This is the final instalment from the Adelaide Fringe from Darien O’Reilly profiling acts which are soon to tour the eastern states, including the Melbourne Comedy Festival.
Sarah Jones Does Not Play Well with Others, Sarah Jones: “Sarah Jones does not play well with others” is a quote from Sarah’s grade 2 report card. This show sets out to explain Sarah’s personal reasons and behaviours that would make a primary school teacher write this about her. We meet Sarah throughout various stages of her life, as a child, as a self confessed dorky teenager and as a grown dorky ventriloquist touring the world fearing that she’s only several years away from becoming an old crazed haggard cat lady.
The show is simply staged and produced allowing us to focus on the things that matter within it. Sarah has a brilliant ability to produce animated puppets from the simplest of things (blankets, pillowcases, sheets and socks for example) and imbue them striking and distinctive personalities. This ability highlights her sketch comedy writing skills meaning that the show can be enjoyed as much for its verbal twists and turns as for its remarkable visual appeal.
We are introduced many characters along the way including her “only” childhood friend, a cat, who is a tad shirty about having been kept in a box for the last twenty years, her Uncle Albert, and her baby in the wonderfully crafted and random audience interaction scene.
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This second instalment on the Adelaide Fringe looks at Gordon Southern: International World Clown and Spontaneous Broadway, who will be playing Melbourne Comedy Festival next month.
Gordon Southern’s A Brief History of History aims to present the history of history in an hour. The self proclaimed International World Clown aims to roam freely throughout the many cultures and empires that have risen and fallen throughout the ages and introduce the many weird and wonderful aspects of life and recorded history to us.
He throws a modern spotlight upon these older cultures in an often hilarious manner The pacing is machine gun. He highlights the absurdity integral to history and utilises PowerPoint in a manner which many university lecturers could learn from.
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- This first instalment on the Adelaide Fringe looking at acts which are about to tour the eastern states looks at Doc Faustus and the Scottish Falsetto Sock Theatre.
Doc Faustus: Sound and Fury. Playing until March 17: American nouveau vaudeville company Sound and Fury’s signature dish – the parody – is built upon a bed of puns, accompanied by sweetly chilled aural aperitifs, baked physical theatre and visual gags (I’m looking at you, dying goat) tossed with innuendo and served at a breakneck pace with little or no regard for the wall separating audience from performer.
In this case Christopher Marlowe’s original Faust, a highly successful scholar dissatisfied with his life, makes a deal with the devil (Mephistopheles, or Mel) and exchanges his soul for 24 years of unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. Faust has long symbolised humanity’s dichotomous nature and how unbridled success, pleasure and power can weirdly lead to regrets and a quest for purity and redemption.
In Doc Faustus, the scholar becomes a quaint, slightly goofy, patient-killing doctor in a one horse town just outside of Abilene whose highest personal ambition is to become the personal physician to the State’s Governor. We are treated to a staccato travelogue of Faustus’ desires, whims and journeys through the ages and continents told in the most engaging manner. Both versions deal with the 24 years of untrammelled success, freedom and desires, both show the peccadilloes of human nature and regrets that come with living. Sound and Fury just happen to do it with better songs, cheaper jokes and nary a wasted line to be seen or heard.
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We’ve all read the headlines: “A disastrous weekend at the box office as Australian films fail dismally”.
The idea we don’t like our own movies has become so prevalent it was the subject of a panel discussion at the recent Mumbrella360 conference.
Despite being an advertising nerd who’s never marketed a film in my life, I found myself sitting beside film-makers, an executive from Screen Australia, and a distributor, discussing the topic “What needs to be done to persuade Australian filmgoers to watch Australian films?”
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Imagine if the construction workers union, the CFMEU, issued a statement calling for Maoris and Islanders to be banned from working in the building industry. Or if the white-collar Australian Services Union demanded an end to all those pesky Indians stealing our jobs in IT.
