Jazz, Music, News, Performing arts, Reviews

From sublime to incendiary

Review: Perth International Jazz Festival, Kristin Berardi/Sam Anning; Tal Cohen Quartet; Veronica Swift ⋅
State Theatre Centre, November 10 ⋅
Review by Garry Lee ⋅

The Perth International Jazz Festival reached its climax on Sunday with a series of contrasting concerts of world class standard. There was also a healthy dose of local musicians involved; of the seven musicians performing in the three concerts I attended, five were graduates from the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

On Sunday afternoon over fifty jazz aficionados were treated to the sublime sounds of vocalist Kristin Berardi and bassist Sam Anning in the Heath Ledger Theatre. The unusual duo of voice and bass does have a precedent in jazz with the pairing of United States artists Sheila Jordan and Harvie S in the 1970s. However the Berardi/Anning duo reflected more contemporary influences – think perhaps Joni Mitchell and Wendy Waldman. They also revealed broader influences including Celtic folk music such as on Anning’s composition Fields Are Sown where his arco (bowed) bass masterfully provided a sonic mood that clearly extended beyond the usual jazz idiom. US jazz pianist/composer Brad Mehldau’s Lament for Linus provided a piece that certainly was from the jazz repertoire. Mehldau was inspired by Homer’s Iliad for this composition from his 1997 Art of the Trio album and Berardi has added lyrics including a superb vocalese rendition of the original piano solo.

a bassist and vocalist share the stage
The simpatico of Sam Anning and Kristin Berardi. Photo Adele Varris.

The emphasis was on original repertoire and this duo showed why individually they are at the very top of Australia’s jazz talent. Their simpatico and virtuosity was evident on every piece and their new album Our Songs, Not Songs (Earshift Music) is certainly recommended. The sound in the theatre was excellent but it would be advisable for the front of house staff to allow patrons to enter only between tunes.

At 5pm in the State Theatre Courtyard, the Tal Cohen Quartet commenced. Israeli-born but Perth-educated pianist Cohen possesses a jazz conception that is virtuosic, lyrical, dynamic and frequently humorous. Now based in Miami, he surely has a strong jazz career to look forward to. With Jamie Oehlers on tenor saxophone, whom Cohen referred to as “my mentor and friend”, Karl Florisson (bass) and Ben Vanderwal (drums) this quartet most certainly delivered.

Tal Cohen plays the State Theatre Courtyard. Photo Mark Francesca.

Cohen set the stage for a most enjoyable set with the rarely played 1938 Sammy Fain composition I’ll Be Seeing You that was obfuscated both in its harmony and the delivery of the melody. His self-deprecating introduction to Cedar Meets the Jews was priceless; an attempt to write in the style of the late and great Cedar Walton had resulted in something more like a Jewish tune. Nevertheless, you might have heard in Cohen’s composition references to Firm Roots and Bolivia, two of Walton’s most famous compositions. The duo piece for piano and sax was exquisite and the interplay throughout between Cohen and the ever inspirational Vanderwal was a highlight.

Now to perhaps the climax of the 2019 Festival. The hard swinging trio rendition of Almost Like Being In Love, from Harry Mitchell (piano), Nick Abbey (bass) and Ben Vanderwal (drums) set the stage for 25 year old American vocal virtuoso Veronica Swift.

Swift is the daughter of vocalist Stephanie Nakasian and, as Swift described, “the great and late Hod O’Brien” (a jazz pianist of immense talent; check out Hod’s rendition of You and the Night and the Music]. Swift immediately put everyone on notice with an up-tempo rendition of Cole Porter’s I Get a Kick Out of You (with a possible implied dedication to Samantha Kerr). The tempo took no prisoners and the rhythm section was totally relaxed with the challenge.

Veronica Swift at the State Theatre Centre. Photo Mark Francesca.

