Posts Tagged ‘facebook

01
Jun
15

WIN a double pass to Absinthe under the Spiegeltent!

 

 

WE ARE GIVING AWAY 3 DOUBLE PASSES TO ABSINTHE

UNDER THE SPIEGELTENT!

 

LIKE XS ENTERTAINMENT ON FACEBOOK

COMMENT BELOW OR ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE TO TELL US WHY YOU CAN’T MISS ABSINTHE

BE AVAILABLE TO ATTEND ABSINTHE ON JUNE 10 AT 8PM

 

absinthe_greenfairy

From the creators of EMPIRE… comes ABSINTHE by Spiegelworld

 

 

“If you only see one show in your entire life, make it ABSINTHE”  Huffington Post

 

 

…. the city is about to be shocked, probably outraged, definitely wowed and absolutely entertained when the politically incorrect yet athletically gifted and talented cast from ABSINTHE Tour Le Monde ARRIVE IN TOWN!!!

Brisbane loved EMPIRE when it rocked King George Square! Now the creators are back with a show that takes things to a whole new level – the city is about to be shocked, probably outraged, definitely wowed and absolutely entertained when the politically incorrect yet athletically gifted and talented cast from ABSINTHE Tour Le Monde, presented by Stan, arrives for a strictly limited season from June 2 under the spiegeltent at King George Square.

 

absinthe_burlesque_fire

 

ABSINTHE is an adult-themed cocktail of circus, burlesque and vaudeville for a 21st century audience. The show is hosted by the filthy rich and just plain filthy Gazillionaire and his whacky assistant Abby Bobbins who have become two of the most acclaimed and subversive comedy forces in Las Vegas in recent years by parodying political correctness with their dark wit.

 

Tickets are on sale NOW for the limited Brisbane season of ABSINTHE at www.ticketek.com.au

 

 

BUT YOU CAN WIN A DOUBLE PASS BY TELLING US BELOW OR ON

OUR FACEBOOK PAGE WHY YOU MUST SEE ABSINTHE

UNDER THE SPIEGELTENT!

 

Launched by Australians in Manhattan’s gritty South Street Seaport, it became New York’s must-see event before moving to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas where it has been smashing box office records and continues selling out after four amazing years. These exceptionally talented and sexy performers from across the globe have been described by notorious Las Vegas reporter Robin Leach as “naughty and nice, exotic and erotic, wild and wacky.”

 

 

It’s not only the artists who create the magic of ABSINTHE.

 

 

The show will be presented in Brisbane in a 700-seat antique spiegeltent, furnished with beveled mirrors, plush velvet seating booths and a well-stocked bar in King George Square. It’s the most intimate stage in town, with the artists dedicated to performing their jaw-dropping, breath-taking acts up close and very personal!

 

ABSINTHE_HandBalance (vert) ©Spiegelworld

 

Brisbane audiences at ABSINTHE will be treated to new international acts, especially hand-picked for the Australian tour, joining the line-up of jaw-dropping performances which have been wowing Las Vegas for four sold-out years.  Celebrity audience members have included Elijah Wood, Channing Tatum, James Franco, Olivia Newton-John, Neil Patrick Harris, Brad Garrett and Pamela Anderson.

 

Laura von Bongard and Luka Clayburn from Germany, have created a breathtakingly sexy aerial hoop duet which is being premiered on this Australian tour. Los Dos Tacos (Andrei Sizonenka and Aliaksandr Yurkavets from Belarus) astound with their heart-stopping human foosball routine on the high bar- believed to be the first time a double Horizontal Bar act has been performed on the intimate spiegeltent stage where the audience are just inches away from the action. Other acts include Oleksandr Volohdin (Ukraine) building an impossibly high chair mountain; The Lost Souls (Ukraine) with their stunning acrobatic Banquine Act; the sensuous Jacob Oberman and Maika Isogawa (USA) on the Duo Straps; Michal Nowosadko and Zbigniew Sobierakski (Poland) displaying extraordinary grace and strength with their Hand Balance; and The Frat Pack (USA) on the daring High Wire.

 

absinthe_balloon_back

 

Spiegelworld’s Impresario, Australian Ross Mollison, said of the impending Brisbane season, “ABSINTHE is now considered a must see for visitors to Las Vegas. I am thrilled to be bringing our biggest ever hit production to Brisbane – a city which we know embraces the best and most exciting stage performances – before we head off to tour the rest of the world.”

