THEATRE WORKS EVENT : ECHOES | 20 – 25 September


After its award-winning season at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe, ECHOES has been consistently touring the world. The show transferred Off-West End in London, and Off-Broadway in New York. At Adelaide Fringe it broke records by winning five major awards (including Best Theatre) and in Prague received both the Creative Award and Outstanding Performer Award.

ECHOES tells the story of two British women, born 175 years apart. One, a schoolgirl jihadi; the other, a Victorian pioneer. Both venture to the East to build Empires; both meet tragedy in blood-soaked lands. Timely and relevant, ECHOES is a brutal tale of colonialism, fundamentalism and the rhyme of history.

Written by lead Spitting Image writer Henry Naylor (UK) ECHOES will make it’s Victorian premiere at Theatre Works as part of Melbourne Fringe Festival.

‘Will take your breath away… don’t miss ECHOES. An important piece of theater, wonderfully crafted and brilliantly executed.’  – Broadwayworld

‘Naylor and two beautifully nuanced performances give equal emotional weight to two disparate victims of religious colonialism in this hugely impressive play.’ – The Guardian

Presented by: Gilded Balloon in Association with Redbeard Theatre
Written by Henry Naylor // Directed by Henry Naylor and Emma Butler
Performed by Filipa Braganca and Rachel Smyth

*6 SHOWS ONLY! Book now to avoid disappointment!
Tickets $25.00 Adult // $20.00 Concession BOOK HERE

Going round the twist

Wes Snelling, undoubtedly one of Melbourne’s most awesome cabaret performers is back, and in fine form, bringing his larger than life, booze infused, neurotic and slightly terrifying character Tina Del Twist along for the ride.

Tina was the cherub and comrade to the likes of Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe… But she never quite made it to be a household name. Or did she? In Tina’s eyes, she did.  Known for her ‘beautiful voice and wicked sense of comic timing’ – The Age Melbourne. Loved by audiences and critics alike, this gin-soaked velvet draped madame has been described as the lovechild of Dame Edna and Amy Winehouse. TAGG spoke with the unlikely pair about Gold Class, which will be taking place at the Melbourne Fringe Festival hub, deep in the bowls of the beloved Arts House…

Introduce us to the work, what’s it called, and why?

Wes: It is Tina del Twist GOLD CLASS. It is a live cabaret concert like being at the cinema, but it’s live. It’s like being at home on the couch but this is in the privacy of your own fringe festival. There are VIP banana lounge seats available (which come with a complimentary wine) and Tina may throw some cheese at you at some point. Tina is a fabulous lush of a woman I produce. She is my Aunt, an alcoholic and a little deluded. I have her here with me now…

Tina: Hello darling, how are you?

Wes: so how would you describe the work Tina?

Tina: Well I sing lots of songs with my wonderful guitarist. I sing songs about.. oh how dull of me I don’t want to talk about the songs I am singing, it takes the fun out of it. Songs are there to be heard and lyrics interpreted via melody. Otherwise they would be poems, or chapters in a novel wouldn’t they, not songs. Come and see the concert and you’ll hear the songs. But they are of the blues and jazz vein. And I tell some jokes and stories you know.

Wes: Does that answer your question?

What drives you as a creative, is it the joy of performance, or the thrill of creating new work?

Wes: Well I will hand that one over to Tina…

Tina: Sorry what was the question? … Oh look, you know what, every time we are creating a new song or show or ‘work’ as you like to call it, I think god this is going to be a fun adventure, and then just before we start the process I have four panic attacks and think this is a bloody awful and anxiety ridden experience, why have I put myself in this position? Then I think it’s alright, once we get to the performance that is when the fun starts, it will all be ok, and then you get to the night of the performance and you are about to go on stage, you have four panic attacks and think this is a bloody awful and anxiety ridden experience, why have I put myself in this position? Then I think it’s alright, once we get to the end of the show and the applause arrives it will be worth it. Then you get to the end walk offstage and wonder if anyone actually liked it and you have four panic attacks and think this is a bloody awful and anxiety ridden experience, why have I put myself in this position? Then I think it’s alright, once we get paid you know, and then you realise the show was a fundraiser for a shed that needs to built somewhere in Nunawading to house a lawn mower, and so you go home and cry yourself to sleep. But to answer your question, what drives me as a creative is Gin.

Wes: What Tina is trying to say is that she really enjoys the entire process but most of all loves engaging with her audience.

