The 2017 Brisbane Festival will open the portal to 22 days of wonder this September, with more than 60 events including five world premiere commissions, 11 Australian premieres, 25 Queensland premieres, and a star-studded lineup of international luminaries, Australian legends and homegrown heroes, Australian Arts Review takes a look at fourteen events worth checking out:
A Prudent Man
Theatre Republic – La Boite Studio: 19 – 23 September
A conservative politician, a leader, a man in a snappy suit, an athlete in a bad tracksuit: meet an amalgamation of the right-wing politician who haunts us all. What makes the Trumps, the Abbotts and the Hansons of this world tick? What would happen if their world started to shift ever so slightly? Written and directed by award-winning playwright Katy Warner and performed by Lyall Brooks, this darkly comedic tour de force takes an unapologetic look at memory, ego, power and what it means to be right… in more ways than one.
Brisbane Powerhouse – Powerhouse Theatre: 20 – 23 September
A trance-noise odyssey that transcends all borders, a unique music/dance ritual. Indonesia’s tour-de-force heavy metal duo Senyawa and Australian choreographic luminaries Lucy Guerin and Gideon Obarzanek join forces with two of Australia’s leading dance companies – Dancenorth and Lucy Guerin Inc. As the performance unfolds, Senyawa’s unique fusion of primal voice with handmade electrified stringed instruments slowly builds to a euphoric pitch. The dancers are propelled into ecstatic abandonment. The distinction between dancer and non-dancer, audience and performer, dissolves as the performance transitions into an all-in dance event.
Gallery of Modern Art: 19 – 23 September
In the darkness of a cinema, the audience sits blindfolded. Behind each audience member sits a child, who describes in hushed tones a film they are seeing for the very first time. Experiencing this specially-made film becomes a shared investment: a collaborative act between seeing children and blindfolded adults. Let your mind’s eye be shaped by a whispering voice.
South Bank – Cultural Forecourt: continues to 30 September
Five giant humanoids have landed in Brisbane from a distant planet to quietly observe humans and gently explore our ‘fantastic planet’. The inspiration for artist Amanda Parer’s out-of-this-world light installation came from the 1973 Czech/French animated science fiction film by the same name. The film depicts a story set in the future in a world inhabited by gargantuan humanoids and where humans are a savage race.
South Bank Piazza: continues to 24 September
From the creators of sell-out festival sensations Blanc de Blanc and LIMBO comes a brand new show full of exhilaration, exaltation and the best kind of inflation. Watch as a cast of international performers creates a pop-up technicolour world before your very eyes and then invite you in to explore. Featuring the music of viral YouTube sensation DJ Pogo, pale-faced harlequin Spencer Novich, multi-award winning star of Kracken Trygve Wakenshaw, and – direct from Broadway – circus extraordinaire Kyle Driggs, this will undoubtedly be Brisbane’s biggest house party.
History History History
Theatre Republic – The Loft: 12 – 16 September
On 23 October 1956, Hungarians rose up against the Soviets and fought troops on the streets, from their homes, and from their revolutionary headquarters at the Corvin Cinema. The uprising led to one of the largest refugee crises of the twentieth century. In a poignant and funny act of remembering, theatre-maker Deborah Pearson loosely ‘translates’ the film that was meant to be screened at the cinema that night – a long-forgotten football comedy. In a kind of audio description as the film plays, Pearson uses interviews with those involved to playfully reflect on immigration, suppression, and our personal links with history.
I Just Came To Say Goodbye
Theatre Republic – The Block: 13 – 23 September
Based on anonymous apologies and real stories of forgiveness submitted by your friends and frenemies, Brisbane’s own The Good Room bring you this brand new work – a glitter-fuelled finale event for the wronged and the righteous. Bridges will be burned. Hatchets might be buried. Nobody escapes unscathed. A wildly theatrical and intimately honest testimony, I Just Came To Say Goodbye crashes head-first into the foggy terrain of forgiveness to share hundreds of stories of guilt, grudges, remorse, and revenge.