Swift, who has toured with Wynton Marsalis, has jazz in her DNA and her scatting ability – where she vocally improvises over the harmony of a tune – is unbelievable. DownBeat magazine jazz critic Bill Milkowski has noted she has “perfect pitch and phrasing” and this was most evident. However her rendition of Lionel Bart’s As Long As He Needs Me from the musical Oliver showed that she can deliver a ballad emphatically. Incendiary, if not spontaneous combustion, might be a way of describing the quartet’s treatment of Bobby Timmons’ classic Dat Dere – an anthem of the gospel jazz or soul jazz sub-genre. The duo of vocals and bass on King Pleasure’s No Not Much provided a contrast and showed intelligent and mature programming from Swift.

The Ella Fitzgerald-inspired Pennies From Heaven invoked a standing ovation that required an encore. David Frishberg’s I’m Hip – a tune synonymous with the late Blossom Dearie – provided the icing on the cake.

This is Swift’s first visit to Australia where she also performed in Sydney and Melbourne. Her progress in the future will be followed by this scribe and I believe the festival pulled off a coup in presenting such a talented artist at the commencement of her career.

Pictured top: Veronica Swift wows the crowd with Harry Mitchell (piano), Nick Abbey (bass) and Ben Vanderwal (drums). Photo Mark Francesca.

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Jazz, Music, News, Reviews

Jazz feast begins

Review: Perth International Jazz Festival, ‘Clayton Doley’; ‘Chelsea McBride’s Socialist Night School’ ⋅
Ellington Jazz Club; State Theatre Centre Courtyard, November 8 ⋅
Review by Rosalind Appleby ⋅

A balmy spring evening welcomed international and interstate jazz artists on the first night of the Perth International Jazz Festival. As the sun went down jazz fans began milling around Northbridge and at the Ellington Jazz Club fans grooved shoulder to shoulder to the smooth tunes laid down by Australian keyboard legend Clayton Doley.

The Sydney-based Doley, backed by an impressive line-up of local musicians, delivered a polished first set. As the New Orleans-infused compositions flowed from his fingers it became clear why Doley is the keyboard player of choice for Jimmy Barnes, and has played alongside everyone from Guy Sebastian to the band members from Booker T and the MG’s.

Doley led an eight-piece band from the keyboard, his tasteful Hammond organ solos throwing back to the great blues players from the 60’s. His compositions fused funk, shuffle, jump blues and acid jazz, overlayed with a lush dose of soul. It was the perfect combination to melt stress on a Friday evening.

You would be hard pressed to find a more laid back groove than Baby John Burgess, with its nonchalant downwards stepping riff sitting right back on the beat laid down by Ben Vanderwal (drums), Dave Brewer (guitar) and Wayne Freer (bass). The warm tones of the horn section (Dylan Hooper and Alistair McEvoy saxophones, Ricki Malet trumpet and Catherine Noblet trombone) added their well-balanced punctuations. Wandering above them, with every note landing in perfect agreement with the band, were Doley’s beautifully paced organ solos.

Doley’s smooth baritone voice was light enough to croon and with just enough edge to make it soulful. His quirky lyrics revealed a larrikin side that married happily with cruisy R&B rhythms. Waiting for the Coffee, written while in New Orleans, described the wear and tear of life in a tough town: “Last night I got ripped/ Today I woke up torn/ Baby, I don’t want to mourn for you”. Shredding the spaces in between the lyrics was his organ: sweet, psychedelic and rocking hard.

Chelsea McBride and the Socialist Night School. Photo Mark Francesca

It was hard to tear ourselves away but worth it so that we could arrive at the State Theatre Centre Courtyard in time to hear Canadian band leader Chelsea McBride open her set. In fact her opening piece was the perfect transition; Revolution Blues opened with a blues ostinato riff, delivered by McBride on tenor saxophone and soon joined by the full swagger of 19 piece big band Socialist Night School (a composite of musicians from the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra and elsewhere.) McBride is a rising star in the Toronto jazz scene and her compositional chops and relaxed authority make her a charismatic band leader.

