Archive for the 'Theatre' Category

19
Oct
17

Rhinoceros

 

Rhinoceros

heartBeast Theatre Company

Spring Hill Reservoir

October 13 – 28 2017

 

Reviewed by Katy Cotter

 

 

The Spring Hill Reservoir is such a diverse and beautiful space, and heartBeast Theatre Company never tire in utilising this underground chamber to transport their audience to a different time and place. The last show I saw was an immersive production of Hamlet, where the audience literally followed the actors and the action of Shakespeare’s tragedy to different sections of the reservoir.

 

Rhinoceros, directed by Steve Pearton, was performed on a raised square stage, intimate and inclusive. The set was stark and minimalistic, though the ensemble of colourful and absurdist characters brought the show to life.   

 

Eugene Ionesco wrote Rhinoceros in response to the uprising of Nazism and fascism before and during World War II, commenting on how easily people succumbed to a way of thinking and being. The play opens in a café – though with the Irish music filtering in from outside the reservoir, it turned into quite the jovial pub scene – where two men witness a rhinoceros stampede down the street. As the action unfolds and speculations arise, a most peculiar thing happens. People start turning into rhinoceros’ and suddenly being human is an unruly concept. Tis the age of the beast!

 

Patrick Farrelly (Jean) had a strong presence and played a hilarious drunk, though at times his eyes betrayed him. It was as if he was waiting on a cue and not reacting to his partner Brian Bolton (Berenger). There were unnecessary pauses and it took a while for the two leads to relax into the play. Bolton, whose character fights hard against mediocracy and running with herd, delivers a heartfelt performance. The audience sympathise with him on his journey from being a narcissistic, Trump-like know-it-all to a desperate man trying hard to hold on to his sense of identity.

 

 

The ensemble cast were brimming with an exciting and youthful energy, bombarding onto the stage then leaving a trail of dust and confusion in their wake. There’s a method to Ionesco’s madness within this work, making the listener think and reflect about the correlations between what is happening on stage to what is happening in the real world.

 

It is a wonder to think how relevant this play still is; how easy it is for those in power to persuade, to manipulate, to corrupt, and how willing some are to follow these so called “leaders.” And how dangerous and isolating it is for the voices of a minority to revolt against injustice. A line from the play that rocks me to my core is, “People who try to hang on to their individuality always come to a bad end.” This will resonate differently with each person, but to me it rings true, and exposes a cycle humanity must break.  As Bolton delivered this line so passionately, I thought of all those who have stood up and fought to nurture and embrace diversity, celebrate culture, and live a life of compassion.

 

The ensemble is the driving force of this production; there is a much-needed lift in energy when they barge on stage. This play is provocative and entertaining. It will leave you bedazzled and thinking, “When in my life have I turned into a rhinoceros?”   

 

 

 

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19
Oct
17

One The Bear

 

One the Bear

La Boite Theatre Company

Campbelltown Arts Centre and Black Honey Company

Roundhouse Theatre

October 10 -21 2017

 

Reviewed by Katy Cotter

 

 

One the Bear is a magical journey about identity and discovering your true self. It is fun, unexpected, loud and proud, and full of heart. Growing up, pursuing your dreams and learning who your real friends are is hard, and some of us get lost along the way. This show presented by La Boite Theatre Company, Campbelltown Arts Centre and Black Honey Company validates the importance of remembering your history and where you came from, and celebrates individuality.

 

The story follows the friendship of two grizzly bears named One (Candy Bowers) and Ursula (Nancy Denis), who live in a grungy alleyway next to a dumpster, spending most of their time keeping out of sight from the “Hunters.” In this dystopian world, capturing bears is paramount for humans to survive. They are skinned, even their organs are used in medicines. One vividly remembers the day when her mother was killed in front of her. It fills her belly with rage, but this little cub has hope, and dreams of a better future where bears are free to return to the forests. One has a passion for hip hop music and she and Ursula rap about their trials and tribulations.

 

 

When One is discovered by a hot shot producer, she walks a fine line between using her fame as a platform to give voice to the discrimination and torture of bears, and losing herself completely in the bright lights and screaming fans. She alters her appearance, gives into vanity and pride, and worse she abandons her friend Ursula. One finds herself being consumed by a world that takes advantage of the weak to make money. She finally hits rock bottom, roaring out against it all, and returning to the dumpster. Ursula is there waiting and ready to help One find her purpose again.