QPAC – Cremorne Theatre: 26 – 30 September
Come step into Ethan Hugh’s world and experience the joy of walking through shafts of colour and light – a dazzling kaleidoscope. Ethan was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when he was four. Because of this syndrome, he perceives everything around him differently and wonderfully. Ethan understands the world through touch, sensing his surroundings with the pads of his fingers and the tips of his toes. Kaleidoscope allows Ethan to express himself through a physical form he loves – circus. He is joined onstage by five circus performers and together they explore the colour, chaos and incredible beauty of his world through acrobatics, slapstick, music, movement and vibrant video projections.
Laser Beak Man
La Boite – Roundhouse Theatre: 9 – 30 September
Power City was once the most beautiful city in the world – clean, pure, perfect – and local hero Laser Beak Man worked hard to keep it that way. But now the city isn’t what it used to be and Laser Beak Man is thoroughly over it. Jam-packed with the trademark visual puns of artist Tim Sharp and featuring live music composed and performed by Sam Cromack of Ball Park Music, the world of Laser Beak Man is brought to life in puppet form by the creative geniuses of Dead Puppet Society. An exhibition in the La Boite Foyer of classic and new artworks by Tim Sharp will accompany the production of Laser Beak Man.
QPAC – Playhouse: 9 – 16 September
From one of the world’s great performance companies – and creators of last year’s La Verità – comes this exclusive Australian premiere of astonishing circus and physical theatre. Through exquisite images of words and music, shared humour, and a beautiful storm of flying objects, they build an inner garden where we may take shelter. This is a story for you – a light-filled hymn to life, to the amazing power of theatre and imagination, and to the fundamental importance of friendship in our tempest-tossed lives.
QPAC – Playhouse: 19 – 23 September
A hijacked plane is heading towards a packed football stadium. Ignoring orders, a fighter pilot shoots the plane down, killing the 164 people on board in order to save the 70,000. Put on trial and charged with murder, the fate of the pilot is in the audience’s hands. You are the jury, so how will you vote? Direct from London and exclusive to Brisbane Festival, Terror is a thrilling courtroom drama that has been stirring debate across the globe.
QPAC – Playhouse: 27 -30 September
This epic, visually ravishing event comes from China’s most famous choreographer and dancer, Yang Liping. Under Siege is her stunning vision of the climactic battle between Chu and Han armies – an encounter that changed the course of Chinese history – and a love story between the besieged warlord Xiang Yu and his self-sacrificing concubine that would transcend death. Celebrated most famously as Farewell My Concubine, the story is reimagined by Yang with searing poignancy and breathtaking spectacle.
Young Hearts Run Free
The Tivoli: 9 September
It’s been 20 years since Baz Luhrmann turned the greatest love story ever told into the greatest soundtrack ever sold. To celebrate, you’re invited to the ultimate nostalgic ‘90s masquerade-ball rock show. The full soundtrack will be brought to life by a stellar line-up of musicians, performers and special guests including: Tom Dickins, Greg Chiapello, Airling, Miss Blanks (with Tomtom), and Lucinda Shaw, followed immediately by a 1997 DJ set from Sullivan, and a late-night after-party performance by Electric Fields.
Zoë Coombs Marr: Trigger Warning
Theatre Republic – La Boite Studio: 12 – 15 September
A feminist comedian dressed as a mouthy male stand-up, dressed as a silent Gaulier clown, trying not to offend anyone. Sound confusing? It is. Welcome to this award-winning show from Australian comedian Zoë Coombs Marr. Trigger Warning sees the return of Dave – a meatheaded, stand-up comedian with a low slung ponytail, stonewashed jeans and plenty of dick jokes – who suffers an epic meltdown on stage that will leave you bewildered and in stitches long after you have left the show.
The 2017 Brisbane Festival continues to 30 September. For more information, visit: www.brisbanefestival.com.au for details.
Image: The Good Room presents I Just Came To Say Goodbye (supplied)