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Wednesday, 26 June 2013 15:39

Fright Or Flight: Circus In Preview

It's not often that you see a show promising a chicken dance or two but new circus ensemble 3 Is A Crowd has somehow incorporated it into their premiere work 'Fright or Flight'.

The production also includes acrobatics, hoop work, juggling and aerial choreography and has been described as chaotic, comical and outright absurd. The show has won Best Circus and Physical Theatre Award at this year’s Adelaide Fringe Festival and is about to be staged at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in late July. One of the members, Olivia Porter, explains how the idea came about in the first place. “The idea for the show first hatched when one of the members refused to hang out her washing fearing that all the birds in the neighbourhood were out to get her. Then the ideas just started rolling. We went out and bought as much bird-related paraphernalia as possible, then locked ourselves away with our apparatuses, toys, rubber gloves and butcher’s paper to produce this weirdly wonderful show.”

Describe the show in 5 words?
Amusing. Boisterous. Entertaining. Odd. Fun.

What is your role and how did your involvement come about?
I'm a third of 3 is a Crowd and we are all (pretty much) equally performers, producers, writers, directors, designers, casters, admin and birds.

What is your favourite pre-show snack?
Is this a general question or is this because people always think that circus performers have extreme dietary regimes? To rest people's minds if so, it's a myth, mostly. I was going to be predictable and make a bird-related snack reference, but to be honest, I'm often too nervous to eat.

How do you think the public perceive out-of-the-box productions like this one where there is no defined genre?
The genre is technically 'circus/ physical theatre', yet when people ask me to try describe the show I do have a lot of difficulty. We do essentially have a story(ish) or a journey for each of us should I say, but it's the type of show where you take what you want, there is no right or wrong. The day before we premiered this show, we were all going out of our minds with fear that people were just going to walk away thinking 'what the f@#k was that?'. And people did think that but they loved it! Although many weren't totally sure what to think, they still had a blast. We walked away with an award. We were beyond imagining that would happen when we opened at Adelaide Fringe. But I guess the more opened-minded you come to this show, the more fun you will have.

Describe your preparation for this role.
A room full of bird paraphernalia, with a bird-related soundtrack and a bunch of yellow rubber gloves. We all have put the hard yards of training to perfect our skills, this was about making a show that was fun, silly and doing what we love to do.

What do you want audiences to say as they leave?
The juggler was my favourite!

What's the last thing you think before you step on stage?
Have I got my newspaper?

Fav. line or moment in the production and why?
The opening scene, you never know what exactly might happen. We have all had moments of walking away from that scene with tears of pain but it's all worthwhile. It's been by far my most favourite way to start a show. All your senses are on edge, you get pumped full of adrenalin, you can't see anything and all you can hear is the sound of 'whooshing' and the audience laughing but you have no idea what at (this will obviously make more sense once you see the show).

Anything else readers should know?
There is no audience participation!

'Fright or Flight' is on at the Judith Wright Centre from July 6-13.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013 15:30

Giselle: Ballet In Preview

Queensland Ballet's latest production 'Giselle' is an exquisite, traditional ballet requiring exceptional technical and dramatic skills, it is a heart-rending tale of betrayal and forgiveness that will touch your heart.

The ballet tells the tragic story of Giselle, an innocent village girl whose broken heart causes her to succumb to an untimely death. Deep in the moonlit forest, she emerges in the twilight spirit world of the vengeful Wilis spirits. When her repentant lover Albrecht visits her grave, only Giselle’s undying love and devotion can sustain him through the Wilis’ irresistible, deathly dance. In this version of the ballet, helmed by Artistic Director Li Cunxin, there are three dancers sharing the role of Giselle including Queensland Ballet Principal dancer Rachael Walsh.

“I'll be dancing it with two Albrecht's this time in a first for QLD Ballet and it is wonderful to have the chance to dance this ballet with two such talented men.” Rachael has been with the Queensland Ballet since 1998 and a Principal since 2002 and she is enamoured with this particular story. “Giselle is one of my favourite classical ballets. Mainly because I believe it is the most pure, there is nothing extra added. The story is told so simply and so beautifully in the choreography and there is quite a difference between the first and second acts.”

For those who are unsure of the storyline, she explains the plot. “The first act is set in a village scene. It's very alive and very youthful and quite joyous and when Giselle and the Prince meet, their relationship flourishes in the first act. The second act, also known as the white act, is Giselle's afterlife as she dies at the end of the first act (which is a shock to many people that the lead character dies). But the second act where she becomes a Wilis in the afterlife is really quite astounding, probably one of the most beautiful acts in dance.”

