Archive for the 'Interactive' Category

23
Apr
19

CLUEDO! The Interactive Game

 

CLUEDO! The Interactive Game

Brisbane Immersive Ensemble

Baedeker Wine Bar

April 17 – May 25 2019

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

 

CLUEDO! The Interactive Game is the most fun you’ll have outside a theatre until Anywhere Festival takes over all the unlikely performance spaces in Brisbane and across the Sunshine Coast (May 9 – 26). Since its humble beginnings during the 2017 Anywhere Festival, with just two performances on board the Kookaburra Queen, the award winning interactive game / show CLUEDO has continued to attract capacity audiences, and also serves as an attractive corporate option, by special arrangement.

 

This Baedeker Wine Bar season is Brisbane Immersive Ensemble’s third, returning to delight audiences who come to collect clues and assist the iconic board game characters to solve a murder mystery by the end of the night. Ultimately, we don’t actually care who it was, or with what, or where; but others do and either way, the fun is in the chase. We follow our favourite suspects curiously, to see how well they hold up under interrogation. And by that I mean, who here has the sustained focus, and the rather unique skill set required for the successful navigation and manipulation of this style of entertainment and its audience? Not only that, do these performers have the energy and ability to genuinely connect with their audience in this close-up context? No pressure. 

 

CLUEDO is undoubtedly Brisbane’s best improvised immersive dinner theatre experience, encouraging dress ups, dancing and mingling – as much or as little as we like – as we hear from characters made famous by the classic board game (1949) and the film it inspired, starring Tim Curry, Madeleine Kahn, Eileen Brennan, Christopher Lloyd, Colleen Camp and Lesley Ann Warren (1985). A cast of thousands appears to be on hand for each season of the live show, and testament to the nature of the production and this far-reaching yet tight-knit ensemble, a number of past and present players attend on opening night just for fun, including Chris Kellett, Jonathan Hickey, Aurelie Roque (on alternate nights playing Madame Peacock), and Damien Campagnolo (credited with a variety of roles).

 

 

The current season sees the debonaire Colin Smith (Kelly, Nearer the Gods, An Octoroon), step into the role of Dr Black, perfectly suiting both the suave attire and high society demeanour as the host of a 1930s style cocktail party in the beautiful Baedeker building. 

 

The stock characters are variously informed by the experience and confidence of the performers. Most notably, Madame Peacock (Elizabeth Best) and Reverend Green (Tristan Teller) hold their own no matter what’s thrown at them by the punters. Best struts and postures, relishing the bold and brash Americanisms and eroticisms of the role, as well as the effect on guests of her towering headpiece. (Standing at almost 6ft tall even without this plumage, for Roque to don it on alternate nights must make her Madame Peacock the most imposing character of the night and possibly, with the exception of Joanne in RENT, of Roque’s repertoire to date). Best’s version of Madame Peacock has a sense of the Unsinkable Molly Brown about her, and she won’t be beaten. Likewise, Reverend Green has all the answers and when for an instant he almost appears not to, he conveniently and appropriately passes the buck to God. And in a neat casting trick of the Gods, we think that Teller, surely the most accomplished performer here, having previously been cast opposite Tom Hiddelston and Eddie Redmayne, and with a list of special skills too long to mention (I resist including his CV), could actually be Jude Law’s long lost brother, such is his precise and very lovely vocal work, distinct look, and with a devilish glint behind them, his distinct looks. For a man of the cloth, the shifts between pious and wicked are too deliciously easy, and if he can be kept in Brisbane, we can look forward to Teller’s next captivating performance, in a mainstage production, or a commissioned festival piece, or in a staged reading, just of some memes or something somewhere. Or just sitting, reading, silently. Or drinking coffee, or anything, actually. Seriously. Someone. Anyone. Give him work. Make him stay.

