Jasper Jones is one of my favourite works of Australian literature. When I first read it, I couldn't put it down. I was waiting with Charlie for Jasper Jones to appear and struggling to keep it together like Eliza when she tells Charlie the story of what lead her sister to her death. Directed by Artistic Director Sam Strong, Queensland Theatre's production of Jasper Jones left me wanting more.Astoundingly BEAUTIFUL August 11, 2018
The narrative is a fantastical depiction of an immigration tale; following a man who ventures solo to a foreign country in search of a better life for himself and his family. In the strange new land he's confronted with a myriad of obstacles and spectacles, goes on a few adventures and along the way meets other characters each with their own stories and histories to tell. In keeping with the graphic novel - which doesn't include text, dialogue in The Arrival is sparse - and what little there is appears to be in an incomprehensible language (which I later discover is based on English words with certain letters swapped around to change the sound).
The story is told through movement, mime, and puppetry - performed by a cohesive and remarkably versatile ensemble (comprising of a mix of Brisbane dance artists and Red Leap company members) equally capable at slapstick mime, puppetry, and intense acrobatic scenes.
The Arrival is a sensory treat from start to finish, owing a to a production team that's not only individually capable but collaborate to a level such that the results far transcends the sum of its parts. John Verryt's set design is not only strikingly beautiful with a surreal, Tim Burton-esque aesthetic, but ingeniously clever and unconventional. Jeremy Fern's lighting design completes the visual aesthetic with an expansive palette that includes mottled blue and violet for night-time scenes to warm amber for the daytime, with bolder iterations of both towards the climactic end. Lighting and set design coordinate to produce something emergent when facilitating the various kinds of puppetry - particularly the kinds relying on light and shadow. Andrew McMillan's composition and sound design adds to the film-like quality of The Arrival, with a soundscape that ranges from whimsical percussion and poignant instrumental, to terror and despair distilled into aural form.
The journey on stage in The Arrival extends beyond the narrative; it is also a journey into the transportive qualities of live theatre at its best, of the expressive capabilities of movement and mime, and the seemingly limitless range of the kinds of magic that can happen on stage. Behind the fantasy-like story on the surface lies weighty, pertinent themes that adults can appreciate; showing that theatre can be relevant yet still fun. The Arrival is a one-of-the-kind theatre experience that will leave an indelible impression on audience members young and old, and a fantastic introduction to the world of theatre.The Maddest Tea Party in Brisbane July 10, 2018
Everyone knows the tale of Alice in Wonderland; of a young girl who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy, nonsensical world filled with mad creatures, so to speak. Each year features new adaptations by a plethora of theatre companies, both independent and commercial and each adaptation transforms the story to accentuate a different part of the narrative, that you wouldn't have thought of before. Unfortunately, Penny Farrow's Alice in Wonderland Live didn't teach us anything new but maybe that wasn't the playwright's intention as the production gave birth to Carroll's world spectacularly and in exuberant colours.BRISBANE FESTIVAL 2018 Celebrates Launch July 5, 2018
On Tuesday, The Brisbane Festival launched its fabulous new line-up for this year's program, including even more world premieres, big-name acts and a brand new light and laser show off of the river, which will illuminate Brisbane for the entirety of the festival celebrations.
Running from the 8-29 September, the festival will feature close to 600 performances, with 100 of them being free to the public, of 70 shows across seventeen venues in Brisbane, involving more than 1000 artists and hundreds of volunteers. Not only that, but the festival will premiere eight brand new works from leading Australian company's including Legs On The Wall, Circa and Dancenorth, as well as two major music events at the Riverstage, with Ball Park Music performing on the opening night and Violent Soho on the closing night.
This year, the mammoth program is divided into three distinctive acts which frame the scope of the performances with Act One revolving around the idea of gender, memory and home. Amongst these performances is Memorial, a grand theatrical experience which 'gives life to the exquisite life to each of the 215 dead soldiers named in Homer's Iliad', starring the incredible Helen Morse and a community chorus of 215 choreographed by Circa's Yaron Lifschitz, featuring a soundtrack by Golden Globe nominee Jocelyn Pook.
