Tag: Melbourne Fringe Festival 2013


Balanced and poised

By Myron My

With twenty-five years combined experience between them, Kali Retallack and Zoe Robbins are the two performers of Asoré: A Series of Rare Events. They have put together a circus show that is quite unlike any regular circus event. Set in the 1920s, we experience a quirky performance that is quite simple in delivery and yet one that requires great skill, timing and strength. The show predominantly consists of two techniques, hoola-hooping and foot-juggling, with some variations thrown in throughout.

I’ve seen quite a few circus shows, but Robbins’ foot-juggling is performed with precision timing and includes tricks that I have never seen before. My anxiety levels were on high alert when she began juggling various items with her feet, including two umbrellas.


Meanwhile, the juggling of fellow performer Retallack is possibly the most impressive act of the performance.

Whilst Retallack is also hypnotising when doing her aerial work on a hanging hoop, there were a few mishaps with wayward hoops during her standing routines. However, as with any circus show, mistakes and accidents happen and the attention is then on how the performers deal with it. Retallack remained composed at all times with a smile on her face and her confidence remained high.

The girls work the audience well with their interludes allowing the audience a breather from the intensity of what we are seeing. I particularly enjoyed the archival footage of various big-top circus acts, such as the woman who is balancing a chair in her mouth whilst she dances. Although a little too long, it works well with the theme of their 1920s travelling circus. The music used throughout is also a great contributor to supporting this appealing historical theme and environment. However, there are times when the artists attempt to talk over the music and become incredibly hard to hear. They either need to have microphones on or the music needs to be at a lower volume.

Asoré is an enjoyable 50 minutes of circus acts set to a different backdrop to that which we normally see. Its polished simplicity is  what makes it stand out above the rest.

Venue: Gasworks Arts Park, 21 Graham St, Albert Park

Season: Until 05 October | 8:00pm and Saturday 2:30pm

Tickets: $25 /$20 Conc

Bookings: www.gasworks.org.au, 9699 3253 or http://www.melbournefringe.com.au, 9660 9666


Neighbourhood watching

By Myron My

We all have them: the nosy neighbours who watch your every move from their living room window. They notice when you come home late one night or spot you putting your rubbish in someone else’s bin. They see who comes and who goes. Ann is that person. In Dangerous Lenses she spies a new tenant moving into her building with a young girl who he later denies was there. This leads Ann to believe the girl is suffering from neglect and abuse by her father, and she sets out to rescue her.

Written by Brooke Robinson, the script has strong elements of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window yet still retains its own sense of originality and a good dose of intrigue. The language used is very descriptive and elicits many visual imaginings from the audience.

Dangerous Lenses

The gradual descent of Ann is paced well and we are given the right amount of information as we need it, both to progress the story and also to start making our own decisions about what is happening or what may happen.

Adding to the tight script was Ekrem Mulayim’s impressive sound design and composition. Many times, it blended in and flowed with the dialogue and action so seamlessly that I didn’t even notice it had started or finished. It amplified the tension on stage wonderfully and helped add that extra layer of sophistication into the production.

Being a one-person play, there is always significant pressure on the actor to ensure you are able to carry the play and meet the demands of the character and Meredith Penman is more than able to do this. She disappears into Ann and her transformation from seemingly nice but prying neighbour to someone whose mental state slowly begins to unravel is subtle and gradual yet takes sudden and unexpected directions. She plays the character’s neuroses well and imbues Ann with the right amount of pathos right up until the climactic end.

Dangerous Lenses is an elegant and gripping piece of theatre and it’s a real shame that its season has ended because it really is one of my top choices for this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival.


A striking snapshot of the 70s

By Scarlett Harris

Last night was the penultimate performance of Nice Productions’ Domestic Warfare at Gasworks Arts Park as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Due to illness I was unfortunately unable to attend last week but I’m so glad I got the opportunity to see this production as Domestic Warfare is a poignant and plausibly realistic portrayal of domesticity in 1970s Australia.

Domestic Warfare

The hair, costuming and set design perfectly captured the chintzy orangeness of the era and, considering the amount of physicality and energy required of the actors, the cramped performance space was well-utilised. And, coming in at about 90 minutes, Domestic Warfare got its point across in a refreshingly short but hard-hitting manner.

While the male cast members (with the exception of Stephen Laffan playing the small but affecting role of the abusive father) were mostly lackluster, the female actors were brilliant: Rebecca Fortuna, who also served as playwright, as main character Dee; depressed younger sister Lily, played by Lauren Murtagh; archetypal 70s chicks Merrin (Nicolette Nespeca) and my personal favourite Sherry (Dayna Boase); and finally Linda Zilinskas in the role of long-suffering matriarch Nance, whose part was not large enough in my opinion.

While there were hints of amateur yet gritty student theatre, overall Domestic Warfare as directed by Luci Klendo succeeded in portraying the struggle of the traditional family unit to keep up with the rapidly changing zeitgeist of the play’s setting.

Domestic Warfare was performed 19-28 September at Gasworks for Melbourne Fringe Festival 2013.