Mar 23

ADELAIDE FESTIVAL – Bill Viola – AGSA etc – 4K

The Messenger turns heads

The Messenger turns heads

By Peter Maddern

Many recognise in the work of sometimes controversial Australian photographer Bill Henson the exploration between twilight zones, nature and civilization, youth and adulthood, male and female. Bill Viola, the internationally acclaimed video artist, takes this investigation of transitions some stages further through looking more at whole of life passages and the intense interactions of humans and the elements (a freedom afforded him, of course, relative to Henson, by his media of choice.)

Spread across three venues (and still on at the AGSA), this review of Viola’s works for the Adelaide Festival encompasses seven installations, all of which with sufficient patient viewing will entrance and enthral.

For this reviewer the two most memorable were those at the Queen’s Theatre. Fire Woman presents a woman, perhaps a monk, silhouetted in front of a massive inferno before turning and approaching the camera she plunges into a dark pool, after which the whole converges and then breaks down into its constituent elements of colour before fading to black. Tristan’s Ascension then confounds further where a dead knight in white robes lies on a slab and becomes caught up in a waterfall that does not descend upon him but rather ascend, as he eventually does with it as well. The spectacular imagery is enhanced by the sound where, whether it is water or fire, the elements roar at the viewer and resonate in the space provided. As much fascination arises from the how as the what of the works and certainly any attempt at recreating these works falls clearly into the ‘don’t try this at home’ category.

Life’s entire passage is seen in Three Women at the Cathedral and The Encounter and Walking on the Edge at the Art Gallery. In the first of these, three women, a mother and two daughters, emerge out of a pixelated, blurred abyss and enter the world of the living defined by colour and high definition, before each, again led by the mother, retreats to the nether world, each in turn occasionally turning back to view the possibilities they are forsaking. In The Encounter, two men, a father and son, converge at the end of a long walk before exchanging places and moving away from each other again to the extremities of the screen.

In addition to the compelling impact of the visual and aural elements of the works, all mostly delivered at super slow motion, Viola has also managed some excellent performances from his various actors. Most memorably is Chad Walker in The Messenger, the last of the works in the Art Gallery, which as a piece around the passage between life and death via a watery veil is a forerunner by nearly a decade to Three Women. Here, Walker, nude and parallel to the camera, appears ever so slowly out of the murky depths of a pond and announces his arrival at the surface with a massive exhale of air that accompanies a look of innocence and surprise. Perhaps this is birth but soon he starts to sink back and is again lost to us other than for a few bubbles that keep floating to the surface. This cycle then goes on for the best part of half an hour and even in super slow-mo the control of the actor is as much a feature as the sound and ethereal blue light that shines down from the top right corner of the portrait-oriented screen.

Certainly across all the works, we get the message about the flimsy nature of life, the pointlessness of what may obsess us during it and its overall insignificance in terms of the course of the earth. Yet, for all that down beat stuff, Viola seems to still convey a sense of the triumphant and magnificent about life itself.

Those slow off the mark will lament the short seasons of these works other than at the Art Gallery (which ends this Sunday) and the dispersal of them around the city only serves to highlight the issue we have in this town about the lack of a dedicated contemporary art space (and good luck looking to this Government for inspiration on this issue.) Still, given the Blinc blunder, at least what promised to be a mighty visual arts program at this year’s Festival has been held up, albeit like the nature of some of the works, somewhat fleetingly by these wonders.

Kryztoff Rating     4K

Mar 20

THEATRE – Long Day’s Journey into Night – Goodwood Institute – 4.5K

10458606_10153161744282451_5164858894072409773_nBy Peter Maddern

Anna Karenina told us that ‘every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way’ but even amongst this class, the Tyrone clan of this play is particularly unique for being on the nose with each other. The opening half of this excellent production by the Independent Theatre Company is one long bellyache. Sons, Jamie (Angus Henderson) and Edmund (Benji Riggs) are at each others’ throats and that of their father, James (David Roach) who in turn berates them for being lazy or falling foul of alcohol. Somewhat ironically, it is their mother, Mary (Bronwyn Ruciak) who sort of holds them all together as they all attempt to tip toe around her addictions and abuse; it is ironic for the fact that she is as unhinged as they get.

