, it’s an inspired reminder that making art is serious stuff that must never be taken too seriously.

The full version is at issimomag.com and will be published here in a few days.

And don't miss Fleur Kilpatrick's gorgeous reflection on this gorgeous work at AussieTheatre.com.

It only runs until Sunday!

The Beast
Melbourne Theatre Company
7 October 2013
Southbank Theatre, The Sumner
to 9 November

It's impossible to not adore Eddie Perfect. He sings and dances like an entire 1930s Hollywood musical, he has the best hair and he lets us laugh and cringe at the best and the worst of ourselves. This man had me laughing at a rape joke in one of his shows and made me care about Shane Warne. And I like him on that telly show. As a satirist, Eddie gets middle class, pseudo hipster, moving-away-from-the-inner-city Melbourne. And he mercilessly attacks those things that make us fume or at least roll our eyes at.

If you want to see Eddie doing all of this amazing stuff, he's performing a retrospective of his best solo work (and some new stuff) at the Festival Hub on Sunday 13 October. Even better news: it's FREE! But you can't book. You're going to have to get in line. You can buy coffee and drinks and all sorts while you wait. But the doors open at 5 and I suspect that anyone not there by then will be listening outside.

But, this is a review of The Beast, not a rave about Eddie.

The Beast is Perfect's first play, which was commissioned by the MTCs Artistic Director Brett Sheehy. Who wouldn't want to commission the first Perfect play?! But I'm not sure why a first work is put on in the biggest theatre as the MTC's contribution to the Melbourne Festival.

The full version is on AussieTheatre.com and will be published here in a few days.

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