by Laura Kressly
A make-your-own martini and a raffle for a gorilla novelty teapot is a great way to start a show. A massive game of musical chairs is a great way to continue it. And a fair of DIY, crafts and skills workshops is a blinding way to end it.
by guest critic Lara Alier
Visual poetry, movement and live music. Words that float and linger in the air like these two performers in the space.
Marah Stafford and Nicolas Hart perform a physical theatre piece devised from the poems of Jacques Prévert. The whole show is accompanied by Ben Murray on the accordion and piano.
Let’s get this out of the way first – does Hamilton live up to the hype? Yes. It’s very good. Though the revolution in the plot doesn’t influence the dramaturgy, that doesn’t mean it’s not a fantastic show that musically updates the genre and skillfully triggers a spectrum of emotions. It’s simultaneously epic and intimate, staged surprisingly simply with striking, sculptural choreography and utterly engaging throughout.
But this pro-immigration, hip-hop reinvention of the all-American musical about a country gaining independence from a distant, tyrannical overlord resonates rather differently in Brexit Britain than it does in America. Forget the NHS bus – could Hamilton be the new symbol of the Leave campaign?
Oskar is a child of myth and legend. Or maybe he’s just bad-tempered and noisy. Either way, he comes into a fictional world of darkening shadows that’s clearly pre-WWII Europe. Born with a fully adult brain, he looks down on most people around him but has simple, childish request – that his mother buys him a tin drum.
Think of your favourite stories as a young child. What did they have in common? Adventure. Youth. Fantasy. Foreign lands. Probably at least one good fight. Stories like Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island and Peter Pan are still popular, and for good reason. They’re compelling, well told stories.
But as a proud killjoy feminist, returning to these childhood favourites as an adult has proved troublesome. Action to the Word’s fairly solid reinvention of Peter Pan for seven actor-musicians is a fun, inventive adventure story that stays close to the original.
by guest critic Archie Whyld
Co-directors Frauke Requardt and David Rosenberg have created a piece of theatre which might be the closest I have ever felt to being in a dream whilst awake and not under the influence of psychoactive drugs.
‘The revolution is childcare!’ proclaims Busty Beatz from the top of her honeycomb mountain. The revolution also honours people from First Nations around the world, respects women of colour and escapes the constraints of imperialism. It’s owning your body, your sexuality and your race. It is Hot Brown Honey, the radical feminist cabaret from Australian women of colour.