 

 

ABSINTHE is a bona-fide international phenomenon.

 

Brisbane:

Performances start June 2 2015, under the spiegeltent at King George Square

Performance Schedule:  

Tuesday/Wednesday – 8pm    Thursday/Friday/Saturday – 7:30pm & 9:30pm

Sunday – 5pm & 7pm

 

 

absinthe_balloon

 

 

For your chance to win a double pass to Absinthe on Wednesday June 10 at 8pm, comment below or on our Facebook page and tell us why you MUST SEE ABSINTHE!

11
Aug
14

Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival and the question of reviews and social media…

 

Remember when I said I was going to post every Friday, my column from the local rag, the Sunshine Coast Daily? Yeah? No. That hasn’t happened and you haven’t asked for it! But here’s my column from last week (Friday August 8 2014), which they actually printed without editing very much. Mostly, this column, somewhere between submitting and printing, has become a dead easy “What’s On?” list of things to see on the Sunshine Coast and often I’ll begin it with a comment on the state of the local arts scene. But I always wanted to throw into this space some of the harder questions too. Like, what is it we’re all doing? And, why are we doing it? And, what’s the use of reviewing what we’re doing if we continue to do just exactly what we’ve always been doing? #justasking

 

What makes this much more interesting than the fact that I felt the need to write it in the first place, is the way it was presented on the page, beneath a photo I didn’t submit, beside a “review” that no one saw coming because the other columnist on the page tends to write exclusively about his own theatre company and their productions. Isn’t media manipulation a funny thing? Separated, and published over different weeks, a parallel would not have even been drawn, but due to savvy editing and fascinating timing (could be a full moon thing), I came under fire on social media for presenting an opinion with which some people didn’t agree.

 

facebookdrama_willywonka

 

As I’ve explained to concerned friends and family over the weekend, I’m a blogger, I’m a writer, I’m a reviewer, and because I’m confident enough to put myself out there, it’s no surprise (and certainly not the end of the world!), when somebody has a problem with something I’ve said. I know they’d like to think they are all-powerful and all-knowing, with a convincing enough argument to band together a legion of fans in a vitriolic thread (for what purpose, I don’t know), but you know what? I’ve come to realise the trolls and haters who comment without thinking first are just little wizards of oz, hiding their insecure, trembling, self righteous little selves behind a great big curtain called a keyboard. Sam and I agree (What? I know! Surprise!), I must still be so naive! Because it genuinely surprises me every time to see somebody’s true colours online. Do they actually think they’re anonymous on Facebook?! Do they genuinely not realise that everyone knows everyone on Facebook?! OOPS! HA! I used to worry more about them and their opinions, and I do – of course I do – feel the awful sting of a snide remark or cruel comment. Who doesn’t? But then, and I thank you Brisbane community for helping me to move on after some interesting learning experiences, including Jekyll & Hyde and The Truth About Kookaburras, I take a breath and look at how wonderful every day is. Other than travelling the world (and we’re working on it!), we actually have everything we have set out to get. And we do love giving back. It makes me wonder what sort of lives the haters have. I learned very early, at school, that kids with less confidence would say whatever it took to make themselves feel better (but did they really feel better? Really?)… It’s actually laughable. I actually can’t believe some of the things people feel comfortable saying on social media. I wonder why they don’t say them to my face? I see them often enough! The Sunshine Coast is not a big pond! Isn’t it funny to really see someone for who they are? Luckily, I’m blessed with actual friends, and a supportive family and husband who are able to point out to me if I ever forget it –

 

 

whatsusiesaysofsally

 

 

Now let’s get some things straight, just in case you’ve been following the wrong Facebook threads.

 

Sam and I have only ever been supportive of local community theatre but the truth is, we are in the game now for slightly different reasons. In addition to “having fun” and being social, we want to continue to produce professional productions. We’re so proud of our original pieces, and of our recent success at Noosa Long Weekend Festival. It’s true, we expect a higher standard from everybody involved in our productions and THAT’S WHY WE PAY THEM. This is the fundamental difference between what we do and what is accomplished by the haters involved in their amateur groups. There is always going to be merit in treading the boards for free and for fun – it’s how we learned a heap of basic skills and developed enormous confidence too – but we decided a few years ago to try to make it pay, and now that it does so we’ll continue to focus on doing more of the same. You can argue that the quality of the productions are the same as your amateur efforts but in actual fact they’re usually not. How do I know? Because I’ve seen what you’ve been doing. And in the past there have been times when you’ve asked for feedback and I’ve offered it. Whether or not you’ve taken it on board, or even used it as a starting point to simply reconsider or reflect on what it is you’re doing, has been up to you. And we’ve certainly seen you improve…or not.