With a cast of talented creatives at the helm of this production, the troupe of dancers is in very capable hands but Rachael points out that there are some elements that cannot be taught but are expressed.

“With the actual dance steps, there is always creative licence that an artist can take. In this production however, the choreographer Ai-Gul Gaisana, has taken quite a traditional take on the ballet. With Giselle, there is always room for artistic interpretations in her reactions and her emotional journey she goes on. It's the same as with any actor or performer who needs to express what someone is thinking and feeling. It's about the nuances and subtleties in the individual dancer's performance.”

Pausing to think, Rachael adds, “it's such a challenging role for both the female and male leads. Technically it is very difficult and physically it is very exhausting, but also because it's such a journey they both go on through love, betrayal and forgiveness. So it's quite emotionally draining at the end of the night as well. But you are left with a beautiful feeling of hope that life with go on and that love goes on. And though it sounds like a sad story, it is full of love and peace and it has almost a magical feel to the ending.”

'Giselle' will be at the Playhouse, QPAC until July 6.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013 14:53

Slava's Snowshow: Clowning In Preview

Since its creation by renowned Russian clown Slava Polunin in 1993, 'Slava's Snowshow'  has played to millions of people in more than 30 countries and 120 cities including New York, London, Los Angeles, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro and Moscow.

It is to clowning what Cirque du Soleil is to circus and the show brilliantly creates a world of wonderment and fantasy that transports the audience to a joyous dream-like place, where a bed becomes a boat in a storm-tossed sea; a woman is wrapped in cellophane and becomes flowers in a vase; a child walks in amazement inside a bubbles. Derek Scott is an instrumental part of the team of performers and first came to Australia for Expo 88 and then stayed.

Describe the show in 5 words?
Dreamlike, child, alive, journey, potato.

Describe your part in this production?

Most harrowing onstage moment?
When I was asked to play the lead role for the first time without ever rehearsing the show.

When did you realise that a career in the arts was your calling?
When I failed at math, but made my class laugh when the teacher left the room.

How enjoyable has it been to be involved with this production?

Inspirations — who/ what influences you the most?
Life. Slava. Mom. Potatoes.

What do you want audiences to say as they leave?
Wow, wow, wow! Do you remember where we parked?

What kind of training do you need to have to be able to be part of this?
Life and potatoes.

Anything else readers should know?
This show has the ability to transform, to make you lighter.

Why should people escape their home caves to come see this performance?
Because if they don't, they have to put up with their friends who DID go see it saying to them for years, ‘Oh, you should have seen this show, it was magical, you really missed something special’.

'Slava’s Snowshow' plays at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC from June 26-30.

Wednesday, 05 June 2013 16:58

Lady Rizo: Cabaret In Preview

A performer that is bringing a packed suitcase full of glitter, gowns and false eyelashes, Lady Rizo is prepared and ready to dazzle Brisbane audiences.

If you've even felt like hearing Nirvana, David Bowie or Lady Gaga revisited with a cabaret twist and some New York sass — then this is your chance. As a multi-award-winning artist, Lady Rizo has collaborated with Moby and won a Grammy Award with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and is now taking her show global and according to Lady Rizo, audiences should prepare themselves for a night of glamour, comedy and heart-felt songs.

Describe your show in 5 words?
Divine, Dirty, Glamorous, Luscious, Invigorating.
What is your show all about? The show thrusts the image of a chanteuse from a bygone era — decked out in her sparkly gown and chandelier earrings — into the 21st century with killer songs and hilarious audience interactions.

How do you feel being up on stage?
Are you completely your Lady Rizo persona or is it the real you up there?
I love the stage and have been performing since I was three. I do believe my purpose on this earth is to highlight the glorious intersection between entertainment and art. Lady Rizo is a fully embodied creature now — she is president of the show and Amelia as the VP sneaks in for a statement or song intermittently.

How did you end up doing cabaret?
I always sang, acted and danced (triple threat!) but musical theatre never felt like home. For a while I worked regionally in classical theatre and sang for fun on the side. Somewhere along the road trip while moving to New York City I decided to start actually calling myself a singer as opposed to an actress who sang. I immediately became a better singer. When I arrived to New York I started a show with my sister inspired by the burgeoning neo-burlesque scene. She is a professional modern dancer with Mark Morris Dance Group and we melded our talents and made a 'caburlesque' extravaganza that enjoyed immediate cult success. Lady Rizo was born.

