Top 10 picks for the 2014 Brisbane Festival

BF_The Perfect AmericanWith more than 70 productions and 440 performances over three weeks, the 2014 Brisbane Festival features an electrifying line up of music, theatre, dance and family fun to entertain the city throughout September. Arts Review takes a look at some of the Festivals’ top picks:

A Doll’s House
In a superb new version by Lally Katz, Henrik Ibsen’s great psychological thriller was recently named as the world’s most performed play. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s brilliantly plotted, boasts striking characters, and tells a story that’s still as charged and moving as it was 135 years ago.

Black Diggers
Shunned and downtrodden in their own country and banned from serving in the military, Aboriginal men stepped up to enlist and take up arms to defend the free world in its greatest time of need. Directed by Wesley Enoch and written by Tom Wright, Black Diggers uncovers the fearless contribution these Aboriginal men made to Australian history and follows their journeys from their homelands to the battlefields of Gallipoli, Palestine and Flanders.

A full-length contemporary solo and the most personal work to date from celebrated choreographer and performer, Akram Khan. Meaning ‘homeland’ in Bengali, DESH draws multiple tales of land, nation, resistance and convergence into the body and voice of one man trying to find his balance in an unstable world.

Prepare to be transported and immersed into an amazing world of light and subtle saturated hues, for a unique sensory experience you will never forget. Exxopolis offers a dazzling maze of winding paths and soaring domes where Islamic architecture, natural geometry and Gothic cathedrals meld into an inspiring monument. It pays homage to the beauty of light and colour, where visitors can happily lose themselves.

I Want To Know What Love Is
Based on love stories submitted by you – your friends – and your exes – I Want To Know What Love Is forges a theatrical work out of the fragments of love, yearning, schmaltz and heartbreak. Throwing the spotlight on long-buried thoughts, stories, crushes and conquests as secret confessions are transformed into magnificent declarations centre stage – this is a celebration of the ordinary made extraordinary.

From the creative producers of Cantina and A Company of Strangers the world of LIMBO is dirty and dangerous circus-cabaret, whisking audiences into a sinister netherworld of jaw-dropping contortion, gut-churning aerial acrobatics, nail-biting stunts and staggering illusions. Get set for one of the greatest parties between heaven and hell.

Theatre Republic
Roll up to the outrageous and dynamic world of Theatre Republic and see the brightest talent and award winning shows from the independent arts scene in Australia and around the world. Located at the QUT Creative Industries Precinct, performances include: Tears Before Bedtime; Squidboy; Kraken: Tawdry Heartburn’s Manic Cures; and Silent Drag Photo Booth of Berlyn, just to name a few.

The Perfect American
Following its world premiere in Madrid and acclaimed London season, the latest opera from iconic composer Philip Glass will make its Australian debut in Brisbane. With ingenious animated projections and design, The Perfect American imagines the final months of Walt Disney’s life, including mythical imaginings of Abraham Lincoln and Andy Warhol.

The Shadow King
Epic and provocative, The Shadow King reworks Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy King Lear as a sprawling, blood-soaked tale of two Indigenous families in Australia’s north. Told through modern English, Kriol languages and a live rock score, this ambitious new production brings together some of Australia’s foremost Indigenous performers, including Tom E. Lewis (The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith) and Jimi Bani (Mabo), along with the music of Bart Willoughby.

A splash-filled fusion of contemporary circus, comedy and cabaret featuring an opera singer, comedians and six acrobats performing in, on and around bathtubs. This hilarious variety show offers a wide range of dazzling water-soaked acts, from mop ballet to aerial trapeze which are all performed to an extravagant and eclectic soundtrack that includes Sia, Goldfrapp, Beethoven, Ben Harper and live musical performances.

The 2014 Brisbane Festival continues to 27 September. For more information and full program, visit: for details.

Image: The Perfect American (English National Opera production 2013)