Tag: Northcote Town Hall

REVIEW: Speakeasy Presents POTENTIAL

Scintilatingly strange

By Caitlin McGrane

Billed as a ‘dance of the heart’, Janine Proost’s Potential will go down in my memory as one of the stranger theatrical performances I have ever experienced, and I mean that as a compliment. The audience is lead in through the doors of Studio One at the Northcote Town Hall to find our four performers (Janine Proost, Natalie Abbott, Rebecca Jensen and Amelia McQueen) lying splayed on the ground covered in a blanket of playdoh. The four women are wearing gold lycra outfits, and invite the audience to take some of the playdoh heaped onto their chests…

Potential

What follows is 60 minutes of dance and yoga that will leave you pleasingly puzzled. It was clear that the inspiration came from the body, but that it came from the heart wasn’t always obvious to me. There was certainly a lot of feminine imagery (a vignette of a mid-birth playdoh baby springs to mind), which is always interesting. I loved how the energy of the performance mirrored that of a yoga class: starting with slow movements, breathing, simple postures and building to a crescendo of occasionally painful movements across the stage that were at times quite difficult to watch. There is a lot of quiet in the performance, and it beautifully counterpoised the manic cacophony of noise that made up part of the third act.

Special and particular mention must go to Matt Adey whose lighting design was spectacular and very evocative. The harsh stage lights illuminated the faces of the performers in ways that caused them to be at once beautiful and pained (the kind of facial expression one can only get from an hour of yoga).

For my first Melbourne Fringe Festival show this year, it was quite an experience. I’m very excited to see what Proost comes up with next and will be first in line to see it.

Potential is on every night until Sunday 5 October at 7:30pm at the Northcote Town Hall. Tickets are $26 at http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/potential/

REVIEW: Speakeasy Presents PREHISTORIC

Back to punk

By Caitlin McGrane

Marcel Dorney’s Prehistoric is a raucous, lively, beautiful and heart-breaking look at the punk scene in Brisbane in 1979. It struck so many chords with me that I could barely stop smiling throughout. The play took me back to when I decided, aged twelve, to become a punk: it was simultaneously joyous and uncomfortable in the best possible way.

Prehistoric

Before the play begins, the performers speak directly to the audience, inviting us to come with them back to 1979, a most convincing way to get an audience to turn off their phones. The play opens as we are introduced to the four characters: Barbara, Rachel, Nick and Pete. They’re all young, angry, and frustrated by their surrounds: prime for the allure of punk. There’s a song they all remember hearing that catapults them away from the humdrum of their lives and into the boisterous world of a punk band formed in Barb’s living room. They’re all immediately sympathetic and I fell in love with every one of them.

As the story unfurls, the performance covers an awful lot of ground: abuse, mental illness, police brutality, rape and sexuality. All of these topics are handled in the most sensitive and evocative way, never turning to cliché or hamstrung ideas to get their message across. What is most striking about this play is that the themes and concerns are just as relevant today as they were in 1979.

It slightly lost its way in the third act, but despite this it remained fairly compelling. It could have been shorter by about ten to fifteen minutes, but that is a small gripe when the rest of the performance was so spectacular.

The production values were all excellent and I particularly enjoyed the way the lights behind the audience invoked the idea of the police without having any additional presence on stage. Every off-stage role was superbly characterised through voice techniques and I would challenge you to sit through the scene between Rachel and the police without squirming. I look forward to Elbow Room’s next production and Dorney is definitely one to watch.

Prehistoric is on every night from now until 5 October at 9pm in Studio Two of the Northcote Town Hall. Tickets are $26 at http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/prehistoric/

REVIEW: Slutmonster and Friends for MICF

You NEED to see this show

By Myron My

Wow.

That is all I can say after having seen Slutmonster and Friends. That, and “I need to wash my brain.” Returning to the stage for this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival, this is definitely the craziest show you will see.

Slutmonster and Friends

The lights come on and the music starts playing in this land of cheerful and brightly coloured trees and bushes. Upon closer inspection you notice that some of the flora is not quite right. To say more would be to ruin the surprise. Once Slutmonster (Jessie Ngaio) appears in all her glory and singing a happy song, you know you’re in for quite an adventure. The premise of Slutmonster and Friends is that two brothers, Bovril (Wes Gardner) and Larch (Lucas Heil) are lost in this forest and what happens once they encounter Slutmonster.

From then on, things happen that you cannot believe you are seeing. Despite the high sexual content and outright wackiness, it all seems very fitting in this environment and doesn’t seem crass. The great thing about Slutmonster and Friends is despite all the explicit sexual references there is actually quite a convincing storyline which Heil and Gardner (as writers) should be congratulated on. It’s also great to see the three performers fully committed and taking on the demands of roles that other actors might not have been so comfortable doing.

There is a lot of crazy and racy stuff in this show but the cast are smart enough to realise this and break up the hectic pace with the same story being projected on a screen periodically as a traditional fairy-tale that would be much more child-friendly. It’s quite amusing to watch this version and see how it refers to and re-imagines things that have happened on stage.

The costumes and set design, all by Ngaio, are superb, especially the full Slutmonster costume. No amount of describing it will do it justice so you really need to go and see this show and witness all of its charms and laughs yourself.

I have never seen anything quite like Slutmonster and Friends before and I think it will be a long time before I do again. It’s a great show when the worst thing is that it has to end. I overheard one audience member say this at the end of the show and I wholeheartedly agree with their statement: “Genius. Just genius.”

Venue: Northcote Town Hall, 189 High St, Northcote

Season: Until 20 April | Thus-Sat 10:00pm

Tickets: $20 Full | $17 Concession

Bookings: 9481 9500, www.northcotetownhall.com.au & at the door.