And how do you choose the songs and material for your shows as it's such an eclectic array of styles?
I choose my material in myriad ways, though the most important aspect is that I WANT to perform it. Sometimes I get an idea for a funny framing or twist to a popular song or a deeper interpretation (like the despair under the Bacharach pop song 'Wishin & Hopin') or a good musical mash-up. Sometimes it’s a standard that I'd like to tackle or my own original songs which I'm performing more and more of.
What is the craziest thing you've done on stage? I do crazy things in every show. I've done a headstand in an audience member's lap and just last week I did a full-on boob smooch with a gal who I brought behind my shadow screen. That's the first person who has taken off their clothes for me in that bit.

Who is the person you'd love to collaborate with or work with next?
I'd love to do something on film that captures this cabaret and burlesque world I've been traipsing around in. I just reconnected with the gorgeous Baz Luhrmann at a NY ‘The Great Gatsby’ premiere. He saw a show of mine a few years back and was so lovely, came backstage and told me I had fulfilled a long dream he had of seeing an iconic performer at the beginning of their career. It was perhaps one of the sweetest things that anyone had ever said to me. I didn't get to tell him at the premiere but I know Australia is actually quite tiny so please let Mr. Luhrmann know I'm ready for my close-up.

If you had a dinner party of 6 guests — who would you invite?
I feel like that answer would change every day but if it were tonight it would be: Lena Dunham, Mel Brooks, Maya Angelou, Meryl Streep, Oliver Sacks and Janelle Monae.

Are there any behind-the-scenes stories that are weird/ crazy/ funny/ unbelievable that you can share with us?
None that I can share :)

What should an audience expect?
To be taken on a date, to be seduced by humour, sequins and song. All this while being secretly challenged to join together to become braver, more joyous and more expressive in all aspects of life.

And anything else that we should know?
Bring extra money for a martini. For you — or for me!

Lady Rizo performs at the Brisbane Powerhouse for one night only on Wednesday June 19.

Wednesday, 05 June 2013 16:55

Ballet Revolution: Dance In Preview

The question is — what happens when some of the most talented dancers in the world get together to perform to the infectious rhythms of Latin-America and hits from Usher, Shakira, Beyonce, Prince and J-Lo?

‘Ballet Revolución’ is the result — a show that combines the dynamics of contemporary dance, ballet, street dance and hip hop. Expect an explosive, intensive, sensual and impressively athletic performance, full of raw energy with a distinctly Cuban flavour and features lead dancer, Odeymis Torres Perez.

Describe the show in 5 words?
Emotion, feeling, happiness, ferocity and explosion.

What role do you play?
My role in the show is just that I am one of the more experienced dancers because of my age and my journey through dance. In Cuba I was First Ballerina in the Cuba Contemporary Dance, which is the best dance company in the country and that is why I provide the experience on stage as a dancer and as a person. Also because of my training in classical and contemporary I can move in different styles, it offers versatility in the show and makes the choreographers may feel freer to create with the dancers, when they want to merge styles.

What does dance mean to you?
I wish I could make you understand how I feel when I dance, it's just the best expression of my deepest feelings, even those I can not express in words. Many times I am alone in my world, but despite that I am the happiest person alive if dancing because that feeling of freedom of maximum expansion is what makes me go forward despite the injuries, the rush of the shows and the many hours without sleep.

What is your favourite part of the show and why?
I'm really happy with everything I do in the show, but to be honest the second part of the show is the most emotional for me. A few years ago, I had to stop dancing for a knee injury and I thought maybe I would never be at this level again, after recovering Ballet Revolución offered me the opportunity to try again and do it at the top. It is in the second part of the show where I'm back to be me, where I can once again feel the excitement of contemporary dance again which is what always fascinated me.

Anything else readers should know?
I really do not know what else to say. I can tell you more of me as a dancer or more of my personal life, but I'd rather tell you I am very happy today as a person and as a dancer. Many years ago I just wanted to win the largest venues and I did, I did. After my injury just asking the universe one last chance to dance and Ballet Revolución gave me that opportunity, so this show is so great for me. I will feel very sad when I have to retire someday but I will at the top of my career with Ballet Revolución.

Ballet Revolución is on at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC from June 19-22.

Wednesday, 05 June 2013 16:51

Delicacy: Actor Interview

The Brisbane Arts Theatre is bringing a daring psychological exploration of extreme human behaviour, sex and violence with its latest production 'Delicacy'.

