Q arts cen­tre: ROBYN ARCHER AO

Q Magazine - - Q Arts Centre -

Songs from Ber­lin in the 20s and 30s from one of Aus­tralia’s best Hav­ing daz­zled Aus­tralia and the world with her vir­tu­os­ity and in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the clas­sic Euro­pean cabaret reper­toire, Robyn Archer AO has an un­par­al­leled artis­tic ca­reer. For three per­for­mances only this July, Robyn Archer re­turns to Arts Cen­tre Mel­bourne, in the Fair­fax Stu­dio, with Danc­ing on the Vol­cano, a bit­ing satir­i­cal jour­ney through Ber­lin cabaret of the 20s and 30s .

There was a mo­ment in Ger­many, be­tween the two great world wars, when cabaret thrived in an at­mos­phere which com­men­ta­tors de­scribed as ‘danc­ing on the vol­cano’. While the era be­gan with re­lief that the war was over, it ex­ploded rapidly into the worst ex­cesses of Nazism. A truly au­then­tic in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the reper­toire, these songs writ­ten be­tween 1919 and 1933 tell that dra­matic story through a hearty dose of Brecht and Weill, Brecht and Eisler, Friedrich Hol­laen­der (‘Falling in Love Again’), Wil­helm Grosz (‘Red Sails in the Sun­set’), Kurt Tu­chol­sky, Frank Wedekind, Mis­cha Spo­lian­sky and more.

Team­ing up with long-time mu­si­cal col­lab­o­ra­tors, Michael Mor­ley (pi­ano) and George Butrum­lis (ac­cor­dion), it’s rau­cous, funny and steeped in the mu­si­cal har­mony and po­lit­i­cal dis­cord of the times, of­ten fright­en­ingly rel­e­vant to our twenty-first cen­tury world.

Robyn Archer says of the show, “it never fails to sur­prise us, ev­ery time we per­form this reper­toire, how per­ti­nent many of the songs re­main. For this sea­son for in­stance, we have brought back one of the hits from Brecht and Weill’s The Three­penny Opera, “The Bal­lad of Sex­ual Ob­ses­sion” – for ob­vi­ous 21st cen­tury rea­sons. It’s a wild ride, this one, from funny songs about hu­man be­hav­iour at the start, to dev­as­tat­ing com­men­tary on what hap­pened as Hitler rose to power, a pe­riod of just 14 years. It’s a time­less warn­ing about how quickly things can change and how com­pla­cency is in­ex­cus­able.”

Robyn Archer AO is of­ten re­ferred to as a na­tional trea­sure. An artist of the high­est cal­i­bre, her re­cent per­for­mances of the cabaret reper­toire (French, Ger­man and Amer­i­can) have drawn en­thu­si­as­tic au­di­ences and high praise. She won the Help­mann Award for best Cabaret Per­former 2013 and was named Cabaret Icon at the 2016 Ade­laide Cabaret Fes­ti­val. The Sound of Falling Stars , which she wrote and di­rected , is tour­ing Aus­tralia in 2018 to stand­ing ova­tions. In ad­di­tion to her award-win­ning, one-woman shows, Robyn is also known and ad­mired as the Artis­tic Di­rec­tor of mem­o­rable arts fes­ti­vals in Can­berra, Mel­bourne, Ade­laide and Tas­ma­nia. She has recorded 12 al­bums and her writ­ing in­cludes es­says, songs, works for the theatre and chil­dren’s books. Robyn cur­rently chairs HOTA Home of the Arts, Gold Coast and the Mas­ter of Arts (Cul­tural Lead­er­ship) at NIDA. She is an ABR Lau­re­ate, an Hon­orary Fel­low of the Aus­tralian Academy for the Hu­man­i­ties, an Of­fi­cer of the Or­der of Aus­tralia, Che­va­lier de l’Or­dre des Arts et des Let­tres (France) and Of­fi­cer of the Crown (Bel­gium) and also holds hon­orary doc­tor­ates from Flin­ders Uni­ver­sity (South Aus­tralia), Grif­fith Uni­ver­sity (Queens­land) and the Uni­ver­si­ties of Syd­ney, Can­berra and Ade­laide.

