Tag: Ursula Martinez

Malthouse Presents WILD BORE

Frightfully funny

By Caitlin McGrane

Where to even begin with this one? My best friend and I have this long-running joke where we text each other photos of slightly out-of-place objects, like an abandoned sock on the ground or a lonely piece of graffiti on a wall, alongside the caption, ‘but is it art?’ I’m not sure quite how this started but it never fails to make me laugh. And this week while I watched Wild Bore at The Malthouse I was reminded of this joke because it seemed as though the creative minds behind this project may have been in on it as well.

Wild Bore Tim Grey Photography.jpg

The production starts with bottoms. Gloriously unfiltered female derrières proudly presented to a somewhat bemused audience. This is a show about answering your critics (or is it?) and the opening (pun 100% intended) sets the tone from the start – this is going to be fun and deeply bonkers. Zoë Coombs-Marr, Ursula Martinez and Adrienne Trustcott led us up and down on a wild, wild ride. The show is extremely visual, with most of the show a long-running graphic joke about sticking stuff up your bum. It also features probably the most wonderful and well-executed knob gag I’ve ever seen. It was amazing. I loved it.

After years of writing about film and theatre, wanting to tear my eyes out with rage and disappointment at yet another ‘sad heterosexual white boy’ play about a moody woman who just. won’t. love. him, I was practically punching the air with joy at the end of Wild Bore. I can’t count the number of times I’ve wanted to stand up in a theatre and scream ‘WHERE ARE THE WOMEN?’ and this show seemed like the perfect, jaw-achingly funny reply to this question, which is that we’re here, and we’re not fucking going anywhere.

Happily, the show didn’t feel like it had a paucity of representational identity politics, Coombs-Marr, Martinez and Trustcott spoke for themselves, on their own terms and with their own real voices. They were joined all too briefly by Krishna Istha who lit up the stage with their dazzling consciousness-raising speech demanding better treatment and representation of people of colour, trans and gender non-conforming people in the arts. I was utterly blown away by this show and am beyond thrilled to see Coombs-Marr, Istha, Martinez and Trustcott setting the bar so high for truly interesting theatre.

The show was well-supported by set and costume design from Danielle Brustman (I want a pair of those bum-less trousers to use in reply whenever men tell me to smile), sound design from Raya Slavin and lighting design from Richard Vebre truly helped sustain the laughter, while stage manager Harriet Gregory made some excellent deliberate dramaturgical decisions.

This show deserves support not just because it includes better gross-out humour than Bridesmaids but also because it makes no apologies for doing exactly what you’re ‘not supposed to do’; by answering and gently mocking critics, the performers allow us to see how ludicrously seriously we sometimes take ourselves, including the impossibly high standards we set for performers, especially women. Tearing down expectations is not the same as tearing down critics, and this show demonstrated how wonderful that can be.

Wild Bore is now showing at The Malthouse until 4 June. Tickets and more information: http://malthousetheatre.com.au/whats-on/wild-bore

Image by Tim Grey Photography

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Midsumma Festival 2017: FREE ADMISSION

Wise, witty, and built to break down boundaries

By Myron My

It’s been eight years since I first saw Ursula Martinez performing in London and was introduced to her hilarious tongue-in-cheek humour. Presented as part of this year’s Midsumma Festival, Martinez returns to the stage with Free Admission, a show full of her unique comedy stylings which has us questioning how our thoughts and choices can easily prevent us from leading the life we desire, while also wittily providing a literal lesson in construction for us.

free-admission

Martinez’s delivery is well-paced. with an intentional air of awkwardness as she initially explains in a slow speech, as if what she is sharing about life is taboo and shouldn’t be spoken about. As the show progresses the confidence in her voice begins to pick up and find her a new rhythm. While a small portion of the dialogue is quite jarring (and perhaps that is her intention), the majority gives Martinez the opportunity to open up amusingly but affectingly about her insecurities, hopes, fears and disappointments.

As she shares these with us, Martinez begins to build an actual wall between herself and her audience, further emphasising this idea of being caged in or locked up with your own thoughts and shutting out the world and other people. With America’s current attempts to build a wall along the border of Mexico, this is quite a powerful topical element of the show, and while Free Admission does not explicitly reference this, it is still poignantly political with reference to gender and sexuality, refugees, feminism and equality.

The last two concerns are further addressed with Martinez’s outfit; wearing a black top with a crisp white pant-suit and her hair tied up in a bun, she dons a pair of dirty work-gloves and begins constructing her wall. Appearances can be deceiving and Martinez is all about breaking preconceived notions and ideas.

By the end, Martinez shows the freedom and joy of breaking through the walls in our lives in a finale that is uplifting and positive. Free Admission is a well-crafted and intelligent comedy show that is busy building up big ideas and deconstructing important issues: it has a lot to say, and a whole lot more to love and think about.

Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Rd, Southbank
Season: Until 5 February | Fri 9:15pm, Sat 3pm and 6:30pm, Sun 5pm
Tickets: $35 – $45
Bookings:
Midsumma Festival

REVIEW: Finucane and Smith with GLORY BOX: PARADISE

Glorious performances

By Myron My

The highly revered Finucane & Smith have returned to fortyfivedownstairs with their subversive and seductive show Glory Box: Paradise that brings together a myriad of extremely talented women for a variety of acts, from circus to dance to cabaret performance, in a non-stop evening of evocative entertainment.

Glory Box Paradise Image by Jodie Hutchinson

Under the creative direction of Jackie Smith, Moira Finucane soon shows us why she has been so successful over the years, with sell-out seasons around the world for almost a decade. Her performance of ‘A Sunny Afternoon’ was highly emotional whereby, with no spoken word beyond the lyrics, she made a moving statement about our notions of beauty in society. When paired with U2’s hit ‘With or Without You’, the room was frozen in place with the audience deep in contemplation, having been left to our own devices to determine the underscored meaning.

Having experienced British cabaret star Ursula Martinez four years ago in London I was very excited to be seeing her again and I was not disappointed. Also sometimes referred to as the Red Hanky Lady, Martinez’s ‘Hanky Panky’ is always going to be a crowd favourite. Her collaborations with Guinness World Record hoola hooper Jess Love were highly entertaining and the final reveal of ‘Quick Change Sex Change’ proved that with a show like this, we can always expect the unexpected.

It’s an evening of no lulls or disappointments with strong performances by Holly Durant, Lily Paskas and Yumi Umiumare throughout, as well as a few songs by Yana Alana fresh from her Melbourne Cabaret Festival season. There are also a number of special guests joining these remarkable women throughout the season including Rhonda Burchmore and Paul Capsis.

There is a lot of nudity in Glory Box: Paradise but I found it to be quite liberating and affirming, even as a male, to see all these women being nude, or close to, on stage and not being embarrassed or making a big deal about it. There is a strong underlying message in this show regarding what it means to be a beautiful woman, in that all women are beautiful and should never be ashamed of their bodies – a sentiment you hear often but rarely witness being enacted.

In short, you will laugh, you will be inspired, you will think, and things will get messy – especially if you are sitting in the front few rows – but that’s all part of the fun and celebration of Finucane & Smith’s Glory Box: Paradise.

Venue: fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Season: Until 11 August | Thurs 7:00pm, Fri-Sat 7:oopm and 9:30pm, Sun 5:30pm

Tickets: From $25 – $88.88

Bookings: http://www.fortyfivedownstairs.com/events or 9662 9966