Set over the course of just one day in 1912 in the living room of the Tyrone family’s summer house, Long Day’s Journey is indeed as lengthy (at over three hours) as the title suggests but it is a riveting spectacle; a ring side view into the circle of despair of one family, indeed the author’s (Eugene O’Neill) own. It is intimate and awkward for that honesty and for what it may also reflect in our own families. Life has its twists and turns, opportunities become mistakes, a family carries itself without ever knowing all the reasons for the why and the how and for a desperate lack of listening, a want that only starts to right itself in the final Act.

The main four members of the cast all give stunning performances, in what is a most demanding script. David Roach is tormented from the kick-off, the weight of his family’s problems and their lack of understanding are always on his shoulders but he is always the head of the house, the caring but isolated father and husband who knows how to find solace in the booze and his mates at the club. Bronwyn Ruciak’s poignant Mary is also a work of art – the morphine induced madness has her in its grip, all too obviously swaying her between dazed introspection and lashing out. Benji Riggs’ star remains on the ascent. As with Master Harold (which performance this reviewer couldn’t get enough of last year), he gives a sublime display, especially in the gripping final act, displaying an extraordinarily natural ease when confronted with the most demanding of mixed emotions. Angus Henderson similarly displays the fruits of his recently completed education at the much credited Flinders University Drama Centre.

One has to acknowledge other qualities of the production. Director Rob Croser and Roach’s set is lush and delivers a sense of the authentic, notably the nice touch of the slamming hinged screen doors. Croser’s direction, again in a challenging work, is masterful – never does one feel the players descend into excessive melodrama or become glued to their chairs. How he managed to get Riggs to deliver up those deep lung coughing attacks (from the ‘consumption’) one may never know but they helped set more of the authenticity that such a play needs to carry the day. The I.T. Crew also deserve full credit for delivering us a most useful program with plenty of chat about the history of the play, the playwright and previous productions.

The Fringe and the Festival may be over but don’t go into hibernation if you are a theatre fan. You won’t see much better than this for the rest of the year. The Long Day’s Journey into Night is a trip much worth taking.

Kryztoff Rating     4.5K

Mar 19

FRINGE 2015: Rhythm Spectacular – The Music of Beyonce – 4K

By Anthony Nguyen

AdamHall_Beyonce_CD_web2-300x300The award-winning Perth-based group, Adam Hall and the Velvet Playboys, returns to the Adelaide Fringe 2015 presenting Rhythm Spectacular: The Music of Beyonce. Featuring the energetic Jessie Gordon and soulful Melody Itszein on vocals and a 6-piece rhythm and blues band, Beyonce fans can rejoice and celebrate as several of Beyonce’s top hits are given a New Orleans-style jazz rendition.

Performances also included choreography from the Velvet Playgirls as well as the Adelaide swing dancing group, The Ragdolls. Through lively enthusiasm of the musical numbers, audience members were encouraged to dance along the aisles, performers even bringing some people up front with the dancers.

With unique interpretations highlighting Beyonce’s impressive career, Gordon and Itszein showcase their vocal prowess through songs such as Crazy in Love, Déjà Vu, Love On Top, Single Ladies, and Irreplaceable. Additional tunes from the Beyonce’s Destiny’s Child days, Jumpin’ Jumpin’ and Bootylicious, were also featured.

Adam Hall is an internationally renowned performer and clearly shows expertise not only with the trumpet but also vocally. Although Rhythm Spectacular: The Music of Beyonce has finished its show run for the 2015 Adelaide Fringe on March 15th, it can be expected to see the Velvet Playboys with another Rhythm Spectacular show in the future.

Kryztoff Rating: 4K

Mar 19

Fringe 2015: Calypso Nights – Tuxedo Cat – Perske Pavilion – 3K

Venezuelan DJ Juan Vesuvius (Barnie Duncan) finds himself discovering that his audience is not Spanish speaking after about 10minutes of dialogue. To his surprise they all speak English. Rewind. He has to start over in his broken English as he educates the audience about Calypso music with lots of comparisons to non Calypso music, just to make sure the difference is recognised. The education does continues on about the use of maracas, into Soca, oral Sex and how music is the secret weapon to world peace or at least with North Korea.

