28 September 2014

FRINGE part 6

Bucket's List
20 September 2014
Fringe Hub, Rehearsal Room
to 4 October

With wedding song two-steps, a surly possum, dried apricots & words that sound like bucket, don't even think about missing this. Bucket's List is Sarah Collins fourth major work and the first one that she hasn't written for herself.

She wrote it for comedian Justin Kennedy, who is a writer for The Project, co-wrote and performed the very successful Donna and Damo with her, and proposed to Collins on stage during the 2010 Melbourne Comedy Festival season of D & D.

Bucket loved his work at the bucket factory for 19 years and 364 days and was happy to stay for the next 20 years, but bucket peak has been reached. He finds a new job as a wedding DJ, realises  that he's never had his own wedding dance and, with the help of his neighbours and a sexed-up and cynical possum, he goes looking for love.

It's a sweet and loving story that has its dark and weird moments but doesn't descend into the same unexpected bleakness that Choir Girl did, and, while she lets hero Bucket be the hero he needs to be, the foreshadowed ending isn't a surprise.

Kennedy's adorable performance makes it easy to love Bucket and maybe want him as a sweet and odd friend, but he barely utters a word. The performance is all physical (like Mr Bean, but nothing like the Mr Bean character) while recorded narrator, Felix Nobis, tells the story, with Rhys Auteri providing a live guitar score and doubling as the possum who finds noisy love before Bucket finds his own hope of a girlfriend.

Director by Yvonne Virsik (who directed Collins's first work Nothing Extraordinary Ever Happens in Toowoomba (Ever)) ensures that there's guts and humanity in the more twee moments, and Jason Lehane (who directed D & D) created a bucket puppet who may be remembered as the woman who made too many people cry this Fringe.

Collins writing continues to stand out as work that could only be hers. Hers is writing that shows that if you trust your voice and don't try to sound like anyone else, you'll find the people who love your work.

PS.  It started as when Sarah met a wedding DJ who used to be a bucket salesperson.

Richard 11
25 September 2014
Northcote Town Hall, Studio 2
to 28 September

Mark Wilson and MKA made their unforgettable mark in last year's Fringe with UnSex Me, Wilson's penetrative riff on the Scottish play. This year, Wilson is joined by Olivia Monticciolo and they drag Richard 11 into the now to give the politics we seem to be accepting a good double dicking.

With Wilson as Richard and Monticciolo as his cousin Henry, they start as children playing and become adults playing at being Kings of Australia. With slabs of Shakespeare's text and plenty of their own, the story is re-cast as the Rudd and Gillard leadership debacle with numbers meaning everything and a de-crowned King who isn't afraid to do everything he can to undermine the woman who disposed him.

Here's theatre that's about now and us and isn't afraid to question and scream about gender and power and how we accept too much that shouldn't be accepted.

It's political, funny, cruel, honest & what-the-fuck-have-we-done brilliant. And Mark wears gold tights.

It's also sold out.

Bonus: Terrific conversation with random audience members on School for Birds.

Who Are You Supposed to Be?
26 September 2014
The Owl and the Pussycat
to 5 October

One of the loveliest parts of Who Are You Supposed to Be? was being in an audience who were squeeing with joy as they recognised themselves, their world and every geeky sci-fi reference. And there are many geeky sci-fi references.

I know that because I got most of them. And maybe squee'ed at 5 and 10 and the mourning of the passing of Firefly.

Keith Gow is a Doctor Who fan and wrote a play set at a convention where a con-famous podcaster (Rob Lloyd) meets someone he only knows from Twitter (Jennifer Lusk, who also played this part in the UK) and attacks her for daring to dress as the fifth Doctor.

With enough Doctor Who references to thrill even the most obsessed, it looks beyond the obvious nerd jokes to explore gender issues, sexism and the place of non-cannonical breasts in geek culture.

It is a work for Doctor Who fans and sci-fi obsessives. There's enough for non-fans to enjoy, but it's safe to assume that the people who go to a play about Doctor Who fans are going to get the Blink jokes.

Some of these are on AussieTheatre.com.