Tag: Green Room Award

REVIEW: Jamie Lewis in SALTWATER

Serving up a charming and cultural delight

By Christine Young

Saltwater is an innovative one-woman show from Jamie Lewis who gives the audience a taste of Singaporean cuisine and culture. In 2012, Lewis’s The Stream/ The Boat/The Shore/The Bridge/, created with Dan Koop & Co., received a Green Room Award for Outstanding Production – Creative Agency for Audiences.

Saltwater

This is not surprising.

Saltwater is a gentle and thoughtful theatre experience like no other. Fifteen audience members, guests really, are invited to prepare and eat a traditional Eurasian meal with Lewis. Master Chef this ain’t, so don’t worry, guests are only asked to perform a simple task. In fact, the Saltwater concept and purpose are a refreshing antithesis to the hectic, competitive nature of reality TV cooking shows.

Saltwater is designed to engage all of our senses for a truly visceral encounter. This is a chance to stop, look and listen and enjoy being in the present moment. Lewis creates a relaxed atmosphere, from the background music to subtle decorations, and due to her relaxed style of speaking. Nothing seems particularly contrived. Most of it is, of course. But that’s a mark of outstanding theatre: making the planned look and feel natural.

Lewis encourages guests to talk about their relationship with cooking and culture, though you aren’t forced to speak or interact. It’s not group therapy. Observing and letting everything flow over you is perfectly fine. Conversations lead into invisible segues for autobiographical monologues from Lewis. She covers the experience of growing up in Singapore, under the shadow of her mother’s cooking and kitchen, which expands into contemplation of her parents’ courting days and 35-year marriage.

Lewis also talks about her three-year marriage to an Australian lad, starting with the safe territory of dinner parties, then moving into how newly weds negotiate marriage through love, death, triumphs and differences. These are not simply put down to cultural differences. Lewis recognises that our relationships are informed by all of our relationship experiences from the day we take a breath.

I felt privileged to be part of Saltwater. Lewis is a gracious, friendly and frank host who gives you a peek inside her private world in a way that makes you feel right at home.

Venue: Theatre Works, 14 Acland St, St Kilda
Dates: Until July 12, 2015
Tickets: $30 Full / $25 Conc (plus booking fee) Saltwater / Letters Home Double Bill – purchase a ticket to both shows for only $50 full price or $40 concession.
Booking: www.theatreworks.org.au

Image by Sarah Walker

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REVIEW: Arts House Presents FLUVIAL

Hypnotic, evocative and engrossing performance

By Myron My

It begins with a single chime that resonates through the room. It lingers in the space, bringing a calming, meditative state over the audience, and just as it ends another one begins and another and another.

Fluvial

I can only begin to wonder how composer and performer Matthias Schack-Arnott even began to visualise his installation for Fluvial. It consists of two rows about five metres long, of various metal rods, aluminum tubing and glass bottles running parallel to each other. A number of bottles and chimes hang from above with fishing wire, seemingly floating in the air. The pools of water along the rows and the name of the show itself, make this “river of percussion” a sight to behold.

Planted between the two rows is Schack-Arnott, our sole percussionist. As he slowly travels his way down, he creates a variety of sounds, some harmonious and some chaotic but even these latter create a sense of stillness in your mind. He is completely in the moment and the focus and concentration on his face is evident. You get the impression that every single drop of water splashed out of the pool and every clinking glass have been meticulously planned by Schack-Arnott.

The lighting design by Travis Hodgson works very well with the environment that is being set up. There is only a low light following Schack-Arnott, with everything else remaining in darkness. The only exception to is the sharp flashes of light that are formed by the materials on display. The feeling that the past and the future are not worth thinking about and our focus needs to be on the present is prevalent in the piece.

It’s no surprise that Fluvial won Schack-Arnott the 2014 Green Room Award for Outstanding Work by an Emerging Artist. It’s an enchanting piece of work that allows you to slow down and not only truly appreciate what you are watching and hearing, but also reflect on the effect it is having on you.

Venue: Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry St, North Melbourne

Season: Until 17 May | Thur-Sun 6:30pm, Fri 8.45pm, Sat 3.30pm, Sun 4pm

Tickets: $30 Full | $20 Conc

Bookings: Arts House