 

 

Professor Plum (Joel O’Brien) and Colonel Mustard (Zane C Webber) provide wonderful contrasts in their statures, mannerisms and banter, leaving Mrs White (Jessica Kate Ryan) and Miss Scarlett the least memorable guests on the list. Ordinarily, the latter role is in the hands of Geena Schwartz, however; due to unforeseen circumstances, was filled at the last minute by Director, Xanthe Jones. In her ill-fitting red satin, designed and made for Schwartz (and we love Kaylee Gannaway’s designs – remember, I own one – everything else here is perfection), the stand-in Miss Scarlet’s simpering, and her protestations to the accusations made against her, lack light and shade, and Jones misses many opportunities to keep us engaged with her story, however; there are others who remain entranced with her from start to finish. Perhaps they knew she had thrown herself into the mix, or perhaps they are granted eye contact, which we are not. She only looks up in passing to compliment me on my stole, which I would love to tell you is faux fur but it’s properly vintage so… Mrs White, a character informed neither by Madeleine Kahn nor Colleen Camp in this case, is not attuned to the offers from her fellow performers, and despite her efforts to cut through the noise of the crowd or the quiet intensity of a scene, Ryan fails to make an impact as Dr Black’s German hausfrau. However, had we seen her in a scene rather than in between scenes, we might gain a more complete picture of both the character and the actor. More on this later.

 

 

Patrick Aitken gallantly strides in to save the day – or at least, to facilitate and wrap up the investigation of the crime committed while we had enjoyed jazz and booze in the ballroom, driving a challenging scene that amounts to wrangling cats since most of the guests are by this time happily holding their third or fourth glass of wine. He is assisted by prettily named detectives, Carmine, Periwinkle, Dove, Moss, Cobalt and Honey (James Elliot, Johanna Lyon, Julia Pendrith, Tom Harris, Patrick Shearer and Matthew Butler).

 

Genevieve Tree and Samuel Valentine sing up a merry storm with the band led by MD Jye Burton (I would name the talented musicians if they were credited). This aspect of the evening is so enjoyable that if solving the crime doesn’t interest you, you’ll have a decent night out just sitting and listening, or dancing to the band! All the players can carry a tune and when I mention my surprise to Chris Kellett, because here we are with the Immersive Ensemble and not Oscar Production Company, he laughs and tells me, “Yes, it’s what we do!”.

 

Written by Xanthe Jones and directed by Jones and Ben Lynskey, CLUEDO makes the most of the superb Heritage listed space in which its staged. It relies on clearly drawn characters and mostly audible instructions to move punters through a range of interesting rooms, and a story full of intrigue and action, but therein lies the challenge. The construct itself is problematic, allowing us so much freedom during the evening that we miss vital scenes. Is it enough to get a version of events from other guests? I would like to have seen more for myself, particularly from Mrs White, and Miss Scarlett. Perhaps their scenes are more engaging than those moments in-between. A solution might lie in a ‘menu’ of appointments, a card in the style of the original game if you like, or iPads – so good for the company’s socials and data collection too but then, how would one hold one’s drink? – distributed to guests upon arrival to ensure they know where to be and when to be there, in order to witness each conversation or altercation in turn. Ensuring that everyone is an eye witness to everything will invariably lead to more efficient and more relevant lines of questioning. Some of the questions! Be patient with your friends, friends! Also, another point of conversation and certainly a more glamorous offer, befitting of the surrounds and the style of the party, would be a generous grazing table in the dining room, rather than the plates of food currently available, which you won’t feel the need to photograph. Anyway, after running such an event for two seasons, I know that I would start to want more control of the crowd (think of the Divergent trilogy; Poppy is obsessed with it!), but such solutions are less obvious from the inside. And drugs are bad. 

 

Despite a sense of chaos during the time allowed for questioning suspects, and a few loose ends here and there, what makes this immersive and quite sumptuous version of the much loved CLUEDO a winner is its perfect location and its cast, and their genuine interactions with members of the audience. If you’re prepared to interact, it can be a very personal theatrical experience, as if what you imagine to be true will make all the difference to the outcome! You might not feel quite as satisfied at any other show after this one, or quite as willing to sit still in the audience and stay mute. Go with a group and work together in a team or go rogue like we did, and investigate from the fringes to solve CLUEDO’s mystery – or not – and have a swellegant, elegant time of it. 

01
Feb
18

Flowstate

 

Flowstate – What’s Flowstate?