 

 

Written wholly in rhyme by Candy Bowers and accompanied by an incredibly fresh and funky sound design by Kim “Busty Beatz” Bowers, this is a must-see show for young people. It delivers important messages regarding our time and how we view fame. People are urged to present the best version of themselves, and yet the media, the internet, Facebook and Instagram are filling our heads with idealistic and often unachievable ideas of happiness and success. One the Bear is a beautiful reminder to have the courage to define yourself and carve your own path.

 

 

Walking into the show, I was unsure what to expect, though I was pleasantly surprised at how invested I became in the story. There were moments the sound was loud and overpowered the performers, making it difficult to hear what they were saying. All the production elements ensnared the senses, particularly the stunning video projection by optikal bloc and Sarah Seahorse’s bright and bold costume designs.

 

 

Candy Bowers and Nancy Denis were next-level, never dropping their energy for a second. Their physicality was outstanding, you couldn’t look away for fear of missing something. Even though it was a tale of two bears, the message about friendship, identity and empowering women, were all too clear.

 

One the Bear is for the cubs, the next generation of strong, opinionated and passionate young feminists who will change the world. The audience fell in love with One and Ursula, and it was thrilling to see so many young people enjoying themselves. The emotional arc of this work is superb, and the reason you’ll leave the theatre filled with hope and a big smile on your face.   

   

14
Oct
17

Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories

 

Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories

QPAC Presents A Barking Gecko Theatre Company Production

QPAC Playhouse

October 11 – 15 2017

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

 

How does a story write itself?

 

It only takes a wish…

 

How weird theatre is, or my head while I’m in it. The ancient Greeks recognised the River Styx as the point between this world and Hades, and this with its ferryman, Kharon, is the image that fills my head as we watch Bambert, an impossibly small man with an enormous love for writing, cross over to the other side of the dream.

I cry, and usually I can brush away any tears before the house lights come up but something is different and I let them fall. Poppy hugs me – she’s almost as tall as me and as skinny as my grandmother, her great-grandmother, Ena; I’ve been thinking about her – and we don’t hang around, even though my friend knows this cast and I could race around with her to Stage Door to give every one of them a huge hug to say thanks for stopping by and stopping other things happening in my life for a little while. Katie Noonan’s exquisite cover of River Man, from Elixir days, haunts me for the next few hours, despite Poppy’s insistence that we listen to Next to Normal all the way home – I will keep the plates all spinning – and then, when we get home, the noise of the neighbours’ parties pervades our house, and our little street. This used to be a neat street…

 

 

Children’s stories make us think of other children’s stories, and this one, a Helpmann Award winner in 2016, brings up all sorts of stuff, including my hero, Mr Plumbean, and for some reason (because we get a sense of how simple and complex death is?), a favourite Little Golden Book about the changing of the seasons, The Four Puppies. And always, The Neverending Story. ALWAYS The Neverending Story. Some stories stay with us…

 

Child-like, old man Bambert lives in the tiny attic above Mr Bloom’s grocery store, writing his stories beneath the gaze of his friend, the moon.

 

 

“He realised that all his stories were just words on a page. All these years he thought he was writing himself into the world but the truth was, if Bambert knew nothing of the world then the world knew nothing of him.”

 

One day Bambert sends his stories out into the world, tearing the pages from his book and attaching each to a balloon, with instructions for the reader to send the story back so that he may use the postage stamp to give each story a location.

 

Bambert’s stories are rich with meaning. I enjoy the first one the most, about a headstrong, and socially, politically and environmentally conscious princess looking to appoint the next leader of her kingdom. She sees through the gimmicks of potential suitors who have been asked to give her the key to truth, exposing their flaws and fake news, and we are left to assume that she herself will take the reigns. Frightening tales follow this one, in which a pigeon woman in London, Lady Brompton-Featherly-Poselthwaighte-Huntington-Moore the Third, finds lost and hungry people to add to her collection of living wax figures, another in which two writers will have to put their faith in an imaginary child to escape their prison cell on a ray of light, and a brother and sister who will have to find their way through the stark winter forests of Poland before the Dark Angels (no, not those who frequent the fetish club, but something more like Dementors, or…Nazis), find them and force them into a deep hole in the freezing earth. And finally, it’s the tale of Taruk, whose drawings come to life as he completes them, reinforcing Bambert’s wish that creativity and good choices will change the world.