They would be howled down as racist protectionists, accused of taking the nation back to the dark days of the White Australia Policy, offending the principles of inclusion and diversity by denying people from other countries a chance to settle and work here.
It might be 2011 but the actors and journalists’ union, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, has this week launched a campaign which is the artistic equivalent of legislating to keep the kanaks off the canefields in the early 20th century.
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This is the fourth in a series of essays adapted from the Centre for Policy Development book, More Than Luck: Ideas Australia needs now. Australian culture is rich, deep and diverse and our new federal cultural policy should recognise this, writes Ben Eltham.
Australia has been promised a new cultural policy by the Gillard Government, due sometime in 2011. What is a cultural policy and why do we need one?
Cultural policy is not often treated as an important public affairs issue. But culture touches on many of the things that Australians do, see, hear and engage with everyday. Watching television, reading a newspaper, playing a computer game, updating your Facebook status, sending a tweet, going to a bar to see comedy, even things like gardening and cooking: all of these activities are explicitly cultural.
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Watching the way every bloke and his dog is weighing into the climate change debate these days has got me wondering: are we now living in a world where expert knowledge is meaningless?
I recently changed my by-line on this publication after prodding from some colleagues. I was previously called an ‘arts, popular culture and ethics writer’ - now I’m an ‘arts writer and social commentator’.
What a joke. ‘Social commentator’ is a meaningless job description for which there are no obvious qualifications – certainly I don’t remember sitting the exams.
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I once encountered Peter Garrett on the way to Coober Pedy.
I was shooting down the Stuart Highway, several hours through a tough, dry, apocalyptic part of central Australia, when mine shafts, mounds and machinery appeared over the horizon. My iPod, running on shuffle, picked the mood perfectly: Blue Sky Mining.
On that day, the Midnight Oil frontman was in the right place at the right time. But since he entered politics, recruited by Mark Latham, Garrett’s timing has been off. Some of his strumbles are well-known: messing up the insulation scheme, or saying in front of Steve Price that Labor would ``change it all’’ if it won power. His responsibilities were first reduced in 2007, when Kevin Rudd handed responsibility for climate change to Penny Wong, a shrinkage later repeated when Greg Combet was asked to fix insulation. Now he’s lost arts too.
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Traditionalists worry about the undue influence of American culture on Australia. Republicans stress about our British links. Hansonites panic about Muslims and Asians.
But it’s the French we should be keeping an eye on.
‘What French Women Know: About Love, Sex and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind’ is the latest book by American-in-Paris writer Debra Ollivier. In it, Ollivier decodes the French mystique, arguing French chicks are so sexy because they “don’t give a damn”.
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The nation’s capital was abuzz this summer as almost half a million people from across the country and from overseas flocked to Canberra for a once in a lifetime opportunity – to see some of the world’s great artistic masterpieces on display.
With an extended season and even an overnight opening, names like Gauguin, Van Gogh and Monet helped inject almost $100 million into the ACT economy thanks to hotel stays, taxi rides and restaurant visits all associated with this blockbuster exhibition.
It was a stunning success, breaking all previous visitation records for the NGA and exceeding the expectations of just about everybody involved in getting the exhibition to Australia. At the same time it showed just how much Australian’s are engaging in the arts and how much excitement an exhibition of this calibre will generate. But the rub here is that it’s not just about blockbusters.
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There are young Australians who are already making a name (and money) for themselves in the latest market for creative content – and it didn’t exist a moment ago. YouTube is a huge repository of amateur content, but it is also rapidly evolving into a site that has legally contracted Hollywood movies and TV shows but is working out ways to share revenues from advertising with gifted and committed amateurs whose creativity attracts a big following.
Can government play a role in assisting Australian creative talent to catch some of dynamism of emerging markets for culture?
Peter Garrett’s call to develop a National Cultural Policy could be an important opportunity to take innovation to the next stage in this country. The deadline for formal submissions closed yesterday. Most submissions want more recognition, and funding, for the arts. We think this is a great time to close the gap between innovation and cultural policy.
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