What should audiences expect musically, and where drawn inspiration from when creating the work?

Tina: What should audiences expect musically? Songs darling.

Wes: Tina be nice. So, I know working with Tina on this there are quite a few original acoustic songs that are folky, bluesy, jazzy.

Tina: Let me talk Wes darling you sound like a dickhead. So there are quite a few original acoustic songs that are folky, bluesy, jazzy. The only time we choose to do a cover song is if we think we bring something new to it. There is no point just covering a song because you love the original, it has to also fit the context. Otherwise it’s karaoke. So we do songs by Led Zeppelin, Jefferson Airplane, songs that I grew up with and a lot of Australian work too but the lyrics have to make sense and be relevant to me. For example I wouldn’t do a song like Baa Baa Black Sheep because I am not a sheep, and I am not a fan of children so what’s the point? We do a song by that wonderful man Michael Hutchence, Devil Inside. I spent a lot of time with him back in the day. He taught me how to be sexual. But to answer your question, I draw inspiration from wine. And valium. At the same time.

Why do you think Tina Del Twist is still as popular, or perhaps notorious as ever?

Wes: I’ll take this one, Tina has just drifted off.

She is persistent! Ha! Tina is a talented alcoholic who once was a starlet but she is now living on the other side of that and is completely deluded that the stardom has ceased. There is an underlying darkness and tragedy to this that she doesn’t harp on about. In some ways everyone has or knows of an Aunt Tina. Not necessarily one that sings but certainly that Aunt who rocks up to xmas smashed and has no filter and takes you out the back for a joint. Her dementia often kicks in and she says whatever she likes. And that is why she is really fun, and why I think audiences can get a kick out of it as she often says things people are thinking but may not feel comfortable saying.

How do you see this performance as standing out from the rest of Melb Fringe this year?

Wes: I will start by saying it is not a competition. I think Melbourne has enough audiences to go and see shows. You still have to work hard to get people there. I think people do go and see more than one show. I would personally like to steer away from the idea that we stand out from each other because it creates a competitive culture, particularly in a fringe festival where I believe one of the main purposes is to nurture all artists involved.

Tina: Oh shut up Wes, this show stands out because it is the best.

What do you hope that audience will walk away with post show, and why?

Wes: I like people leaving a show and asking questions. Specifically, ‘why didn’t we book a banana lounge Gary?’

Tina: There can be a stress when creating a show that there has to be resolution at the end or that you have to leave the audience with one message to take away. I try not to focus on that. This particular show has a lot of light and shade in it and it is much like a mosaic puzzle, in a good way. Over the course of an hour you get presented with all these dots to join in the form of music and anecdotes, and you let them wash over you. Then when you leave all the dots make sense. This is my favorite kind of cabaret.

For more information and to book you tickets click here

Not Another Indie Cabaret

The delightfully disenchanted cabaret songstress Jessamae St James, is looking to stand out from the pack with her new performance Not Another Indie Cabaret. A work that is self described as “Soaked in satire, part self-deprecating reflection and part love letter to making excellent life choices whilst drunk on eBay.” and directed by Steven Gates one third of Australian comedy powerhouse Tripod, should indeed prove to be a trifle entertaining.

Pair this with the lusciousness that is The Butterfly Club, who are presenting the work as part of their Melbourne Fringe season, you have more than a good chance of having a great time in checking this one out. TAGG spoke with Jessamae ahead of the season.

What is the inspiration behind you show?

The show is a comedy cabaret, a satirical mash of indie, pop and spoken word. I was inspired oddly enough by cabaret! You see, I don’t want to perform ‘just’ another indie cabaret. But what the heck does that actually mean? I mean, isn’t cabaret by it’s definition pretty indie? And then if it is an indie cabaret how do I know if it’s indie enough? Questions. Drama. Throw in a loop station and some questionable online shopping. Oh also, a trumpet kazoo.
Why cabaret, and what do you hope to give audiences, and what do you hope they take away from the performance?
Cabaret so perfectly captures my loves; music, story telling and intimacy. Urgh that sounds so squishy but I love cabaret and so I tend to wish a lot from it. I think it’s such a wonderful way to tell stories and can also be outrageous ridiculous fun. I really hope to remind audiences that not taking ourselves too seriously can be a source of wonderful joy!
What do you feel defines your work, and sets its apart from the rest of the Melbourne Fringe Season this year?

