No Plain Jane

Theatre reviews and musings (mostly) from Adelaide

Fringe Review: Clown Lights Stage

In a mix up with the lecture theatres at Adelaide University, Alice Mary Cooper, of the University of Sydney, has been forced to present her APAM lecture in an abandoned room of the Tuxedo Cat. Her lecture, something way too intellectual for me to recall here, certainly has something to do post-modern and post-post-modern performance art in Australia as a process of six-months immersive practice. I simultaneously am horrified at the idea of sitting through such a presentation, and actually completely intrigued and know I would probably take time out of my day to listen.

It’s not to be, though. Alice searches through her bag, and realising she has left her notes in the car she asks us to just sit tight one moment. Outside we hear crash, bang, sirens. Silence.

The door at the rear of the theatre opens, and sliding along the wall, wavering smile under her red nose, is Clown (Cooper). A fan, perhaps of Alice, she is her to save the day and perform Alice’s lecture: if only she can face up to her audience.

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Fringe Review: This Is It

Auteur director Dara Gill is bringing to Australian audiences his first feature film, This Is It.  Gill’s short films have shown great promise, with his final short, That Is All, deservedly winning Best Fiction Short at the Australian Film Institute Awards (now the AACTAs), and screening at many of the world’s most prestigious festivals.  The trademark dream quality which made Gill’s films stand out on the international festival market and have garnered him some what of a cult following on Vimeo, however seem to drag and wear when expanded into a long 125 minutes.

Presented to Adelaide’s press-corps Sunday night, followed up with a Q&A with cast members Frank B Mainoo, Malcolm Whittaker and Natalie Kate Randall (Gill himself conspicuously absent) on Monday, This Is It takes the now well established bleak Australian violent drama (recently seen in films such as Snowtown and Animal Kingdom, but following a long line from The Boys) and tries to meld it with the Hollywood hero film model. The resulting film is a confused mash of genres and ideals: a mad mad’s yells, signifying nothing.

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