I saw 15 of the 78 Brisbane Festival productions during September … not my best year (stupid Influenza B) but not a bad effort, given its Term 3 timing (#teacherlife). This leads to difficulty though in reflecting upon preferences, especially when shows can be so wildly different in type and tone, yet still be equally mind-blowing (to steal the festival’s tagline intent).
The razzle dazzle ‘70s cabaret “Velvet” featuring her highness Marcia Hines was infectiously fun, while at the other extreme, W!ld Rice’s witty all-male telling of Oscar Wilde’s immortal “The Importance of Being Earnest” offered delightful take on the classic.
Certainly, the Singapore Snapshots and Congo Connections provided many of the highlights of harrowing and happiness alike and I hope that the focus on particular nations is set to continue in future festivals in affirmation of the event’s role in connecting artists and audiences through attracting world class entertainment.
World premieres of commissioned productions like the equally intense and profound, but very different works of boxing-based “Prize Fighter” and opera/circus fusion “Il Ritorno” of course add a specialness to theatre experiences. The fact that they additionally come courtesy of Brisbane creators also fosters the type of conversations that typify festival time, when an entire city can become focussed on creativity. Rather than engendering a generic franchised feel, this year’s works have been daring and then some, making it a September not to be forgotten.