All of the songs in Not Another Indie Cabaret are written by me using instruments that I’ve bought whilst drunk on eBay! Also, the show is directed by Steven Gates (who is 1/3 of the multi award winning comedy trio Tripod), he has a wealth of knowledge on all things funny.
You have an incredible voice, talk to us about how you came to be a singer, and whats your training background?

In high school I was 100% a music theatre geek and went on to study music theatre at VCA. I then went back a few years later and completed a third of the jazz improv degree. Whilst I was there I found myself wanting more and more to be creating and devising theatre and so I took some time off to do that, and haven’t looked back! Although the songs in this show aren’t stylistically jazz, I’m very much influenced by jazz in my writing. Early on when I first began writing I was lucky to be part of a song writing mentorship where I was mentored by Deborah Conway. Since then I’ve somehow managed to sing jazz in nightclubs, in beautiful theatres whilst performing striptease in burlesque shows and combine it with my kitsch 80s omnichord for silly synth-y fun.

Not Another Indie Cabaret opens on Tuesday the 20th September and plays till Sunday the 26th, for more information or to book your tickets click here.

Circus, the ultimate contemporary art?

Circus is an art form that has continued over the past decade to captivate audiences and grow in popularity. Having reached critical mass, a fixed feature in festivals around the world built upon a long and colorful history, those childhood memories under the big top most of us share, and more simply the way it responds to the here and now. In Melbourne we only need to look at the continued success, both here and abroad of our very own Circus Oz, perhaps Australia’s first “modern” circus trope to encapture this notion.

The company are now also opening their door to support the work of others, as part of this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival, they are responsible for presenting 7 works over the three weeks of the festival at one the most historic, loved and beautiful venues bestowed to Melbourne, The Melba Spiegeltent. TAGG spoke with Circus Oz Senior Artistic Associate Antonella Casella about the upcoming festival season.

Antonella, why circus?

I feel this year is a real watershed year for circus in the Melbourne fringe, I feel like fringe  festivals all around the world the circus has been growing and bubbling up into a major part of the programming in places like Edinburgh and Adelaide in particular, and I feel like this year Melbourne fringe has really come up to that level, of having that mix of incredible international touring work as well as completely brand new work emerging artists taking their first steps into being creatives. We wanted our hub to reflect that whole range I guess

What do you think is behind the continued success and growing popularity of circus?

I think it’s the art form for the era, I think it an art form that can tell any story to anybody and it can draw on any other art form, there is no reason why a circus show not have text cannot have comedy story line or narrative or a completely post-modern non narrative arc, multimedia juggling movement, dance, sculpture, one of the show nominated in Edinburgh was a Melbourne show that d a bit of kinetic sculpture and explored climate change. I feel as an art form it is full of opportunity and it’s the ultimate contemporary art.

What do you think could be attributed to the ongoing popularity of circus?

There are no rules and that’s not just for the performers but for the audience too, they still hold it in their heads that idea of the traditional circus, a lot of what they remember is the greatest show on earth, the old 1940’s back and white movies, with Tony Curtis. People still hold that traditional circus model in their head, but then they come and see a contemporary circus show that still has the level of incredible skill,  but it’s basically exploring conceptual ideas, it’s like getting your whole imagination opened up when you walk into a circus.

So what are some the highlights that people should look out for as part of the work presented at The Melba Spiegeltent?

Each piece has something really special about it, there’s one coming from Brisbane by Cacus called ReStrung I haven’t seen this version and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a reworked version of a show they already made and have been toured internationally to festivasl which highlight independent contemporary work of circus and physical theatre. It was a real break out work for them, it immediately spoke to people, because it had such a personal connection with the audience, it was these five individuals basically bearing their truths of who they were on stage, through circus. It was really touching. Now they have reworked it with a musician to create a whole new layer of soundtrack to it, I think it’s going to be a really beautiful piece, really moving.

The No Frills Cabaret is something I’m really excited about, because it’s called the No Frills Cabaret but the truth is its actually full of some the most amazing international touring circus acts, so  there’s going to be some quite spectacular skill on show.

Then there is Undertone which is interestingly another circus show looking at the cross over between music and circus. Whereas Restrung is with live music, Undertone is with electronic music and the electronic music is folded in to their circus equipment, it’s completely integrated.

