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Miss Jugoslavia and The Barefoot Orchestra

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by Elizabeth Quinn (subscribe)
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Event: -
Cold War served hot hot hot
Miss Jugoslavia Barefoot Orchestra fortyfive downstairs Cold War Balkan
There are some forms of entertainment that allow the audience to sit back and let it all wash over them. And then there's Miss Jugoslavia and the Barefoot Orchestra.

There is nothing passive about being in the audience at fortyfive downstairs when Tania Bosak is stalking the boards. Her unique brand of Slavic cabaret is confronting, discordant, chaotic, but never ever boring.

The show opens with the barefoot band playing what could be the soundtrack to a Dali painting. Band leader Bosak takes charge, projecting a presence that is at times malevolent, at times joyful, but always in command. It is clear she is weaving a story, but it takes a while before the threads come together to form a coherent narrative.

With the help of lighting and shadow and some good old-fashioned wall projection, the audience takes a journey into the Cold War experiences of Tania Bosak's father Rudy. A talented musician of Croatian descent, he played in an orchestra where fellow band members were informers, in the atmosphere of mistrust that prevailed behind the Iron Curtain in the late 50s and early 60s.

There's a lot to commend this production, not the least of which is the versatility of the musicians on-stage and, the highlight for this reviewer, the bringing together of four no wait five accordions in one performance space. As for Ms Bosak, she is so talented it's frightening and can she sing!

If your idea of a good night out involves a Jason recliner rocker, a buzzer for drinks service and a Hollywood movie with a number in the title, don't bother. But if you like your entertainment with a twist of lemon (and a shot of vodka), head underground to fortyfive downstairs.
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Why? Cold War, Hot Jazz, Cool Venue
When: October 29 to November 10 2013
Phone: 03 96629966
Where: fortyfive downstairs 45 Flinders Lane Melbourne
Cost: $25 to $45
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