Most of the music was drawn from her new album Aftermath, released last week and delivered with impressive finesse by the local band. McBride’s writing is political, harmonically fresh and firmly embedded in the catchy hooks and lushness of big band tradition. Porcelain struck a chord (pardon the pun) with its blues bass line overlayed with edgy harmonies and cutting #mettoo lyrics. Twilight Fall’s dense orchestration had a Pink Floyd psychedelic feel and told an intriguing musical tale of purple skies and rusted carousels.

Kudos to festival director Mace Francis for this fabulous opportunity to hear the newest sounds emerging from Canada, and to witness the cross fertilisation of ideas as international artists shared the stage with the young stars from our own backyard. And there’s plenty more of this to come over the weekend in a festival program that is as egalitarian as it is extravagant. Don’t miss out on this feast for your ears.

The Perth International Jazz Festival continues until Sunday 10th November.

Pictured top: Clayton Doley plays the Ellington Jazz Club. Photo Rosalind Appleby

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Lady holding lemon slices in front of her eyes
Calendar, December 19, Performing arts, Theatre

Theatre: Lemon

3 – 7 December @ The Blue Room Theatre ·
Presented by Theatre Arts ·

Theatre Arts at Curtin’s Hayman Theatre presents Lemon, written by Gita Bezard and directed by Adam Mitchell.

It’s hard not to be cynical when the world is on fire. This new play weaves together characters struggling with the destruction of the planet, the pessimists, the fighters and those who see the world through lemon tinted glasses.

Annie is interviewing for apocalypse friends. Storm believes that love will come if you just ask loud enough. Daniel is going to save the world as soon as he gets his blog started, you just wait and see. “Lemon” is an ecological comedy about finding the joy in hopelessness.

More info
W: https://blueroom.org.au/events/lemon/
E:  haymantheatre@curtin.edu.au

Pictured: Lemon

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Drag Queen cabaret artiste
Cabaret, Calendar, November 19, Performing arts

Cabaret: Carlotta: Queen of The Cross

14 – 16 November @ Downstairs at the Maj ·
Presented by His Majesty’s Theatre ·

Australian icon, political activist, living legend: Carlotta has led an extraordinary life. Outrageously funny and brutally honest, the inspiration for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert takes you on another whirlwind ride with songs and stories from 50 years on and off the stage.  Accompanied by Helpmann Award winner Michael Griffiths.

“Watching Carlotta Queen of the Cross is attending an audience with a living legend” – Stage Whispers

“Her voice is strong and her timing impeccable…the applause was deafening” – Global Media Post

More info:
https://www.ptt.wa.gov.au/venues/his-majestys-theatre/whats-on/carlotta-queen-of-the-cross/

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Rock band on stage
Calendar, December 19, Music, Performing arts

Music: AMERICA – 50th Annniversary Tour

8 December @ Perth Concert Hall ·
Presented by Bluesfest Touring ·

AMERICA return to Australia to kick start the summer. Celebrating their 50th Anniversary, the iconic Classic Rock and Grammy Award winning duo, Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell will perform some of their best known classic hits from the ’70s and 80s including ‘Ventura Highway’, ‘Horse with No Name’,  ‘I Need You’, ‘Don’t Cross the River’, ‘Tin Man’, ‘Sister Golden Hair’, and ‘You Can Do Magic’.

Lead singers, songwriters and guitarists Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell, continue to transcend  borders with their uplifting music and positive message. Embracing a rainbow on divergent cultures,  AMERICA’s audience continues to grow, comprising a loyal legion of first, second and third generation  fans, all bearing testament to the group’s enduring appeal.