The Loneliest Number which is by Hannah Cryle who is an emerging solo female circus artist, who’s incredible strong, she’s one of the strongest women I know, she could be the next Australian strong woman. But she’s also very creative, she’s actually worked with six different directors on six different vignettes to explore the performance possibilities for her work.

The Cactus County Wild West Cabaret, it has absolutely no circus a tall, I think it hails originally from a comic radio show and the basically have a great time parodying the wild west, singing and being very silly.

Do you feel Circus Oz along with other major companies should play a greater role in supporting the work of independent artists?

I think it’s critical for us to do that at the moment, we all know that the funding environment has changed significantly and there is a lot less funding support for independent artists, but also for all independent artists it’s always a struggle to pull together enough work. And it’s always a struggle to pull together enough time to focus on your creative work, that’s the hardest part but also the most important part of the process.

Circus Oz is really committed to opening up this incredible space that we have, to foster that process both the creation of it, as well as the presentation. Which is why we are not only supporting artist to be in the fringe, but we are also supporting artists to develop their work here in the rehearsal spaces, not just for our venue but for all venues putting on circus in the fringe. So I feel we are working hard to support the whole ecosystem, because at the moment that part of the ecosystem needs more support than ever before.

How do you see Circus Oz within the broader context of circus and performance arts in Australia?

You know it’s interesting because in many ways Circus Oz was Melbourne’s, even Australia’s first circus of a new era the reinvented circus if you like. I think even from the beginning what Circus Oz has brought to circus, is the notion that its about reinventing something, about making it current making it contemporary, taking risks to do that. I think that has always been a part of our  core artistic values, so I think as a company we really bring that notion of takings risk, even though we are a major I don’t think we are perceived as a place where you have to follow rules or do things how they have always been done. That’s a really special quality that Circus Oz has.

Looking forward what are your hopes for circus, the upcoming festival season and for the company?

I think this is a really important year for circus in the fringe, because we have our hub presenting this incredible range of work but there is almost like a virtual circus hub across Melbourne this year. My dream for our circus hub is for it to provide a space where artists can really celebrate the whole range of what circus is in a way that no other venue can, because it’s the Melba Spiegeltent.  We can present late night cabaret through to experimental theatrical based circus work in this incredible space; I guess it’s also my dream that artists can keep exploring these ideas. My other hope is a lot of other audience members will come along on this journey with us.

There are so many great shows happening at The Melba Spiegeltent, with the season opening on the 16th of September. Whether you book tickets to see one of your favorite artists or companies, or take a risk and perhaps explore something new and magical, you’ll be doing your bit to support the work artists for more info click here

Baritones Belting Bond

Fringe is almost here, and among the plethora of shows about to take over our city, is a performance about the world’s greatest spy, a man who is suave, patriotic, sporting a devil may care attitude, of course his name is Bond, James BondPerfect for newbies and know-it-alls alike,  Shaken  plunges head first into over 50 years of James Bond iconography. Pitting the seven ‘James Bond’ actors against each other in a race to determine, scientifically, which of them is the greatest all-time Bond.  Charlie D. Barkle who is at helm of this productions spoke with TAGG about the work.
Charlie tell us about the process of creating a cabaret performance, where did you begin?
For me a Cabaret starts with an idea gem or nugget, it could be as simple as a gimmick, or a topic, or even something that I think is cool and really want to do on stage, for Shaken it was the latter, I had met Oliver Clark at a karaoke night that he hosts in Fitzroy and we hit it off, ‘Bonding’ over our love of James Bond movie themes. Oliver would belt out Thunderball and Golden Eye, where as my favourites were Licence to Kill and Goldfinger. Wanting to develop a simple, fun, and accessible cabaret show, I thought what better genre than Bond, approaching Oliver to join me for the ride and I set about writing and fleshing out the concept.
What is the inspiration behind this show, was there a particular moment in a Bond film that inspired you?
I’ve always loved Bond films, I jumped on board during the Brosnan era, but quickly went back and filled in the gaps with Connery, Lazenby, Moore, and Dalton. But more than the movies themselves, it the themes that inspire me, there is something truly magnificent about a Bond theme, both classical and pop simultaneously, the smooth strings, the pop of the brass, and then the singers, Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, Tina Turner, Adele, Garbage, Chris Cornell, Louis Armstrong, the list goes on and on and on.
What do you  think has been the key to the Bond film’s success, and how do you hope to emanate this?
The ability to reinvent and reimagine the character for different generations is moist certainly at the heart of the Bond franchises success, also the ability to evolve with an ever changing world, is certainly a key factor to its success. Shaken aims to celebrate the Bond franchise in all it’s incarnations, from the terribly misogynistic Connery era right through to the more enlightened and respectful Daniel Craig. By pitting the Bond’s against each other in friendly competition we explore the evolution of the character and how he has changed and adapted through history for a changing and developing audience.
What do you feel the performance brings to the Melbourne fringe program, and what sets you apart from the rest of the pack?
The pop culture arrogance of 3 simple words “Bond, James Bond
Musically, what can audiences expect from the this show?
As our tag line suggests, Baritones Belting Bond, I’ve handpicked 8 of my favourite themes and Oliver and I have set our selves the task to add our own personal flair to the themes, We’ve arranged a pretty cool duet version of Skyfall, we’ve got a Tom Jones sandwich with Bassey bread, and we’ve got the Gladys Knight, and Tina Turner twin play.
Did you seek or perhaps find inspiration from anywhere else?
Conceptually I borrowed, strangely enough, from my love of mathematics and statistics. I’m a huge fan of a good spreadsheet, and the idea to pitt the various Bonds against each other came from there. I was watching through all 26 Bond films again, researching for the show, and I thought wouldn’t it be fun to pick out a number of key attributes and keep a tally of them as I went along. This formed the basis of the show giving us the categories that we assess each Bond by to determine the answer to the age old question Which Bond is the best.
Shaken, opens on Tuesday the 20th of September at The Butterfly Club, for more info click here

