Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - SARA FITZ­PATRICK

HOME­GROWN theatre maker Melissa Cantwell was de­ter­mined to work with cel­e­brated per­for­mance artist iOTA af­ter watch­ing him on stage at Syd­ney Fes­ti­val 2012. “Blown away” by his act Young,

Hard and Solo, she im­plored the Perth-born Syd­neysider to one day re­turn to his roots and col­lab­o­rate with her in a lo­cal pro­duc­tion.

Four years on and the two are thrilled to present iOTA in The Av­er­age Joe at Fringe World Fes­ti­val 2017.

“In Septem­ber (this year) we ex­plored iOTA’s writ­ten ma­te­rial, then de­cided to pur­sue it fur­ther,” the for­mer Perth Theatre Com­pany artis­tic di­rec­tor said.

“We spent two weeks to­gether in an­other cre­ative devel­op­ment with three mu­si­cians and a de­sign team and we’re des­per­ately ex­cited to share the work with ev­ery­body.”

A deeply per­sonal work from iOTA – a multi-Help­mann award win­ner (Smoke & Mir­rors, Hed­wig and the An­gry Inch) and openly gay ac­tor, com­poser, singer and dancer – the show ex­plores iden­tity and sex­u­al­ity through story and song.

“iOTA is such an ex­tra­or­di­nary tal­ent – the peo­ple who were lucky enough to see him in the Bowie trib­ute (Noth­ing has Changed) with WASO re­cently will be ex­cited to see him in some­thing up close and per­sonal,” Cantwell said.

“He has a bril­liant sense of hu­mour and that re­ally shows in his work in terms of where he has come from and where he may and may not be go­ing.

“It’s a joy to be around a per­former who is able to laugh at them­selves and the peo­ple around them and also cre­ate some re­ally mov­ing ma­te­rial.”

The world pre­miere of iOTA in The Av­er­age Joe also marks the launch of Cantwell’s new com­pany, The Kabuki Drop.

She said au­di­ences could en­joy a new work from her later in the year.

In the mean­time, peo­ple should make plenty of room in their cal­en­dars for Fringe.

“Fringe is such a great mix of works, and peo­ple are able to go out and find some­thing they want to watch and en­gage with the city gen­er­ally, which is re­ally lovely to see,” Cantwell said.

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