No, it’s not the latest facial scan digital technology used to capture actors’ features for use in films requiring the actor’s face to appear on the bodies of her doubles to achieve the illusion of a perfect triple axel performed by the actor herself…

 

 

Flowstate is a 3000sqm interim-use, creative pop-up repurposing the Arbour View Café precinct in the heart of the South Bank Parklands, designed by specialist Australian architecture and performance design firm Stukel Stone.

 

Flowstate comprises three distinct zones: a grassy relaxation zone, immersive digital art installation JEM by award-winning design studio ENESS and an open-air performance pavilion. Launched on January 29, Flowstate boasts a year-long showcase program of free artistic experiences spanning circus, dance, theatre, music and visual installation. Queensland artists and performers will deliver 20+ free artistic experiences against a panoramic tree-lined skyline, inspiring audiences to contemplate a range of ideas underpinned by a focus on city form.

 

The year-long showcase program is South Bank Corporation’s contribution to the cultural activities happening during the year of the Commonwealth Games. Precinct partners include Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Griffith University, as well as broader partners including UPLIT, Festival 2018, CIRCA and Metro Arts.

 

Participating artists and companies include CIRCA, Dead Puppet Society, Little Match Productions, Elbow Room, The Good Room, Liesel Zink, and Polytoxic. Resident local DJs bring their energy to the precinct every Friday evening. Find them on the Flowstate Green 5.30pm – 7pm.

 

“South Bank Corporation is delighted to unveil Flowstate, and to launch a year-long multi-arts program of free creative experiences marking our contribution to the cultural activities happening across the state during the year of the Commonwealth Games,” South Bank Corporation Chair Dr Catherin Bull AM said. “As a place where ideas about what the city can and will be are explored, Flowstate aims to encourage a vibrant culture of exploration and exchange across the South Bank precinct.”

 

 

The addition of the 3000sqm interim-use site offers South Bank’s 11million+ annual visitors another engaging experience to enjoy in the precinct, famous for its awe-inspiring riverside parklands, Australia’s only inner-city man-made beach, award-winning restaurants and bars and world-class accommodation options. Set against the Parklands’ stunning subtropical backdrop, Flowstate invites both locals and visitors to collaborate with some of Queensland’s most compelling artists, witness new performance work in development, engage in workshops, participate in a robust program of public conversations and engage with a groundbreaking digital installation.

 

Free event highlights include Aura by Queensland’s world-leading performance company CIRCA (06–25 March); Dead Puppet Society’s roving installation Megafauna (04–08 April); Little Match Productions’ all-ages contemporary opera The Owl and the Pussycat (11–15 April); moonlit musical trek Song to the Earth by Corrina Bonshek (16–19 May); and These Frozen Moments by the inimitable The Good Room (21 November–02 December). Complementing Flowstate’s Pavilion performances is an inspiring speaker and workshop series, with special guests throughout the year including Magda Szubanski, Luke Ryan and Margi Brown Ash, plus a weekly resident DJ set every Friday evening on the Flowstate Green.

 

Professional Queensland-based artists are also invited to apply for one of two additional supported residencies, for public work-in-progress showings at Flowstate in December 2018. Submit an online application here

 

“Via Flowstate, we hope to stimulate ideas, questions and maybe even some more answers about what contemporary cities can and should be,” Dr Bull said. South Bank Corporation CEO Bill Delves said Flowstate capsured the ever-changing nature of the South Bank precinct, continuing its 25-year legacy as a “people’s place”. “With the team’s delivery of Flowstate, we continue to sculpt Brisbane’s beloved playground into a magnificent world-leading precinct where local, interstate and international visitors eat, work and play,” Mr Delves said.

 

Find out more about Flowstate here

26
Oct
17

Containment

Containment

Directors of the Extraordinary

Brisbane Powerhouse

October 18 – 29 2017

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

…technology is an agent of change

Robert LePage

 

You have 60 minutes to save the world.

 

When a mysterious epidemic breaks out in Atlanta, an urban quarantine is enforced, leaving those inside to fight for their lives as local and federal officials search for a cure.

 

Sound familiar? Directors of the Extraordinary cite Contagion and Resident Evil as inspiration for the narrative of a new live action adventure game, however; the above blurb comes from the Netflix Original series, Containment. It wasn’t a big hit, but this Containment can be.