More info
W: www.perthconcerthall.com.au/events/event/america
E:  boxoffice@perthconcerthall.com.au

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Dance, Music, News, Reviews

Navigating an uncertain path

Review: Strut Dance and Tura New Music, “In Situ 2019” ·
Cyril Jackson Senior Campus, 6 November ·
Review by Nina Levy ·

I’ve always loved the premise of “In Situ”. An annual program of site-specific works by Perth-based independent choreographers and composers, “In Situ” has taken audiences on adventures through various local buildings since its 2014 premiere in Uncle Joe’s Mess Hall (a café-cum-barbershop in the Perth CBD), including Fremantle Arts Centre (2015), the State Theatre Centre of WA (2016), St George’s Cathedral (2017) and East Perth’s Girls School creative precinct (2018).

Curated by Serena Chalker and Geordie Crowley with Daisy Saunders, this year’s program has moved further east again, to Cyril Jackson Senior Campus in Bassendean. And that’s not the only thing that’s different.

Until now, the basic formula for “In Situ” has remained the same: a walking tour of the venue, with different works presented in different (and sometimes surprising) locations.

The twist this year is that punters are not guided from work to work but are free to wander the venue. It’s not often that we get to view dance installation-style and, personally, I enjoy choosing how much time to spend with each work. So I approached the preview of “In Situ” with interest.

On arrival at the season’s preview, audience members were presented with a program, the cover of which is a map of the venue. The school gates were opened and we were released into the school grounds.

As one the audience headed to the first visible performance (Roam, by choreographer Scott Galbraith and composer Alexander Turner) at the end of an outdoor walkway, but as I was at the back of the pack, I couldn’t see. I looked around but there were no other signs of life, only dimly lit school buildings. I consulted my map but wasn’t sure where I was in relation to the five marked performance spaces.

With guidance I found my way to another vantage point but that feeling of confusion – and anxiety about possibly missing key elements of the five works – remained with me. My anxiety heightened when I realised (about halfway through the program!) that, contrary to my assumption that all works would be running continuously, there was a running order and, in some cases, the works only ran for a short period of time. I was filled with sudden horror that I may have missed a work entirely.

Post-show, I wonder if the uncertainty I experienced is intended by the curatorial team, given that the works themselves all have a mysterious, even discomforting quality.

A man holds a water balloon to his head. he is bathed in sunlight.
Ritualistic: Scott Galbraith in ‘Roam’. Photo: Emma Fishwick

Though I missed the opening of Roam (performed by Galbraith and Turner), I enjoyed the almost ritualistic way Galbraith navigates and handles the many greyscale water balloons that frame the work. When he flung one to meet its watery end against the brick wall of a classroom, a fellow audience member remarked with a sigh, “Deeply satisfying.”

The second work I came upon was All Hit Radio FM, by choreographer Joshua Pether and composer Dane Yates. This work sees “the spirit of Bassendean” (dancer Nadia Martich) waft and wend her way – not aimlessly but perhaps endlessly – between translucent sheets that, on Wednesday night, billowed like ghosts in the night-time breeze.

A dancer pressed up against a translucent sheet
Nadia Martich as ‘the Spirit of Bassendean’ in ‘All Hit FM Radio’. Photo: Emma Fishwick.

Moving around a corner I saw clusters of audience members, donning headphones and peering into the windows of the Artshouse. Inside was Preparations for the future and other catastrophic events, by choreographer Michelle Aitken with performers Mitchell Aldridge and Jessie Camilleri-Seeber, and composer Rebecca Riggs-Bennett. Here, two dancers power through a studio space; eddying and falling as though caught in a slipstream. Viewers choose between two sound channels; though I only experienced each briefly it seemed that one was driving, the other more meditative, and it was interesting to witness the way the different soundscapes affected the mood of this dynamic work. But all too soon it was over – it seemed I had arrived well into the piece’s duration.

Hoping for more I waited at the Artshouse, in case the dancers returned. By the time I ventured to the carpark, where a performer (Turner) encased in another translucent sheet careered inside a circle of fairy lights, that work – Turner’s rerail – was almost finished too.

Two men stand facing one another. One clasps the other's face.
Yvan Karlsson and Tao Issaro make a magical team in ‘fired but not yet glazed’. Photo: Emma Fishwick.

