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live music

Review: Skyward

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Review: Skyward


Skyward is a great concept. Built on the friendship between Jo Willans (Soprano) and Georgia-Elizabeth Bale (aerialist), the Show combines live music, video projections, aerial hoop and tissu, with a beautiful voice and selection of relaxing music. On arrival, members of the audience were encouraged to sit on the floor (mats and cushions provided) or in seats facing the ‘stage,’ and we all received a copy of the program which spoke of mindfulness, and how “the movement, music, poetry and imagery of Skyward are designed to mellow and move you.”   

There were many things I enjoyed about this production: the interactions between the soprano and aerialist (particularly when Willans performed on, and with, the hoop), the selection of costumes, the tissu work by Bale, the incorporation of the video projections (Michael Owen)and some of the musical choices (Toby Saltwell [cello] and John Woods [piano]). In addition, it is always fascinating to see the ‘behind-the-scenes care and hard work of the crew (Ashleigh Freed and Ruby Simpson).

Pictured (L to R):  Georgia-Elizabeth Bale (aerialist), and Jo Willans (Soprano). Picture credit:  Creative Futures Photography .

Pictured (L to R): Georgia-Elizabeth Bale (aerialist), and Jo Willans (Soprano). Picture credit: Creative Futures Photography.

The Anywhere Festival challenge for any aerialist is finding a suitable space to perform. In an ideal world, it would have been wonderful to experience this show by a beach, or with a water view. But the video projections were used to good effect to establish that mood, playing against the brick walls of the space. (Credit is also due to the space and hosts. Vulcana work out of a great space, which has hosted many memorable Anywhere Festival performances (including the 2015 Learning to Love Gravity and 2018 Invisible Things).

The collaborators’ aim was to create 45 mindful minutes. For a future iteration, I would suggest the team might wish to look at how they could minimise the breaks between each piece (reducing the entrance/exit process, to sustain the flow of the program). I would also suggest that the audience might be encouraged to adopt a more mindful engagement with the performance. Perhaps to look ‘Skyward;’  to set aside cameras and other electronic devices, particularly if seated in the floor area, so that everyone can experience the work firsthand.

There were only two performances  of Skyward in the 2019 Anywhere Festival program. Let’s hope that the team find other places and spaces for future performances which build on this concept.

Picture (L to R):  Georgia-Elizabeth Bale (aerialist), Jo Willans (Soprano). John Woods (piano), and Toby Saltwell (cello). Picture credit:  Creative Futures Photography .

Picture (L to R): Georgia-Elizabeth Bale (aerialist), Jo Willans (Soprano). John Woods (piano), and Toby Saltwell (cello). Picture credit: Creative Futures Photography.



Verdict: Keep an eye out for future creative collaborations between this team.

Audience tip: 45 minutes. Late arrivals not admitted, so arrive early for any future productions.

Catherine Lawrence. perspectives

The reviewer attended the Sunday 12 May 2019 performance (8:00pm), at Vulcana (adjacent to The Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm, Brisbane.

Pictures Credit: Creative Futures Photography.

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Review: Hold My Beer

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Review: Hold My Beer

Hold My Beer is a fun, fast-paced 60-minutes that is a circus and live music homage to some of the many things that seem to happen in pubs or at parties. From the designated driver ‘selection’ and drinking games, though to the looking-after-your-mates check-ups and balance competitions… and everything in-between (fortunately, at this show, without the vomiting and hangovers). All with great acrobatic flair and well-chosen musical numbers—where the musicians (Kristy Stanfield and Sheldon Jadamson) also try out their circus moves, and the circus performers (Regan Henry, Elyse Fitzpatrick and Kelsey Adams) demonstrate their versatility and musical skills.

Picture : Regan Henry, Kelsey Adams, Sheldon Jadamson, Kristy Stanfield and Elyse Fitzpatrick, in Hold My Beer ( Creative Futures Photography ).

Picture: Regan Henry, Kelsey Adams, Sheldon Jadamson, Kristy Stanfield and Elyse Fitzpatrick, in Hold My Beer (Creative Futures Photography).

This is a fun 60-minutes—for the performers and audience alike. There were a number of ‘wow’ moments (yes, there were gasps from the audience at times), applause for some great balance and strength work, and a lot of laughter. It was the first time I have seen a pub arm-wrestle include head balancing, the ‘juggling acrobats’ was great fun (and not just for Sheldon), and the frenzied ‘change places’ was as impressive as it was fast.  One of many highlights of the evening was the ‘carne sutra’—or what can happen when you have consumed sufficient shots to try to pick up  that attractive person at the other end of the bar (here including a very literal pick up). But there was also hoola-hooping, bottle-manipulation (I feel Kelsey had watched the film Cocktail?), snooker-cue balancing and of course the exceptionally difficult put-your-finger-on-your-nose-and-stand-on-one-leg trick (which Reagan took to another level).

Picture (L to R):  Regan Henry, Kristy Stanfield (with accordion) and Elyse Fitzpatrick in  Hold My Beer  (Creative Futures Photography).

Picture (L to R): Regan Henry, Kristy Stanfield (with accordion) and Elyse Fitzpatrick in Hold My Beer (Creative Futures Photography).

The music added a special twist to the evening—with some great accordion work, piano, guitar and trumpet-playing. Some of the tunes were recognisable (particularly the three/ten-part audience singing!), with the words of most songs tailored to the show. I loved the a capella singing (to the clapping rhythm that included glasses on the ‘bar’), although quite how everyone had enough breath after the previous 50-minutes is beyond me.

Performing a fast-paced show in a small space is not without challenges (more space for run-ups occasionally required, and we all worried that there might occasionally be insufficient headroom for the acrobatics). But I am sure that, with more performances, this team of five talented artists can only improve on what is a great concept, and an already great show.

The 9 May, 2019 performance took place in Open House, a new arts/creative venue, adjacent to the popular Vulture Street bar, The End. The performers worked the room—including audience participation (get ready to limbo)—and had thought through the impact of the shape of the space on sight-lines. Some of the action took place closer to the audience members standing at the back of the room, but it is definitely worth arriving early and queuing to get in, as the seating area is not raked. Sitting close to the main stage (the black mats) will give you the best possible view of the acrobatic moves—although you will be near the bar if you are at the back.

There are only four remaining performances  of Hold My Beer in the 2019 Anywhere Festival program—one at The End, and a further three at Bloodhound. I’d be interested to know if many of those 260 tickets are still available. Buy one if you can.

Picture (L to R):  Sheldon Jadamson, Elyse Fitzpatrick, Kelsey Adams, Regan Henry (near ceiling), and Kristy Stanfield in  Hold My Beer (   Creative Futures Photography)  .

Picture (L to R): Sheldon Jadamson, Elyse Fitzpatrick, Kelsey Adams, Regan Henry (near ceiling), and Kristy Stanfield in Hold My Beer (Creative Futures Photography).

Verdict: A great cocktail of acrobatic skill and live music. Buy a ticket if you can, and get there early to get the best view.

Audience tip: Buy ahead (don’t risk being yet another person arriving to be told that no, they cannot ‘just’ fit one more person into the room). Queue to get seat at the front. If you get the chance, take a seat as close to the main ‘stage’ (the black mats) as possible. 60 minutes, adult themes (including references to drinking games).

 

Catherine Lawrence, perspectives

The reviewer attended the Thursday 9 May 2019 Opening Night (7:00pm), at Open House (adjacent to The End), 73 Vulture Street, West End, Brisbane.

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