A Little Piece: MFF

Tipsy Teacup’s very original and adorable puppet show, A Little Piece, is a reminder of another important part of not only the Fringe, but any Arts festival, and that is that wherever there are grown-up punters looking for events that entertain and challenge, so too do they often have little ones toddling behind them.

A Little Piece caters to an audience of four at a time, and I saw my show (they do ten x ten minute shows a night at the Lithuanian Club) with another grown-up. Inside a little cubby we were told the tale of Harry the Hedgehog, a puppet that is trying to find his place in a world of lost bits and bobs behind a series of doors beautifully designed by Ben Landau. The thing about the show is its equal accessibility to adults with a good sense of child’s play, especially important since a lot of the doors are numbered in double digits, which the audience are required to interact with, something that might be a little difficult with smaller children.

Sam Hill and Rennie Watson have inventive and fluid puppeteering, with Hill giving voice as both narrator and Harry, a sometimes difficult task when there are audiences rushing in and out of the Lithuanian Club’s other venues, with the occasional bleed of music coming through the auditorium. But the very aspect of the setting makes up for these distractions, since you are inside Harry’s little world, being asked to participate and interact with the performers, making it a fun experience all round.

Special mention should also be given to the sound which was done by Kirri Buchler, which wove itself into the background. Also, the handmade aspect of the piece where audience members are invited to sit on chairs provided between shows and talk to the performers. A fun little piece for all ages.

A Little Piece: Lithuanian Club

Tipsy Teacup Productions

Venue: Fringe Hub – Upstairs Foyer, Lithuanian Club
44 Errol St North Melbourne

Transport: Tram 57, Stop: 12

Melways: 2A J10

Time: Mon-Sat 6.30pm-10.10pm, Sun 5.30pm-9.10pm, every 20min (15min). Excluding 7:30pm – 7:50pm

Full Price: $ 10.00
Tuesday: $ 5.00

Website: tipsyteacup.com.au

Other: Max of 4 audience members at a time
Show takes place in an enclosed space

23 September – 11 October

Original Post: http://www.artshub.com.au/au/news-article/reviews/performing-arts/a-little-piece-mff-179353?sc=1

The Hello Morning: Northcote Social Club

I’ve been reading too much Greil Marcus lately. A pretentious way to start a review, but there it is. He is not a writer to bandy about phrases, to use a scattergun approach to describing a band. His is about the essential element of a moment, whether, for him, it is the first crackling chords coming from a newly purchased record, or the moment in a performance where the band refine their purpose through one gesture, whether it is of aggression or wonder, its apex Johnny Rotten’s question to a San Francisco audience in ’78, just after quitting, or being fired from, the Sex Pistols, “Ever feel like you’ve been cheated?”

I write this blather around my review of The Hello Morning because there’s not a lot to write. After watching the tail end of Downhills Home – a band that was also inoffensive, but not very interesting, its rhythm section wallowing in the background, the fate of many a band who can’t see beyond the instruments they use to write songs in their bedrooms on a Sunday afternoon – we nipped outside the Northcote Social Club for a breath of fresh air. When we came back the band room was packed with punters, who, as the band progressed, steadily slunk away into the main bar, outside, home, leaving the venue half full by the time we left at the end.

The Hello Morning were promising enough at the start, at least visually they were well put together, emanating the latest trend towards gothic western that you get more convincingly from bands like the Kill Devil Hills and Clinkerfield. But The Hello Morning’s sound tends more towards Calexico, Lambchop territory, but without the resolve towards musicianship that both these bands use as their primary weapon. Certainly guitarist John Citizen seemed more interested in checking out the front row of the crowd than communicating with the rest of the band. Exceptions to this bland instrumentation was the occasional solo releasing of John Cope on keys, and the bringing on of female vocalist Kimberly Johnson to harmonise on another track.

Lead singer Clifford Stevens’ physical styling as a Melbourne version of Chris Isaac didn’t pay off either, with his vocals buried in the mix. In fact the entire gig was a frustrating venture into moments where something could have been made out of the swathe of other musicians in the band, only to have them be put back in their box by the front man and his guitarist sidekick Citizen. To have a horn section that is only used two or three times in the gig seems like a waste of everyone’s time. Similarly there was a moment when the drummer seemed to leap out of the song with a mass of dynamic energy, only to fade away into the background again, not to reappear.

The biggest mistake that any band can make, and it’s a mistake that The Hello Morning has made, is that they think that the audience won’t know when it’s been cheated, that they will take part in the big lie that the band is trying to purport, that they will happily go to a gig if the hairdo is right. Not so. Despite the cynicism of Melbourne’s hipster infestation the crowd will still always know if a band is good or not, and the polite, middle-class, sneaking away of a visible percentage of the audience last night is a review in itself.

The Hello Morning played the Northcote Social Club with Downhills Home and Joe Neptune.

Original Post: http://www.artshub.com.au/au/news-article/reviews/performing-arts/the-hello-morning-northcote-social-club-179358?sc=1