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The Intensive Intensive Intensive at Tuxedo Cat - Melbourne Fringe 2016

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by Donna Sue Robson (subscribe)
Donna Sue Robson specialises in the communication- and healing-arts. Jamie Natural Health and Healing is her energy-healing consultancy. Her modalities, workshops and boutique natural products can be viewed and purchased from www.jamienatural.com.
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Complex, intense and funny- the stuff of life
The Intensive Intensive Intensive Melbourne Fringe Festival Stella Lurhmann Kimberley Twiner Tuxedo Cat Parody Theatre Interactive
The chiseled body lines that Kimberley created hinted at dance training- or at least, copious amounts of self-critical time in front of the mirror.


Kimberley Twiner, aka Stella Lurhmann, presents an interactive theatre workshop as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival. The most outstanding detail of this show is that Kimberley is a gifted actor who has done the hard-yards in practising and perfecting her craft. She has poise, flair, discipline and structured control. There are no holes in this one-woman show: from beginning to end 'The Intensive Intensive Intensive' hones in on and pounds home what tension is and how it drives the story, character and theatre.

There is a lot to 'Intensive': snippets of theatrical monologue from great plays such as Macbeth, Summer of the 17TH Doll and Mary Queen of Scots, mime, clowning techniques as well as workshop-style audience interaction and participant-improvised performance. The pace was punchy, slightly 'bipolar' and layered. This is part of the script craftsmanship and Kimberley's timing, which although can be taught, could have faltered under the pressure of improvisation. Such a vision requires finely-tuned, multi-skills that must include refined facilitation and people-management skills, for it could go wrong at any moment- but doesn't.

The Intensive Intensive Intensive Melbourne Fringe Festival Stella Lurhmann Kimberley Twiner Tuxedo Cat Parody Theatre Interactive
I can only imagine the effort that it took to manage this one woman show. For whenever there is an interactive component, there is always an 'unknown'. Kimberley managed the show, people, and time with skilled discipline.


Interlaced between Stella's own theatrical muses and recitals, Stella descends from the stage to engage or recreate exactly what theatre and acting training is: this intermittent improvisation both alerted and diverted attention and created more intensity because it came with twists and new characterisations, stories and interactions. There were audience members who had an acting or theatrical background: but there were also those who did not- all were equally comfortable and engaged. That, in itself, is hard to achieve and Stella managed and directed the energy masterfully.

The Intensive Intensive Intensive Melbourne Fringe Festival Stella Lurhmann Kimberley Twiner Tuxedo Cat Parody Theatre Interactive
Instruction to 'Wear Theatre Blacks for Concession Price Only' was strictly enforced.


There was also room for participant improvisation on stage- and I have no doubt that Stella chose her participants well. Throughout these interludes - which could have brought the professionalism down- the show never lost pace for the intensity- constantly provided by Stella, never wavered.

The Intensive Intensive Intensive was captivating from the outset and to sustain and create layers of intensity, throughout a one-woman, one-hour show, is a real achievement. As a performer, Kimberley's 'face' or array of facial expressions and cues is remarkable. She is a really, really impressive artist.

Stella exudes real physical command on stage which in itself, explores the intensity that comes from sheer charisma and how it can lure and direct action. This was another understated element of 'Intense'- the power of sexual charisma and the ability of a facilitator to get what they want which, she hinted, was part of the theatrical world. 'The Intensive Intensive Intensive' skilfully exposes a world of masks that poses the obvious question: is acting real? It is a complex position and complexity is intense. And the show rolls on.

The Intensive Intensive Intensive Melbourne Fringe Festival Stella Lurhmann Kimberley Twiner Tuxedo Cat Parody Theatre Interactive
Kimberley Twiner's clown training was a feature of the show. She has brilliant facial control and is a gifted mime.


The World is A Stage but the Play is Badly Cast

Intensive poses another positional statement which may or may not be a metaphor to life. These are the questions left unanswered, but are those which I am sure every drama student, drama queen or those that have dramatic lives, grapple with daily. What is real and what do we mask? Because the vision of 'Intensive' was set so clearly- the show didn't have to make conclusions for you: the experience 'was what it was', and the dilemmas that accompany dramatic life were clear and intriguing.

The Intensive Intensive Intensive Melbourne Fringe Festival Stella Lurhmann Kimberley Twiner Tuxedo Cat Parody Theatre Interactive
This show achieved its vision: intensity and an engaged, participatory audience.


The Intensive, Intensive Intensive is compelling and fast-paced. It poses many questions and leaves you, in your own intensive space, to answer them. The show is playing at The Tuxedo Cat, in Latrobe Street Melbourne as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival until its closure on October 2nd.

The Intensive Intensive Intensive Melbourne Fringe Festival Stella Lurhmann Kimberley Twiner Tuxedo Cat Parody Theatre Interactive
Acting is real. That is the intense part.
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When: 7.15-8pm
Where: Tuxedo Cat 293 La Trobe Street Melbourne
Cost: Check website for details and group prices
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