It’s no mean feat to maintain grandeur while crawling from a swamp, so we tip our sparkly headdresses to the performers from Cirque du Soleil. They make every moment spectacular in their new show Totem, which traces mankind from amphibian roots to futuristic space exploration. Think a history class on crack, but much, much more fun, thanks to the acrobatics, clowns, and seriously impressive trapeze. Any troupe less accomplished might be laughed off the stage for the largeness of the storyline, but Cirque has both the size and talent to do it justice. “I took the family to see Cirque du Soleil last time they were visiting Perth and we loved it,” says Aurélien Scannella. “We will definitely be returning to see this new performance.” PS: Johnny Depp and wife Amber Heard attended the Brisbane leg and it’s reported they were left speechless.
Belmont Racecourse, July 31-September 20.
Scandinavian Film Festival
Um, could the premise of opening night film Here is Harold be more Scandinavian? Let’s see: a Norwegian furniture store owner seeks to kidnap Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, when a superstore opens next door to his shop – except Ingvar is more than happy to be held captive. Swedish chain furniture and Stockholm syndrome? Nope, Scandi-levels are off the scale. But seriously, we highly recommend you get down to this second annual festival of films from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland. With ‘Nordic noir’ on the rise, the movies are often unexpected, dry and compulsively watchable.
Luna Palace Cinemas, July 23-29.
Let’s preface this by saying, don’t bring your kids. Now let’s get to the juicy stuff.This adults-only circus show from Las Vegas takes its cues from the smoky cabarets of the late 19th century, mashing burlesque, vaudeville and downright dirty humour. Hosted by the outrageous Gazillionaire and his sidekick Penny, the show features some weird and wonderful acts like Angie Sylvia, a G-string clad Swede who seems to channel a dirty Sandy from Grease, floating around in a bubblegum balloon before returning in black leather to eat fire, and the Ukrainian Sasha, who clambers, monkey-like, up an increasingly tall stack of chairs until he almost touches the ceiling. If you were lucky enough to see La Soiree at this year’s Fringe World, we hear it will be similar, with double-jointed performers and double entrendes in a spiegeltent. Word to the wise: think carefully before you book front-row seats. When it comes to participation, they won’t take no for an answer. Spiegeltent, until July 26.
The Logie-nominated creator and star of SBS sketch series Legally Brown is one of Australia’s most promising comedians. Growing up with Sri Lankan heritage in white Australia, Nazeem Hussain mines his lived experience for comedic value – like the high frequency of cases of mistaken identity and daily doses of casual racism – but his anecdotes also shed light on Australia’s complicated relationship with multiculturalism. Though he’s not afraid to tread on uncomfortable territory (ISIS jokes are plentiful), making the audience squirm isn’t his raison d’être. With an easy manner, he’s just as likely to switch the convo to footy and his mates, when heavier jokes go down with a thunk. “The diversity of voices in comedy, and the arts in general, is so important,” says Wendy Martin. “It’s great to see comedians of south Asian background in the spotlight.” Regal Theatre, August 1.
Film insiders call CinefestOZ Australia’s answer to the St Tropez film festival, with its seaside backdrop and fine food and wine, not to mention the southwest’s Gallic ties. “In a few short years this has grown out of a community’s drive to celebrate the beauty of the southwest and to celebrate film, and has become a real destination festival,” says Wendy Martin. For those who like the finer things in life, you’ll be treated to winery lunches, red-carpet events and the sparkling gala award ceremony. As well as a stellar selection of Australian and French films, the
festival coordinates school program Cinesnaps, and showcases Indigenous films and free community screenings. This year, the grand prize is $100,000. Various locations, August 26-30.