OzAsia Music – Symbiosis – 4K

By Ben Watson

The night opened with an incredible instrumental performance from Adelaide-based group, Didier Kumalo. For the first hour the 4-piece band showcased their musical prowess, encouraging the audience to move as they played a range of covers and original tracks.

Lead guitarist, Dylan Marshall, amazed the crowd through his impressive soloing. The band had a unique sound, influenced through the sounds of African jazz. The group provided a superb foundation for what was to follow later in the evening.

The latter half of the show saw vocalists DOBBY and Naomi Keyte team up to produce a selection of brand new, original work. The unlikely pair spent the week prior to the performance collaborating, electing to focus on a common passion of theirs: battling climate change.

Proudly indigenous, DOBBY is a talented young rapper, having some of his music featured nationally on Triple J. Naomi Keyte is a local singer with a beautiful voice.

Accompanied by three talented instrumentalists, the duo explored the notion of climate change through song, expressing their views on current environmental related affairs.

This performance was wonderful. A group of musically skilled individuals performed an array of new music preaching a topic they are passionate about. A very enjoyable evening at Nexus Arts.

 

Kryztoff Rating 4K

OZASIA MUSIC – Shik Shak Shok – Nexus Arts – 3K

 

 

 

 

By Belle Dunning

Hadi Zeidan’s ‘Shik Shak Shok’ is an immersion into a different world. As you step into the room, you’re met with dim lighting, cabaret-style tables, pulsating belly dance music and an already-crowded bar. The place was buzzing with people when we arrived, and had a good atmosphere. Although the description of the show had been fairly broad, clearly the concept of a Lebanese belly dance club set in 1980s Beirut had appealed to people.

The music was definitely the highlight – a fantastic blend of Lebanese belly dance and electronic music that captured your attention from the moment you walked in, and provided an energising backdrop for conversation without dominating the room. It was a credit to Zeidan’s work to collect countless Lebanese records from this era over the years. Projections of belly dancing scenes from Arabic films and the carefully curated Lebanese menu (we sampled the Arak Medu cocktail and several plates of hommus) only added to this.

The show had a clear creative vision and delivered on that, successfully capturing a moment in time and transporting the audience there. I did feel it was lacking something though – I think I had come expecting something more, perhaps some live belly dance performance, to really bring the ‘cabaret’ element of the show to life. 

Regardless, it was a unique experience, an enjoyable night out and I’m sure it inspired at least a few people to dig deeper into Lebanese culture and belly dance music!

Kryztoff Rating 3K

Arthur Hardy: The Forgotten Hero Of The Hills – 5K

by Riccardo Barone

Did Adelaide forget one of its most prominent and fundamental figures of the 19th century?
A man, migrated from Yorkshire (England), barrister, business man and maecenas: the Mount Lofty House has reasons to exist thanks to Arthur Hardy, its builder. we could go further listing all the important contributions this man gave to develop the city of Adelaide.
The Star Theatres does the honors of Peter Maddern’s show, directed by Malcolm Harslett with David Cronin, Julie Wilkins and Charles Herkes. The show focuses on the last life’s years of a man that has been worn-out by creditors and tuberculosis, cruel destiny of someone that played the main character for all his life in the Adelaide development scene.
You will love this adorable oldie, who makes time to receive his nephew while denying himself to formal visitors. A clear picture of his life and personality has been told through the dialogues with his nurse and his nephew. Sometimes his memories appear on the scene like a time machine, letting the other characters playing his part becoming orchestrator of the past. A past which is hard to forget, suddenly confused with reality inhabited with phantasms of love, a love that has already physically but not psychologically left his daily life boosted with drinks furtively and quickly sipped out of his nurse’s sight.
His nephew plays an important role in his life: the heir to the throne maybe? He is a young law student, finely dressed, by polite ways, which gives the old grandpa a reason to be pride of, turning on a light of hope into his tired heart that all has not been done for nothing.

Kryztoff rating: 5k

OZ ASIA 2019 – Totes Adorbs Hurricane – Nexus – 4.5K

Ohh Mr Hart!

By Peter Maddern

I can still recall as vividly as any show I’ve seen this year when Miss Revolutionary Idol Berserker came to Adelaide for Oz Asia three years ago. Well, they’re back with undiminished energy,  colour and mess.  Clearly the Cleaning Union  at the Festival Theatre weren’t so impressed and so this year’s iteration is at Nexus but nothing is lost for the audience for that.

