Posts Tagged ‘coup fatal


Coup Fatal




Coup Fatal

Brisbane Festival & Philip Bacon Galleries

QPAC Playhouse

September 5 – 8 2015


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward 


KVS & LES BALLETS C DE LA B (Belgium/Congo)

with Countenor Serge Kakudi


Coup Fatal, an Australian premiere exclusive to Brisbane, is perfect festival fare, full of joy and exuberance, cheeky grins and zany choreography, a cheerful band of 12 Kinshasa musicians and a countertenor to boot! It’s baroque, pop, jazz, cabaret, dance; a defiant celebration in the face of a world at war, threatening to douse our inner light.


Director, Alain Platel wanted to convey a “zest of life that resists poverty”.




Incredible shimmering golden curtains, created from cartridge cases collected in Congolese war zones, hang behind and on either side of the company, not to “make it into a message” but to offer a political context within Freddy Tsimba’s set. We can think as much as we like, later, about the appalling atrocities against the people of the Belgian Congo Basin since the 19th century, but the show is a celebration of something longer lasting.


The joy of life the Kinshasas exhibit, even in sometimes horrible circumstances, tells us more about who they are than their hardships.

Alain Platel


Composer, Fabrizio Cassol and Musical Director & guitarist, Rodriguez Vangama, with Platel and a company of extraordinarily talented artists, have created a show to lift spirits and challenge any preconceived notions of what a “show” is. In this case, it’s a mad Congolese dance party, featuring Serge Kakudji singing baroque opera to the incessant beat of African drums, musicians and dancers cum Congolese poster boys dancing up a storm, and brightly coloured flashy fashion of the highest order, styled extravagantly in the tradition of the Sapeurs, members of the Societe des Ambianceurs et Personnes Elegantes (SAPE) – the Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People. They must not only look but also behave in an elegant manner, in defiance of their war stricken surroundings. One of the highlights of the show is the return to the stage of the full company dressed this way, having shed their military style uniforms, for a big, beautiful finale, which sends out a renewed sense of vibrancy and joy de vivre, even after their exuberant (exhausting!) moves for almost 100 minutes. Talk about performance fit! It’s the most unusual,  extravagant ending I’ve ever seen without the use of a glitter canon.




The musical alchemy of baroque and Congolese beats is so strange and yet so fitting, with fusion compositions by Vangama, Cassol and Coup Fatal after Handel, Vivaldi, Bach, Monteverdi and Gluck. It’s extraordinary to hear Kakudji’s pure, sweet countertenor voice soar over the sonorous voices of the dancers and later, in between the cries of “Hey!” and fun, flirtatious remarks to audience members, who are delighted to dance when invited to do so. The high-energy routines feature individuals in turn, and one in particular, Bouton Kalanda, who plays likembe throughout (and in a duelling banjos inspired opening number with Vangama on his double-headed electric guitar). Kalanda grins mischievously, flips on the spot, thrusts and gyrates and frolics and cavorts in and out of the bullet case curtains, and double pumps better than Yanis Marshall’s boys doing Beyonce.


I wanted to see these antics performed across the apron of the stage, or on a slightly higher elevation. Nevertheless, Kalanda et al show in matching military garb, white t-shirts, bare sweating, shining flesh and finally, in their brightly coloured stylish suits (and a superb kilt! and a sensational skirt of ties!) why they are so proudly representative of the irrepressible Congolese spirit.


The prevailing message, more so than any desperate plea for compassion or a way out of a dire political and civil situation, is one of living life to the fullest.




The delicious cultural crossovers, the bizarre combination of all the elements and the incredible performance energy from the heart of Africa make this show something that has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.


Three more productions complete the Congo Connections program during Brisbane Festival: Macbeth, Le Cargo and Future D. Fidel’s play, Prize Fighter, opening tonight at La Boite. Book online for all Brisbane festival events.






Brisbane Festival is about to kick off! Are you ready?


Brisbane Festival unlocks Arcadia and invites everyone to the opening bash!




Brisbane Festival officially kicks off on Saturday 5 September 2015 – the wacky and wonderful Arcadia at South Bank will come alive with sizzling shows in two massive tents as well as a packed line up of free entertainment, while some meaty shows will play at QPAC and La Boite, all capped off by a big opening night party.




Float between four bars.

Feast at boutique food trucks.

Treat yourself in the Little Creatures Treehouse.

Keep up to date on all the free entertainment happening in Arcadia by joining the Facebook Event.

When: Sat 5 – Sat 26 Sept


Arcadia, the new Festival village, will open from 2pm with South East Queensland’s best hip hop and break dancers battling it out in the popular free event RAPcity, while Australia’s top pavement artist will create amazing 3D chalk art where Festival-goers can snap themselves amongst the trippy work.