 

If the technology were to fail, this production would fail overall, but the tech component is its backbone and ultimately, the hero of the show. It’s sensational. It almost makes up for the fact that I was prepared to be terrified and wasn’t… While this is disappointing on one level, on another I felt relieved that there was nothing I couldn’t cope with. I think it’s common knowledge that I’m the audience member you don’t ask to participate, so even showing up to experience this event can be considered a win for me (and for their PR). I was resistant too, to the fact that we were required to complete a series of tasks and actually think our way through, rather than passively watch something being played out on stage. Even some of the most “immersive” theatre companies around the world are simply putting their audience in amongst the action, and not necessarily assigning them roles or tasks to complete within a time frame OR DIE. I had to surrender disbelief, give over to the competitiveness of the game, and work with Sam to reach the end.

 

 

The platform is the strongest element. Audience members are issued with an iPad per “team” (2-6 players – pre-register for the same session so you can play together). The challenge is issued via video and a purpose built app allows participants to input their results as they accomplish a series of tasks that, hopefully, will lead them to success, i.e. saving the world from zombiefication.

 

The live performances are the least impactful element, which is strange, but not when you realise that they’re all volunteers. We see six zombies wandering around the Visy theatre and another couple as we walk down the corridor backstage to the Turbine Studio space. We assume they’re doing what they’ve been told they need to do.

 

With a professional cast comprising more experienced actors and the skills to engage in extended interactions with audience members, we’d enjoy the experience so much more. I was pleased to hear that a number of punters have sat in the corner to engage in conversation, a character named Mango, as we did, and with more of that happening throughout the game, we’d be super impressed with the live performance element as well as with the technology.

 

While the space is cleverly utilised, sending us across three of the four levels of the Powerhouse, all zombies (or “survivors” – can we call them that?) are actually contained already within three secure areas, which feels like the risk is lower than the brief had indicated. A more satisfying experience would allow performers to roam over the entire Brisbane Powerhouse space – and not be confined to the Visy and its backstage area. I imagined there’d be zombies roaming around the building, around its outskirts as we arrived, or lurching at us from behind walls and around corners, and hauling their rotting bodies past restaurant windows, frightening wedding parties (there are always several at the Powerhouse on a Saturday) and the drinkers and diners who don’t always realise (or remember) that they’re at a performing arts venue. Impractical. Perhaps. Memorable? HELL YES.

 

 

In the end, it’s really the attitude that determines the overall quality of the experience. Attention to detail matters – if we’re prepared to suspend disbelief the experience will be exciting and at the conclusion, satisfying, having fulfilled the requirements of the tasks in the time allocated. We’re sucked into the competitiveness of the game – the exquisite pressure of a strict time limit (a timer in the top right hand corner of the iPad counting down for sixty minutes) and high stakes – that Dr Winton, and the staff and visitors to the facility will perish if we fail to formulate an antidote in time.

 

After being welcomed and asked to leave jackets and bags and keys in a box (potential for another sort of super interactive take-home show right there) we’re briefed by Ash, a co-collaborator and performer. We’re asked to step into Hazmat suits and take a team photo, and the scene is set. Dr Alice Winton instructs us via video to find the details required to gain the security clearance we’ll need to discover the correct formula for an antidote that will save the world from infection and subsequent zombie domination. Game on.

 

 

Containment is the ultimate group fun, in simplest terms for the sake of an explanation, it’s the new skirmish, but it’s far more sophisticated than that. In other versions we could probably get messy, but as it is, this production doesn’t ask audience members to be accosted by performers or fluids. A whole different suit would be required (you can take these suits home if you desire!).

 

Unsurprisingly, the corporate training experiences are the bread and butter of the suite of services offered by Directors of the Extraordinary, but it’s the theatrical experience that obviously excites Director, Simon. Originally introducing Escape Hunt Rooms to Brisbane, after seeing for themselves the success of similar interactive experiences in Tokyo, Los Angeles and New York City, the company now offers three unique experiences for groups, with more on the way. Simon tells us that his brother, the tech head of the business, is currently in Adelaide delivering an entirely immersive and interactive experience to one hundred pharmaceutical industry members. This requires them to complete research and data input tasks, and bid against one another in a virtual business world. Without limits on this sort of training and technology, not to mention live theatrical gaming experiences in the style of Containment, it will be exciting to see Directors of the Extraordinary step more fully into this space.

