Tag: Timothy Christopher Ryan

REVIEW: Fringe Festival’s CARNEVIL

Unravel the mystery

By Myron My

I don’t even know where to begin in reviewing CarnEvil, and that is impressive. Conceived by Timothy Christopher Ryan, in collaboration with Stephanie Wood, Alexandra Meerbach, Joseph Chapman, Sam Whelan and Nithya Nagarajan, it is part show, part immersion, part murder-mystery and a whole lot of fun.


Firstly, the transformation of the Collingwood Underground Car Park into a carnival ground is extreme and effective – it even has a maze (and a creepy maze at that). There are tents and stall set up including fortune tellers, medicine women, a peep show and a few carnival games like bobbing for apples. However, even when murder occurs (which it does), the fun and games continue with various performances taking place throughout the course of the night.

We are free to roam and do as we please, and interaction with the actors/performers is heavily encouraged. There are clues and hints to assist in finding the killer and the only way to learn of these is to immerse yourself into the carnival world. I felt like a nosy reporter trying to get as much information as I could.

The variety of dazzling acts range from burlesque, singing and clowning with my highlights on the evening I attended being Whelan’s pole dance routine and guest performer for the night, Sir Hoops A Lot and his mesmerizing hoops work.

The commitment that all the performers have to their characters allows the authenticity of this world to flourish, which is not the easiest thing to do when you don’t really have a script to follow. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Meerbach, Whelan and Woods’ characters and how they interacted with the audience.

CarnEvil is a highly recommended two hours of fun and intrigue – just keep an eye on that pesky clown, you don’t know where he’s going to pop out from…

Venue: Collingwood Underground Car Park, 44 Harmsworth St, Collingwood

Season: Until 27 September | 7:30pm

Tickets: $20 Full | $18 Conc

Bookings: http://www.melbournefringe.com.au


They’re all mad, there…

By Myron My

To enter A F*#cking Mad Tea Party at Melbourne Fringe Festival, one must first take a test. Only when the task is complete to the guard’s satisfaction is permission granted to head on upstairs and join the party. Upon having passed, I am greeted by a number of characters including a French0speaking woman and a man in a wooden chest, seemingly stuck there.

A Mad Tea Party

We are free to roam the space – which is amazing – and interact with the other “guests” at the party.  The Wonderland transformation affects the whole performance space (even areas that are not specifically used), inevitably adding to the authenticity of the evening.  It may have taken two days to set everything up but it clearly took a lot longer to get everything together and prepared.

The performers – Cassandra Belfrange, Jack Bennett, Rachelle Harvey, Ryan Lovat, Timothy Christopher Ryan and Samantha Wojcik – are brilliant and each one of them embraces and embodies their character with much gusto and love. They are all so dedicated and committed that it is impossible to pick a favourite or standout.

The music throughout the show has a variety of songs ranging from Marilyn Monroe to Laura Marling and some dreamy musical scores to name a few. Each one adds a unique element to the show depending on the individual act we are seeing. However it is through most of these acts that I feel A F*#cking Mad Tea Party suffers. Interspersed throughout the story are dance routines, circus acts and even a touch of burlesque but these performances needed tightening. There was much potential in each of them, but they all seemed to finish before they peaked. Perhaps in a more traditional performance these pieces would have satisfied, but this is Wonderland and I was hoping for something more adventurous and daring.

That said, immersive theatre seems to be popping up more and more in Melbourne (there are quite a few such shows during the Fringe Festival), but there’s something special about A F*#cking Mad Tea Party that requires viewing. It’s silly and strange and captivating and innocent and dangerous and I suspect you will not be able to find anything even remotely similar to experiencing a unique evening like this.

Venue: Norm. 34 Breese St, Brunswick

Season: 24-28 September | 8:00pm

Tickets: $27 Full | $22 Conc

Bookings: http://amadteaparty.com.au and http://www.melbournefringe.com.au