 

Directed by Dan Giovannoni and Luke Kerridge, who came across a copy of Reinheldt Jung’s book in a London bookstore and carried it with him for years of backpacking around the world before returning home to turn it into this show. (Kerridge’s other favourite book is The Little Prince). In these sophisticated stories, Kerridge recognised Jung’s simple storytelling device, that it’s the children who are the protagonists and the children who can save the world.

 

It’s a much darker show than you might expect to be seeing with the kids, but here are 5 things I noticed during the Friday night performance at QPAC’s Playhouse, which makes me consider how much we need darker stories told in a theatrical context, and how much we need kids to continue taking their parents to experience live theatre.

  1. we need darkness to see the light
  2. kids are more prepared to hear difficult stories than their parents appear to be
  3. kids are more comfortable hearing difficult stories than their parents appear to be
  4. kids and parents experience similar difficulties trying to quietly consume hard candy in boxes
  5. theatres should resist selling hard candy in boxes if they would like to maintain a particular quality to the storytelling and audience experience
  6. parents should resist accompanying their kids to the theatre unless they are going to follow their own advice, including not speaking or using phones during the performance because as well as being distracting to those seated nearby, the performers, who all real people exisiting in real time in front of you, can hear you and see you.

 

Of course most of the kids work out how it works before the house lights have dimmed.

 

 

The magic of Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories is not only in the allegorical tales themselves, but in the telling of them. Igor Sas is the thoughtful, gentle Mr Bloom, who intercepts Bambert’s stories in favour of seeing his small friend’s delight rather than disillusionment with the world. A talented ensemble play the roles required to bring the story characters to life. Tim Watts is Bambert’s gibberish voice and head and heart (and also, Lord Byron and the princess’s tall, gangly, funny father, the king). Amanda McGregor, Jo Morris and Nick MacLaine are exceptional across multiple roles demonstrating their versatility and flair for comedy and Bunraku puppetry.

 

 

Designer, Jonathan Oxlade, has created a beautiful, intimate two-storey set of intricate detail, which we would ideally have seen in the Cremorne Theatre, only somebody probably thought they could sell every Playhouse seat to any production from this award winning company (I would have thought so too). With ever-changing evocative lighting by Chris Donnelly, and a cinematic soundscape and original music by Ian Moorhead, there’s nothing about this show that’s not perfectly crafted and polished for audiences of all ages and sensibilities. I’ve seen nothing on this scale, of this calibre, for young children since Slava’s Snowshow and Wolfe Bowart’s suite of works. We miss so much as adults (and with an older child now), not even trying to get to similar work at QPAC’s Out of the Box festival for under eights or so-called “children’s theatre”. If only we could get to everything, and if only everything was this sweet and enthralling and entertaining. 

 

While you’re at QPAC, drop in to see Puppet People, a free exhibition in the Tony Gould Gallery with extended opening hours during the Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories season:

Saturday 10am – 6.15pm and Sunday 10am – 1.30pm

02
Oct
17

MUSE

 

MUSE

Suncoast Repertory Theatre

Black Box Theatre, Old Ambulance Station

September 29 – October 8 2017

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

 

MUSE is the best new Australian indie work we’ve seen this year. Written and directed on the Sunshine Coast by Simon Denver after XS Entertainment’s Sam Coward challenged the playwright at the poker table one night to write something new and irresistibly real, this darkly comical piece dives deeply and unapologetically into human nature, hook-ups, marriage, lies, loyalty and the world of live theatre, capturing our imaginations and clenching its fist around our hearts. Honest, unsettling and a catalyst for some of the most interesting conversations you’ll ever have with your lover, MUSE is the very best sort of provocative performing arts.