Directed by Lucas Stibbard, written by Julian Hobba and inspired by the now infamous 'Der Metzgermeister' (The Master Butcher) case, the play stars Cameron Hurry as one of the leads and will be an intriguing, boundary-pushing evening. You have been warned.

Describe the show in 5 words?
Tense. Humorous. Confronting. Shocking. Enjoyable.

What is your role?

I play Neil. The guy who answers Denny's advertisement to eat someone.

How did you come to be part of this? Did you audition? What did that look like?
I auditioned just like everyone had to. Lucas, our director, put me well at ease. I was able to follow his direction and I knew I'd be able to work well with him. I knew I would be challenged as an actor which is what I wanted.

Do you find it confronting to be part of a story that deals with this subject matter?
When I first read the script, it was like what I was reading wasn't really happening. It was surreal, like a dream. It's set inside a home and some very private and extraordinary things happen. All this made me want to do it more as I wanted to push myself outside my comfort zone.

Have there been any crazy/ weird/ awkward behind-the-scenes stories you can share?
Trying out, in full public view, how I needed to cut off a certain (fake) appendage was interesting. We needed to see how the blood looked and we were outside on the grass so we wouldn't damage the floor inside. Seeing someone shove a (stage) knife down their pants and see blood pour down their legs while five people calmly look on would have been one of the weirdest things people walking by would have seen!

Why should audiences come see this?
It's something they've never seen and very unlikely to ever see again. They'll be laughing one minute and gasping in shock the next!

Anything else our readers should know?
Don't believe the "hype". If you've read the synopsis you're expecting to see a certain type of show. So come along and leave your preconceptions at the door!

'Delicacy' is on at the Brisbane Arts Theatre until June 15.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013 15:03

Sons Of Sin: Review

Blood, on-stage urination, dripping sweat, kissing, sychronised dancing, mud splatters, gasping tears, comforting hugs — there is nothing predictable about The Danger Ensemble's latest show 'Sons of Sin'.

Directed by Steven Mitchell Wright and featuring a cast of nine male actors, the production is unhinged — partly scripted, mostly improvised, animalistic and philosophical in equal measure — and there is no way to prepare for this.

As an audience member, you are both voyeur and participant, grappling with not only the lack of seating and constant demands but the relentless intensity of the content. Unsettling and confronting, the show is about young men in today's world, how they interact and communicate with each other, themselves and the rest of society.

And it's not pretty, but nor is it overly unexpected as more and more reports about drinking, violence, suicide and depression come to light. The choice of subject matter required fearlessness, the cast needed to show both brutality and a glimpse of their inner beauty, the production team had to think on their feet, be flexible and forward-thinking and the director needed to remain committed and calm.

On all accounts — this was achieved and the show will be unlike anything you have ever witnessed. Wear comfortable shoes and dark clothing, be prepared for anything and take away the lessons that present themselves. People are often the cruelest to themselves. Be kind.

'Sons of Sin' is playing at the Judith Wright Centre until May 25. 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013 15:12

Briefs: Cabaret In Preview

It's back... but bigger, better and much more brash.

The show's poster tagline reads “All male. All Vaudeville. All trash.” and that seems to sum it up perfectly. Fresh from glitter-bombing the globe, the cult variety show will return to their humble and dysfunctional Brisbane roots with a new show and new members, including Dallas Dellaforce.

Describe the show in 5 words?
Fast, furious, fabulous, flashy and feisty!

How is this different to the first 'Briefs'?
This incarnation has set out to raise the bar in terms of production. It will be slick and honed whilst remaining faithful to 'Briefs' hilarious and irreverent signature style.  

What is your role/ part in this?
I play many roles within the show, ranging from intense and edgy characters to ridiculous caricatures. But, I think altogether I bring a different type of glamour to the mix.  

I hear you also make costumes?
Yes, my background is in fashion design. I'm a visual artist and it really excites me to be able to contribute to 'Briefs' on this level. The boys are a dream to design for because they are all so goddamn gorgeous!

How do you decide on the looks?
The themes and acts that the boys have devised have really clear direction and have wonderful character development so it's very easy. I'm only responsible for a part of the show, the rest are the being overseen by the very talented Brisbane designer Nathalie Ryner.

And where did the idea/ inspiration for your name come from?
As a child I remember my mother telling me to stay away from a local bad boy called Dallas. Naturally as the forbidden fruit the name developed a certain mystique for me. I also love that it is traditionally a male name that has many connections to campy popular culture. Dellaforce was inspired by one of my favourite models, the stunning Carmen DelOrifice, whose career has spanned over half a century.

