Tag: Hayden Burke

Poppy Seed Festival Presents WHAT’S YOURS IS MINE

Ambitious attempt to traverse an Australian cultural landscape

By Myron My

“Give me a home among the gum trees, with lots of plum trees…” How the Australian dream has changed since 1974. But has it been for better of for worse? Presented as part of the Poppy Seed Festival, Hotel Now’s What’s Yours Is Mine explores Australian values and ownership of a land that was never ours to own, with an elaborate touch of campness.

Whats Yours is Mine.jpg

The show begins at a reunion for Olympic Games volunteers where three friends – Milly, Ollie and Syd – reconnect and decide to go on a road trip together; Milly has just quit her job, Ollie has a car and Syd just wants to get away from everything. Cue road-trip montage and offbeat adventures as the three friends travel through the country.

The performances from Hayden Burke, Simone French and Tom Halls are full of energy and commitment, and having seen French and Halls in Hotel Now‘s 2016 Melbourne Fringe Festival show, Nothing Special, I found the two continue to share some great chemistry on stage. The direction by Yvonne Virsik is insightful and provoking in the way she chooses to represent and display the ideas raised in show.

What worked brilliantly in Nothing Special was the focus on an aspect of modern culture that was explored to the extreme. Sadly, I feel this doesn’t work as well in What’s Yours Is Mine, as this look at Australian culture is far too broad in scope, and what we end up seeing is a whole lot of ideas, but a disjointed story that is difficult to connect with.

There is a scene where the three characters describe all the “ingredients” needed in explaining what makes ‘Australian culture’, and I couldn’t help wishing the creators had taken their own advice here and been more refined and less haphazard with what they chose to explore and how they choose to do it. As it stands, What’s Yours Is Mine is a pretty performance to look at on the outside, but on the inside I’m afraid it felt a bit of a mess.

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
Season: Until 4 December | 8.30pm
Tickets: $35 Full | $25 Conc
Bookings: The Butterfly Club

Melbourne Fringe 2016: HOW CAN YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT?

Waking up to the world

By Myron My

In How Can You Sleep At Night?, Christian Taylor delves into the world of climate change, death and insomnia. While I was initially uncertain on how one could cover these three topics in detail and with clarity in a 60 minute show, Taylor easily accomplishes this and much more with his debut solo performance for the 2016 Melbourne Fringe Festival.

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Taylor is having somewhat of an existential crisis about the world while also dealing with what happened to Andy. He can’t sleep at night and the only one that he seems to be able to talk about this to is to a sentient jellyfish, voiced by a different actor every night. On the performance I attended, Hayden Burke had the honour and his sassy banter with Taylor was full of laughs and deep thoughts. If there were an award for best non-human performance in a Fringe show, it would go to the jellyfish.

Taylor is charmingly honest and vulnerable on stage, freely allowing the audience to see his anxieties and worries. His story-telling is engaging, and while he shares seemingly unconnected thoughts and ideas, by the end of the show he manages to bring them all together with ease. There are some really touching moments throughout the show, and to see people decline Taylor’s offer to dance the waltz with him was upsetting, such was the emotional response he elicits.

The intelligent set design and visuals aids used throughout the show prevent us from getting too overwhelmed or confused by the science and astrophysics information regarding the galaxy, gravity and mass. The lighting used is also well thought-out, particularly when Taylor gets us to imagine looking up into the sky, and seeing all the colourful stars that are out there.

Somehow Taylor has to try and make sense of all this confusion and uncertainty over the future – we all do. How Can You Sleep At Night? doesn’t seek to give you the answers, but it wants us to think about them and how our choices will ultimately affect us and everyone around us. Until then, as Taylor and the jellyfish acknowledge, all we can do is just keep swimming.

Venue: Fringe Hub – Upstairs at Errol’s, 69 – 71 Errol St, North Melbourne, 3051
Season: Until 23 September | Tues – Sat 6pm, Sun 7pm
Length: 60 minutes
Tickets: $24 Full | $20 Conc | $18 Cheap Tuesday
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival

Image by Bec Taylor