 

Upcoming at Brisbane Powerhouse is Wax Lyrical’s production of Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years, which also looks at the dissolve of a relationship. And there are many other good works that explore the jealousy, resentment and resignation leading to the end – or not – of a relationship. Where MUSE differs from what we’ve seen before is that it’s violently articulate and neatly structured, offering a balanced view of the issues, inviting us to join these individuals on their journeys and at the same time, reflect on our own lives and loves.

An unexpected theatrical device is cleverly incorporated to make us consider how much of what we tell ourselves and our partner is actually reality and how much is fantasy. So much of what might seem like a good idea at the time is complicated and also, outside of society’s norms.

Denver’s text questions why we do what we do, juxtaposing human nature and free will against a traditional view of marriage and monogamous relationships. Set within a theatrical context, two weeks before a classic play goes up and the leading players become entangled in an illicit affair, MUSE avoids cliche and draws on truth. Denver is a keen study of human behaviour; in this work you’re sure to recognise aspects of yourself or someone you know.

 

Refreshingly, Denver presents all sides of the story and also, fully drawn female characters – the actor-turned-academic wife, Jemma (Mel Myers) and the free-spirited leading lady, Ngaire (Rachel Fentiman) – rather than the token women we’re so used to seeing, still, on our stages and screens.

 

While Jemma flails alone at home beneath a stack of undergraduate essays and an endless supply of red wine, her husband, Kris (Brett Klease), is enjoying post-rehearsal drinks with his free-spirited millennial leading lady, Ngaire. When things come to a head, Jemma confronts Kris and then Ngaire, and the terms of engagement are settled over a couple of unsettling scenes. Kris turns to his geeky gamer/coder brother, Julian (Howard Tampling), only to hear from him the voice of reason and the loyalty line he wishes he could tow too. Meanwhile, the director of the play within the play (Adam Flower), just wants to put on a good show.

Sans production values (we know it’s been produced on the smell of an oily rag) the work speaks for itself. While there’s some effort to make in terms of taking it to the next level (some of the musical choices to bookend scenes are a little too obvious and a design aesthetic is less so), MUSE is the most intriguing and moving night at the theatre this year on the Sunshine Coast. SRT must be encouraged to seek further support for a return season next year, or a move sideways in the ecology, which will allow a broader audience to experience the beauty, tragedy, hope and truth of MUSE.

25
Sep
17

Laser Beak Man

Laser Beak Man

Brisbane Festival, La Boite Theatre Company & Dead Puppet Society

In Association With PowerArts

The Roundhouse

September 9 – 30 2017

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

 

Laser Beak Man is a triumph on so many levels.

 

The mute titular superhero is the creation of Tim Sharp, diagnosed with autism at age three (now twenty-nine). His mum, Judy Sharp (Associate Producer), refused to believe advice from the experts – that her son would never speak or emote – igniting instead of ignoring, his passion for drawing. Sharp’s colourful world eventually became an 8-episode animated television series and now, thanks to David Morton and Nicholas Paine, the brains behind the award winning Dead Puppet Society, in close collaboration with NYC’s New Victory Theater, a 90-minute vivid and heartwarming stage show.

 

 

Known for their acclaimed productions incorporating beautifully realised puppets (The Wider Earth, Argus and The Harbinger), Morton and Paine collaborated with Sharp and Sam Cromack of Brisbane indie band Ball Park Music (Daniel Hanson, Dean Hanson and Luke Moseley). Sharp’s hilarious visual puns paired with Cromack’s original compositions, slightly reminiscent of the Beatles, create the technicolour world of Laser Beak Man, complete with the first free-flying Air-Orbs in the history of Australian theatre. One seems evil, like a Big Brother eye, and the other a friendlier vessel, for escaping and venturing off into the world. For Brisbane Festival and La Boite to premiere this family friendly, wholly entertaining and life affirming production is a coup.

 

 

The show is deceptively small and dark to start, contained within a black box built high on stage in the traditional orientation, without a hint of colour or drama or finesse. But suddenly, as the plot demands, the black is whisked away and like waking up in Oz, or stepping into Willy Wonka’s chocolate room, we’re treated to the digital visual spectacle of Laser Beak Man’s Power City (Design Jonathan Oxlade & Projection Design Justin Harrison with Sound by Tony Brumpton and Lighting by Jason Glenwright).

Power City was once the most beautiful city in the world – clean, pure, perfect – and local hero Laser Beak Man worked hard to keep it that way.