 

To see that I’m right, you should really get out more. Go see “good” theatre. Go see MORE theatre so you start to see for yourself what “good” looks like. You never have to take my word for it! Quite simply, Sam and I set our own standards and with a production budget we can afford to see that we reach them. We have a core ensemble – and it’s a true ensemble – and we will always welcome into that awesome little team, people with a professional approach to match our own. If you’re a performer (or stage manager or designer or techie) aspiring to greater heights, let us know. You don’t have to work for free anymore on the Sunshine Coast! Hooray! On the other hand, if you’re happy to do so, if you’re totally okay with the way you’re currently presenting on stage (and off), go ahead and keep supporting your local community group and having a ball! Cheers!

 

managingcarmen_castandcrew_NLWF14

 

So. Sam is still the President of the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance, I’m still writing the column for the paper, we are both on the Noosa Long Weekend Festival board and programming committee, I’m on the Matilda Committee, and we are still directing, coaching, consulting, emceeing, promoting and supporting many local artists and events for free. We actually do far more for free, still, than for dollars. And that’s okay too, although we are more selective now about the people and charities we choose to support. We can only do so much. But we truly value community theatre so we continue to support it. We’ve always walked the talk. I thought that much was pretty obvious but I guess when some-unenlightened-body gets a bee in their bonnet they forget the big picture. It actually infuriates me momentarily, to see and hear criticism from those who purport to know us or to know better. But, sure, you’re entitled to your opinion too. Just maybe think twice before putting it online.

 

maturingisrealizing

 

SCD Arts Friday August 8 2014

 

We know the Sunshine Coast has talent, and some of us can even recognise excellence when we see it on stage, however; I miss the days of legitimate local theatre reviews, which we used to enjoy via this publication, thanks to an arrangement with Ian Austin, professional playwright and critic. Those of us involved in theatre at the time remember our early Saturday morning race to buy the Sunshine Coast Daily for Mr Austin’s insightful write-ups of local productions. Not only did the reviews provide valuable feedback from a respected theatrical identity, they gave potential audience members valid reasons to consider which productions they might be interested in supporting.

 

It’s all very well for each community theatre group to promote their own production, or for enthusiastic cross-promotion to continue happening – after all, we should be supporting each other’s endeavours – but to blatantly mislead the public and the talent about the standard of a local show when one has recently attended no other local shows with which to compare it is outrageous and irresponsible.

 

To my understanding, a review is certainly one’s personal response to a production, but it should also offer some truth in terms of what audiences may expect to experience at a show. This requires broad knowledge, an open mind and the acceptance that honesty does not necessarily initiate or nurture friendships.

 

Amongst my peers, the theatre reviewers feel a degree of responsibility to the creatives, but also to audiences. Over the last five years I have attended, on average, 1-2 professional theatrical productions a week, and during festival time that number increases. What kind of reviewer would I be if I proclaimed every production just as excellent as the next? Or a mediocre production the most impressive? I don’t presume to help box office sell tickets – that’s what marketing collateral is for – but I do appreciate the opportunity to offer people a fair assessment of a show, allowing them to make up their own minds as to whether or not they might enjoy it.

 

It’s an unfortunate fact that theatre reviewing in this country is not valued enough by the industry, nor by the publications who seek content (both in print and online) to provide any remuneration for the job. Perhaps if it were a paid position, and genuine feedback was taken on board by those who insist on putting productions together, our audiences could reasonably expect a greater degree of excellence on local stages and attend the theatre more often, which in turn would help to sell tickets and keep our local theatre thriving. I wonder what the theatre companies, venues, councils and arts funding bodies might think of that? What do you think?

 

 

ifyouhavegoodthoughts

 

 

Next up, Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance is hosting the largest theatre festival on the South East Queensland Drama circuit. This means, starting this Friday, we’ll be at The Lind, Nambour, for 10 days of workshops, forums, debates and one-act plays. We have a record number of youth entries across the final weekend of the festival and some new and familiar faces competing in the open section, which takes place this weekend.

