Tag: 2016 Melbourne Festival

Melbourne Festival 2016: THE SECRET NOISE

Hidden music is brought to light, movement and sound

By Joana Simmons

In our world full of commercial pop music all sounding the same (looking at you, Taylor Swift) we are rarely challenged with sounds that are out of the ordinary. Sydney-based company Ensemble Offspring brings us The Secret Noise as part of the esteemed Melbourne Festival, with concept and composition by Damien Ricketson, and direction by Carlos Gomes. In a performance that sits somewhere between music, dance and installation, the multi-talented cast of seven (including Narelle Benjamin, Katherine Cogill, Katia Molino, Jason Noble, Claire Edwardes and Bree van Reyk) creates a world full of secret music; sounds that have slipped under the rug.

The Secret Noise.jpg

The beginning of the performance is small pop-up scenes and installations around the North Melbourne Town Hall where we have intimate exchanges with the performers. They take our drawings we coloured in upon arrival, and use them as inspiration for their contortion or composition. It’s a wonderful connection and exchange that gives each individual something different – not “we are performing this for everyone”, but “this is just for YOU.” The audience roams between these, and gathers in their seats. For the next hour, the cast plays a range of instruments – some of which I don’t know the name – but all make interesting sounds. There’s sacred forms of ceremonial music, legally extinguished compositions, a DJ playing an LP backwards, love songs and my favourite, whirling different tubes and pipes around really fast like helicopters that made interesting bird-like wind sounds. Strong fluid and flexible contemporary dancers integrate the interesting sounds and music to bring the whole thing together. Their incredible strength, technique and stamina captivates us.

The well-designed lighting (Fausto Brusamolino) gives the intimate installations at the start a special glow, and lights the full performance in a way that makes us feel like we are in a secret world. The costumes are simple and effective. I did find it difficult to see sometimes, as we were all sitting on the same level and some of the dance was on the floor or down one side of the room, so if you are vertically challenged, try and find a spot close to the front, but there is still plenty to listen to if you can’t see.

It is unclear what the journey of the show is, if there is one, but the skill level is so high and varied that is pay-off enough. It’s one of those performances where it resonates as something different with everyone: some moments weren’t quite my cup of tea but there were many that were. Challenge yourselves to explore something brilliantly different, The Secret Noise is defying genres and discovering magical creative gems for audiences of all ages to share and enjoy.

The Secret Noise was performed as part of the 2016 Melbourne Festival.
14-15 October
North Melbourne Town Hall


Melbourne Festival 2016: THE MONEY

Put your money where your ethics are

By Myron My

“Are you a benefactor or a silent witness?” That is the question we are asked upon entering Kaleider’s  The Money. Presented as part of this year’s Melbourne Festival, the show is a live experiment on the way society works and how people with different background and experiences can come together for a common goal.


Those who choose to be – or become – benefactors sit in the middle of the chambers in the Prahran Town Hall. They each provide $20 to the kitty and have 60 minutes to decide what to do with the money. The money cannot be given to a registered charity, the money cannot be split, it must be spent on legal activity and it must be a unanimous decision between the benefactors. Other than that, we can do whatever we choose.

What begins with three benefactors ends up with nine. Ideas range from going to dinner together (which is shot down by one benefactor who would rather read a book than have dinner with strangers) to giving it a to a homeless man. Eventually, with the serendipitous luck of having someone form a local community group called Welcome To Eltham, we decided to donate the money to the group to assist with welcoming refugees into the community.

As a performance, it is difficult to dictate how “entertaining” this can be, as this is a case where each evening is going to be completely and utterly different as the number of people – and the type of people – choosing to be benefactors will greatly influence the proceedings and subsequent outcome. More people might mean more money, but it also means more difficulty in keeping everyone satisfied with how to spend it. There’s always going to be a doubt that not everyone is going to be completely sold on an idea, yet – due to pack mentality or peer pressure – acquiesce.

Having chosen to be a benefactor, I am unable to comment on how it feels for a silent witness to watch as suggestions and ideas are thrown around, accepted, or rejected, and to be perfectly honest, they (and the fact the discussion is being live-streamed) are mainly forgotten about, expect for when we encourage them to join us as benefactors.

The Money is an interesting event concept in that it gives you the opportunity to think about the things that money can do beyond materialism and consumerism. From little things big things can indeed grow, and the meet-up reunion the benefactors from this session will hold in the months to come to see the effects of their invested money scheme will hopefully be testament to that.

Venue: Footscray Town Hall, 61 Napier St, Footscray
Season: until 16 October | Fri – Sat 7:30pm, Sat 2pm, Sun 11am and 4pm
Tickets: $49 Full Silent Witness | $39 Concession Silent Witness | $20+ to be a Benefactor

Venue: Parliament of Victoria, Legislative Assembly Chamber, Spring St.
Season: 19 – 23 October | Wed-Fri 6pm & 8.30pm, Sat 2pm & 7.30pm, Sun 11am & 4pm
Tickets: $49 Full Silent Witness | $39 Concession Silent Witness | $20+ to be a Benefactor

Bookings: Melbourne Festival 


It’s a wild and wonderful ride

By Leeor Adar

I was expecting St Trinians, but instead I was treated to something so much better. A musical theatre lover I am not, but Lee Hall’s adaptation of Alan Warner’s Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour may have cured me.

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour.jpg

The internationally renowned National Theatre of Scotland has indeed graced our good Melbourne Festival this year with a riotously funny, endearing and poignant show concerning the misdemeanors of Scotland’s wildest Catholic schoolgirls.

On a journey to Edinburgh for a choral competition, our girls are planning to booze, cruise and find a worthy specimen for their hormone-driven desires. Initially, their voices sing out unaccompanied to Felix Mendelssohn’s Lift Thine Eyes, but it’s a momentary holy light before the girls embark onto far wilder renditions of Jeff Lynne’s Don’t Bring Me Down and disco classic Shine a Little Love. The cast are all talented sopranos, and they heartily reimagine 70s rock and disco classics as they travel between dive bars and blow up a drug dealer’s shack with fireworks. They manage to do their mischief all the while under the watchful gaze of a Virgin Mary statue.

There is heart to this production. The desire to rise up and beyond their incestuous poverty is an ever-present theme. One character, Orla (Joanne McGuinness), a cancer sufferer and virgin until further notice, peers across the world with the gentle eyes of someone who may soon leave it. Kay (Karen Fishwick) is the local doctor’s daughter, and a university hopeful whose momentary lapse into recklessness could change her life forever.

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour feels like any wild party – there are moments of pure inclusive ecstasy, and moments of poignant truths. Vicky Featherstone has directed a fluid and thoroughly engaging production to rival anything we’ve seen on the Melbourne musical stages. Featherstone’s cast gel so effortlessly it feels like these girls have known one another forever. The cast must be commended on their highly physical performances, and a further accolade must be given to choreographer, Imogen Knight, for their well-crafted movement.

Overall, the entire production team have created a show that captivated and sent their audience into fits of laughter. A standing ovation was what they received for their efforts, and I expect Melbourne will be delighted to see the National Theatre of Scotland return next year.

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour is performing at the Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne until Saturday 22 October. Tickets available at https://www.festival.melbourne/2016/events/our-ladies-of-perpetual-succour/#.V_iM_DJh2CQ