Tag: Kellie Tori

Melbourne Fringe 2017: THE WAY THE CITY ATE THE STARS

Beautiful and beguiling

By Joana Simmons

Every once in a while, the stars align and the perfect string of events plays out. This was how I found myself in Wil Greenway’s poetic storytelling show The Way the City Ate the Stars. Saying “yes” to a last-minute review can certainly pay off, as this production is a poignant, simplistic piece of theatre that warms and breaks your heart at the same time. Accompanied by live music, it’s a story about childbirth, a summer drive, a mis-sent text, a broken heart and a bird.

The Way the City Ate the Stars.jpg

The black-box theatre space is the perfect setting for the subtle simplistic story that evolves. It’s stunning how Greenway and the accompanying musicians Kathryn Langshaw and Sam Rankin transform it into this wonderful world with their poetic words and authentic performances. Greenway, with a sparkle in his eye and the type of beard you want to rub your cheek against, energetically transports us from Melbourne Fringe to Christmas eve, where it’s hot, and everything smells like pine needles. His dry roguish humour puts us at ease, and the story’s beginning is relatable to the point where I could taste it, taking place on Sydney Rd with kebab in hand on a hot summer night, or morning. There’s more poignantly familiar elements in this story, some that are wildly fantastical and philosophical, and all are so skillfully painted with Greenway’s poetic colourful choice of words and interesting energetic physicality. I loved the way he comfortably broke the fourth wall, even when the story was in the grips of breath-taking suspense. It added a real Aussie ‘we can get serious but, yeah nah, don’t take ourselves too seriously’ charm.

The songs, played on acoustic guitar, have that light folksy vibe that is sweet and warm but with somewhat twisted lyrics, and they make humourous yet emotional additions to the show.  The music is by Langshaw and Rankin, and the show was directed by Kellie Tori: I imagine all involved are beaming with the success they had at Edinburgh Fringe, selling out and walking off with a few awards, and I have no doubt this show is going to have the same success this festival. Accolades aside, it’s the audience members who are fortunate enough to see the show that will be the true winners. My heart is still warm: I had a lump in my throat, and was on the edge of my seat at points of the show. Come the end, there were tears in my eyes and a huge smile on my face.

This Melbourne Fringe, where “Everything is Art” there are countless shows with all sorts of amazing bells and whistles. It’s overwhelming the amount of creativity all swirling around the city. But this show is so simplistically stunning, it’s one not to miss. Give yourself the emotional and intellectual hug that is The Way the City Ate the Stars, it’s uplifting, it’s weird, and it’s well worth your time.

Wil Greenway: The Way the City Ate the Stars

Venue: Fringe Hub: Arts House – Studio 2

Dates: 15-22 September (no Monday) Tue – Fri 9:15 PM, Sun 8:15 PM

Bookings: https://www.melbournefringe.com.au/event/wil-greenway-the-way-the-city-ate-the-stars/

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REVIEW: La Mama Presents GOBLINS

Six women reach across time to seek justice

By Myron My

Melbourne-based theatre company Panopticon Collective are dedicated to creating new Australian work that focuses on national identity and social responsibility. Performed at La Mama as part of their Explorations season, their newest production Goblins attempts to do just that, with mixed results.

Goblins

The “goblins” in this work are six women from six historical eras ranging from 2000BC to 2015, who are telling six individual yet thematically similar stories. Each of these women face some sort of persecution for daring to have control of their mind and body, and for speaking up for what they believe in. Written by Jeni Bezuidenhout and Cassandra-Elli Yiannacou, each story is predominantly a ten-minute monologue as we attempt to get inside these women’s heads and see what drives them to be such a courageous force as they confront their fears.

As we enter the venue, there are six bodies lying on the floor covered in white sheets. It is a powerful scene with which to begin, as we think about these “dead” women and reliving the stories they have to tell. It links well with the writers’ idea of showing history repeating itself and that women who dare speak up or act against social norms will be punished. The cast – Eva Justine Torkkola, Isabelle Bertoli, Kellie Tori, Luke Lennox, Bezuidenhout and Yiannacou – are, for the most part, strong and authentic in their portrayals.

However, I felt the stories themselves needed to be far more distinct from one another. Even across the various eras and with the different actors, by the time the final monologue began, I struggled to remember what each story was. While the narratives dealt with different ideas of persecution, the stories only offered a surface level that did not allow for richly drawn characters to present themselves to us. The anecdote that felt the most authentic and sophisticated was the last (“Danielle’s story”), with the closing moments creating some strong visuals that were poignantly reminiscent of the show’s opening.

The stage design by Marcus Verdi and lighting by Jaidan Leeworthy are prime examples of how less can often be more. Both are able to build adroitly on the hostility and loneliness these women faced in their lives. There is however, a distinct lack of sound or music throughout Goblins, and there are times where its presence could have intensified the emotions and experience for both the characters and the audience.

Goblins is still a work in development and changes are likely. If the writers can focus on telling six iconic stories that have heart and emotion rather than a series of more generic narratives, I feel this could well go on to have a life outside of the Explorations seasons at La Mama Theatre.

Goblins was performed between 7 -9 December at La Mama Theatre