From 5pm enjoy free live music by Kahl Wallis (this year’s winner of the Dreaming Award at the National Indigenous Arts Awards), Karl S. Williams and Good Oak at QPAC’s Melbourne Street Green, and at 5.30pm an Indigenous Welcome to Country, smoking ceremony, and a contemporary dance performance from ACPA, the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts, will take place in Arcadia.

At 6.45pm, dance out of time and sing out of tune with abandon to DJ Mikey’s beats streaming to wireless headphones in a free Silent Disco and keep an eye on the William Jolly Bridge as it is lit up with beautiful art projections by Gerwyn Davies and Alice Lang.




Festival-goers will be spoilt for choice in the evening. In The Spiegeltent, Megan Washington will perform the first of two sold-out shows, which will be followed by the mischievous antics of New York nightlife icon Murray Hill and fellow cast in Club Swizzle.



The show everyone is talking about, Fear & Delight, will call on brave folk who are up for anything – from chicken head and syringe canapés to a gin and tonic cloud experience to an ancient Japanese artistic rope bondage act – audiences are asked to dress in black and white and leave their inhibitions at the door.



Rise for the Oceans *LIMITED TICKETS*

For one night only, Tim Winton, Bernard Fanning, Katie Noonan, Jessica Watson, and natural historian Prof Iain McCalman and other special guests will edify, thrill, entertain and enlighten us with their hopes and fears for our oceans and reefs.

When: Sat 5 Sept, 8pm



Coup Fatal

Join in a mad, defiant party that makes you want to live.

When: Sat 5 – Tue 8 Sept, 8pm



Over at QPAC, famed Belgian dance theatre maker Alain Platel’s Coup Fatal, featuring Congolese countertenor Serge Kakudji and 12 musicians from Kinshasa, will make its Australian premiere in the Playhouse, while Bernard Fanning, Tim Winton and William Barton will join other iconic Australians in the Concert Hall for the world premiere of Rise for the Oceans.




Highly anticipated and moving theatre production Prize Fighter will play at La Boite, a contemporary retelling of Anton Chekhov’s classic The Seagull will show at Queensland Theatre Company, and dance, music and animation will collide in Desirelines at Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts.


Once the curtains have closed everyone is invited back to the heart of Arcadia where an opening night party will kick off at 10pm into the wee hours of the morning, featuring DJ Tyrone and a performance by UK cult artists and stars of Fear & Delight, The Correspondents.


Arcadians can meander between five bars, a cocktail hut and a selection of wickedly tasty food trucks throughout the evening, and soak in the atmosphere from the brand new Little Creatures Treehouse or the Miami-inspired Riverhouse.




Brisbane Festival Artistic Director David Berthold said opening weekend would be huge and a good indicator of what people could expect over the next three weeks.


“With more than 500 shows across 20 venues, including 15 Australian premieres and six world premieres, the 2015 Brisbane Festival will provide abundant opportunities for new experiences and cultural adventures, as well as several new boutique places to meet up with family and friends,” Mr Berthold said.


“We have productions coming to Brisbane from five continents and 12 different countries including Singapore, Democratic Republic of the Congo, USA, UK, Japan and France, while 26 Queensland and 17 interstate companies are involved. This is the time to come out and see some of the best shows on the planet.”


On Sunday 6 September The Little Creatures Treehouse will kick off its free ‘Learn stuff about beers’ 30-minute workshops at 1pm and 2pm, where people can get hands-on with malt, savour some beers and create a mini-brew*.  The quirky new venue will also host a ukulele lesson at 4pm followed by a live performance at 5.30pm.



Club Swizzle

After two sell-out seasons at Brisbane Festival, the creators of La Soirée return with a brand spanking new show.

Loose, glorious and irresistibly fun, Club Swizzle is a night of sassy entertainment where the mayhem is kicked up a notch.

When: Fri 4 – Sat 26 Sept, 8pm



Audi Presents Fear & Delight

Join cult UK artists, The Correspondents, and an elite international cast of contortionists, acrobats, dancers and comedians whose dazzling physical feats will get your heart pounding.

While the daring physical and comedy performances will leave you short of breath –the extra elements of Fear & Delight will truly blow your mind.

When: Fri 4 – Sat 26 Sept, 8pm



Arcadia will continue buzzing with Jazz Japan Award for Album of the Year winner Fox Capture Plan in The Spiegeltent at 7pm followed by Club Swizzle, and audiences can also catch Fear & Delight and Coup Fatal again. Arcadians are also advised to be on the lookout for rogue film directors and impromptu karaoke.





At Palace Centro Cinemas The Diary of a Teenage Girl will be played at 4pm, which is part of The Female Gaze – a showcase of seven iconic indie female-focused films dating back to 1941.



Book online for all Brisbane Festival events.



*Registration for the ‘Learn stuff about beers’ workshops is required one hour prior to commencement as only 20 spots are available for each session. You must be 18+ to participate.