David Thewlis voices Michael Stone in the animated stop-motion film, ANOMALISA

The most human film of the year (review)

“What is it to be human? To ache?”

This is the question at the centre of Anomalisa – the brilliant new offering from Charlie Kaufman, who wrote Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

In a thought-provoking and poignant piece of introspective cinema, a character-driven story unfolds around Michael Stone – a well-known self-help author and speaker – on an overnight business trip to Cincinnati.

As he moves goes through the motions – shown in hilariously minute detail – and spends a night at the Fregoli Hotel (named after a paranoid psychological condition), it becomes clear just how stifling a world he lives in. Not surprisingly, Michael has trouble connecting with those around him and begins to suspect he is falling apart.

But then he meets Lisa – a shy, awkward anomaly in the system who is extraordinary in her plainness and yet manages to have the audience onside within mere moments.

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What follows is their short-lived, but deeply moving, love story – and that’s about as much of the plot as I want to give away, because Anomalisa is the kind of film best watched quietly and without expectation, creating a slowly unfurling understanding of the film world.

What unfolds over the next 90 minutes is beautiful but underwhelming; a story of intense moments that are over in a flash, creating emotions that you’re not sure what to do with and a movie that is ultimately heartbreaking but forgettable. But such is the reality – and inevitability – of Anomalisa, which asserts that even the best moments in life can be truly fleeting.

It important to note that Anomalisa is filmed in stop motion using felted puppets, adding a nightmarish touch to the landscape. Kaufman really succeeds in stripping away the actors so that the audience can really see, and relate to, the characters – giving man a mask so that he can speak the truth.

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By all accounts this movie shouldn’t be as moving or as though-provoking as it is. What sounds simple and almost comical in construct is instead stiflingly unconformable and deeply unsettling, a wonderful portrayal of loneliness and the crushing inevitability of life.

One thing is for sure, Anomalisa really got me thinking. I was captivated by its gentleness and bizarreness right from the start, intrigued by the unfolding sense of doom and mesmerised by the beautiful aesthetics. In a quiet way, without ceremony or didacticism, it reminded me to treasure the little things in life – for it is those little moments of brightness that will see us through the darker times.

You can see Anomalisa (rated MA15+) at Lunda Leederville from Thursday 4 February.

Anomalisa (2015, Paramount Pictures)

Directed by: Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman

Written by: Charlie Kaufman

Starring: David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan

*I was invited to the media screening of Anomalisa (thanks Luna Palace Cinemas). All opinions are my own. 

EastEnd Cabaret is Bernadette Byrne & Victor Victoria; 
here to educate and entertain the masses. 

After finding themselves in London’s East End (via the Eastern Bloc) with only a suitcase of Bolshevik puppets and an accordion to their names, they did what any enterprising and narcissistic person would do, and started a cabaret show.

Aided by the erudite Mr. Little Red Book, Bernadette’s penchant for salaciousness and Victy’s assortment of musical instruments, the duo will enrich your lives with tales of love, sex and communism.

Armed with their own batch of original songs (and some shamelessly re-appropriated ones from Radiohead to Right Said Fred), they will shock, arouse and enlighten you. 

Be prepared.

Fringe World 2016: EastEnd Cabaret – Perverts review

The delightfully foul-mouthed and scandalous EastEnd Cabaret are back in Perth for their fourth Fringe season with their show Perverts – an all singing, man-beast riding, according-wielding, multi-award winning raunchy comedy cabaret spectacle.

Mixing up some of their most-loved musical numbers with fresh material, professional perverts Bernadette Byrne and Victor Victoria delighted the audience with hilariously risqué songs, getting up close and personal with the crowd right from the get go.

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Fringe World 2016: Mâché – A Drag Performance Showcase review

For one night only, Mâché took drag out of the gay clubs and put it on centre stage at Fringe World much to the delight of one of the most vocal and supportive crowd’s I’ve ever seen.

In a high energy feast for the eyes, Perth’s best drag stars came together for an electric, feel-good showcase of club kids expressing themselves through music, movement, killer costumes and makeup.

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Le Gateau Chocolat

Fringe World 2016: Le Gateau Chocolat – Icons review

The enigmatic British-born Nigerian La Gateau Chocolat is a cabaret and drag star like no other, full of warmth and passion and blessed with a powerfully captivating voice.

In Icons, Chocolat explores his relationship with the people, the moments and the music that shapes us, sharing a heart-warming and intensely human experience through song.

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Fringe World 2016: my top picks

It’s almost here! Following the official launch this morning, Fringe World Festival is returning to Perth for 2016, bringing with it exciting venues, amazing artists, and perfect summer vibes.

From 22 January to 21 February, the City of Perth will come alive and make you realise just how great P-town can be. As the THIRD LARGEST Fringe event in the world, there are a tonne of brilliant ticketed and free events on offer.

So make your way to one of the buzzing Fringe hubs – the Pleasure Garden, Perth Cultural Centre and Noodle Palace are my faves – grab a drink and a bite to eat, soak up the chilled atmosphere and catch one of these shows – you’ll be glad you did!

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Danger Cabaret

Danger Cabaret presents Freaks and Fishnets review

A North Perth strip club was one of the last places I could have imagined spending my Sunday night, but the Doll’s House turned out to be an incredibly fitting and relaxed environment for the latest offering from one of Perth’s hottest entertainment agencies, Danger Cabaret.

Fresh off a run of incredible shows at Fringe World 2015 , and flying in the face of Perth’s recent string of venue closures, Danger Cabaret put together a one-night only show designed to dazzle and delight, and blow those post-Fringe blues away.

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