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Review: Anywhere Festival 2019 Preview Night

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Review: Anywhere Festival 2019 Preview Night

Lights, camera, action… If the 8 May, 2019 Anywhere Festival Preview Night is anything to go by, the 2019 Anywhere Festival will brighten Brisbane, Noosa and Sunshine Coast days and nights. Well, at least during 9-26 May.

The Preview Night is a great addition to the Anywhere Festival program. A chance to sample over 14 different shows, with easy access to a bar and snacks. In a little over two hours, the audience had the chance to see tasters of acts that ranged from acrobatics to music, and improv to theatre—with a fair sprinkling of comedy,  a hefty portion of ‘live’ radio plays, and at least one B-Movie.

I spent most of the evening either congratulating myself on tickets already booked, or wondering how I might squeeze an extra show into the next few weeks. So the challenge is trying to draw up a shortlist of recommendations. At this point, I think my top tips for the festival, based on the Preview Night, include:

Hold My BeerThe second-half of the Preview Night started with a sizzle, thanks to the steamy ‘carne sutra’ extract from this show.  Excellent circus and acrobatic moves, choreographed to a very apt soundtrack. Half Hitch (who also hosted the Preview Night) only have five shows during the Anywhere Festival. Based on the Preview, I have a feeling this will soon be a Festival sell-out.

Pictures include Inflight Entertainment (Riley Cope), Tales of an Urban Indian (City Bus, Craig Lauzon), Hold My Beer (‘Carne sutra’), and B-Movies Live cast at the Anywhere Festival Preview Night, 8 May, 2019. Pictures credit: Creative Futures Photography

Inflight EntertainmentLooks as if this show is definitely a reason to make the trip to Caloundra Air Museum. The Riley Cope Creative team have obviously been on many flights in order to prepare this closely-observed and funny “high altitude musical cabaret.” With only six shows this crowd-pleaser looks likely to be a Festival hot ticket. Perhaps the time to opt for ‘first class’?

Tales of an Urban IndianOne of the many things I love about Anywhere Festival is that events can take place literally… well.. anywhere. So where better to see a piece about the “guy who sits next to you on the bus” is… of course… on a bus. Fresh from sell-out performances in Canada, Craig Lauzon performed an extract of the Talk is Free Theatre City Bus show, Tales of an Urban Indian. I can’t wait to see the rest of this funny (and, literally moving) show.

‘Live’ Movies and Radio Shows: Ok. I am cheating a little here as there were three extracts on Preview Night that fit this particular billing. The B-Movies Live team (Lightning Bolt Creative) are bringing their entertaining format of B-movie-recreations back to the stage (this year complete with some great cardboard heads). But with only three nights this year, their die-hard fans may just snap up all the tickets before the undecided make their choice (yes.. sorry… had to get an election reference in somehow…). Even with only one half of the Smooth Pineapple duo at the Preview Night, I can see that their shows at The Sideshow are going to be a lot of fun. With only two shows, their advertised ‘classic sketch comedy’ is going to be very fashionable (and very sold-out). And if you are looking for a different take on radio comedy, then the two Radioplay Hours (The Coffin in Studio B and Little Women)  may be both educational and fun (with the possibility of getting to operate a wind machine!).

Of course, I can’t close without mentioning Titanic: The Movie, The Play,  brought to the stage (sorry, boat—as it is at The Queensland Maritime Museum) by Act/React. Following on from the success of the Act/React/Maritime Museum combination last year, I can’t wait!

There were so many other great acts in the Preview. I had better get back to reading the program and see what else I can get to see. Well done to the Anywhere Festival organisers. Another great festival is now… open!

 Catherine Lawrence

Audience notes: The Anywhere Festival Program (and ticket sales) is at https://anywhere.is/The reviewer attended the Wednesday 8 May 2019 Preview Night (7:00pm), Metropolitan, Spring Hill.

Main Image: Smooth PIneapple. All Pictures Credit: Creative Futures Photography.

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Review: #FirstWorldWhiteGirls Spirit Animal

The Brisbane Comedy Festival is certainly not going out with a whimper, with a final week program that includes Judy Hainsworth’s #FirstWorldWhiteGirls: Spirit Animal—a parody of the narcissistic Instagram-able world, featuring two self-obsessed rich white girls. BFF’s Tiffany (Judy Hainsworth) and Maddison (Kyra Thompson) share some legit first world probs—from the heartbreak of Harry marrying Meagan (“I didn’t love him; I just wanted to be a Princess”) to the challenge of creating the perfect flat lay (that’s an Instagram board of your fave items for sale, photographed from above, for those who don’t know).  

 
Picture (L to R): Tiffany (Judy Hainsworth) and Maddison (Kyra Thompson). Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography

Picture (L to R): Tiffany (Judy Hainsworth) and Maddison (Kyra Thompson). Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography

 

Occasionally “cray,” Spirit Animal is a fascinating review of everything the self-obsessed millennial is likely to care about: the right outfit, the must-have operation, the latest on-trend food to eat (or avoid), and the newest mindfulness and meditation trends… as well as the ongoing demands of Instagram-ing, blogging and YouTube-ing the lot. All interwoven with a darker #MeToo undercurrent, and references to the mental health impacts of trying to live the perfect life in a far-from-perfect world.

The tightly-written 60-minute show (written by Judy Hainsworth, and directed by Lewis Jones) centres on a number of original pieces—with Disney Princess-style songs (albeit with very ‘contemporary’ lyrics) as well as sprinklings of grunge and rap. Highlights included the crowd-pleasing “I’m better than you,” and the ‘flat lay’ song. Thompson is an excellent foil to Hainsworth’s Tiffany, and the show provides each performer with solos as well as providing some close harmony. I last saw Judy Hainsworth’s work in the fabulous Happily Ever After, and Hainsworth’s versatility and harmonies were also on show in Spirit Animal (both shows under the Musical Direction of Luke Volker).

Some of the older members of the audience might have needed an urban dictionary, but I think they got the message (David even stepped bravely on the stage to learn more about creating the perfect flat lay—one of the highlights of the Tuesday night show).

 
Picture: Drawing on the “7% Indian” in  #FirstWorldWhiteGirls Spirit Animal  (Judy Hainsworth) Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

Picture: Drawing on the “7% Indian” in #FirstWorldWhiteGirls Spirit Animal (Judy Hainsworth) Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

 

I have a feeling that the show would be better-suited to a later evening slot, as the audience energy seemed to drop a little in the second-half of the opening night of this run. #FirstWorldWhiteGirls Spirit Animal is a closely-observed satire that may occasionally step close to the line between humour and offensiveness (such as the “Little Black Babies” song?). But then, that is when satire is working well: constructively criticising, and drawing attention to  issues across society.  Go along and see what you think.

Verdict: Def one for millennials/Gen WE everywhere.

 
Picture: Kyra Thompson. Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

Picture: Kyra Thompson. Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

 

Audience tip: 60 minutes, Brisbane Powerhouse Rooftop Terrace (15+. Sexual references, coarse language, drug references and adult themes). There are six performances of #FirstWorldWhiteGirls Spirit Animal in the 2019 Brisbane Comedy Festival program (6:45pm, 19-23 March—and 5:45pm on 24 March). Tickets $20-$29 ($20 on 19 March, $25 on 20/21/24, & $29 on 22 & 23 March) plus $6.60 transaction fee. Why not keep an eye on the Powerhouse website, and see what else might tempt you (2019 Brisbane Comedy Festival: 22 February-24 March).

Catherine Lawrence

The reviewer attended the Tuesday 19 March 2019 performance (6:45pm).

Pictures Credit: Creative Futures Photography.

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