Fav moment in the show?
There really are too many to mention, but I am particularly excited about the 'Beast In Show' moment  which is going to be as hilarious as it is spectacular. It blends character and skill and allows us each to shine in a really lighthearted way. It's going to be so much fun to perform!

Who is the craziest in the cast/ crew?
Wow, that is a hard one. I think there is a 'lil bit of mad cow in each of us. I have to say though that I would definitely be one of the more insane in this crazed crew!

'See 'Briefs: the Second Coming' at the Brisbane Powerhouse from May 21-26.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 20:17

Frankenstein: Theatre In Preview

Fractal Theatre Productions has reimagined a cult classic 'Frankenstein'. Adapted from Mary Shelley's original by Brenna Lee-Cooney, this play meshes together mime, dance, text and song into a dramatic and riveting theatre experience.

The production also features original music by Eugene Gilfedder and dynamic choreography by Brian Lucas. As the creator of this gothic masterpiece, Brenna Lee-Cooney takes her cast and crew to dark places and demands the most from them. This looks to be an unmissable show and Cooney promises a show unlike any other.

Describe the show in 5 words?
Drama, dance and music revive Shelley's ‘Frankenstein’.

What is your role in the production and how did that come about?
I am the Director and adapter of the script. I founded the Fractal Theatre Productions company with my husband Eugene Gilfedder in 1989 and I have a history of creating new works for the company.

What is your past experiences with 'Frankenstein'?
Reading the novel primarily and then trying to avoid the spoofs which ignore the book pretty much entirely.

Why do you think it has such appeal after all this time?
It was the first of its kind. The Monster and Creator argument poses endless questions for humanity — especially with our current scientific possibilities.

What is the cast and crew like? I see you have some notable sorts like Eugene Gilfedder and Brian Lucas.
The cast are fantastic and work brilliantly in this ensemble context. They are multi-skilled and bring dance, circus and singing skills to their acting performances. Eugene Gilfedder has been Co-Artistic Director of Fractal since 1989. Brian Lucas has a passion for Shelley's novel 'Frankenstein' and has long wanted to be a part of creating a stage adaptation and so he has come on board as movement coach/ facilitator. 

What is your favourite line in the play?
'I was born innocent, misery has made me a fiend.'

How is this version different to the countless that have been done before?
This version is different basically because it sticks to the original novel whereas most others diverge wildly. Very little has been changed other than to tease and flesh out characters more fully, based on the information and ideas provided in the book.

Any crazy/ weird/ funny behind-the-scenes stories?
Probably the craziest part — which has provided endless side-splitting moments during rehearsal — is the character Clerval being killed with a volume of the 'Kama Sutra'!

Anything else the readers should know?
There will be two midnight performances with a door prize for the best dressed monster and best dressed corpse bride.

'Frankenstein' will be staged at the Brisbane Arts Theatre from May 3-18 with two midnight shows on Saturday May 4 and 11.

It is time for the annual 'Roadshow', where a cast of travelling comedians hits the road to bring the hilarity of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival to crowds all across Australia.

Now in its 15th year, ‘The Roadshow’ will combine a cast of local names, newcomers and overseas guests to spread their comedy chaos with far-flung audiences. One of the featured comedians this year is Tommy Little and he sheds some light on what really goes on when they're on the road.

Describe the show in 5 words?
Comedy comedy comedy comedy drinking.

What does your involvement look like?
That’s a very personal question, you show me your involvement first and then we can discuss mine.

Why this style of show?
Because we’re stand-up comedians so we thought a stand-up comedy show would really play to our strengths. We contemplated doing a Crusty Demons-style motorbike show but none of us can ride so we decided to just stick to comedy.

Do you have any weird/ awkward/ embarrassing stories from on stage?
If this interview was happening on a stage this would officially be the most awkward moment in my comedy career.

What do you admire most about your fellow comedians on the MICFR?
The fact that they can put up with spending day after day with me trapped in a minivan, that’s pretty impressive.

Who is the funniest out of all of you and why?
Cal Wilson because I think she is the most likely to read this article, love you Cal.

Anything else readers should know?
That they should come and see the show, we’ve got the best homegrown and international comedy stars coming to your town. It’s the only chance this year you’ll have to see live comedy this good so come out and support it. I hope to see you there for a beer and a chuckle.

See a fine selection of comedians at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow May 15-18 at the Brisbane Powerhouse.


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