Michael Mor­ley (pi­ano) is cur­rently Emer­i­tus Pro­fes­sor of Drama at Flin­ders Uni­ver­sity. He has writ­ten widely on Euro­pean and Ger­man theatre, con­cen­trat­ing par­tic­u­larly on the life and work of Ber­tolt Brecht and has served as Pres­i­dent of the In­ter­na­tional Brecht So­ci­ety. Michael has writ­ten about mu­sic, theatre and lit­er­ary crit­i­cism for a va­ri­ety of Aus­tralian and in­ter­na­tional pub­li­ca­tions, and has trans­lated po­etry by pi­anist Al­fred Bren­del, most re­cently for the English ver­sion of Bren­del’s A Pi­anist’s A to Z.

He has been pi­anist and mu­si­cal di­rec­tor on a num­ber of pro­fes­sional pro­duc­tions in Aus­tralia and over­seas, in­clud­ing The Three­penny Opera (State Theatre of South Aus­tralia and Queens­land Theatre), The Mother (Troupe Theatre), Happy Birth­day Brecht (Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at Davis and Ar­taud Theatre, San Fran­cisco) and Jac­ques Bell is Alive and Well and Liv­ing in Paris (Street Theatre Can­berra.) Since 2004 he has pre­sented the show Sing Your Own Mu­si­cals in Mel­bourne, at Ade­laide Cabaret Fes­ti­val and, most re­cently, at Port Fairy Mu­sic Fes­ti­val. In 2012 Michael was awarded the South Aus­tralian Premier’s Award for Life­time Achieve­ment in the Arts.

George Butrum­lis (ac­cor­dion) has played the pi­ano ac­cor­dion since the age of six. His ca­reer in­cludes per­for­mances with Jean­nie Lewis, Kristina Olsen, Ross Han­naford, Mel­bourne Sym­phony Orches­tra, the Three Tenors and Pavarotti’s last tour of Aus­tralia. George has played on count­less Aus­tralian movie sound­tracks in­clud­ing Red Dog, The Sound of One Hand Clap­ping, Lillian’s Story and most re­cently the film about the life of Mirka Mora, Mon­sieur May­on­naise.

George is prob­a­bly most well-known for his band Zy­deco Jump, which fea­tured on the bill of many Aus­tralian mu­sic fes­ti­vals for over twenty years and as a found­ing mem­ber of Joe Camil­leri’s Black Sor­rows. George has served a three-year term on the mu­sic board of the Aus­tralia Coun­cil for the Arts and has re­cently be­come di­rec­tor of the Mel­bourne Ac­cor­dion Orches­tra.

He de­scribes work­ing with Archer and Mor­ley for the past eight years or so as a great priv­i­lege and one of the great­est mu­si­cal ex­pe­ri­ences of his life.

Arts Cen­tre Mel­bourne au­di­ences had the priv­i­lege of watch­ing Archer, Butrum­lis and Mor­ley per­form to­gether in Novem­ber 2017 when they pre­sented ‘Que Reste T’il’ at the Play­house theatre.

A po­tent and pow­er­ful per­for­mance not to be missed, as one of Aus­tralia’s most cel­e­brated per­form­ers delves deep into the dark and hu­mor­ous heart of Ger­man cabaret.

Arts Cen­tre Mel­bourne presents Robyn Archer’s ‘Danc­ing on the Vol­cano’ July 9-11 2018 Arts Cen­tre Mel­bourne, Fair­fax Stu­dio Mon­day 9 July- Wed­nes­day 11 July, 8:00pm Du­ra­tion: 90 min­utes (no in­ter­val) Tick­ets www.arts­cen­tremel­bourne.com.au or 1300 182 183

For more in­for­ma­tion about Arts Cen­tre Mel­bourne visit www.arts­cen­tremel­bourne.com.au or phone 1300 182 183. Be­come a fan of Arts Cen­tre Mel­bourne at www.face­book.com/arts­cen­tremel­bourne, www.twit­ter.com/arts­cen­tremelb, or www.in­sta­gram.com/ arts­cen­tremel­bourne

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