Art & Design


Milk Bar’s Melbourne Festival Picks

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As Melbourne Fringe winds down the Melbourne Festival is passed our fair city’s cultural torch for the next two and a bit weeks. While the Melb Fest is a little more polished and pricey, there’s still plenty to see without busting open the piggy bank. Plus the big budget means eclectic international acts and impressive public art like Angels-Demons. Parade, the glistening six metre tall cherubs lining Swanston Street making sure you don’t forget its festival time.

Komono No. 1 is a Congolese street funk outfit who’ve been doing their thing since the 60s. That means they know how to work a room and bring their ultra-percussive rhythm and chants with drums, thumb pianos, mics and old speakers for the first time to Melbourne. Rhinoceros in Love from the National Theatre of China is at the forefront of new wave Chinese theatre that’s been a hit with Shanghai’s hipsters. For a change of pace try The Manganiyar Seduction, a startling production that brings traditional Rajasthani musicians together in curtain-lined illuminated boxes stacked on top of one another, kind of like Celebrity Squares. It looks and presumably sounds awesome.

Locally, Chunky Move have teamed up with Victorian Opera to present Assembly, the final work from one of this country’s greatest choreographers, Gideon Obarzanek. Up to 60 dancers will be dancing, stomping and singing in an fittingly epic swan song for the master mover and shaker. If all that dance has got you wanting more, Tom Tom Crew (from the makers of Stomp) bring their pounding acrobatics, hip hop and percussion and a red-bull fueled frenzy of movement. Want to boogie some more? Local rock dogs Rat Vs Possum team up with Kiwi songstress Bachelorette for a night of 70’s psych, 80s electro-pop, 90s shoegaze and 00s electronica that’ll get you shimmy-shakin’.

There’s also a plenty of free events on – Cacophony: The Art of Conflict lights up the Arts Centre nightly in a wash of flickering lights that makes it look like a rave’s going in inside (and maybe is). Come Together is a series of talks with artists moderated by the ABC’s Amanda Smith, while Quartetthaus sees the Australian National Academy of Music’s string quartet performing an ‘adventurous repertoire in an exciting musical space.’

And if you’re looking for a place to eat, drink or sit quietly between all this art and culture, the Melbourne Festival Lounge beneath the Arts Centre is where the artists and punters will be flocking (though it’s probably cheaper to duck across to Lord of the Fries instead of shelling out 10 clams for a focaccia).

Melbourne Festival runs from Oct 6 to 22. For full event listings and tickets visit:

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