Drawing energy from the underground Magna Crystals that powered the city, his beak-shot lasers turned bad things to good. But now the city isn’t what it used to be and Laser Beak Man is thoroughly over it. That is until his estranged childhood friends Peter Batman and Evil Emily return and steal the Magna Crystals. Robbed of his super powers, Laser Beak Man has one last chance to reinvent Power City and save his oldest buddies before they destroy everything.

 

 

So the premise is a simple superhero story – Laser Beak Man and his friends must work together to overcome evil and save the world! – but the visual splendour and the cheeky characters inhabiting this place (and the talented artists who bring them to life on stage) are simply extraordinary. The cast comprises Nathaniel P. Claridad, Jeremy Neideck, Lauren Jackson, Jon Riddleberger, Betsy Rosen, Helen Stephens and Maren Searle, with a special guest appearance from Leigh Sales, her pre-recorded voice and her animated likeness anyway, as the Reporter. There’s not a weak link among them, and in a superior display of collective skill and connection, there are often up to three or four ensemble members manipulating a single puppet.

 

 

The script bubbles over with lovely silly comedy and some of our favourite puns include a series of terribly funny tomato puns, including the slightly vain hope after several minutes of them, that the projection designer doesn’t run out of tomato puns! Poppy forgets to continue reading the captions sliding by beneath the action and when I tell her later she laughs. She says, IT’S A KIDS’ SHOW BUT IT’S FOR ADULTS! There’s really something for everyone: while its innocence is refreshing, and totally fine for the kids (recommended for 8+), there are plenty of political references for the millennials and parentals.

 

Laser Beak Man, a Brisbane Festival highlight, is a delight for all the family, full of joy and optimism, and very obviously originating from the simple goodness of genuine hearts able and willing to turn their creative talents / superpowers into making the world a better place through good old fashioned high-tech theatrical storytelling.

16
Sep
17

I Just Came To Say Goodbye

 

I Just Came to Say Goodbye

The Good Room

Theatre Republic – The Block

September 13 – 23 2017

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

 

EVERYTHING IS NOT OKAY.

 

Strangely, forgiveness never arises from the part of us that was actually wounded. The wounded self may be the part of us incapable of forgetting, and perhaps, not actually meant to forget, as if, like the foundational dynamics of the physiological immune system our psychological defences must remember and organize against any future attacks — after all, the identity of the one who must forgive is actually founded on the very fact of having been wounded.

 

Stranger still, it is that wounded, branded, un-forgetting part of us that eventually makes forgiveness an act of compassion rather than one of simple forgetting. To forgive is to assume a larger identity than the person who was first hurt…

 

David Whyte

 

In 2002 a DHL cargo plane and a Russian passenger jet collided in Swiss-controlled airspace over southern Germany, killing 68 Russian school students, two pilots and Mr Vitaly Kaloyev’s wife and two children. This story is told plainly and simply, chillingly, in tiny pieces, using surprisingly little text. Intricately interwoven along the way are numbered anonymous apologies and offers of forgiveness (or refusals to forgive or to be forgiven) selected from hundreds of online contributions to The Good Room’s website for their newly devised show, I Just Came to Say Goodbye. All the elements come together perfectly, which is no surprise to those who know The Good Room’s previous productions. We know the formula works; we adored I Want to Know What Love Is, which premiered during Brisbane Festival 2014 and enjoyed a return season at Brisbane Powerhouse in 2015, and I Should Have Drunk More Champagne at Metro Arts in 2013.

 

The Good Room has never let the vampires get in the way of making an original show.

 

Directed by Daniel Evans and co-created with Amy Ingram, Caroline Dunphy, Lauren Clelland and Kieran Swann, this is the work that’s consistently disrupting Queensland’s arts’ ecology, demanding more from artists and audiences, and offering a richer, more complex, lingering and affecting theatrical experience.

 

I would like to have the time to sit in on the company’s creative process and tell you more about it because not enough theatre is being dreamed onto our stages in this way, and not enough of our theatre makers believe they can do likewise. This is largely because our training and our theatrical tradition is still so text-based. (We could argue that The Good Room’s trilogy of shows is text-based, but that would be over-simplifying the work and under-valuing the creative process).