Performances featured in the first act include Home, a piece from the United States in which a house is magically built onstage from nothing and ends in a lively house party, Queens on King, an inner-city garden soiree in which eight real-life same sex couples tie the knot in a public ceremony and LIFE the show, a world premiere by Strut & Fret which showcases the extraordinary abilities of the human body. Other headlines include tv personality Hugh Sheridan's return in the 2016 smash hit the California Crooners Club; Yothu Yindi and the Treaty Project, the return of Symphony For Me, Michael Leunig and The Camerata in Gratitude & Grief and Katie Noonan's Elixir.
Act Two is made up of performances which cast the individual against the forces of society, fate and nature, including Circa's En Masse, Dancenorth's Dust and Rhonda Burchmore and Rob Mills' BANG! BANG! And, the festival's closing week includes a variety of acts such as the scary movie homage HORROR; the world premiere of The Man with The Iron Neck from Legs On the Wall and the vibrant children's opera The Owl & The Pussycat.
According to Brisbane Festival Artistic Director David Berthold, "Each act has its own explosion of story, and each opens a window to the world that will entertain and enlighten. We hope this festival is altogether alluring and will bring us all together, breathing as one, as we witness artists from here and around the world working at the very limits of their imaginations to blow our minds."
For the full program here: www.brisbanefestival.com.auTHE MATHEMATICS OF LONGING - A Captivating Equation June 16, 2018
The Mathematics of Longing, presented by La Boite in collaboration with playwright Suzie Miller's production company The Uncertainty Principle and dance-theatre company The Farm, is a new work by Miller, who's Dad was 'fluent in mathematical formulas and equation', which lead her to study science at university for a decade before she became a playwright.4SEASONS June 15, 2018
One of my firm beliefs is that dance is one of the most elegant and poignant forms of storytelling, and the creatives behind 4Seasons have re-affirmed that tenfold. If you'd like a night of an exquisite blend of physical theatre and dance, this is a must see.THE LONGEST MINUTE - A Kicker Of A Time June 9, 2018
Never in my wildest dreams would I have believed you if you would have told me that on a Thursday night I would be sitting in a theatre watching twenty-one years' worth of rugby league games on stage and that I'd be enjoying it. And I loved every bit of it. The show rendered me speechless; my eyes were glued to the action on stage. Eighty-five minutes went by in a minute and I was left wanting more. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me reflect on the world around me, on humanity, on my family, on my dreams. Did I mention that it was only eighty-five minutes?BARE: but is it bare enough? June 4, 2018
Set in a private Catholic boarding high-school, Bare is a contemporary electric, confronting LGBT pop-rock musical with examines the struggles teenagers grapple with such as sexuality, identity and growing up. At its heart is the budding romance between Peter, who is formulating a plan on how and when to come out to his mother and Jason, who wants to hide their love away in fear of losing his position in the social ladder, as well as the respect from his classmates. These star-crossed lovers, coincidently, happen to be rehearsing a production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet at school, a script which enhances, as well as awakens, their own inner battles with themselves and their adolescent life. Thus, it makes it relevant in our contemporary political climate, in which love is not always accepted in all of its forms and for what it truly is; love.BWW Interview: NATALIE WEIR on 4Seasons May 23, 2018
Natalie Weir is an acclaimed choreographer, known internationally for her highly physical partner work, her organic movement style and her touching insight into human nature. She has created over 170 professional works in her 30+ year career and was a founding member of Expressions Dance Company (EDC).TWELFTH NIGHT Plays On May 11, 2018