 

 

Forum Panellists are Mahana Currie, Robyn Ernst (BYTE), Ian Mackellar (Noosa Long Weekend Festival) and Ian Williams, discussing Sunshine Coast Theatre – Past, Present, Future. The debate will see Mark Darin (MIX FM), Joy Marshall and Marina de Jager argue the merits of musical theatre with Gail Denver, Errol Morrison and Frank Wilkie. These events cost just $5 to attend and give you the chance to mix with the local makers and lovers of live theatre.

 

 

We welcome special guest adjudicator, Margi Brown Ash, Director of Hedonism’s Second Album, which opens on Thursday night at La Boite.

 

 

For SCTF14 details and bookings check out livetheatre.com.au

 

 

 

 

22
Jul
13

Nathan Sibthorpe Talks Short+Sweet 2013

Nathan Sidthorpe

This week Meredith caught up with Nathan Sibthorpe, this year’s Short+Sweet Festival Manager.

She found out what he’s been up to recently, and what you can expect at Short+Sweet 2013.

 

I saw your work with Delicacy, which was fantastic if not a little macabre; will you be bringing the same ferocity from your direction to the direction and management of the festival?

I had the pleasure of assistant directing DELICACY under the vision of Lucas Stibbard. DELICACY was a unique sort of play – the kind that makes your stomach turn yet leaves you hungry at the end. Although I don’t believe any vital organs are going to be severed, I know that there are a few plays in Short+Sweet that might give you those slightly uneasy feelings – but in only the best of ways! Of course in a strand of up to eleven short plays, I reckon there should be enough to satisfy anyone’s appetite. Kind of like theatrical tapas!

 

I know you’re managing both the Gold Coast and the Brisbane circuits. I can’t wait to see what you do in Kelvin Grove’s The Loft, but do you think it’ll be tough juggling the workload?

So Short+Sweet this year is made up of four strands, each featuring a selection of ten-minute plays by local artists. Two strands will be performed on the Gold Coast, and then two in Brisbane. All up there are about 35 short plays to keep the festival going. It’s a tough juggle at times, but all of the artists are fiercely independent, and their passion holds everything together! They’re very good at supporting the festival that supports them.

 

You claim to be the Geek-In Residence, what gives you such a title?

Ha! In actual fact, it’s the Australia Council for the Arts that gives me that title! Well, them in combination with Queensland Theatre Company. My role at QTC started off as a funded position from the Australia Council, as part of their Geek-in-Residence program. I was recognised as a theatre-maker who actively experiments with digital technologies in live performance. I’m also the Twitter guy, the video guy, and the “which iPad app could help me solve this task?” guy.

 

Can I get any gossip about what to expect at Short+Sweet 2013?

Well, I don’t want to give away too much…. But look out for sexy handcuff pranks, intricate shadow puppets, dangerous spontaneity, feminine hygiene in 19th century England, people finding love, people losing love, people inventing what love could be … Body bags, wrecking balls, serial killers, symbolic balloons, a mime, a pig, a runaway bride, the evil undead… Secrets will be declared, someone will be humiliated, fights will break out, cake will be spilled, someone will die, the world will end, and dancing will happen. In ten minutes or less.

 

I’ve seen a few articles now saying this year’s is going to be refreshing, is that just hype or can we expect something different?

I think the festival is really growing. This year the standard of work has been really exciting. We’ve got more artists, more plays, and some of the shows are really going to push beyond expectations. It’s particularly exciting to have people like Catarina Hebbard directing, not long after she directed a MainStage show at QPAC for Queensland Theatre Company…. And then Sven Swenson, an award-winning playwright contributing to the pool of scripts. It’s also worth noting that this year is my first year managing the festival – that’s something different for sure! I know I’m finding it refreshing!

 

Have you been dealing with the selection process directly? If so, what speaks to you as a worthy script and performance for the show?

I have been very closely involved with the selection process this year, which has been an absolute privilege. I’m really interested in scripts that can promise theatricality, that know how and why they are a piece of theatre. I also want these plays to surprise us, to show us something we haven’t seen before, or to make us feel as though we’ve been a part of something bigger. Diversity is also a key factor of this festival – to make sure that each play has a different flavour, something unique to offer. You might hate one that everyone else loves and then fall in love with one that nobody else understands.

