Bang! Bang!

 

What a way to finish my role as a Brisbane Festival Citizen reviewer.  Bang! Bang! Rhonda Burchmore’s delicious, high energy show that is made from her wildest fantasies (mostly men showing a lot of skin).

The Courier-Mail Spiegeltent is a “tent” where the audience is seated in a circle around the stage and cat walk. The circle a traditional form to gather and turn your back to the outside world and enjoy a show, there are mirrors and stained glass windows as a feature in the tent, wooden flooring and mirrors surrounding the tent poles, there are booths tucked away along the wall of the tent and the alcohol flows from the bar. This is where Rhonda’s alter ego Ruder along with her guest star Rob Mills danced, sang, and tap danced down the cat walk while the live band played classics like Tom Jones and contemporary music like Miley Cyrus – they are so talented.

We sat in our fourth row seating with electric anticipation at seeing the show, Rhonda and her talented party spread their energy and enthusiasm through the whole Spiegeltent. The seventy minutes of the show flew by as the audience clapped and danced in their seats along with the classics and the mash-up of songs. There was wolf-whistles and appreciation for all of the delicious people on the stage (Rhonda’s words). Bang! Bang! Is a sexy production with plenty of six packs and skin on show. There was sequins sewn on to the most magnificent costumes that sculpted to perfectly fit and toned performers bodies, there was men in cowboy chaps and women in tiny leotards, there were sparkly high heels that danced with perfection all over the stage and cat walk, fantastically fun hats, glitter bombs and bubbles. The audience was treated to dancers in concert at floor level within the reserved seating next to the stage.

Rhonda Burchmore is the epitome of professional and talented after 30 years in show business. Australian audiences love her and the Brisbane Festival audience was screaming their appreciation to her as well.  I was in awe of her fitness and energy, she is so much fun and of course her legs that go for miles. She completely owned the Spiegeltent stage. Bang! Bang! was a perfect party atmosphere. So grateful to have seen the show thanks to Brisbane Festival.

 

 

Betty Grumble : Love and Anger

The award winning, Betty Grumble, surreal showgirl, obscene beauty Queen, and Sex Clown, brings to the Brisbane Festival.

Betty Grumble Love and Anger.

Love and Anger the show, is an excessive assault on the senses with Betty stripping all the way back to, the two, most powerful human emotions. Love and Anger.

The book, The Scum Manifesto is the thread that weaves its way through the show.  The book written by Valerie Solanas and published in 1967. The book centres on valid social concerns centred on patriarchy. Valerie wrote:  Men have ruined the world and it is up to women to fix it. Betty in her own wild approach to Valerie’s views, highlights that; women are still grappling with the same stories, conversations, and fears 51 years later. Betty Grumble is a conversation starter.  Conversations you never thought you would have. These dialogues are shocked out of you through various forms of expression.

On entrance to the Block at QUT’s Theatre Republic the room is a cloud of incense. Betty is quietly standing at the front of the stage a book covering her face, surrounded by suitcases and a white backdrop with scribbles of black writing. Betty welcomes the crowd and lulls us into a sense of community – that we belong in this space. She takes the time to assure us that all reactions are welcome and if our senses are overwhelmed there is no judgement in having to exit.  Betty is enthusiastic, and excited to share her show and so it begins. Betty Grumble Love and Anger, draws philosophies from The Scum Manifesto, Betty recites passages of the book through out the show, venting through an in your face, shocking and confronting communication of women’s liberation, the worship of the divine feminine and a woman’s body as a political playground. In an extravagant way Betty shows how movement, creativity and art is used to heal and expand the spirit of woman. A stripping naked of all barriers and exposing vulnerability in a safe womb like space. A singing vagina. A touch of magic. Cabaret dancing. The show involves science experiments, painting, and flower arranging in the extreme. Conversations on relationships. Relationships with yourself, Mother Nature and the environment, patriarchal relationships, mother/ daughter connections, bonds with your siblings and the weight that you each carry.

By the end of the show, the full frontal nudity was not so shocking to my friend and I that sat through the 60 minute show. Our drive home was an explosion of hilarity, tears from laughing and shock and at one stage chest pain. The conversations and questions that were screamed hysterically through the car were a testament to Betty and the boundaries and comfort zones she pushed within us.

 

Yothu Yindi and The Treaty Project supported by Yirrmal.

We arrived early at the Tivoli, picked up the tickets from the box office – general admission standing. The small space has a beautiful art deco old world feel, in the lighting, mirrors and elegantly crafted bar. We took our place at the front of the intimate flat area in front of the stage – I wanted a good view of Yothu Yindi (Yolngu for “child and mother”) the band that has won eight ARIA awards and in 2012 was inducted into the ARIA hall of fame.

The acknowledgment of country and the minutes silence for ancestors was the foundation of the show. Yirrmal a sensitive, open hearted man from North-East Arnhem Land,  supported Yothu Yindi and The Treaty Project,  a songwriter and guitarist treated us to his classic songs and also his new work that will be released next year. That man, he has a striking voice, a voice that produces ground shaking vocals that express his own very personal experiences and stories through his songs.  Then came the highlight, Yothu Yindi and The Treaty Project, some of the classics they played were: World Turning, Timeless Land, Mabo and of course Treaty.

All day, I was excited to see a band at The Tivoli, enjoy some music, and have a champagne.  I was thrilled that I had been gifted these tickets as part of the Brisbane Festival. What I didn’t expect to feel at a concert on a Sunday night in Fortitude Valley was such a strong mystical experience. The unrestrained but sensitive, determined, beautiful performance that connected to every level of energy within me. The whining high pitch of some voices in language, the vast grounding echoes that seemed to shake from the earth through their bodies into the songs. The deep vibration of the didgeridoo, the rhythmic blow of the clapping sticks. Then there was the contemporary electric guitar, piano and saxophone complemented the traditional sounds in the new work that has been created. The beat, words, and movement went for two and a half hours, the crowd swelled at 8.45pm when Yothu Yindi and The Treaty Project came out to entertain. I stood with an unobstructed view of the stage with my husband at my back and the rest of the crowd moving and dancing along with the flow of the music, the stomping of feet and the music made the floor pulsate, I was totally caught up in the palpitation, moving with the beat and the ancient sounds reaching all the way into my heart.

I drove the hour home thrumming with energy, but also teary and tired like I had emerged from a deep meditation. The sounds and energy had moved something within me. The power of the words in the songs, the indigenous sounds, and the energy that was brewed in the venue was incredible.