 

Directors of the Extraordinary wanted a live, immersive and interactive experience in which everyone was “kept in the world” for the duration and had a great time. The response from participants has been favourable so far. It’s exciting to see such a sophisticated first-time gig, with massive potential to tour and take over festivals and spaces all over the world, starting right here in our backyard, at our favourite versatile venue.

29
Jun
15

The Paratrooper Project

 

The Paratrooper Project

Phluxus2 Dance Collective

Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts

June 25 to July 4 2015

 

Reviewed by Ruth Ridgway

 

Enter the trenches in this immersive new production…

Phluxus2 Dance Collective

 

THE+PARATROOPER+PROJECT+hero

 

The Paratrooper Project is promoted as an immersive experience, and this it certainly delivers. Described in the brief program notes as a dance theatre installation, it is the theatre that dominates.

 

War and conflict and their effects are the subject. Richard Matthaei, grandfather of Phluxus2’s Artistic Director Nerida Matthaei, was a paratrooper in World War II, and this work was inspired by mementoes he left behind.

 

The audience stood (or occasionally sat or lay) on the floor of the performance space in the Judith Wright Centre, with white parachutes and webbing suspended above us, sometimes billowing up and down, and covering the performers.

 

Their layered costumes (Lisa Fa’alafi) are all also white – pants, tunics, shirts, and military-looking coats with wide lapels. This makes the performers stand out amongst the audience, but could also connote ghostliness, death, and the afterlife.

 

the paratrooper project

 

The audience starts out standing huddled in a crowd under a tent-like parachute. Is it going to fall on us? Is there going to be sudden blackout? No, there are performers in there with us, they start speaking, and the parachute lifts.

 

The creators and performers – dancers Nerida Matthaei, Gareth Belling, Gabriel Comerford, and actor Margi Brown Ash – move through different areas of the performance space, the audience shifting (or being directed to shift) around them.

 

The sound design (Andrew Mills) includes clinking sounds like dishes or metal in a workshop, waves breaking, and a plaintive fragmentary tune.

 

Belling and Comerford represent soldiers or fighters, engaging in much violent, grappling movement, frequently crashing with full force onto the floor. They also enact roles of the wounded or dead, the torture victim, and the rescuer.

 

Matthaei is at first a grief-stricken woman, widowed by war; later, a chilling torturer; and then a rape victim. She and Brown Ash also speak of matters on the domestic front, such as tea and biscuits, and borrowing sugar.

 

paratrooper_gabriel

 

Brown Ash is the dominant, compelling force in this work, her mesmerising authority and the power of her voice unequalled. In a surreal evocation of domesticity, she paces around while knitting and trailing an unravelling ball of wool behind her.

 

In this she echoes Madame Defarge, from Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities, who incorporated the names of intended guillotine victims in her knitting, and also the Three Fates from Ancient Greek stories, who created and destroyed people’s lives by spinning and cutting thread.

 

Brown Ash also parodies a Churchillian wartime leader, exhorting and haranguing us; and huddles and flinches as a terrified torture victim.

 

This is not comfortable escapist theatre.

 

The audience is instructed, harangued, and physically directed around the space. Brown Ash took people by the hand and led them where they were meant to go, until the rest of us understood we were meant to follow. Others were invited to take part in some of the action.

 

paratrooperproject

 

Brown Ash orates at the end about the idea of war continuing on, and affecting us now. Moving amongst us, she then asks us to remember the dead, and give them a voice. Most of the audience engaged in a very personal way with this, seeming to forget where they were, and becoming totally absorbed in the moment.

 

This work is gripping and moving, and pulls you into its orbit.

 

Occasionally, though, the attention lapses when some parts go on a little too long (such as the dancers hurling themselves to the floor over and over at the end).

 

paratrooper

 

In Phluxus2’s previous work de-generator, the audience also followed the dancers around the space, but moved out of the way of the action without any guidance.

 

This current work is a more sophisticated and choreographed development of audience involvement. It is more powerful, covering more dimensions of experience, but also more coercive and controlling for the audience.