This entertaining one man show, using lot’s of vinyl, breaking world records, talking about music and sex, is delivered by Duncan with a powerhouse of energy. The at times dumb and repetitive yet hilarious sequences at times seems expertly improvised, and manages to draw the crowd in as we learn how music can be used to communicate between the tribes to bring joy in more forms than one.

A hard to classify show that has it’s place at the fringe and being cleverly presented grabs the audience’s full attention.

http://www.adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix/calypso-nights/db82e672-1b14-457e-93ba-357eb69e7568

https://www.facebook.com/calypso.nights

Kryztoff Rating  3K

Mar 14

Fringe 2015 – Sous Vide – Holden Street Theatres – The Studio – 4.5k

By Tom Eckert

West Australian contemporary dance duo Laura Boynes and Tony Currie put on a unique performance that simultaneously challenges and entertains its audience.

The stylistic choreography exploring the modern zeitgeist of achieving immortality or at least leaving something that extends beyond our time is adeptly woven throughout and complimented by a great soundtrack from Tristen Parr and magnificent costumes producing a very real and incisive look at what is all around us.

Not to be tied down to serious notions, the duo manage to capitalize on the humour of the inherent absurdity to be found around every corner of our modern world.

A profoundly creative and innovative piece. If this is what a “work in progress” feels like to Laura Boynes, I look forward to seeing shat she produces in the future.

Kryztoff Rating: 4.5K

Mar 14

FRINGE 2015 – 17th Over the Fence Comedy Film Festival – Palace Nova Cinemas – 4.5K

By Olivia Henry

Sit down and be prepared to take a ride through the imaginations of 12 of the world’s best independent filmmakers.

Although there is no set subject, it is said that entrants often seem to follow similar trends. This year, all films follow the theme of “love, angst and other deceptions.”

Following the screenings, the audience is able to vote for their favourite film through a ballot. With so many like-minded individuals attending, the Festival is a wonderful chance to meet people who are passionate about film. Alternatively, for those who aren’t producers, this event is an excellent opportunity to support local and international up-and-coming filmmakers while also being thoroughly entertained.

It is a wonderful experience to see a variety of films that don’t conform to the usual Hollywood Blockbuster style. With so many different films, it is likely that every attendee will find something that appeals to their sense of humour.

 

The films:

Makeover is an Australian film featuring an elderly widower who gives himself a drastic makeover prior to his blind date. It features both amusing and cringeworthy moments that will leave you giggling.

The Puerto Rican film, Acrophobia, is a short and whimsical film that follows a man dealing with a recurring nightmare. To his surprise, the remedy does not quite treat the problem the way he had hoped.

5 Ways 2 Die is a clever film from Cyprus that features a man exploring different paths to death. The uniquely dark sense of humour will leave you with a cheeky grin.

The Smelliest Poo in the World is a hilarious silent film from the UK. “Inspired by a true story,” this film features an almost sophisticated toilet humour that turns into Monty Python-style slapstick.

Young Heart is an adorable Australian documentary-style film that follows an elderly man who received a heart transplant.

The third Australian film, Stop Leak, features a young man who finds himself in a laughably awkward situation while meeting his girlfriend’s parents for the first time.

The French/Spanish film Voice Over is an incredibly immersive experience. It is easy to forget the real world as the narrator carries the viewer on a surreal journey through a series of extreme situations.

Forget Me Not is a light-hearted film from the UK that highlights the difficulties couples face when one of them cannot remember they are in a relationship. This film is extremely well-written, as it presents 9 minutes of dialogue in an interesting, funny and effortless way.

The US/South Korean film, Oh Baby… Baby?, tells the uncomfortable story of an infertile man who seeks help from his close friend of 20 years.

November is a German film of spiritual reflection that features a very interesting choice of protagonist.

Scincerity is a short yet hilarious Spanish film in which a son must break some very disappointing news to his parents.

Love at First Sight is a beautiful love story from the UK. The cinematography and soundtrack make for a heartwarming story.

 

17th Over The Fence Comedy Film Festival is highly recommended for enthusiastic filmmakers and audiences alike.

For tickets, click here.