And so to fired but not yet glazed, created and performed by choreographer Yvan Karlsson and composer Tao Issaro. Unlike the rest of the program, the audience was ushered into the performance space – a ceramic studio – so all saw this compelling work in its entirety. Exploring ideas about facing the world when one feels not yet completely grown-up or “glazed”, this work is a gorgeous melange of clay on skin, of sinuous, sinewy movement; coupled with a delicious score of live-performed vocals and percussion played on a mix of found and traditional instruments, mixed with recorded sounds. As both creators and performers Issaro and Karlsson make a magical team.

It’s pleasing to see the curatorial team experimenting with the format of “In Situ”, and the program is worth catching, but at the preview I felt that more guidance or information would have been beneficial for audience members.

“In Situ” runs until November 9.

Pictured top are Jessie Camilleri-Seeber and Mitchell Aldridge in ‘Preparations for the future and other catastrophic events’. Photo: Emma Fishwick.

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News, Performing arts, Reviews, Theatre

A local story of love and courage

Review: Squid Vicious, Cephalopod ·
The Blue Room Theatre, 4 November ·
Review by David Zampatti ·

It never rains but it pours; we have two new, engrossing plays about young Asian women growing up in, and coping with, suburban Perth – Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa’s Fully Sikh and now Jess Nyanda Moyle’s Cephalopod (sadly I missed a third, Doreshawar Khan’s Sharbat, also at the Blue Room).

Their methods are vastly different, but their matter is remarkably similar. Both Moyle, the child of a Filipina mother and white Australian father, growing up in Whitfords, in Perth’s northern suburbs, and Khalsa and her rambunctious Sikh family, ensconced forty kilometres south in Leeming, shared the debilitating oppression of the formidable, and often belligerent, Anglo-Australian culture (microaggressions, as Moyle neatly puts it in her programme notes).

Impressively, though, what comes through in both their stories is their courage, their love for their families and their positivity. Australia gave both of them plenty of reasons to reject it; neither of them did.

This does not mean that they bowed to the pressure of the dominant culture; rather that they expressed their own, and themselves, both through, and despite, it.

Pictured L-R: Jess Nyanda Moyle, Andrew Sutherland, Ramiah Alcantara and Molly Earnshaw. Photo: Mitchell Aldridge

Cephalopod is a play in two very distinct parts. The first is a phantasmagoria whose central conceit is the burgeoning spread of Asian peoples through migration and the thriving lives they lead in their new homes, juxtaposed with the natural history of cephalopods – the squid, the octopus and the cuttlefish (factoid: cephalopods seem to be a rare beneficiary of climate change – their range and numbers increasing dramatically since the ’50s).

There’s some heady – you might say bizarre – stuff goes on in the imagination of the teenaged Moyle as she hangs, lonely, at Whitford City; songs and images, strange associations and a lot of sexy, audacious fun.

Know much about cephalerotica? You’ve come to the right place, boyo.

All this is red meat for Renegade Productions supremo, the everlasting Joe Lui, who cracks the whip on this one. He draws wholehearted, fearless performances from Ramia Alcantara, Molly Earnshaw, Moyle and Squid Vicious co-founder Andrew Sutherland, whose fingerprints are all over the murder weapon as well.

It’s also a sumptuous production despite its basic box set – much credit due to Mia Holton’s dense, antiquarian visuals,  Lui’s complex, aware sound design and Jason Ng Junjie’s lighting.

It all climaxes with a woo-oo-wo-wo-wo-wo-o-o Tagalog singalong of Farnham’s “You’re the Voice” that had us hollerin’ and clapping the cast.

But wait. There was more.

There’s a second act that is a completely different beast, a simple, direct, near-monologue from Moyle, telling the story of her family – here and back in the Philippines; the tough times and good times, her journey to understand herself and her sexuality, and her, ultimately successful, search for self-realisation and love.

White Australia has a habit of congratulating itself for its acceptance of the immigrant. The true stories of these great young women suggest a need to think more carefully about who should be congratulated.

