Adelaide Fringe 2012


0 Comments 26 February 2012

Presented by Zephyr Quartet
@ The Wheatsheaf Hotel
SUNDAY 26 Feb 2012 (until March 2)


In a tucked away street west of the city lies The Wheatsheaf Hotel. Out the back in a comfy tin shed, Zephyr Quartet and Jo Kerlogue invite you into a new, different world. It’s a little like stepping off a plane into a foreign country: completely unknown and utterly captivating.

microMACRO brings together music and art in an entwined performance. Zephyr Quartet are a string quartet who formed in Adelaide in 1999, consisting of members Belinda Gehlert (violin), Emily Tulloch (violin), Lillian-Terri Dahlenburg (viola) and Hilary Kleinig (cello). They play a set of original compositions while performance artist Jo Kerlogue draws in time to the music. The whole stage is her canvas, as well as paper which criss-crosses in paths along the floor and even up onto the walls and tables, allowing the art, music and audience to interact with each other. From the start, it is clear to see that the venue is as much a part of the show as the music and art. The Wheatsheaf Hotel offers a casual setting filled with a mishmash of tables and chairs for the audience, and Jo explained that choosing the right venue was extremely important. ‘We wanted somewhere that wasn’t a theatre as such,’ she said. ‘We wanted to take classical and contemporary music and visual art and put it in more contemporary spaces.’ They certainly achieved this by utilising the laidback feel of The Wheatsheaf.

The interaction between the music, art and audience plays a crucial role in allowing the audience to become deeply immersed in the created world. It is something which Emily Tulloch says took time to get right. ‘The show had a few incarnations. We started with different versions, one in 2009 and another last year. It’s been evolving. We started out using pre-composed music, and then a combination of pre-composed and some we’d written ourselves. At first, it was us simply playing onstage with Jo painting behind us.’ They’ve since found that the art and music go best together when they use music they’ve composed themselves, and they definitely got it right with microMACRO. Instead of separating the music from the artwork, the quartet move around the space with Jo, ensuring they are very much a part of the artwork, without intruding on the world in the art itself. At times, various members set down their instruments and interact directly with Jo, giving the piece a very playful feel and showing that neither could exist as they do without the other.  The interaction is so important to the overall atmosphere of the show and it really allows the audience to see the music and artwork as inherently part of each other.

While the structure of the show is the same each night, there are sections which are improvised within that structure. It is exhilarating watching a world thrive, prosper and falter all within fifty minutes, and Jo’s energy is endless as she prances around her canvas, adding and taking from the world she has created. Zephyr Quartet’s composition is beautifully arranged, really enhancing the highs and lows of the story within the artwork, yet they aren’t afraid to stop playing and allow the scratching of charcoal on paper to speak for itself.

My one qualm with the performance is that once I was enticed into the world, I didn’t want to be pulled out, and The Wheatsheaf Hotel happens to lie beneath a flight path. The sound of the airplanes interrupted my immersion, but even so, it didn’t take me long to slip back in.

microMACRO will pull you in and hold you there until they decide to let you go, and offers something for the young and old alike. It is well worth a visit into this artistic feast and, if you get there early, make sure to sit at the table covered with white paper. You’ll get an up-close and personal experience.

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