A masquerade-ball rock show celebrating the stellar soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet. Blind cinema screenings, where a child describes what you can't see on screen. A 40-foot-tall outdoor light installation inspired by a Czech/French animated science fiction flick. On-stage dating, with a volunteer plucked from the audience each night. A participatory trance-noise music/dance ritual.
Next, throw in the world premiere of pop-up technicolour world FUN HOUSE, that is, the house party-like, jumping castle-filled latest effort from Blanc de Blanc and LIMBO's Strut & Fret. Oh, and LIMBO UNHINGED, a sequel to their 2014 hit, too. While you're at it, add a month-long season of unnerving and alluring Italian giallo cinema. Mix it all together, and get excited, arts, culture, performance, music and cinema lovers of Brisbane — they're all coming to this year's Brisbane Festival.
In his third year as artistic director, David Berthold has put together a lineup of more than 60 events — five world premiere commissions, 11 Australian premieres and 25 Queensland premieres among them — for the 22-day fest, which takes over the city from September 9 to 30. As its just-announced 2017 program reveals, the annual onslaught of all things creative is committed to that age-old fest adage: yep, there's something for everyone here.
That includes the return of Brisbane Festival's hub, Arcadia, on the South Bank Cultural Centre Forecourt. When you're rushing between shows, you need a wine bar, craft beer bar and six food stalls to sustain you, after all. So that's what you'll be doing when you're not in the thick of the action. As for what else you'll be doing when you're not eating and drinking, just choose your favourite art form and dive deep.
Treading the boards offers everything from circus and physical theatre piece Per Te to culinary chaos in Chef: Come Dine With Us! — and The Tivoli turned into a Parisian music hall for a reimagining of Orpheus, plus famous Chinese dance and choreographer Yang Liping joining forces with Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Oscar-winner Tim Yip for the battle-focused dance piece Under Siege. Over at the indie showcase Theatre Republic, audiences will also find music, comic performances and all things weird and wonderful, such as the world premiere Laser Beak Man puppet show.
Music-wise, this year's Brisbane Festival boasts a London Grammar-headlined mini-fest within the fest, taking the party over to Riverstage for a day. They'll be joined by international and local support acts, while the rest of the festival's music lineup spans Megan Washington teaming up with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Regurgitator performing The Velvet Underground and Nico, The Aints playing The Saints, a Bowie cabaret tribute and more.
Of course, it all comes to an end with the explosive finale that is Riverfire. Of course it does. How else would we know that we've just had a mighty fun month if we didn't bring it to a close by packing out South Bank en masse, staring at the sky and watching pretty fiery lights? It's a Brisbane tradition.
Brisbane Festival runs from September 9–30 across Brisbane. For the full 2017 program, or to book tickets, visit the festival website.