Cephalopod runs until November 14.

Pictured top: Jess Nyanda Moyle. Photo: Mitchell Aldridge.

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Dance, Features, News

Dance in vast spaces

Choreographer Brooke Leeder isn’t afraid to go big, and her new work RADAR – which will premiere as part of the Fremantle Biennale – is no exception, discovers Millie Hunt*.

Brooke Leeder

Brooke Leeder’s most recent undertaking, RADAR, sees her at the helm of a cast which incorporates the talents of professional dancers as well as a youth ensemble from John Curtin College of the Arts (JCCA), plus composer Louis Frere-Harvey and lighting designer Nemo Gandossini-Poirie. RADAR premieres November 21, inside Fremantle’s iconic B-Shed, a massive space that Leeder plans to reinvigorate with contemporary dance.

In RADAR Leeder explores sound and the way it triggers human movement. “There’s an unspoken understanding that we universally respond to auditory cues,” she observes. “Sounds incite movement, but also signal different things to different people. I’m interested in human movement en masse, exploring how large-scale responses can be evoked through specific noises.”

Leeder’s decision to use a youth ensemble from JCCA alongside a cast of professional dancers was both practical and artistic. “It really stemmed from the idea of wanting mass movement, as well as having this double alignment with the whole concept of the 2019 Fremantle Biennale,” she explains “The overarching concept for this year’s Biennale program is ‘undercurrent’, and I thought, ‘It just works.’ It’s the undercurrents, it’s the under the surface, it’s the youth that are coming in to the industry and how we are revealing the way industry works for these young people.”

This is not the first time Leeder has tackled an unconventional venue, and also not the first time that space has been huge. Last year she presented Structural Dependency in PS Art Space, a 1900s warehouse that has been converted into a gallery and performance space. Both the B Shed and PS Art Space provide much more room to move than a traditional stage, so what draws Leeder to working in these massive spaces?

“I have really liked presenting works in these unconventional spaces,” she replies. “My very first full-length work was also at PS Art Space but in a quarter of the space. So then when I presented Structural Dependency I thought, ‘Okay, now I’m going to take on the whole space.’ It was the challenge of, ‘How I can take a massive amount of space and make it feel intimate for the audience?’ It also interests me how the performers are actually dancing on the same ground as the audience – it’s exciting to be able to bring people into such close proximity in such a vast space.

That sense of vastness will extend beyond the B-Shed – Leeder plans to open the shed’s doors, so that the harbour, the sun setting and ships passing become the backdrop to the work. “When approaching RADAR in the B-Shed it’s still about creating intimacy in such a large space, but also the challenge of having the vastness of the harbour,” she reflects.  “The space is 22 metres long. How do you open out a space like that and draw the audience in at the same time? It’s a challenge.”

Like Structural Dependency, RADAR is being made in collaboration with composer Louis Frere-Harvey and lighting designer Nemo Gandossini-Poirie. “Louis is composing the music in the room at the same time [as I’m choreographing the work with the dancers]. There are times when it’s really easy – we call it ‘staying in our lane’. Louis will be doing the music, I’ll be choreographing, the dancers are doing the dancing, and we’re all heading towards this common goal,” explains Leeder. “We’ve been working on how we can have rhythms of movement, the same way that there are rhythms of music. When working with the youth ensemble we decided never to do [the traditional counting] ‘5, 6, 7, 8’ – we are always trying to learn the movement through its rhythm, which has been really really interesting.”

Leeder has also recently established her own dance company, Brooke Leeder & Dancers, a move that reflects the interactive nature of her work. “It’s about recognising that I can’t do my job without dancers,” she explains. “But it’s also Brooke Leeder & Creatives, Brooke Leeder & Supporters, Brooke Leeder & Sponsors, Brooke Leeder & Audiences, I can’t do my job without these groups. That’s where the company came from, to bring people in to what I am doing. I didn’t want to be a solo individual. It’s me saying, I am doing this with you.”