 

 

The company’s next work (I’ve Been Meaning to Ask You) will involve young people in its creative development and performance. For some, it may be their first foray into devising from scratch. (Can we note, it’s simply not soon enough to be exploring the work of companies such as Gob Squad, Frantic Assembly and Complicite at a Masters level!). I hope The Good Room’s process becomes a preferred model of devising theatre with students especially, so we might see the process included in the curriculum for Years 10 – 12. Sure, something like it, within “physical theatre” vaguely happens now, depending on the awesomeness of the teachers involved and the cooperation of admin, however; even with an abundance of new work, we’re still seeing chasms in this country between theatre, physical theatre and dance. (Within an intelligently programmed arts festival the gap is less apparent).

 

The truth is, rarely can a response make something better — what makes something better is connection.

– Brené Brown

 

Despite closing with a burst of silver glitter and opening with an eighties’ daggy dance team dressed in Brisbane Festival hot pink (choreographed by Nerida Matthaei, hysterical!), I Just Came to Say Goodbye is necessarily dark. It delves into a place we don’t like to go, exploring the vulnerability that lies at the heart of our anger and our resistance to forgiveness. Can we ever really forgive another? Can we ever forget the things another has said or done to make us feel such anger/betrayal/bitterness in the first place? What happens when we choose not to forgive? In the case of Mr Kaloyev and – spoiler alert – the family and friends of his victim, there’s no happy ending.

 

 

To forgive is to assume a larger identity than the person who was first hurt.

 

The inability to forgive seems more often than not to lead to violence, a person lashing out against another, staged literally by The Good Room in an impressive extended fight sequence. Choreographed by Justin Palazzo-Orr it must be the longest continuous fight sequence we’ve seen on a Brisbane stage. It’s violent and tender and funny and tragic. Caroline Dunphy’s movement is always captivating but this performance is next level neo-butoh. She’s a wicked nymph, leaping and climbing and crawling all over Thomas Larkin (who has his own stunning image making moments at the beginning of the show), and hanging from him to create a disturbing, broken picture, to be read as a moment of grief, or the resolve of a ghost, or simply, and complicatedly, a reference to some degree of Stockholm Syndrome in the relationship. (Are there degrees of Stockholm Syndrome?). Or it’s something else entirely, depending, I suppose, on what sort of day/week/month/year/life you’ve had. The intimate moment that precedes this suffering though, is unmistakably a representation of the couple’s abject despair, beautifully, tenderly realised. This sort of intimate connection between performers takes time to develop and direct, and skill to replicate, or discover again, each and every night of the season. It’s so desperately sad. Meanwhile, Amy Ingram is a wildcat, and Michael Tuahine is both fierce and funny in attacking and being attacked. Satisfyingly, everyone ends up fighting everyone; it’s horrifying and highly entertaining. There’s certainly a little schadenfreude at work here.

 

 

Anger truly felt at its center is the essential living flame of being fully alive and fully here; it is a quality to be followed to its source, to be prized, to be tended, and an invitation to finding a way to bring that source fully into the world through making the mind clearer and more generous, the heart more compassionate and the body larger and strong enough to hold it. What we call anger on the surface only serves to define its true underlying quality by being a complete but absolute mirror-opposite of its true internal essence.

– David Whyte

 

Jason Glenwright’s apocalyptic lighting comprises search lights and pin spots and a whole lot of blackness. At times, through the haze, we barely see faces but the voices and the silences between the words convey anything we think we might have missed with our eyes. And played in traverse with the audience seated on two opposite sides, we may well miss something from time to time. Just as in life, this is okay; we see what we want to see precisely the way we want to see it. At the other end of the technical spectrum and across the Theatre Republic at La Boite are the bright lights of Laser Beak Man, also designed by Glenwright. The guy is versatile to say the least! Underscored by Dane Alexander, I Just Came to Say Goodbye wouldn’t work nearly as well without its lights to pierce the darkness and a soundscape to scrape our souls (it’s absolutely terrifying, jarring; try not to be affected).

 

FORGIVENESS is a heartache and difficult to achieve because strangely, it not only refuses to eliminate the original wound, but actually draws us closer to its source. To approach forgiveness is to close in on the nature of the hurt itself, the only remedy being, as we approach its raw center, to reimagine our relation to it.

