29 September 2016

Review: Black is the Colour

Melbourne Fringe
Black is the Colour
Deafferent Theatre
25 September 2016
Meeting Room, Arts House
to 1 October

My review is on The Age/SMH.

Review: Kill Climate Deniers

Melbourne Fringe
Kill Climate Deniers
Clan Analogue

A version of this is on The Age/SMH

In a Northcote bar, liberal lefties sculled their boutique beers and leapt to their feet to dance and cheer for a play called Kill Climate Deniers. Could Andrew Bolt be right?

At an Australian Parliament House gala, Fleetwood Mac perform – it’s filled with music jokes and has a joyous retro techno soundtrack – and armed eco terrorists attack.

To ensure no wasted taxpayer dollars, writer David Finnigan (from 2013’s controversial Kids Killing Kids) performs this version – it’s been a radio play, an album and an audio tour of Parliament House – using milk crates, an overhead projector and DJ Reuben Ingall.

Finnigan performs all the roles (all female) and interweaves the fiction with the real story about the reaction of a politician and Melbourne commentator Bolt to the play’s development funding from the ACT government.

Its satire is bitingly sharp and its truth could easily be satire. Both hurt with their absurdity.

PS. Remember that I'm tweeting piles of #melbfringe @sometimesmelb.

27 September 2016

Review: Bliss

Melbourne Fringe
Isabel Angus
Courthouse Hotel
to 25 September

My review is on The Age/SMH

Isabel is doing character comedy (and gender analysis) like no one else.

PS. Remember that I'm tweeting piles of #melbfringe @sometimesmelb.

And here's  The Jono Show to watch at home. 

16 September 2016

Review: Pressure Down

Pressure Down
Hayley Butcher
13 September 2016
The Butterfly Club
to 18 September

Hayley Butcher in Pressure Down

My review is on The Age/SMH.

14 September 2016

Melbourne Fringe 2016

Melbourne Fringe 2016
15 September – 2 October

Andi Snelling in Deja Vu

After reviewing at the last ten Melbourne Fringes, I'm having a break from blog reviews this year. My review brain was oozing out of my ears.

I'm still seeing lots of shows, will have some reviews in The Age and will be tweeting, hopefully in perfect quoteables.

Twitter #melbfringe is such a fun hashtag to hang out at. You get immediate responses to shows, can find out about last-minute ticket offers, and get to join conversations with other fringe-mad people about art, the universe and the best cheap eats near every venue.

I've met some of the absolute coolest people at #melbfringe, who I now know IRL.

And, there are super-cool writers seeing shows for AussieTheatre.com.

I am trying to answer every email; if I missed yours, send it again.

However it is impossible to see every show. It's impossible to see all the shows I really want to see. Then there are the shows that I didn't know I wanted to see until I hear how great they are...

08 September 2016

Review: Imagined Touch

Imagined Touch
Jodee Mundy Collaborations and Arts House
7 Septemebr 2016
Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall
to 11 September

Imagined Touch. Photo by Bryony Jackson

Imagined Touch is "a deafblind live art experience" at Arts House in North Melbourne. Deafblind artists Heather Lawson and Michelle Stevens have been developing this remarkable piece for four years with director Jodee Mundy – everyone in Mundy’s family is Deaf, except for her, so Auslan is her first language.

In 2013, Lawson (who was born Deaf and lost her sight) and Stevens (who was born Blind and lost her hearing) said, “We need to make a theatre show that tells the truth about being Deafblind. We want to share our humour, grief and our profound isolation, to highlight the importance of human touch and tactile communication for Deafblind people”.

The work begins with the two talking with each other and telling the audience, sometimes through interpreters, how they met. As an audience – who can mostly see and hear, or see or hear – it's easy to imagine that they can "feel" our presence and support. And our curiosity. And perhaps a touch of condescending sympathy.

If you have a ticket for the show, maybe read the rest later because it is live art, which means that it doesn't exist without the audience's willing active participation.

We have an impression of the Deafblind, so it's time to feel it. We're given goggles that let us see light, some colour and shadow (and, in my case, the outline of the glasses that I kept on!) and headphones that play music and sound (by Tim Humphrey and Madeleine Flynn) that blocks out how hearing helps us move and position ourselves.

Once they were on, I reached for the hand of the friend I was next to – who was reaching for mine. We've been in countless blacked-out theatres, but this was immediately a new sensation. It was unexpectedly scary, especially as we were not sure what was happening around us. Then she squeezed my hand and could feel her being led away. I was no longer a “we”.

Then a stranger's hand took mine.

I had immediate and complete trust in that hand. I still don't know who it was. Or who any of the hands and arms and bodies I felt were, but one woman drew a smiley face on my hand and I'm sure we both laughed loudly because it was finally something we could understand.

In the third and final part of the show, Heather and Michelle perform. We still may not have any idea of their felt experience – our deafblind experience was a game where it was easy to trust every hand and touch – but we want to know more.

And both artists ensure that our expectations and assumptions are, challenged, dismissed and laughed at.

Imagined Touch – what a heartbreaking title – is shaped into a piece that defies expectations and genuinely tests, disarms and surprises its audience. It shares the lived experience of artists who don’t understand how their audiences experience their work, as their audiences don’t understand how they experience an audience. And, for a while, none of this mattered.

The was on AussieTheatre.com.

07 September 2016

Review: Lilith, The Jungle Girl

Lilith: The Jungle Girl
Neon Next and Sisters Grimm
3 September 2016
The Lawler
to 1 October

Candy Bowers, Genevieve Giuffre in Lilith: The Jungle Girl. Photo by Jeff Busby

My review is in The Age/SMH.

Ash Flanders in Lilith: The Jungle Girl. Photo by Jeff Busby

Review: We Will Rock You

We Will Rock You
John Frost in association with Queen Theatrical Productions, Phil McINtyre Enternainment and Tribeca Theatrical Productions
1 September 2016
Regent Theatre
to 29 October

Brian Mannix in We Will Rock You
My review is in The Age/SMH.