My schedule was organised, tickets all in order, media pass at my side; last night I took in a deep breath and braced myself for another ten days of festivities.
Baycourt has transformed into a lovely little house of joy. A gnarly old tree has been yarn-bombed by what one of my Facebook friends lovingly termed the ‘Nana Vandals’. And inside the foyer there are some brilliant prized student photographs on display that’ll make your penchant for taking pics of your meals at a café look paltry.
My first show of the season was handing over my ticket to check out The Pianist. The seats were sold out to a crowd that spanned all ages and I parked myself in between a row of kids and some Baby Boomers.
The Pianist was cleverly crafted in its Muppet Show ability to cut through the age barriers and tickle the funny bones of both young and old alike. From behind I could hear laughter in between the comparisons to Mr Bean and Frank Spencer. In front, the girls were giggling at the slapstick comedy of a contortionist meets theatrical humour. And everywhere else the audience was drawn into this interactive show that had packed some paper flying surprises.
It was really great to hear how much the audience had enjoyed itself in the post-show out the door analysis, and to see the kids drawn to the stage; checking out the piano, popcorn and strewn music sheets. I could imagine my nieces and nephews there with me, telling their parents about how cool their favourite aunty was because I’d taken them to such an awesome show.
Later, as I stepped into the Crystal Palace I felt a little like I was returning after being away overseas; the scent of familiarity with a piece of missing fitted snuggly back in the puzzle. The doorman smiled with a twinkle; I was home. Inside was what I had expected, humming along with anticipation. Finding a spot at a corner of the centred stage, I sat eying up the dozen eggs that were winking at me.
Last night I sat watching Knee Deep, poised, too amazed to actually move. I was tasered by the four performers toying with the fragility of the human form and slapping it in the face with ‘I bet you thought this couldn’t possibly happen’ spectacles, gracefully executed in a contemporary circus style performance. Putting your body on the line came with a new meaning, with such effortlessness and tested in ways that you could not conjure up in your mind on the most day dreamiest of days.
The audience sat mesmerised, flinching and gasping. There were hands that were permanently cupped in front of open mouths and the clapping filtered through The Palace like the foreboding drops from a black cloud on a hot tin roof, too stunned to miss a beat.
These hand-picked Arts Festival shows, they simply astound me and this has been the perfect opening. It’s like the first time you purchase a pair of perfect heels and all you want is to add more to your collection. Even after waking up this morning, I am still in awe from last night’s feast of viewing pleasure, still wondering if it was real, if Knee Deep was in fact actually possible.
If you don’t want to miss this opportunity, there are still tickets available for the final shows tonight for The Pianist and Knee Deep.
Opening outfit of choice: Indigo Something Else dress from a closing down sale, gold L’Atelier peep toes (from my Kryptonite store) DSW in NYC, a fuschia cardi from a couple of hours of madness shopping spree in Notting Hill and an ivory clutch from a local op shop.
Love ‘It’s Only Been Day One And I’m Loving It’ NJ