RADAR premieres at the B-Shed in Fremantle, 21-24 November.

* Millie Hunt is a third year dance student at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, on secondment with Seesaw during November.

Pictured top is Lilly King (centre) with the ‘RADAR’ ensemble. Photo: D. Wright.

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News, Performing arts, Puppet theatre, Reviews, Theatre

Chilling consequences superbly rendered

Review: Spare Parts Puppet Theatre and WAAPA 3rd year performance makers, Life on Earth ·
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, 2 November ·
Review by Steven Cohen ·

The earth is fragile. So are we. So is a puppet.

The timing is conspicuous. A series of short vignettes that acquire a cold and earnest insistence. The audience, quiet and still, silently gasps at the state of our Earth and the consequences of failing to look after it.

Such discomforting scenes form Life on Earth, a work of puppet theatre that had an all-too-brief season at Fremantle’s Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, October 30 – November 2. Directed by veteran puppeteer and Spare Parts Puppet Theatre associate director Michael Barlow, and performed by the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts’ graduating Performance Making students, Life on Earth is a master showing of recontextualization, animation and creation.

‘Life on Earth’ is a master showing of recontextualization, animation and creation. Photo: Stephen Heath Photography.

Indeed, the name of the show conjures up images of David Attenborough’s close encounter with a group of gorillas. At the time, Attenborough famously suggested that despite our projection of gorillas as dangerous and foreboding, it is in fact humans who are the most destructive and aggressive of all creatures.

This is what the puppets were saying.

Certainly, most of this 80-minute production — short scenes enacted by a variety of puppets manipulated by a visible team of performers — suggests a critical take on universal themes: of love, and connection.

Youthful dinner party guests paying homage to themselves. Photo: Stephen Heath Photography
.

The participants in a youthful dinner party, replete with chic and bonhomie, pay homage to themselves; two charming women engage in a slow lovers’ embrace; a child is born and then catastrophically handed away (or dies?); two men vie for the love of a beautiful woman, which increasingly agitates warfare and culminates in the piercing of cupid’s arrow; a man – like many men – embarrassingly attempts to engage with an exotic and alluring woman.

The delightful couple seated next to me watched these pursuits with hands clasped, chuckling, aware of their own love. Like everyone, they were silent, their embrace more conscious when the stage turned to mist and a seahorse meandered, terrified and tangled in a plastic sheet.

More was to come. A horrifying ending where misunderstanding and ego resulted in the performers falling over, one by one, as the last voice trailed off into a murky and deleterious end.

The success of this work lies in the simplicity of its observation. Photo: Stephen Heath Photography.

Life on Earth – while harrowing at any point during the last two centuries, is particularly traumatic as we selfishly engage in epochal conflict and harm to our home. The success of this work lies in the simplicity of its observation: that we stand to lose all that makes life worthwhile – love and the lightness of just “being”.

The tone of Life on Earth is chillingly gruesome, unfolding as a pessimistic registry of slaughter and vivisection, in which classic love stories and worldliness become fixtures of a possible Armageddon.

An outstanding work, superbly rendered by its cast of graduating students.

All photos: Stephen Heath Photography.

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Cartoon image of boy and fox
Calendar, Children, February 2020, January 2020, Performing arts, Theatre

Children: The Little Prince

13 Jan 13 – 1 Feb @ Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Fremantle ·
Presented by Spare Parts Puppet Theatre ·#

Immerse yourself in the imagination of a child during the January school holidays with Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s acclaimed production of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Saint-Exupéry’s exquisite tale tells the story of a curious prince who leaves his tiny planet for an adventure that reveals the essential things in life can only be discovered with the heart. For more than 70 years this timeless story has awakened the imagination of readers of all ages.

Duration: 45 mins
Perfect for 5+ but suitable for everyone!
Shows at 10am and 1pm daily. No performances Sundays or public holidays.

More info
W: www.sppt.asn.au/
E:  boxoffice@sppt.asn.au

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