Tag: Leah Shelton

Melbourne Fringe 2016: TERROR AUSTRALIS

Be fabulously afraid

By Myron My

Admittedly, I did walk in to Terror Australis not knowing what to expect at all, and I am so glad I did, because the delights it unearthed are so much richer if you have no idea what’s to come (so go see it now, or read on at your peril). Through a clever mix of cabaret, burlesque, live art, dance and comedy, the show looks at the dark culture of Australia with gobsmacking flair.


The set design is true Australiana with a hills-hoist used for makeshift pole-dancing, resulting in some pretty slick and sexy routines. Added set pieces such as goon bags, knives and dingo masks further enhance the strong feelings of ambiguous national pride, and while these items are enough to infer what performer Leah Shelton may be referencing, watching as these allusions come to life take them to a magnificent other level.

Shelton pays homage to various Australian songs, films – including classics such as Picnic At Hanging Rock and Mad Max – and significant moments of history, such as that incident with the dingo… Projections are played out on the various sheets that hang from the hills-hoist while it spins around, creating jarring and distorted images of the selected movie scenes and visuals, adding to the macabre and twisted atmosphere being created.

Shelton is sensational as she brings her various characters to life and plays up to the archetypes of these films and cultural references brilliantly. The costuming is literally the perfect example of when less is more and her comic timing is impeccable and has the entire room in stitches.

No Aussie icon is sacred as Shelton tears through Australia with some unforgettable acts in Terror Australis. It is a brave production that relies on the audience to let themselves be taken on a incredible journey through the deep dark psyche of this country, and this is what you must now go and do to fully appreciate how truly clever and outstanding this show is.

Venue: Fringe Hub – Arts House, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne, 3051
Season: until 1 October9:15pm
Length: 45 minutes
Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Conc
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival

Image by Stillsby Hill

REVIEW: Anni and Maude Davey Present RETRO FUTURISMUS

Fabulous fashion but short on thrill

By Myron My

There wouldn’t be – or shouldn’t be – anyone with an interest in the arts who is unaware of Maude and Anni Davey. Working in theatre, burlesque and circus for decades, the twins have certainly left a name for themselves. In Retro Futurismus, they join creative forces with Anna Lumb and Gabi Barton to present an evening of vaudeville entertainment with a sharp referential nod to retro science-fiction film-noir pop culture. Sound like a whole lot to take in? Well it is.

Retro Futurismus

Aesthetically, this show is brilliant. The costumes are all eye-catching, and time and time again I caught myself admiring at how much effort would have gone into creating them. In terms of the performances themselves though, I was left feeling somewhat disappointed with most of the twenty or so acts seeming to lack a climax or crescendo to excitement.

Having said that, performance artist Leah Shelton stole the evening with her TV and movie homages, ranging from Hitchcock’s well-known moments of suspense to a particular heartbreaking scene from Bambi. Using the original audio (sound effects included), Shelton created her own interpretations of these iconic moments. Her miming was completely in sync with the audio and her Twin Peaks-inspired Chinese-pole dance was enthralling to watch. Sadly she is only a guest performer for the first week, as other artists are then invited to participate.

The sultry tones of singer Stella Angelico were also very enjoyable to hear but yet again, she is only on for the first week. What is on every night is Maude’s brilliant musical performance in the second half of the show, which was also the musical highlight of the evening, creating some tender and emotive responses from the audience. Similarly, the succeeding act by Anni was a touching, poignant moment which fuelled introspective thoughts.

I’ve seen some of these performers do amazing things on stage and was incredibly excited to be seeing them again, but I walked out of Retro Futurismus thinking that for all the bang and pop and retro aesthetics, it needed some more substantial ‘wow’ moments to really draw me in. Hopefully the future guest artists will be able to match or even exceed the brilliance displayed by Shelton and Angelico.

Venue: fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Season: Until 28 June | Wed- Sat 7:30pm, Sun 6:30pm
Tickets: $38 Full | $30 Conc
Bookings: fortyfivedownstairs or 9662 9966

Image by Ponch Hawkes