Tag: Art Simone

REVIEW: Meme Girls

Exploring the black hole of Youtube

By Myron My

Every day, people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views on videos. In Meme GirlsAsh Flanders has delved into the bottomless pit of YouTube vloggers and their videos, performing a selection of monologues in the dramatic camp fashion that Flanders does so well.

meme girls

There are a variety of videos that Flanders has chosen, from the serious to the absurd, such as the woman who tells you that one of the hardest things in life is learning how to fold a fitted sheet. Flanders nails each “character” he performs. The way he speaks, sounds, acts and moves; each person is unique.

Accompanying Flanders is the wonderful Art Simone. Simone has a presence to her that is instantly captivating and draws all our attention when she is on stage. I would have loved to have seen her more and do more, but the little time she has she effectively  blurs gender lines and identity; the same transformation that Flanders goes through during Meme Girls.

However, I’m not completely sold on the idea that the show has, as director Stephen Nicolazzo puts it, “genuine love of the genders, races and class (Flanders) represents on stage”. Some, most definitely, but others feel like they are being parodied and played for laughs and therefore lack the honesty or sincerity that I expected to see. Perhaps this is Flanders’ intention though and is commenting on the type of culture and lifestyle that we, as a society, seem to be obsessed with.

From a stagecraft perspective, this show cannot be faulted. How I would love to get inside Eugyeene Teh’s thought process and see how he consistently creates these brilliant sets and costume designs. His pink cylindrical tunnel, as if we are falling into the black hole that is YouTube, is absolutely stunning, especially when paired with Katie Sfetkidis’ lighting design. Along with THE SWEATS’ sound design; I have not been, in a very long time, so in awe, of the opening moments of a show as much as I have for Meme Girls.

Meme Girls is a wonderful showcase of talent from Nicolazzo, Flanders and the creative team behind it. Whilst the message it tries to make is not always clear or consistent, it is, as Simone mimes at one point during the show, “an unusual and exciting theatrical event“.

Venue: Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt St, Southbank

Season: Until 2 May | Wed – Sat 8pm, Tuesday 7pm, Saturday 2pm, Sunday 5pm

Tickets: $60 Full | $50 Conc | $30 Under 30

Bookings: Malthouse Theatre

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REVIEW: Melbourne Cabaret Festival’s CLOSING GALA

Olympians, Oprah and marriage equality in fabulous festival finale

By Bradley Storer

The stars of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival joined together at Ormond Hall on the festival’s closing night to raise funds for and support the cause for Marriage Equality.

Tara Minton, a British-based Australian harpist and singer, played selections from her festival show about the songs of Joni Mitchell, enchanting with her ethereal arrangements of ‘Woodstock’ and ‘Smitten’ and a voice that combined delicacy with a surprising power. Karin ‘Danger’ Muiznieks showed off the breadth of her range (as well as a dead on Piaf impression) in a tune that summarised the highs and lows of the Festival accompanied by Cameron Thomas.

Jon Jackson astonished the audience with his incredible range in an Etta James classic and a heartfelt song about the joys of marriage and children (made all the poignant by Jackson’s remarks about the inability to marry his partner of fifteen years). Cabaret diva Tina del Twist (the drag alter-ego of Wes Snelling) took to the stage with an imaginary back up band, crooning snatches of songs in a voice of spine-tingling power, in between bouts of wandering the stage in an absent-minded haze that felt like a three-act play in itself!

After intermission international drag cabaret star Spanky re-opened proceedings with some rock’n’roll sexiness as she sauntered through the crowd, accompanied by guitarist Robert Tripolino, before stunning with the Madonna tune ‘Revolver’ from his 2012 Green Room award-winning show Candice McQueen. Jazz chanteuse Jade Leonard took to the stage with her self-penned gay anthem ‘Equal Love’ before announcing her engagement to drag performer Art Simone (also present on the night) and inviting the audience to their nuptials at the next Equal Love Rally.

Matthew Mitcham as MC for the evening charmed with a ukulele mash-up of Kylie tunes for his opening, and guided the rest of the event with awkwardly adorable enthusiasm. This being a fundraiser for marriage equality Mitcham played to certain elements of the crowd, performing an impromptu striptease to ‘Barbie Girl’ (accompanied on the harp by Minton) which I’m sure left half the audience with spontaneous pregnancy. Later he showed off more of his… ahem… ‘assets’… during the auction which raised prices significantly!

Closing Gala

The night closed with a special guest performance by Oprah (played by Rachel Dunham), fresh from her Melbourne Cabaret season in Oprahfication, who regaled us with tales of starting out as a young black woman in television and bringing the house down with a voice that shook the rafters.

An incredible end to one of Australia’s fastest growing festivals, displaying the phenomenal talent on offer every year.

 Venue: Ormond Hall, 557 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Date: 7th July 2013

Time: 7:45pm

REVIEW: Dracula’s Presents SPIDERLASH: VAMPIRE VAUDEVILLE

Dinner with the vampire is fabulous fare

By Bradley Storer

Spiderlash

After an hour of sampling both the fine cocktails and served a delicious array of meals at Dracula’s Theatre Restaurant whilst being serenaded by a band of vampiric jazz artists, I settled into my seat for the main show –  one could only hope it would match the hilarity of the floor show being provided by the dementedly jolly waiting staff!

Luckily I was not disappointed, and my expectations were even surpassed. After a quick introduction to our various performers for the evening, mixed with a stirring group rendition of Muse’s ‘Uprising’, Spiderlash: Vampire Vaudeville launched off with an opening worthy of a gothic rock opera that integrated multimedia to dizzyingly entertaining effect and set the bar high for the entire evening.

Spiderlash is truly vaudevillian in the traditional sense of the word. One minute we’re thrown a stand-up routine that harks back to a music-hall comedian, the next we’re treated to an arachnid-themed aerial routine before we were surprised with a scintillating drag performance (a cameo by effervescent drag performer Art Simone). Dancing skeletons, a garden of living statues, a magic act that leaves most of the performers in various states of impalement and dismemberment – all happen and we were left glowing with pleasure at the sheer breadth of variety. Throughout the evening the audience is deluged with campy good humour that is sure to delight anyone and everyone (though I advise leaving the children at home) with a few choice moments of seriousness that are all the more effective for their rarity. The production values and costume quality for the show are extremely high with technological fittings for nearly every section that makes you admire Dracula’s for their sheer dedication to providing excellent entertainment for their patrons.

All the performers are exceedingly talented, many doubling as musicians onstage and off, and provide a slick, confident experience, especially when interacting with the audience. Special mention to performer Philippa Harrison, whose strong vocals come to the fore in a simmering burlesque performance of Portishead’s ‘Glory Box’ (with a twist I won’t give away here) that held the audience spellbound for its entire duration.

VENUE: Dracula’s Theatre Restaurant, 100 Victoria St, Carlton VIC

DATES: Now playing

PRICE: VIP ‘A’ Reserve Tues–Thurs $105, Fri–Sat $115, ‘B’ Reserve Tues–Thurs $85, Fri–Sat $95

TIME: 6.30pm for ‘A’ Reserve, 7pm for ‘B’ Reserve

BOOKING: www.draculas.com.au ,  (03) 9347 3344