 

I saw some of the shows at last year’s Short+Sweet festival in The Loft, would you borrow a leaf from last year’s book or try to make this your own creation?

I think this year will have a bit of a different feel to last year. As well as there being more plays, there are also bigger concepts and challenging forms. One play relies on skilful shadow puppetry; another tells a story using only one word at a time. The script selections were incredibly competitive this year, so I’m confident that we’ve got some very exciting stories to tell. I’ll also say that we’re often going to have a hell of a mess to clean up after the performances!

 

Last year’s winners were well deserved, but what’s in it for this year’s yet to be known victors of Short+Sweet 2013? What sort of prizes or accreditations can they expect and do you think it’ll launch some of the more independent or younger competitors? As much as it is a festival it is most certainly a competition too, we mustn’t forget that.

 

Additional prizes are not yet announced for this year, but every award comes with an original sculptural trophy hand-made by an emerging artist from the Brisbane Institute of Art. There’s also something to be said about the value of the accreditation! After I won the Best Director award in 2011, my CV suddenly started working in my favour. And you might remember Dead Puppet Society got their first big break after winning the Short+Sweet Award in 2009!

 

An exciting extra incentive has only been introduced in recent years – that the overall winner of Short+Sweet QLD will win a coveted spot in the Sydney Short+Sweet Festival in 2014! (SRT’s So Where Is It? won this coveted spot in 2012 – Ed).

 

It’s getting close to the show now, less than a month away. Would you do it all again if they asked you back next year?

For sure!

 

Thanks so much for chatting, Nathan. I look forward to seeing the show in August. 

Thanks Meredith, look forward to seeing you at the festival!

Short+Sweet 2013 dates will be running as follows. Make sure to get your ticket.

 

GOLD COAST

The Arts Centre, Gold Coast

 

STRAND ONE – MAINSTAGE
Tues 30 Jul, 7pm
Wed 31 Jul, 7pm
Thurs 1 Aug, 7pm
Fri 2 Aug, 7pm

 

STRAND TWO – WILDCARDS
Sat 3 Aug, 7pm
Sat 3 Aug, 7pm

 

BRISBANE

The Loft, Kelvin Grove

 

STRAND THREE – MAINSTAGE
Tues 20 Aug, 7pm
Thurs 22 Aug, 7pm
Sat 24 Aug, 7pm

 

STRAND FOUR – MAINSTAGE
Wed 21 Aug, 7pm
Fri 23 Aug, 7pm
Sat 24 Aug, 3pm

 

GALA FINAL
Sun 25 Aug, 3pm
Sun 25 Aug, 7pm

22
Jul
13

Little Orphan TrAshley

 

Little Orphan TrAshley

Brisbane Powerhouse

17 – 20 July 2013

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward 

 

Direct from a sell-out season at Sydney Opera House, the writers who brought you the smash hit Fat Swan (Trevor Ashley and Phil Scott) team up with acclaimed director Craig Ilott (Smoke & Mirrors) to give you this uproarious new spectacle with an all-star cast.

 

Ashley stars as little orphan Fannie, a ten-year old with a terrible secret… one she can’t even share with her inmates at the Sutherland Shire Girl’s Orphanage, let alone the bad-tempered showbiz has-been who runs the place: the drunken Miss Trannigan (Rhonda Burchmore). The truth is: Fannie is not yet all woman. But, to get her gender reassignment surgery, she’ll have to find her true birth parents to get their permission.

 

Luckily for Fannie, she meets acclaimed photographer/multimillionaire Daddy Warhorse (Gary Sweet) who promises to sponsor her! But can she survive a rigorous set of blind auditions, a very ‘arty’ photoshoot and an appearance on evil controversial talk-back radio personality Ellen Jones’ show before she finds her parents?

 

To make her wish come true, Fannie may need more than just her trusty ex-sniffer dog Bullshit (Rhys Bobridge).

 

Well, you might have LOVED this show. I’m happy for you #winning

 

Let me know in the comments section below what it was you loved (as opposed to telling me what you think I should already know about my lack of knowledge, experience, tact, etc, etc when it comes to reviewing theatre).

