Skip to main content

Melbourne Fringe: Infinitum

The audience wait on the steps of Arts House; this is not unusual for the Fringe Festival. Nothing’s unusual for the Fringe Festival, really. But waiting on those steps to be taken somewhere has become a pretty regular occurence. When every room and venue and space in North Melbourne is full, sometimes the audience needs to be led first and be allowed to find the performance.

Infinitum, by award-winning choreographer Gareth Hart, plays out in the lanes and alleys and carparks hidden behind the North Melbourne Town Hall. We stand and watch a van reverse out of a driveway. Is this part of the performance? A Fringe Festival volunteer pokes her head around the corner and quickly steps away...

We’re a small crowd of a dozen, being led down these back streets, contemplating these spaces without any context. What will we find here? What will we see? And hear? Is walking down Errol St without knowing where we’ll end up a part of the performance? Yes. Absolutely yes.

A man in an laneway dances. We move away from him, led to a spot that’s not quite optimal. We can’t quite see what’s going on. As an audience, we’re used to sitting in rows and taking up limited space.

There’s another man, untangling cables, sweetening the soundscape. There’s the noise of North Melbourne nightlife, and now there’s a new sonic expression cutting through the din of the places that surround us.

Soon, though, the dancer and the sound designer untangle those cables and the dancing affects the sound design. The dancer drags a microphone along the ground and we are hearing the asphalt and the pavement. The microphone cord twists and spins around the dancer’s body – and the audience begins to spread out, to relax and to find a new vantage spot.

And then both performers move on and we follow... while local residents peek through windows  and motion-sensing lights, which are just part of the local infrastructure, blink on and off, becoming part of the performance.

There’s something thrilling about discovery at the heart of Infinitum. We’re looking at places we’d hardly ever take a second glance of. The show makes us hear things we wouldn’t usually absorb. Hart’s movement is delicate and considerate of his surrounds; he welcomed a car into the carpark where he danced, though the driver reversed away.

I’m seeing a few shows that are set outside during Fringe this year. Last night was overcast, the light of the day giving way to night, but Gareth Hart and Rod Price lit up the back streets of North Melbourne with beautiful movement and a soundscape that complemented and heightened the palpable air of excitement on this opening weekend of Melbourne Fringe.

Infinitum plays at dusk until Friday 23rd of September. Tickets on sale here.


Popular posts from this blog

My Favourite Theatre of 2018

It’s that time of year again, when I look back over everything I saw on stage and put together a list of my favourite shows. I saw over 100 shows this year, mostly in Melbourne and a small number on one visit to Sydney.

I will link to reviews if I wrote one.
TOP TEN (alphabetical order)
The Almighty Sometimes – Griffin Theatre, Sydney
Kendall Feaver’s extraordinary debut play is about Anna, dealing with mood disorders and medication and the complicated relationship she has with the treatments and her mother. Superb cast and beautifully directed by Lee Lewis
Blackie Blackie Brown – Malthouse Theatre
Nakkiah Lui’s work is always amazing but this production, directed by Declan Green, was another step up for her – the satire sharper and bleaker and more hilarious than ever before.
Blasted – Malthouse Theatre
Sarah Kane’s debut play from 1990s London is a tricky beast tackling difficult subjects but Anne-Louise Sarks nailed it with a superb production.
The Bleeding Tree – Arts Centre Melbourne

Melbourne Fringe: The Mission by Tom Molyneux

The widespread use of Acknowledgement of Country throughout the theatrical community is a good reminder that we live and work and tell stories on a land that has been home to Australia’s Indigenous people for forty-thousand years. Any Fringe show presenting work on the lands of the Wurundjeri people in the Birrarung are continuing a very long tradition.
Performer Tom Molyneux’s Acknowledgement of Country feeds directly into the story of The Mission; “sovereignty has never been ceded” is a strong jumping-off point for a story about our Indigenous population’s autonomy.
This personal history begins thirty-thousand years ago at the forming of Budj Bim, a volcano in Western Victoria. The Budj Bim area is a very important one to the Gunditjmara people, a site where they developed a system of aquaculture, thousands of years before European settlement.
After European settlement, it was the site of Eumerella Wars, where the Gunditjmara were overwhelmed and killed by colonisers who had the su…

Melbourne Fringe: Sleepover Gurlz by Emma Smith & Vidya Rajan

Theatre can happen anywhere. It can happen in big rooms, small rooms, warehouses, carparks and shipping containers. I saw a show on the streets of North Melbourne once. And one in the back of a car.
Sleepover Gurlz isn’t the first play I’ve seen performed in a bedroom, but this one uses its space and its premise to great effect; the intimacy is vital and this show is as much about the bedroom space as it is about the women sharing it.
Before the show, the audience is ushered upstairs to a living area to colour and paste and find their inner child. It’s an irresistible moment of pleasure that you almost regret being dragged into the bedroom for the party itself.
Creators and performers Emma Smith and Vidya Rajan are six-year-old girls, welcoming the audience to their sleepover party. We are the other girls at the party, sharing snacks and interacting with the friends who have invited us over. It’s charming and funny and silly. There’s a game of “Chinese whispers” and the uninhibited th…