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OzAsia Festival Presents Shik Shak Shok: Review

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by Tema (subscribe)
Write because you want to, not because you have to.
Photo supplied by Adelaide Festival Centre

Fostering the golden years of Arabian music, Shik Shak Shok portrayed itself to be a show that would replicate the ambience and appeal of a cabaret-style lounge, where visitors were seated across a set of tables that were sporadically placed across the intimate venue of Nexus Arts. On one side, we saw a DJ station, where the DJ was spinning the beats to put together to complement the visual projections that were displayed across and adjacent to him for our entertainment and enjoyment. With a beautiful collision of Arabian cultures, Shik Shak Shok put together a show that hoped to combine the best of Beirut's iconic retro music scene that included jazz, funk, disco, tarab and belly dance.

I took a friend along to the show and we kicked off the night by ordering an Arabian-inspired cocktail - arak madu - which was an anise-based cocktail with lime juice, honey, and water. It had a punchy and tangy taste that hit the spot brilliantly and got us excited for the night that awaited us. However, what the show promised in concept appeared to lack in execution. While the music and cinematic projections instantly incited a sense of nostalgic memories (given my upbringings in Saudi Arabia), it diminished the quality of the overall presentation through the blurry projections that were placed on curtains, whose ruffles severely impeded the ability to enjoy the show. Well over a half-hour into the show, we realized that the show had been underway this whole time and that it was more of a relaxed and casual sit down where we'd watch what was unfolding through the projections on the curtains. In this amount of time, three tables had cleared themselves as well - although these were the three closest to the DJ station, so perhaps the volume is what deterred their experience dramatically.

This show has a ton of potential and could be made even better (not to mention worth the ticket price) if it took on board the following suggestions:
1. If you're going to place projections, make sure that they are on a flat and concrete wall, rather than fabric.
2. As part of the ticket price, perhaps include at least 1x drink, otherwise it will seem that we've paid $25 entry to a bar with some projections in place. Alternatively, discounted drink prices would be recommended.
3. Sound control prior to the show would be great, as some of the sounds were drowned and distorted due to the extremely high volume from the DJ station.
4. If this is advertised as a show, it might be interesting to invest in performers who can appear on stage or throughout the venue, as the visual projections - while a unique touch - is something we could have done at home in bed, while making a cocktail of our choosing (for free).

Shik Shak Shok has wrapped up for this year's OzAsia Festival, but here's hoping that the next time they visit, it will be an even better and bigger show by considering (at least some of) the feedback provided here.

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★
Date attended: 31/10/2019

With thanks to the Adelaide Festival Centre.
Tema was invited as a guest.
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Why? For the Arabian music nostalgia
When: OzAsia Festival - Oct 17 - Nov 3
Where: Lion Arts Centre, North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000
Cost: $$
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