A bold satirical effort leaves little breathing space
By Myron My
In the revitalised Weimar-style political kabaret News Flashers, the audience are treated to a whirlwind of varied Australian issues and the way the media reports these through the use of ‘televised’ news reports, song and with the aid of sock puppets.
A lot of thought has gone into the production of News Flashers, and it is certainly a delight on the eyes. Old newspapers form the basis of the costumes, including trousers, shirts, hats, bow ties and a few other surprises along the way.
The various ways in which the “televisions” are used throughout the show is quite creative and allows for radically different set-ups to take over on stage. The cast makes excellent use of the performance area and really takes ownership of every available space.
The performers (Caitlin Brown, Ezekiel Ox, Fletcher Dyson, Maurial Spearim and Sophie Kinston) worked very well together and there was some strong rapport and high energy levels but as the title suggests, the show was a bit frenetic. Unfortunately it was so fast that I found myself constantly trying to catch up with what was happening.
Many topical issues are covered throughout the show including boat people, Gina Rinehart and the stolen generation but the surface is only ever skimmed with any of them. I was left feeling confused with a few of the recurring references and felt they were some sort of in-joke I was not privy to.
The songs by creator Ella Filar were composed well and the instruments used were chosen carefully and specifically. The voices of the performers highlighted each individual’s vocal strengths and it was great to see them excel here. However, the songs may have been a little short, for just as I understood what they were singing about, they were finished and we immediately moved on.
News Flashers describes itself as ‘political, vulgar, artistic, grotesque, sexy and sublime’, and successfully achieves its claims, but perhaps if the content had been narrowed down and the performance not been so exceptionally fast-paced, it might have been a little more enjoyable.
Venue: The Butterfly Club, 204 Bank Street, South Melbourne
Season: Until 11 November | 8:00pm, Wed, Sun 9:00pm
Tickets: $23 Full | $20 Concession