Melbourne Fringe Festival THE POWER OF 20


Rare group exhibition from diverse local artists

The Power of 20 is a rare group exhibition showcasing new works from the diverse talents of both emerging and established artists, from of one of St Kilda’s longest standing artist collectives – the little gem that is ‘Artist’s Studio 106’, on Barkly Street in the heart of St Kilda.

Artist’s Studio 106 is one of the earliest (if not the earliest) artist collectives in Melbourne and this Melbourne Fringe Festival, it will open its doors for a rare glimpse and group exhibition. Started 20 years ago, in 1996 by an independent group of artists with a small arts grant from the City of Port Phillip – the aim was to provide affordable studio space for local artists. An ad was placed in the local paper, and over 60 artists came to the first meeting.

More than 200 artists have made use of the studios since those early days and currently around 20 artists work from the independently run space. Resident artists these days work across an incredibly diverse range of mediums including illustration, sculpture, painting, digital art, mixed media, and film, and often collaborate on each other’s projects. Works for The Power of 20 are loosely linked by the concept that greater power is created when we work together, and further celebrates the 20 year history.

Current resident artists and filmmakers include: Ulises Resendiz, Helen Gries, Heidi Knoepfli, Stephanie Leigh, Sam Slade, Josie Wadelton, Majenta Sky, Katrina Mathers, Kelly Lefever, Elena Berkovich, Sandie Wright, Maria Leonard, Miyuki Mardon, Zev Howley, Sarah Jayne, Ivan Malekin, Ruv Nemiro and Tamar Dolev An opening celebration will be held on Saturday 17 September 3-5pm and everyone is invited.

The exhibition will run throughout the Melbourne Fringe Festival and exhibited works will be available for sale.


Level 2, 106 Barkly Street, St Kilda.

(Next to Mirka Lane and the Woodfrog Bakery)

OPENING: Saturday 17 Sept 2016, 3-5pm.

EXHIBITION: 15 Sept – 2 Oct (Closed Sun/Mon)

TIMES: 11am-4pm Tue-Fri, 12-3pm Sat (appointment recommended, although walk-ins welcome) FREE

Find us on Twitter & Facebook at @106art

ARTIST: Elena Berkovich “Missing” Acrylic on perspex mounted on wood, suspended by bolts1 120 cm x 60 cm. by Elena Berkovich
ARTIST: Heidi Knoepfli “Titanium_7”
ARTIST: Tamar Dolev “Recycled City” Mixed media, found objects
ARTIST: Sandie Wright ‘Cockatee’, mixed media/golf tees
ARTIST: Josie Wadelton “Ission” collage
ARTIST: Maria Leonard ‘Portrait of Dr. Ian Britain’, 30 x 30 cm
ARTIST: Tamar Dolev “Reflect” Photograph





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