Tag: Davina Wright

Melbourne Fringe 2016: DION

Compelling ‘drive-by’ theatre

By Myron My

Dion. Oh Dion. Why’d you go and break my heart? That’s what writer/director Davina Wright explores in the new immersive piece by Gold Satino for Melbourne Fringe Festival, aptly titled Dion. It’s business as usual here, as three audience members jump in the back of the Honda Jazz and are driven around the outskirts of North Melbourne in what can be called an epic “fuck off” homage to exes.

Dion.png

What I really enjoyed throughout Dion is the juxtaposition of being connected with the show yet witnessing distant and detached vignettes. The performers (Tamiah Bantum, Ross de Winter, Lachlan McColl, Cazz Bainbridge, Xavier O’Shanessy and Wright) all exude this feeling that they are living in their own world and generally void of any emotion but the connectivity felt with the subject and the scenes that play out paint a completely different picture. The exploration of first kisses, last kisses, fleeting moments, broken hearts and heartache; they are all experiences we’ve had and something we can all relate to.

The beauty of Gold Satino productions is that all scenes are open to interpretation: you give meaning and value to what you are seeing. Who these people are, where they have come from, where will they go? – it all depends on what you want to happen and how you choose to seen it.

As you keep an eye out for what is part of the show, you begin to notice a lot more people out in the streets that could easily be in the world of Dion. One particular example in last night’s drive is the elderly couple out walking their two dogs, which formed a comforting contrast to the sadness Dion is exploring.

The show runs on a very tight schedule, timed to the second no doubt, and from an audience perspective, there is not a single glitch. Speculating on the logistics of how the performers manage to get around so quickly and be in the scene before the Jazz even approaches is like guessing how David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear.

The sound design by Tom Davies is a balanced mix of love anthems such as Billy Ocean’s “Love Really Hurts Without You”, and a poignant soundscape that captures the moods of scenes perfectly, such as the ocean sounds we hear as we witness one performer crying alone in their car.

It’s a shame that the opportunity of seeing Dion is limited to three people per show (and is now a sold-out season at that) as Gold Satino is a company producing performance works that more people should be seeing. But perhaps that’s part of the plan. If everyone got to see what happens behind the closed doors or in the dark alleys, would the emotive and evocative insight that Dion offers be as effective?

SOLD OUT SEASON
Venue:
Fringe Hub steps – Arts House, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne, 3051
Season: Until 1 October | Tues – Sat 7pm, 8pm, 9pm, 10pm
Length: 60 minutes
Tickets: $31 Full | $25 Conc | $21 Cheap Tuesday
Bookings: MelbourneFringe Festival

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REVIEW: Melbourne Fringe Presents SUBURBIA

Driving out into the dark streets for immersive theatre experience

By Myron My

Most people dream of having their own little slice of the suburban dream; a loving family, a dog and a place to call home. What could be better than that? However, if you look under the surface, you’ll find that things are not always what they seem. Playing as part of the 2015 Melbourne Fringe FestivalSuburbia offers a glimpse into these lives we know little about.

Suburbia

My fellow two passengers and I meet at the steps of the North Melbourne Town Hall and are led to a parked car and the driver takes us through the streets of North Melbourne, stopping intermittently at various locations where we get to witness our neighbourhood in a very different light. We don’t stay at any location more than a couple of minutes and there is barely any dialogue exchanged. The soundtrack composition by Simone Gustafsson that plays in the car is perfectly suited to the theme of the night, provoking feelings of uncertainty and curiosity.

It is up to us to determine the scene, relationships and mood purely by what we see. There’s the couple having a heated argument in their car and the woman who is crossing the roundabout with determination. Suburbia is about showing us these snippets into the lives of those around us: those we don’t know and those we don’t see. The most striking moment of all was something that lasted just mere seconds but is the creepiest thing I have seen in “real life” in a very long time and I wonder what would have happened had someone from the public just happened to walk by.

Timing is of the essence with this show. As we drive from one vignette to another, there is no doubt that the rest of the cast (Cazz Bainbridge, Xavier O’ShannessyRoss De Winter, Anneli Bjorasen, Claudia NugentDavina Wright and Carolyn Butler) is frantically racing to get to their next location on time (not that this haste is ever obvious, however).

As we are driven around, my voyeuristic urges begin to slowly take over and I begin to look through other people’s windows and watch as local people walk past or cycle by or take their dog out for a late-night walk. I wonder if they’re aware of what is also happening right in front of their eyes.

Suburbia is an enjoyable immersive experience that will linger in your mind long after the car pulls back up to the North Melbourne Town Hall. The shared experiences with your fellow passengers can be varied (ours were), but the performance is a reminder that just because we don’t see these people in our own neighbourhoods doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

*Playing at Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall until Oct 3, the current 2015 Melbourne Fringe season of Suburbia is completely sold out*

Image by Rebekah Kamsky, featuring Davina Wright and Xavier O’Shannessy