Thursday, July 19, 2012

Barrack-Jones: Warm Love & Big Leaps

Head Full of Love. Stars Roxanne McDonald and Colette Mann. Queensland Theatre Company. Cremorne Theatre QPAC. Till August 11.

Ovo. Cirque Du Soleil. Hamilton. 54 artists from 16 countries. Till September 2nd.

Barrack-Jones rounding off a busy week with a quick look at two shows with strikingly contrasting styles and themes, but equally deserving of attention in this busy theatrical scene.

Alana Valentine’s Head Full of Love is a two-woman show, which explores the need for communication and understanding in a world where there’s too little of the damn stuff.

I mean we all – in theory – speak the same language here in Australia, but dash it all if sometimes it would seem that we’re living half way up - or maybe at the top - of the tower of Babylon.

We’re talking to each other right enough – sometimes shouting even – but the words seem to come out in a torrent of strange tongues, which inevitably fail to hit the mark.

Tilly Nappuljari (Roxanne McDonald) and Nessa Tavistock (Colette Mann) would appear to be worlds apart, when they come across each other at the annual Alice Springs Beanie Festival, but somehow manage to connect in a an engaging and amusing 90-minute conversation.

Big city girl Nessa is running away from a host of demons, while Roxanne is calmly knitting a beanie for the festival while coping with the trauma of spending four hours a day - three days a week - on a dialysis machine away from country and family.

Roxanne’s indigenous heritage makes it more than four times likely that she would be in this precarious situation, despite the fact that her life has been largely drug and alcohol free.
It’s something that’s simply in the indigenous DNA, but that doesn’t make her a push over and the women experience a sometimes feisty, but ultimately rewarding relationship.

Despite the subject matter, Head Full of Love is alive with good humour and is as likely to bring a smile to the lips as much as a tear to the eye.

There’s even a design for a zig zag beanie among the promotional material for the play, which is something of a triumph for all concerned including QTC artistic director Wesley Enoch who put this little masterpiece on stage.

So see the play and then head off to Alice Springs for the beanie festival when it pops up again next year.

These remote communities need our support in areas such as community health.

Barrack-Jones is more often than not driven up the wall when it comes to the circus, but as most of the world knows Canada’s Cirque Du Soleil is in his a class of its own.

The crew have been coming to Australia – and Brisbane - since 1999 and this time around it’s brought a piece called Ovo (that’s Portuguese for egg) , which is a little strange as the two hour extravaganza focuses on the world of insects.

A cast and crew of more than 54 young athletic men and women, from 16 countries, present a spectacularly entertaining night of Olympic proportions on the floor, in the air and even up the wall.

Cirque Du Soleil exists in a parallel universe where anything is possible as the young bodies in stylish – but familiar – Cirque Du Soleil costumes throw themselves around without doing themselves damage (a miracle me thinks).

It’s a day in the life of insects – bugs, ladybirds, fleas, dragonflies, mossies etc – working, eating, crawling, fluttering, fighting and even falling in love.

The love story is left to the clowns, which is an interesting thought.

The action begins with the arrival of a stranger carrying an egg comes into their mist in what the circus folk call the enigma and cycle of life.

The first and second acts both end with two of the most remarkable displays that Barrack-Jones has ever seen under the blue and yellow  Big Top.

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