– David Whyte

 

I Just Came to Say Goodbye is a stunning result from what would seem a simple process on paper, but actually, in anyone else’s hands could be a colossal disaster. What Daniel Evans and Amy Ingram appear to do is to throw everything onto the floor – a vast collection of ideas and feelings and responses to real events and crowdsourced verbatim material – pour fuel over it, and set it on fire to create a spectacular event and food for thought, for a life outside the theatre that demands our burning presence.

 

05
Sep
17

short+sweet results 2017

 

Short+Sweet Festival 2017

Short+Sweet Qld & Brisbane Powerhouse

Brisbane Powerhouse

July 19 – August 5 & September 2&3 2017

 

Reviewed by Eleanora Ginardi

 

 

Who is your super hero”, “Mother I think I’m in love”, “Super Mario”,  Got it stuck in my head”, “Good bye Norma Jean”, “This bus is late, uncharted territory”, “Our daughter is an Emo” – Just some of the lines from the collection of 10 x 10 minute shows at Short+Sweet festival, held at the Brisbane Powerhouse in August.

 

This show presented works that were as diverse as a Merthyr road bus shelter. The evening hinged on the unexpected through showcasing local, Queensland emerging talent. Laughter and vulnerability held space together, with highlights being some of the solo acts which were uniquely brave and honest; performers jumping head-first into a sea of emotions and tugging us along for the journey. Many of the acts were inclusive in activating audience participation. As the shows progressed, the audience got more and more involved, immersing and plunging into the stories and experiences of  local artists.

 

The Hope Project, written, directed and performed by Scott Wings, delved deeply into the sense of belonging. Over and over, Scott kept asking and repeating and deconstructing what it means to belong, eventually blowing up the notion of belonging. BELONG, Belong. BEEEELOOONG. Beelong. BLONG BLONG BLONG BANG.

 

Another one act play which touched deeply was the very physical and disciplined performance by Jake Hollingsworth. The Theory of Emotion, written and directed by Jake, gracefully took us on a journey of life, exploring the ups and downs of being a mother from a creature-like world. Retelling the story of human existence and what its like to be a mother from a mans perspective physicalised and contemplated by a young mans body.

 

Another hard-hitter, Good night Daphne by Mathew Filkins explored overcoming abuse, and dug deeper into incapacitating any kind of abuse; be it physiological, emotional, physical, or often difficult to separate, slapping the audience in the face with a topic that is often difficult to talk about.

 

 

The last one act play was Quietus, presented by solo artist Caitlin Strongarm. Caitlin embodied a sadness and cajoled the audience to assist her in turning off an alarm high above her head which she couldn’t reach. Moments of extreme sadness and moments of genuine joy were presented in this solo that deservedly goes into the finals.

 

The stand-out group was Flowers Theatre Company with Murder Mansion, written by Gabriella Flowers, directed by Samantha Bull, assisted by Amy Randall, designed by Jaymee Richards, and performed by Gabriella Flower, Emily Vascotto, Ben Warren and Levi Wilcox. A clever satire with witty dialogue, the performance was exquisitely cast and played, beautifully costumed and fluently delivered by the entire cast.

 

An enjoyable evening with my friend Anne, who abandoned herself in the show along with the younger audience. As we went upstairs to Bar Alta and discussed the show over a hot chocolate we both felt equally as passionate the need to support the arts and give artist this platform to showcase their unique talent.

 

 

2017 RESULTS

BEST OVERALL PRODUCTION

Quietus

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD

Songs For Sarah Connor (A Love Story, TERMINATED!)

BEST PLAY

Murder In The Mansion

BEST CABARET ACT

Shoes Wisely

BEST ACTOR

Caitlin Strongarm (Quietus)

BEST CABARET ARTIST

Drew Lochrie (Rock Pigs)

BEST NEW TALENT

Geordie McGrath (Shoes Wisely)

BEST SCRIPT

Say Yes

BEST DIRECTOR

Samantha Bull (Murder In The Mansion)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE/SONG

This Could Be You! (Sophie Banister)

BEST POSTER DESIGN

Be Entertaining