Written by William Shakespeare, the dark comedy tells the story of unrequited love, mistaken identity, the idea of madness, trickery, adventure and the extraordinary things that love can make us do. Admittedly, the narrative of Twelfth Night can be hard to follow for those that aren't familiar with the piece or Shakespeare's obsession with subplots, which are all magically woven together and tied with a bow at the end. The plot unfolds with a shipwreck which separates Viola from her twin before, who in order to survive in the foreign land of Illyria, disguises herself as a boy and works as a page to Duke Orsino. Not long into the plot there is a love triangle between the Countess Oliva who has fallen in love with Cesario/Viola, Cesario/Viola who has fallen in love with Orsino and Orisino who is courting Olivia. Meanwhile Olivia's uncle Sir Toby Belch, his friend Sir Andrew Agruecheek and servant Maria formulate a drunkard plan to reveal the aspirations and self-love of Olivia's head steward Marvolio (who's now a woman called Malvolia), who disapproves of their frequent partying ordeals. Hence, they forge a letter from Olivia's hand to Marvolio, tricking him into believing that the countess is head over his heels from him. And while all this is happening, you find out that Sebastian (Viola's twin) did not die but like his sister, has survived the shipwreck and is making his way toward the palace with his companion Antonio, a noble prince, in two.Seasons of Rent May 5, 2018
Although American Idiot is classified as a musical, it would be better classified as a very politically-powerful rock opera. From the head banging to the electric guitars and booming bass, the audience were enrolled as spectators in a rock arena. Although quite disjointed, the piece features music composed by the punk-rock band Green Day, with the score including each song from the album of the same name, as well as additional songs from their album 21st Century. American Idiot follows the story of three alienated childhood friends Johnny (Linden Furnell), Tunny (Connor Crawford) and Will (Alex Jeans) as they navigate their way to find meaning, purpose and colour in a Trumpian suburbia. Whilst Will stays at home to fix his rapport with his pregnant girlfriend Heather (Ashleigh Taylor), Tunny and Johnny flee a stifling suburban lifestyle and parental restrictions; however, as always, things don't always turn out as they seem. Tunny ends up joining the military and although he starts a relationship, it quickly turns to dust after Johnny turns to drugs, discovering a darker part of himself.BWW Review: THE CRUCIBLE at Brisbane Arts Theatre April 14, 2018
The Crucible (1953) is a partially fictionalized narrative of the Salem witch trials which occurred in Massachusetts Bay Colony during 1692 to 1693, written by American playwright Arthur Miller.BWW Review: ALADDIN in Brisbane is Genie-Us March 28, 2018
Based on the two-time academy award winning Disney animated film of the same name, Aladdin the musical encompasses all the magic that the movie has and more. In fact, I believe it's more magical than the movie and here's why. I've only had my draw drop twice in the opening number of a musical; first was The Lion King and now, Aladdin can be added to the list. I've tried to think of the words to explain the extravagance of the set. The word magical is the closest I can find but even that's not enough. It's Disney and it's budgetless. Six-time Tony Award winning set designer Bob Crowley draws from Middle Eastern, North African and Asian designs and eras to produce the most immaculate storybook middle-eastern silk back-drops, market-place scene furnishings and the inside of the palace walls. The cave of wonders featured golden treasures that transformed into skyscrapers but none more beautiful than the flying carpet which carries the lovers aloft in the air. As it spins and turns through Natasha Katz's (lighting designer) star-strewn night sky, the audience is left not wanting to believe their eyes and wanting to know the answer as to 'how they did it'.BWW Review: THE DEAD DEVILS OF COCKLE CREEK at La Boite February 12, 2018
In our contemporary society, there are a plethora of artistic and literary works that aim to explore aspects of the current political landscape and harness change amongst the masses. does just that. A co-production between La Boite and Playlab, actor and playwright Kathryn Marquet's The Dead Devils of Cockle Creek is set a small, isolated shack in the south-western Tasmania wilderness and follows the story of George Templeton, an environmental activist trying to prevent the mass extinction of the Tasmanian devil. Other characters include George's flatmate the ranger and chicken nugget fanatic Harris Robb, wildlife poacher Mickey O'Toole and heavily right-winged high schooler Destinee Lee.MAMMA MIA! Dances Its Way Into Brisbane January 3, 2018
Written by British playwright Catherine Johnson and created by ABBA's former members Benny Anderson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, Mamma Mia! continues to be one of the chief feel good musicals of our generation, spreading joy and laughter through the auditorium and getting the audience to leave their seats and become their own dancing queens.