Still going long after the audience has left

Young Japanese performers  dressed as  taxi drivers, American footballers or nurses rush at you screaming and delighting in equal measure as water, confetti and tofu  spread out over the audience.  There’s dancing, prancing and little bare-chested nudity but between the chaos an order seeps through like water through your poncho up onto your bottom – gradually but you notice it.

It’s loud, very loud and its all very great fun. Indeed, it’s as much enjoyment one can have at the theatre without getting naked.

Kryztoff Rating   4.5K

OzAsia Theatre – Cuckoo – Jaha Koo – 4K

By Ben Watson

 

 

A beautifully vivid portrayal of the lifelong challenges tackled by South Korean born artist, Jaha Koo. Alongside his three Cuckoo-branded rice cookers (but otherwise a one-man show), Koo discusses the hardships faced by an entire generation of South Koreans following the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

The production commences with the first rice cooker completing the cooking cycle. As steam escapes, the gentle aroma of cooked rice permeates the air, progressively grabbing the audience’s attention as the scent diffuses throughout the theatre.

The topic of suicide is a recurring theme throughout the performance, including intimate stories containing close friends, a brave tribute to his lost loved ones. As a multi-talented creative, Koo additionally provides a collection of self-composed music alongside his storytelling.

The rice cooker is employed as an extended metaphor for Koo’s generational problems faced as a young South Korean. Cuckoo rice cookers are common place among households in South Korea, known for their pressure cooking methods. Koo compares the people of his generation as individual grains of rice, hard and resilient until put under too much heat and pressure. The fluffed rice is personified as the South Korean youth, financially burdened by the actions of the South Korean government and their decision to accept undesirable IMF bailout conditions over 20 years ago.

A majority of the show’s spoken word was in Korean, proficiently accompanied by English subtitles overlaying the gripping visuals. As Koo engages in dialogue with two of his technologically advanced Cuckoo kitchen appliances, footage of violent South Korean protests and historically relevant political events are displayed.

Overall, the performance is engaging to all senses: mesmerising visuals, an original score and a unique interpretation of the economic consequences resulting from South Korea’s solution to the 1997 financial crisis.

As the show contains morbid themes of suicide, recommended to all mature audiences.   

Kryztoff Rating 4K

OZASIA DANCE – What the Day Owes to the Night – Dunstan Playhouse – 4.5K

 

 

 

 

 

By Belle Dunning

Compagnie Hervé Koubi’s Australian premiere of ‘What the Day Owes to the Night’ is a mesmerising, high-energy exploration of culture, movement and human connection.

Koubi’s 12 male dancers deliver a unique blend of movement influenced by western and eastern styles of dance, including contemporary dance, ballet, acrobatics, capoeira and Sufi whirling. The subtle strength and ease of movement, and the intensity and pace of the performance across the whole hour, is astounding. It’s a sort of organised chaos. Added to this is a beautifully simple costume, and a music score which artfully interweaves Arabic, classical and electronic music. It’s truly beautiful to watch.

What the Day Owes to the Night is undoubtedly a very masculine and strong performance, by virtue of its cast and the elements of warrior culture and martial arts that infiltrate it, but it’s not at all aggressive. By contrast, a sense of calm cooperation prevails, as the dancers’ bodies weave around one another in complex movement patterns made possible through subtle communication and, clearly, hours of practice. And there are moments of complete vulnerability, softness and quiet that juxtapose beautifully against the rest of the performance. This struck me as something truly unique. Rarely in the western world do we see masculinity portrayed in this way.

I also found it interesting to observe the exploration of the individual versus the collective through this performance. Although all of the dancers are dressed the same and are often completing the same movements, perhaps because of this, you notice the individual differences in their bodies. The beautiful diversity of the human form. And yet, in their differences, they are also the same. Capable of the same strength, vulnerability and human connection. And each of them plays a vital role in a complex performance that wouldn’t otherwise be possible without their collective cooperation.

In Adelaide for only two nights, you have one more opportunity to see this truly unique and standout dance performance as part of the 2019 OzAsia Festival.

Kryztoff Rating 4.5K

OZASIA THEATRE – £¥€$ (LIES) – Space Theatre – 4K

 

 

 

 

 

By Belle Dunning

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to run a bank? To be responsible for unfathomably large sums of money, to influence the unseen financial market, to take risks on a global scale?

