Gruejarm apparently translates to “any sleep briefly broke again”, according to the Korean company’s website, which gives some idea of the way in which this family-friendly show blurs the boundaries between reality and imagination. SNAP is performed by an ensemble of seven, blending illusion, mime and “Chaplinesque vaudevillian comedy” through a story that sees three tricksters stumble through a door where they meet a variety of mystical characters. It has been presented everywhere from the Edinburgh Fringe to Broadway, and OzAsia artistic director Annette Shun Wah is thrilled to finally bring SNAP to Adelaide for its Australian premiere, saying it will “transport audiences into a magical world”. – Her Majesty’s Theatre, October 20-22
Bridge of Dreams
With 22 Australian and Indian musicians sharing the stage – including the 17-piece all-female jazz ensemble Sirens Big Band – this show at Her Majesty’s Theatre headlines the OzAsia music program. Saxophonist and composer Sandy Evans leads the cross-cultural collaboration, which also features Indian singer Shubha Mudgal, tabla players Aneesh Pradhan and Bobby Singh, and harmonium virtuoso Subhir Nayak. Bridge of Dreams premiered in Sydney in 2019, with critics lauding its seamless fusion of Western jazz and traditional Indian music. You can get a taste of what’s in store here. – Her Majesty’s Theatre, October 27
Lunch on the Riverbank
This event will tickle the tastebuds of fans of Japanese cuisine and culture. The lunch celebrates the release of Adelaide author (and regular InReview contributor) Katherine Tamiko Arguile’s poignant memoir Meshi: A personal history of Japanese food – reviewed here – and will see chef Simon Bryant prepare a series of home-style dishes for guests to enjoy as Arguile shares her story and her connection to the cuisine through her childhood in Japan. Lunch on the Riverbank (November 3) will be hosted by journalist Jane Hutcheon, who is also presenting her own OzAsia show, Lost in Shanghai (October 20-22), which explores her mother’s turbulent childhood in pre-Communist China. Arguile and Hutcheon are also taking part in sessions as part of the festival’s writing and ideas program In Other Words.
Michael Mohammed Ahmad is well-known for his award-winning novels, including the 2019 Miles Franklin-shortlisted novel The Lebs. Now the writer has joined with a stellar intersectional creative team to make a physical theatre work that is part contemporary Australian crime thriller and part magical realism. The Demon – which is a co-commission with the Sydney Opera House and playing there this week – sees a Chinese-Australian street fighter draw two detectives on a road trip from western Sydney to the NSW town that was the scene of the 1860-61 Lambing Flat Riots targeting Chinese gold miners. “It asks if something ugly and unresolved from our history is causing the ongoing frictions that we have today,” says Annette Shun Wah. – Dunstan Playhouse, October 20-22
The Long Walk
Audiences will be transported to the coastal cliffs of Robe in this unique dance spectacle bringing together contemporary dancers, a live musician, moving cameras and drones. Created by choreographer and filmmaker Sue Healey, The Long Walk is a homage to the thousands of Chinese miners who docked in Robe in the 1850s and embarked on an arduous trek to the Victorian goldfields. The performance will be streamed live, via real-time drone recording, to the Space Theatre and audience members watching at home. In a recent interview with InReview, Healey said the work offers a different perspective on both filmmaking and performance: “The whole thing is an incredible, advanced, instantaneous making of art, and it’s incredibly exciting. It’s really terrifying, as well!” – Space Theatre, October 23
Single Asian Female
“Brilliant, thigh-slappingly hilarious yet surprisingly affecting” is how State Theatre Company SA artistic director Mitchell Butel describes this play, which has been incorporated as part of the OzAsia program and is the company’s final production of 2022. Single Asian Female was written by Michelle Law (whose credits include TV shows Homecoming Queens and Rosehaven) and centres around two generations of women in a family running a Chinese restaurant on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. It’s directed by Nescha Jelk with a cast including rising star Juanita Navas-Nguyen (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?). – Dunstan Playhouse, November 4-19
Women at Work
The Adelaide season of touring Dolly Parton musical 9 to 5 meant the Festival Theatre was unavailable as a venue for OzAsia shows this year, but in a neat twist, Shun Wah has taken inspiration from the show to program a series of exhibitions and performances based around the theme of women at work. The exhibitions include Batik Sangiran, which celebrates the role of batik artisans from the Indonesian world heritage area of Sangiran in preserving their community’s history and culture, and Art, Not War, which offers a change to see up close the work of Afghanistan graffiti artist Shamsia Hassani, whose art highlights the challenges faced by women in her country. – Festival Theatre galleries and foyer, October 20 to November 6
The Special Comedy Comedy Special
If you’re looking for laughs it will be hard to go past this special, which brings together eight Asian-Australian comedians and performers. Hosted by Jennifer Wong (curator of the In Other Words writing and ideas program, and presenter of the ABC’s Chopsticks or Fork?), it features a line-up including Lizzy Hoo, Jason Chong, Michael Hin and Adelaide musical duo The Coconuts (Leela Varghese and Shabana Azeez, who describe themselves as “kind of like Flight of the Conchords with a bit less facial hair”). – Her Majesty’s Theatre, October 29
OzAsia runs from October 20 until November 6, with the full program available online. The Moon Lantern Trail, will take place over four nights across the festival opening weekend, and the Lucky Dumpling Market returns to Elder Park from October 20 to November 13.
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