 

I really wanted to love this production. I’ve missed previous TrAshley shows but I was looking forward to seeing this one. I had a ball live tweeting the show (I’ll add those Instagram pics later), but I didn’t enjoy it. In fact, I’m surprised that something so unpolished has had some of the rave reviews it’s had. There is such a wealth of talent involved in this production but sadly, very little of it manages to cut through the crass humour and faltering pace. It could be that the brand of humour is just not my cup of tea, but even so, I expected a higher standard across all departments, regardless of personal preference when it comes to comedy.

 

Do you know what this show was? (An industry peep who shall remain nameless said it was a train wreck!). For me, it was one of those really bad parties (you know the ones, you’ve been to them too), when someone who is not the most popular person in the building invites everyone around after work on a Friday night and you go with some colleagues and a couple of add-ons because there was nothing else planned, but there’s no footy on, and they haven’t tidied the house, or planned any party games, or offered the first drink, and they’ve shopped at Coles on the way home with a budget of $32 for chips, cheese and crackers for 30 people (can you even GET chips, cheese and crackers for 30 people for under $32?). While this scenario would make a decent play, the feeling during the show that I was AT THAT AWFUL AWKWARD PARTY did nothing to convince me that I was experiencing the same show I’ve heard others go wild about!

 

Of course I was there with my social media hat on, having been invited to a lovely little pre-show soiree by the fast-moving folk in digital marketing at Brisbane Powerhouse. My feedback to them was not really for them (other than that they put on a lovely little soiree), but for the performers; if they’re going to announce before the show that they’d like us to turn ON our mobile phones and tweet the night away, they need to pause for a moment longer in those wonderful camp poses so we can get great, clear shots to post! It’s a great idea, and opens up the discussion on the merits (and annoyance to other patrons) of Tweet Seats at performances, particularly at performances of this nature. Social media loves the shock value. The Brisbane Powerhouse team are way ahead on so many counts, but I hope they have some better quality fodder to throw at us next time. Or a whole lot more champagne.

 

It goes without saying that if something sells out at the Sydney Opera House you’re gonna’ wanna’ bring it to your venue, but I fail to see what’s so appealing about Little Orphan TrAshley. It failed on so many levels for me, and I don’t think it’s useful to anybody to say otherwise. If I did, it would be a case of supporting and condoning the mediocre in a country that is renowned for its cabaret. Yes we are, indeed! So how does a show like this get let loose on the unsuspecting public? I DON’T KNOW. BUT I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW. IT FASCINATES ME. It’s different to just not being blown away by a great show (case in point: Mrs Warren’s Profession & The Maids. No, I haven’t written about them yet). So. Oh dear. Here we go. Here’s the break down:

 

  • the premise is tres amusement for a moment and then IT GETS OLD
  • the set actually looks CHEAP. This may well be the intention.
  • the lack of improvisation skills baffles me. A simple encore of the opening number would have saved everybody – performers, crew and audience – the uncomfortable two and a half minutes on opening night of microphone lead or pack probs, or whatever it was that made us all squirm uncomfortably while a techie adjusted something beneath Burchmore’s skirt. That’s right. And yet nobody on stage or off had the initiative/training/experience/forethought/improvisational skills/confidence to call it. EXCEPT THEY ALL HAVE ONE OR MORE OF THOSE SKILLS/QUALITIES. They just stood there looking embarrassed. Oh, and in the middle of all that awkward silence TrAshley acknowledged via his working mic, “Well, this is fucked!” BIG MISTAKE. I’m afraid I lost a lot of respect right there. Even in community theatre THE SHOW MUST GO ON
  • the jokes are bad. Really bad. Like, think of the worst racist, misogynist dad joke you’ve ever heard and multiply that by about 100 you-can’t-laugh-at-that groans, and that is ALMOST how poor the comedy is. I was expecting trashy AND witty. I was genuinely surprised when people laughed.
  • pedophile jokes – and worse, characters that are built upon them – are never funny

 

Bobridge and Burchmore both did their best to save the night, almost succeeding on a number of occasions, but even his chap-clad buttocks, cheeky grin and spot-on moves, and her sass, self-deprecating humour and supersize talent wasn’t enough to win me over. 

 

IS IT JUST ME? It might be. And that’s okay. I know TrAshley has a huge following already, and some of the dedicated fans were obviously glad to have caught this Brisbane season. They weren’t disappointed at all! But I bet anybody in the audience with a good, slick, sophisticated and intelligent cabaret show ready to go will be wondering WHAT THE HELL DO WE NEED TO DO TO GET A SIMILAR TOUR UP?! 