£¥€$ (LIES) gives you that chance. Together with the other people on your table, you get to run your own economy, which is part of a global market created by the other tables in the room. You’re not given any rules before you start, and your fate lies in the decisions you make, for better or worse. 

It’s all about trust, and how far you’re willing to go.

As you progress through the allotted time, you may find that the novelty of investing imaginary money, a misplaced confidence that everything is going well, slowly develops into a sense of unease. Who is really in control?

Ontroerend Goed delivers an absolutely unique and engaging theatre experience in this year’s OzAsia Festival, that will leave you questioning the foundations of the global economy. The inherent risk and fragility of a system that begins to take on a life of its own.

Kryztoff Rating 4K

OzAsia – Siti Nurhaliza – 5K

by Riccardo Barone

Has been a night of human warmth and success for the multi awarded Malaysian singer Siti Nurhaliza. Number 1 Artist not just in her homeland, Australia remembers her for two awards from ‘South Pacific International Song and Singing Competition 1999’ held in Gold Coast.

Her band consists of three background singers, drums, bass guitar, guitar, musical director/keyboardist/background singer, programmer plus six dancers.
Her music genre is wide: from classic rock to pop, from disco to folk traditional, from fusion to R&B and really noticeable is her ability to sing in so many languages: Malaysian, Javanese, English, Mandarin, Arabic, Urdu, and Japanese.

The audience was literally coming from everywhere: Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Korea, Singapore and Malaysia. Their effort and fidelity has been awarded and noticed by the extraordinary singer, which made everyone feel like home due to her speech mostly in Malaysian; and there is nothing better than seeing rivers of people enjoying and smiling all the time. Therefore that night many people from the audience had the privilege to have their birthday celebrated by an exceptional “Happy Bday” sung by their favorite Star. Indeed her generosity and big heart culminated when she invited a lucky one from the audience to hold her hand and dance with her on the stage; and of course she couldn’t hold her joyful tears.

The show went for two hours and a half with 2 short breaks due to costume changes.
Unforgettable the last song, remembered for the peculiarity that has been written in fourteen Malaysian dialects!

Kryztoff rating: 5k

OzAsia – Silk Road Ensemble – Caravanserai – 3K

By Ben Watson

 

 

A talented group of performers from a range of ethnic backgrounds explore the culturally diverse musical history of the famous Silk Road trade routes.

The show contained 17 unique music pieces highlighting the traditional sounds and dances from a wide range of regions spanning from East Asia through to Europe, across two hours, with no intermission.

Each of the 17 pieces was prefaced with information about the corresponding region in which the music originated. The display visuals felt kitsch – a mundane slideshow containing culturally-relevant images depicting the respective regionally specific performances. This may well have been improved through verbal commentary or simple video footage.

The ever-changing music ensemble was arranged in a single row, a bland presentation of the otherwise talented group of versatile musicians. The front of the stage was reserved for the array of unique dance routines, ranging from Arabic belly dancing to the gentle motions of traditional Chinese dance.

Silk Road showcased a wide range of traditional instruments played by skilled performers, together with some amazing vocalists, particularly that of Tibetan soloist, Tenzin Choegyal.

This was an interesting concept for a multicultural show within the field of music and dance.

Kryztoff Rating 3K

OzAsia – TECHNO CIRCUS – SIRO-A – 4K

By Ben Watson

This show is an audio-visual extravaganza. The Japanese dance group lacks no entertainment value despite their limited use of speech. The show is divided into a selection of uniquely designed audio-visual interactions, most of which have the group matching their movements to the music and/or visuals, a routine requiring expert timing and positioning.

With their monochromatic outfits and white-face mime-like makeup, the performance employs an exceptional projection-oriented display, vibrantly lighting the group as they align their movements to the visual display. Although consisting of only four performers, the group utilises visual effects to project silhouettes – creating a greater perceived stage presence at times.

With the loud sounds of techno music beating throughout the act, the performers are synchronised seamlessly with their trademark SIRO-A choreography and alluring video effects. Full credit to the video and audio technician, providing the backbone for this performance.

After receiving global praise through their appearance on America’s Got Talent in 2015, it is no surprise the group continues to impress crowds of all ages some years later. Light-hearted family friendly comedy is sprinkled amongst an array of cartwheels and somersaults.

A show perfect for the whole family; funny, fast-paced, visually amazing and full of flare. Squeals of toddlers were competing with the bellowing chuckles of their fathers.

Kryztoff Rating 4K