Tag: Malthouse

Finn and Porter’s THE FIERY MAZE

Sink into the music

By Leeor Adar

Twenty years later and the unburied treasure of Tim Finn and Dorothy Porter surfaces into a smoky, enchanted space at the Malthouse’s Beckett Theatre. It’s a minimalist space with a ring of lights surrounding the performing trio, Tim Finn, Brett Adams, and Abi Tucker.

The Fiery Maze.jpg

Tucker howls and serenades us with Porter’s visceral and haunting words, as if the very spirit of Porter possesses Tucker. Tucker’s performance is moody and earthy, and she breathes life with her voice into the stories of the stormy, moon-gazing kind of love that evokes something forgotten in her audience. Like quicksand, we are enveloped into the private world of Porter.

Finn’s music is gorgeous, and we expected it. Brett Adams on guitar is a revelation, and a perfect suitor for the music. The real core shakers, This World, My Magic Friend and Black Water are interspersed with the jagged energy of New Friends, Bride Doll and Making You Happy. Each song delivers a truth behind the kind of love that we remember and carry even if it’s not in our very present. Porter’s words are utterly relatable, even if we can’t admit it. Like in January, we hope for a tomorrow that may bring us something new, something better. Understandably, even decades later, Tucker asked after Black Water, wanting to revisit the music and words that never left her from that recording in 1995.

As an audience we feel no different. With Black Water still swimming in my veins, I too want to return to the balmy darkness of The Fiery Maze.

It’s a real treat for those seeking a soulful experience with this unique blend of poetry and music by world-class artists.

The Fiery Maze continues until 4 September at the Malthouse Theatre: http://malthousetheatre.com.au/whats-on/the-fiery-maze

Image by Pia Johnson

REVIEW: Meme Girls

Exploring the black hole of Youtube

By Myron My

Every day, people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views on videos. In Meme GirlsAsh Flanders has delved into the bottomless pit of YouTube vloggers and their videos, performing a selection of monologues in the dramatic camp fashion that Flanders does so well.

meme girls

There are a variety of videos that Flanders has chosen, from the serious to the absurd, such as the woman who tells you that one of the hardest things in life is learning how to fold a fitted sheet. Flanders nails each “character” he performs. The way he speaks, sounds, acts and moves; each person is unique.

Accompanying Flanders is the wonderful Art Simone. Simone has a presence to her that is instantly captivating and draws all our attention when she is on stage. I would have loved to have seen her more and do more, but the little time she has she effectively  blurs gender lines and identity; the same transformation that Flanders goes through during Meme Girls.

However, I’m not completely sold on the idea that the show has, as director Stephen Nicolazzo puts it, “genuine love of the genders, races and class (Flanders) represents on stage”. Some, most definitely, but others feel like they are being parodied and played for laughs and therefore lack the honesty or sincerity that I expected to see. Perhaps this is Flanders’ intention though and is commenting on the type of culture and lifestyle that we, as a society, seem to be obsessed with.

From a stagecraft perspective, this show cannot be faulted. How I would love to get inside Eugyeene Teh’s thought process and see how he consistently creates these brilliant sets and costume designs. His pink cylindrical tunnel, as if we are falling into the black hole that is YouTube, is absolutely stunning, especially when paired with Katie Sfetkidis’ lighting design. Along with THE SWEATS’ sound design; I have not been, in a very long time, so in awe, of the opening moments of a show as much as I have for Meme Girls.

Meme Girls is a wonderful showcase of talent from Nicolazzo, Flanders and the creative team behind it. Whilst the message it tries to make is not always clear or consistent, it is, as Simone mimes at one point during the show, “an unusual and exciting theatrical event“.

Venue: Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt St, Southbank

Season: Until 2 May | Wed – Sat 8pm, Tuesday 7pm, Saturday 2pm, Sunday 5pm

Tickets: $60 Full | $50 Conc | $30 Under 30

Bookings: Malthouse Theatre

REVIEW: Elena Knox is BILD-LILLI

Forget the Barbie dolls: this toy story packs a real punch

By Christine Moffat

The publicity material for this show tantalises with the following: “…Before Barbie, there was Bild-Lilli…
Hard drinking and smoking hot, this 50s icon riots her passage from Hamburg to Mattel.” This is not just publicity material; it is the essential back-story for a good understanding of what you are about to watch.  I am not personally enamoured with shows that require homework before viewing, but the ethereal way with which the narrative of Bild-Lilli is treated means that is what this show requires.

That being said, Elena Knox delivers a hard-working, thoroughly-researched performance that deserves the effort it demands of an audience.  If you go along with the (at times) surreal events on stage, you will be rewarded with a thought-provoking and intelligent show.  As writer and performer, Knox clearly aims to inform and challenge as much as she entertains.  Such an approach can divide an audience, and I feel it did on the night I attended. This sixty-minute art-cabaret-theatre-poetry “mash-up” packs in Bild-Lilli’s sixty-year history, along with so many themes and ideas that at times it was hard-going for the audience.

Upon reflection I believe that many of those attending did not have a solid idea of the show they had booked for, as I think this production achieved exactly what it promised.  The show is presented as part of the Helium season of new independent works at the Malthouse Theatre to showcase cutting-edge new works by independent Australian artists.  For my money, Bild-Lilli delivers admirably as  a challenging piece of avant-garde theatre that puts both its audience and performer through their paces.

The show is a realisation of Knox’s artistic vision, with just a hint of shoestring budget.  We are treated to endearingly clunky props and new musical compositions, along with confronting onstage costume changes.  The overall effect is an intense atmosphere in the room that could afford to offer the audience a couple more points of calculated relief.  Bild-Lilli’s poodle Scheisse does his best to assist in this way to great effect.

For me, this is a Frankensteinian recipe of old-school indie-theatre techniques, performance art and cerebral music combined to create a life-sized, freakishly attractive plastic-doll-of-a-show.  It contained just what it said on the box, ready or not!  Overall, I think it is worth your time to acquaint yourself a little with the Bild-Lilli story beforehand, so that the two of you can become even better acquainted during the show.

Shows: 

Tue 24–Sat 28 Jul, Tues 31 Jul–Sat 4 Aug

All tickets $25

For details see 
www.malthousetheatre.com.au/helium