 

02
Mar
14

The Naked Magicians

 

The Naked Magicians

Brisbane Powerhouse & Samuel Klingner Entertainment Enterprises

Brisbane Powerhouse Visy Theatre

Feburary 25 – March 2 2014

 

Reviewed by Guy Frawley

 

thenakedmagicians

 

Settling into my seat for the opening night premiere of The Naked Magicians I was looking forward to the show. After interviewing Chris Wayne the previous day he’d certainly piqued my interest. An interesting combination of comic stand up, magic show and titillating strip tease, The Naked Magicians would appear to be attempting to corner several markets at once. This attempt is generally, if not always, successful but either way, the audience is guaranteed a laugh out loud evening of risque entertainment as the magical duo Chris Wayne and Mike Tyler put their slogan to the test…

 

Good magicians don’t need sleeves. Great magicians don’t need pants.

 

After Simon Paynter came up with the original concept, based around his poster of a magician stark naked save for a strategically placed top, Chris Wayne was invited to help flesh out the idea before quickly bringing on board his long time friend, Mike Tyler

 

7164_The-Naked-Magicians---Adelaide-Fringe-2013---Guide-Image_EFUL_GUIDE

 

Driving home, my date for the evening walked me through how a number of the tricks had been performed. He’s got a sharper eye than I, but fortunately, an explanation didn’t make the boys performance any less impressive. The Naked Magicians is carried entirely by the thoroughly entertaining performance of Wayne and Tyler.

 

The magic is cool and the magicians are hot but that’s all just icing on the cake. The core of this show is that Chris Wayne and Mike Tyler are great performers, and have an easy rapport with their audience.

 

In saying that, there is some polishing required, the ‘big reveal’ that was supposed to serve as the climax of the show fell flat through the delivery and the obvious nature of the trick. The Visy is an intimate venue so perhaps they had prepared this with a more distant stage in mind, but when the seams and pop-buttons of Tyler’s jacket were clearly visible every time he turned around there wasn’t any surprise or mystery left in the closing trick.

 

I loved the affable nature of the show. We really get the feeling that it was conjured on a Brisbane balcony by a couple of mates over many a beverage, and when those mates just happen to be established magicians with a cracking sense of humour then I think you’re probably onto a pretty good thing!

 

It was great to see the audience enjoying this new show so much and I’ll be interested to see how the tour goes. Discussing the show afterwards with the production team there were whispers regarding future tour dates and if I had a bet on I’d say the guys are onto something. We should expect to see them selling out theatres across the nation with The Naked Magicians.

 

You’ll have to rustle up some magic of your own if you’re hoping to get tickets for the final show tonight! The run at Brisbane Powerhouse is technically sold out, but if you manage to snag yourself a ticket or two you’re guaranteed to have an entertaining evening.

 

 

14
Feb
14

The Great Spavaldos WTF14

WTF 2014 Brisbane Powerhouse

 

February 13 – 23 2014

 

The Great Spavaldos (UK)

By Sylvia Mercuriali & Simon Wilkinson for Il Pixel Rosso

Brisbane Powerhouse Theatre

February 11 -22 2014

 

Reviewed by Guy Frawley

 

 

The Great Spavaldos isn’t so much a piece of theatre to be witnessed as it is a fully immersive experience to be lived.

 

 

The Great Spavaldos

The creative team take your photo once you’ve been fitted with your goggles and just before you’re taken out to explore their virtual world. It doesn’t even begin to give justice to the fabulous weirdness of this show.

 

Hijacking four of the five senses, this event toys with with your sense of sight, touch, sound and smell to transport you into the dark underbelly of a 1940s circus troupe, leaving you disorientated and awed.

 

In the foyer of the Powerhouse you’re fitted with headphones and as the voice over begins you’re quickly pulled into the fantastical world of the eponymous Spavaldo brothers.

 

 

Before long however you realise you’re not exactly watching their story, you’re living their story, you become one half of this gravity defying, acrobatic duo.