 

If Meow Meow is the Queen of Cabaret in this country (and she must be), why aren’t more artists aspiring to be like her? And by “be like her” I simply mean writing and producing cabaret shows that are slick, sophisticated, intelligent, funny and completely gorgeous. (I’ve seen a few lately that could do with the hype that comes with TrAshley, but deservedly so). Meow Meow’s shows are the best parties in town. Let’s have more of those.

 

29
May
12

Something Perfectly Innocent

Ed’s note: Apologies for the late post! I have just emerged from a six year old’s birthday week, which included compulsory school attendance, afternoon teas, family dinners, horse riding, cake baking, the annual Eurovision semi-final living room dance party and the return of three of the six year old’s cousins from their extensive tour with Cirque du Soleil! Then I slept for 2 days. Hence, we only now have the final Anywhere Theatre Festival post from Miss Meredith. Thank you, Meredith! x

Something Perfectly Innocent

Marcus Lilley

10th – 14th May 2012

Delivered via Twitter

Reviewed by Meredith McLean

Earlier this May I sat down to my laptop readying myself for my regular fix of Twitter updates, tumblr posts and Facebook newsfeeds. What can I say? I’m more than comfortable doing this daily, more often than not when I should be doing something more productive. However, I had something up my sleeve this time when my always well-meaning Mum made her weekly concerned phone call telling me to, “Study more. Sleep more. Eat healthy and for God sakes, Meredith, get off the computer!” Like any good daughter I omitted certain stories and instead insisted this week I needed to be on the computer for another reviewing gig.

  (Sorry, Fran – Ed.)

Something Perfectly Innocent. A play that takes place solely on Twitter.  I was really excited to check in each day and read what Claude Nixon; the fabled traveler was getting up to in Brisbane. I was ready for dazzling photos and video clips of subways and alleyways, laneways and skyways, elevators and escalators, friends and adventures; all of it being fed to me through Nixon’s Twitter account. Unfortunately reality fell short of expectations.

The plot is original enough to satisfy but the idea isn’t a new one. Theatre hybrids have been popping up all over the world. From Punchdrunk production’s videogame-theatre concoction in London to Sandra Carluccio’s This Is Kansas City, a play that leads individuals around via text message and phone calls right here in Brisbane. The great thing about this neo-theatre is the possibilities are endless. The concept is future driven. Directors not only have to look to the future and what it may one day contain but also bring the future to their own stage. The Internet posing as a stage is a strange concept that makes me giddy.

In this case I just wasn’t sold. Something Perfectly Innocent consisted of our character, Claude Nixon, a traveler new to Brisbane being embroiled in am inner-city murder mystery. But there were no innovative stunners. Black and white photos, occasional questions to the small 27 Twitter followers for where to find a free newspaper and tweets popping up every hour or so was all it had to offer us. I was looking for interactive videos, topic starters spurning retweets and obscure links leading me on wild chases. There was none of that. It was a very basic multimedia story. Introduction. Complication. Resolution. Curtain Call. That’s all.

I suppose I’m most surprised because Marcus Lilley, British creator behind the concept, seemed so much more promising. In an interview with group Creative Drinks, Lilley confessed he had imagined a different platform with more content for the show but for unspecified reasons ended up basing the play on Twitter. It is not by accident that his interest in film noir is reflected in Something Perfectly Innocent but it wasn’t emphasised as much as what it could have been.

The downfall of Something Perfectly Innocent is not the play itself but that it didn’t reach its full potential. What it didn’t become is more disappointing than what it was. The challenge we set ourselves when taking on multimedia projects is to make it something extraordinary. Twitter, Facebook, the lot of it has become the norm. It’s now nothing of consequence in day-to-day life. By providing theatrical entertainment in these mediums something has to rise above the mundane. Something unique that the audience wishes could be tangible is what creators must strive for. Sadly, Something Perfectly Innocent just wasn’t it. Regardless, I look forward to seeing more interactive theatre and multimedia dramatics. This experience hasn’t deterred me yet. Hopefully I’ll be able to see more of Marcus Lilley’s work. I have faith he can prove to me that this is not his best.

12
Apr
12

Sunny Drake’s X

X

Sunny Drake, Contact Inc & The Independents

Metro Arts’ Sue Benner Theatre

Featuring Sunny Drake

Reviewed by Michelle Bull

 

Sunny Drake. Image by Leesa Connelly.