 

4.5K

Mar 13

FRINGE 2015: La Soirée – Garden of Unearthly Delights: Aurora Spiegeltent – 5K

The beauty of a variety show is that with the combination of acts, you will never get bored. One performance flows into the next and each provides its own flavour of entertainment. It’s possible that not every act will be to the taste of every audience member, but wait five minutes and the next one might. Having said this, it’s doubtful that many people will find much not to like about La Soirée.

The performers assembled for this run are the cream of the international crop and are simply a delight to watch from start to finish. Their skills in acrobatics, clowning, puppetry, contortion, juggling, apparatus work and comedy, combine to create an evening of entertainment that is, quite simply, beautiful.

The essential element that makes La Soirée work so well is the humour. While each act excel in their particular field, providing jaw dropping shows of physical and technical skill, they also exude a sense of playfulness and fun. It is the cheeky irreverence to the extraordinary feats they are performing that make them extra enjoyable. It’s impossible not to smile the whole way through – even when simultaneously gasping or cringing.

While experiencing the captivating surprise of this show for the first time can’t be matched, the quality of the performances are such that it deserves repeat viewings, and will no doubt impress every time.

Kryztoff Rating: 5K

Mar 13

Fringe 2015 – BAZINGA! Nerdlesque Nights – Nexus Cabaret – 4.5K

By Tom Eckert

From the outset it is apparent that sex clearly sells. The venue, not small by any means was packed; with some of the unfortunately late punters relegated standing room by the back of the bar. Bazinga! Is the perfect example of a show finding its niche. Everyone in the room was clearly pumped to be there and there were copious amounts of alternative culture references and thick framed glasses.

Humour is the bedrock of this show and there is a special feeling that you can only get when a sub-culture reference is made, and the entire room laughs its head off, that makes you feel instantly comfortable and at home. And who knew there was so much phallic imagery in a chemistry set.

Run to the pace of a stellar soundtrack and its even more stellar performers, the combination of top notch routines, strong stage presence, audience interaction and a self irreverent humour creates the unusual sensation of a world touring act with the endearing charm of a show put on by some of the local thespian types.

This is a delightful show and it’s no wonder it continues year after year to sell out. The energy, characters and costumes are fantastic. If you were the outcast in high school for your leanings towards cartoons, science fiction and video games, Bazinga! is the, ironically, good clean spirited fun night you’ll enjoy every minute of.

Kryztoff rating: 4.5K

Mar 12

Fringe 2015: I Liked You Better Online – Bakehouse Theatre – 3.5K

The pretentious persona to pick up a potential partner is definitely the theme. I Liked You Better Online is the tale of the romance over technology. It is an absolute comedy that takes the show and the characters we play online to enhance our-not-very-interesting-selves.

Emerging from the darkness with great enthusiasm, Luke McMahon who played Steve greeted the audience with the consistent energy that he portrayed throughout the performance. Chloe, played by Lara Schwedt matched that, but also added this girl next door charm that suited the character very well.

The show had a captivating flow that sets it apart from others, with scenes that are reminiscent to sitcoms. The music score can be improved, but is still very appropriate. They have made use of the performance area in quite an amusing way that will give you a feel of you are in the scenes.

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The show revolves around this technological wonder, Tinder, so if you don’t have a generic concept of what this mobile application is about, it is best to do your research beforehand as just to be able to relate a little bit better. Everyone seems to be familiar with it, or maybe they use it in a daily basis. But worry not; they’ll give you a crash course if you haven’t got time.

They have entertained since the 9th, and it will end on the 14th of March at Bakehouse Theatre in Angas Street, Adelaide. Definitely something that will make you think that some things can be better online.

 

Kryztoff Rating: 3.5K

Mar 08

Fringe 2015: Acts of Absurdity – Royal Croquet Club – Ukiyo – 2K

As the name says, very much a series of absurd acts, sprinkled with a few highlights which are quite entertaining moments thanks to some skilful acts and humorous clownery. But sadly left at the end realising the reason for the late time slot.

At the Royal Croquet Club – Ukiyo until Saturday 14 March.

Rated 18+

http://www.adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix/acts-of-absurdity/b4160453-7eaf-49eb-92b7-f8bc54c40ddd

http://www.varietyville.com/THEATRE-SHOWS/ACTS-OF-ABSURDITY.html

Kryztoff Rating   2K

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