 

Mere minutes after arriving at the theatre, flustered from a spot of rather bothersome city traffic and relieved I’d made it in time for my 6pm viewing, I was mounted on a trapeze and staring nervously at the floor that seemed to be at least 10 meters beneath me, suffice to say I’d well and truly forgotten everything else that had preoccupied me during the day. In reality my feet were likely only inches above the floor but there in that moment, perched atop the trapeze, rope gripped firmly in both hands with the sound of the audience cheering beneath me…well lets just say my acute fear of heights seemed very real, and logic be damned, the boys and girls from Il Pixel Rosso have hit the virtual reality nail right on the head.

 

With a pair of video goggles, a set of headphones and some delightfully creative staging, The Great Spavaldos is 25 minutes of immersive joy. This is the kind of experience that you walk out of and immediately want to tell all of your friends about, more than that, you want to drag them along to experience it for themselves; It’s just so freakin’ cool!

 

It’s tantalising to wonder about the other stories that could be told using such a method and I for one would love to see where else the creative team behind The Great Spavaldos take this concept. Hopefully their creative journey will bring them back to Brisbane sooner rather than later! You do however still have until the 22nd of February to catch this show and regardless of what your taste is in theatre I challenge you to experience this piece and to not walk out of the performance space with a massive grin on your face.

 

the great spavaldos – promo 1280×720 from il-pixel rosso on Vimeo.

09
Dec
13

CROSS-STITCH: Thunder Box

 

CROSS-STITCH: Thunderbox

Metro Arts

6 December – 7 December 2013

 

Attended by Meredith Walker

 

“Somebody suggested this might be a fun thing to come along to,” someone ahead shared as we followed the blue stairs to level four of Metro Arts (who knew there was a level four?), unsure of what awaited. Turns out that ‘a fun thing to come along to’ is a most apt description for the CROSS-STITCH: Thunderbox art party.

 

IMG_5922

 

CROSS-STITCH: Thunderbox, the two night event at Metro Arts led by Artistic Director Britt Guy, is a diverse collection of performance and installations works, the experience of which is like traversing through a scrapbook of ideas. And what an assortment of experiences it is, from playing Robert Millett’s short text computer adventure game, to contributing to Lenine Bourke’s Something Said collection of amusing and evocative lines from life that have made you feel something.

 

M’ck Mckeague’s Hiding Place is a definite highlight, as it allows audience members to crawl inside a custom built cubby house, one at a time; the experience booked out quickly on both nights. Another standout is Nathan Stoneham and Park Younghee’s I will sing to you, during which you share an elevator with two others, who soon begin lamenting love in words and melody, crescendoing in a rich rendition of song (thanks to amazing elevator acoustics) chosen for you and sung to you (not just for you).

 

IMG_5924

 

Like any cultural celebration, this event is not only about the individual shows; it’s also about the experience of seeing them and sharing that experience. And in a well-worn tiki-lounge-esque chill out room, featuring tranquil projections of beach scenes, sunsets and flowers, conversations about art flow naturally as patrons share experiences, compare favourite Something Said lines and share the nooks and crannies discoveries of Edwina Lunn’s Mouse Art.

 

CROSS-STITCH: Thunderbox is a Metro Arts initiative aimed at providing opportunity for emerging Artistic Directors to develop their craft, however, it is also allows audiences to experience art in its many forms as they self-curate a journey through the predominantly interactive works. Indeed, the most remarkable thing about the event, apart from how unconventional it is – is that it showcases such an impressive collection of contemporary Australian artists, featuring names such as theatre-maker Thomas Quirk and choreographer/dancer Matthew Day.

 

Thomas Quirk asks people to walk with me from A to B, as you follow vision of his footsteps to anecdote narration of past personal experiences, on an IPOD.  Melbourne based Matthew Day is amenable and charming in his experiment Open Relationships, in which he explores unchoreographed encounters with single participants. And this was my definite highlight – being quietly followed and mirrored in movement, dueted in dance and twirled by Matthew Day above the sounds of a city in festive season celebration.

 

Stay tuned for what Metro Arts has in store; their 2014 program will be launched early in the new year.

If, when you envisage theatre, you imagine a stage, a seated audience, a couple of hours of your time and maybe an usher closing the doors as he house lights dim, then perhaps you should give Metro Arts and events such as this one a look, as a means of invigorating your usual theatregoing experience.

Not only is CROSS-STITCH: Thunderbox a free event, but it is a surprisingly fun thing to head along to!

 

IMG_5934