 

I perched alone on a stool in the foyer of Metro Arts, I busied myself looking over emails (I’d already read), texting and checking my facebook messages (again) while I waited for the doors of the theatre to open.  I was here for the premiere of ‘X’ by Sunny Drake, directed by Therese Collie, a show exploring the idea of addiction (hmm…), and part of the 2012 The Independents series at Metro Arts.

Upon collecting my ticket I was immediately given a slip of paper that asked me to write down a judgment I held or had heard about someone with an alcohol addiction. This was a thought-provoking introduction to the show that left me thinking perhaps there might be a message here that would send me pondering and questioning into the wee hours, and possibly updating my Facebook status accordingly in the morning.

‘X’ explores the idea of addiction, through the journey of best friends ‘Jamie’ and ‘Caitlin’, alongside puppets ‘Naked’ and ‘Fancy’. Encompassing varied theatrical elements including animation, puppetry and live performance, Sunny Drake delivers a captivating look inside the struggles and obsessions of the four characters in a transparent and effectively abstract fashion. The work is centered specifically on alcohol addiction and is told from a lesbian/ gay/ bisexual/ transgendered/ intersex/ queer perspective, fundamental to the experiential nature of the works formation. The collaborative nature of the work is acknowledged as Drake gives a personal welcome and introduction to the show, suggesting that addiction is a ‘human condition’ and one that affects us all in one-way or another, whatever the catalyst may be.

The set, designed by Georgina Greenhill is cleverly constructed both for theatrical impact and functionality, allowing Drake to blur the lines of puppetry and animation seamlessly. Animator Ingrid K Brooker is to be applauded for creating a surrealist world that exists alongside that of the set giving it a magical quality and multiple dimensions for the characters to play in.

I felt the strongest aspects of the show included this integration of stop animation, multimedia and puppetry as a means of communicating difficult emotions and symbolism of the internal state of the characters. The design and execution of these elements gave a real sense of humanity to puppets ‘Naked’ and ‘Fancy’ as under Drake’s hand they seamlessly merged with the other characters and battled their addictions in heartbreakingly real and identifiable fashion.

Although each of the characters portrayed by Drake were likeable and seamlessly introduced, I did feel they could each be further developed to give a clearer distinction between each archetype. I was at times left behind as Drake flipped from one to the next, which, while not distracting from the quality of the performance, did disconnect me from its sincerity. That being said, some characters were more refined than others, which made more obvious those that would benefit from some development.

The use of multimedia as a vehicle for expression in this work was a wonderful choice. There were moments where projection and music were used in tandem to great effect, creating conversations onstage that let the audience in on private moments of self-evaluation, indulgence and reflection. From the escapist pop stylings of Kylie Minogue to a soothing Irish lullaby, each moment captured a sense of the internal state of being in a way that unveiled its poignancy for each of the characters.

Never one to shy away from audience participation, I was unconvinced by its use in this show. Upon entering the theatre we had each been given another patron’s anonymous judgment they had written on the little slip of paper handed out in the foyer. At one point in the show we were asked to read aloud what was written, an action that caused the character to shy away from the onslaught. I thought this was an insightful and connecting moment in the show but one that left me wondering if it could have been executed differently to greater effect.

Overall, ‘X’ is a thought-provoking piece of theatre that asks questions about an issue that touches each of us in one way or another, be it an addiction to alcohol, sex, chocolate or even Facebook. Sunny Drake is an engaging performer offering up a challenging and honest performance that entertains and makes use of various theatrical elements to communicate in a way that is honest and engaging. ‘X’ asks us to question and challenge our own beliefs and judgments about addiction and how this affects our relationship with others and ourselves, and offers up an accessible piece of theatre that will surely strike a chord with many audiences on its journey.

Premiering as part of The Independents 2012 ahead of its North American tour to the USA National Queer Arts Festival.

Written, Created & Performed by Sunny Drake Director & Dramaturg / Therese Collie Stop Motion Animator / ingrid k brooker Set and Props Designer/ Georgina Greenhill Lighting Design / Andrew Meadows Composer & Sound Designer / Brett Collery Creative Consultants / Brian Lucas & Candy Bowers

This project has received financial assistance from the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland. X was developed with the support of Metro Arts and premiered as part of The Independents 2012. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. X was also sponsored by Health Communities.