Friday 16 September 1994

Cross Arts & Movement Program, Fringe 94, 16 Sept 1994

Cross Arts and Movement Program, Melbourne Fringe Festival 1994

Writer: Kate Herbert around 16 September 1994

This review was published in the Melbourne Times after 16 September 1994



Hybrid Arts, Cross Arts. Whatever you call these multi-art works, Fringe artists are notorious for slinging several art forms into the one scruffy package. You can lump dance, sculpture, cyber-machines, computer graphics, text, music, noise, dirt and costumes into an hour-long phantasmagoria. It might be spectacular. It could really suck.


I reckon the press releases tell you plenty about who's an artsy wanker and who's a real artist so here are a few excerpts.


Circus Soup calls itself "an action-packed night of music and marvels...with groove engineers and circus performers." I'm inclined to believe this one because it has Sam Angelico, a class mime and magic act, Matthew Hughes from Circus Oz who is hot, and Oxo Cubans who are a groovy band with a singer who has a haircut like a muffin. ($16 & $12)


Serious contemporary dance fiends should get along to Danceworks is back with a revamped Physical Business from '93 ($10 & $15). I don't know the dancers but you could try at the Women's Gallery for three solo female dance works or see the dance-doco The Road to Be-Bop which asks you to bring beret, dark glasses and a Beat attitude.


The Dancehouse program takes us back into hybrid arts with a program comprising dance, videos, performances, discussions and a visual art exhibition as a bonus. Mary Madigan wins prizes for best title: Read my Hips ($8) which has "drawings, movement and social change" and a very esoteric press release.


Students from Change studio in None of the Above are demonstrating dance and other "Afro-techno synchronised fire club swinging" stuff. Seriously! I'm quoting! ($9.50 & $7.50) Take a fire extinguisher.


The Newry Pub's Frenzy says "Enjoy a quiet drink" with your poetry, art and music. It's free!! Ghost in the Machine cites the use of movement and "interactive computer environments". You can get close to virtual reality with this show if you're having trouble with actual reality - which most of Fitzroy and St. Kilda do.


Look out for Leather Butoh , a cyber-inspired performance art group." Yikes! Suzuki stompin', machine grindin', computer groovin' cyber artists in black leather!! Don't you get scared when they're so seriously groovy? And when they use the word "installation" instead of "exhibition"?


Butoh features again in Butchyaketa's Crack. ($13 & $9). We seem to have a plethora of artists who crave dark Japanese angst-ridden movement in our middle-class Western environment. More praise to 'em.

But my pick for a big old hoot, is Dance of the Desert which boasts belly dancers with a band at a Turkish restaurant. Now that sounds like exotic fun for a gaggle of your friends.


Kate Herbert

Fringe Festival Melbourne 1994 -OVERVIEW- 16 Sept 1994


Fringe Festival Melbourne 1994

Writer: Kate Herbert around 16 September 1994

This review was published in the Melbourne Times after 16 September 1994


If you're not on your toes during a Fringe Festival, you could end up paying good eating money to watch someone smash bottles while standing screaming knee-deep in a puddle while someone wearing black pours pig's blood on her head. So let's put you in the picture quick smart so you don't get your fingers burnt and your wallet rifled.


35 plus theatre productions are listed in the Melbourne Fringe program ranging from established companies (IRAA, Theatreworks), through known local professionals (Shirley Billing, Ross Daniels, The Pidds), to international artists, interstate plays and cabarets, student shows and complete wild card unknowns which are always a risk but sometimes a gift.


Venues range from a student show at the Dodgem Hall at Luna Park, Last Laugh, North Melbourne Town Hall, Galleries, studios in Alphington and Fitzroy, Mechanics' Institute and the Builders' Arms Pub.


There are real theatres too, like Gasworks, The Universal which has zillions of shows, The Courthouse, La Mama which is three-deep again in its inimitable festival overkill form, Napier Street, St, Martins, National Theatre, and Theatreworks which is still getting shows on in spite of the ill-will of the nasty Church guardians.


Here's what I'd see. In the funny physical Theatre list The King's Player by Trevor Gare looks terrific. He uses European clown technique as a bit-player in Hamlet, David and Ian are finally doing Rawsharking, a comic, circusy show with music about doppelgangers.


Harry Cripps’ White Paris which will be black comedy in the vein of his Tania and Kit. Theatreworks Rigoletto is rampant, wild-eyed musical grotesguery. Cop Theatre Tarquin's adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Trial which should have Nick Harrington's usual innovation and blackness.  All Hopeless Romantics should see Theatre Zart doing Love's Idiotic Triangle, an adaptation of Dostoyevski's The Idiot.


We have an international contingent this year. Don't miss the three shows IRAA is sponsoring for their Austrian guest artists. Alt / Tag looks like something Handspan would do, with an 80-year-old female puppet in an existential dilemma about age. Otto Lechner is a magical musician who takes you on adventures with The Dark Side of the (Piano) Accordion.


La Mama is up to its little rafters with shows. Fairytales from the Future looks like violent, romantic fairy tales with a great cast including Maud Davy and Robert Lyon. Trampoline is a multi-media piece about the "The Great Earth Mother", and Her Mother's Daughter is by a German playwright, Chris Paul.


The Fringe Showcase replacing Short Works and Women's Season, invariably has one hot piece for a bunch of dogs but it’s cheap and short. Most tickets are from $10 to $17 but La Mama is a bargain from $6 to $12 max. Fringe Artists get discounts.


Go book now!