Searchlight Festival opens

Last night saw the opening night of fortyfivedownstairs’ Searchlight Festival, which showcases an eclectic range of performances by independent artists.

I went along to the first performance in this week of special events, and if it’s a sign of things to come then it’s definitely worth checking out.

Michael Dalley and Paul McCarthy’s Intimate Apparel is what can only be described as a kind of ‘acid cabaret.’ The two men, dressed in aqua overalls, heads shaved and wearing goggles, gave us a thoroughly entertaining hour as they performed social commentary songs on everything from foul mouthed ballerinas to the immigration issue to footballers posing as motivational speakers. In fact, no subject matter was safe as they took us on what Australian Stage describe as ‘a satiric romp through fads and fashions in the arts from the 80s and 90s, till the present’.

Premiered at the 2007 Melbourne Fringe Festival, this little gem was like nothing I have ever witnessed before. It took a while to get into it … and in particular to get over my fear of audience participation … but once I did I, along with the rest of the audience, was in stitches. Although much of the time I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cringe. Can they REALLY say that?

The Searchlight Festival continues for the rest of the week, and by booking tickets you can witness Benn Bennett and Wes Snelling’s reprise of their hit show BLACK BAG (18th Feb); a feast of eclectic short works that is the DIRECTORS CUT (19th Feb); the new young all women performance company, Forty Forty Home‘s WE’RE DOING WELL as part of Benn Bennett and Chas Forrest’s HOUSE MUSIC (20th Feb): Deborah Leiser-Moore and Meredith Roger‘s CORDELIA, MEIN KIND  – described as a highlight of Brisbane Festival’s Under the Radar program in 2009 (21st Feb).

Witness new works in development – Sandra Fiona Long’s rock and roll memoir – TYRANT WITH SHARKS (18th Feb); avant-garde playwright and novelist, Antoni Jach‘s WAITING FOR ISABELLA (18th Feb); or running man Tom Davies‘ HOME STRETCH (19th Feb).

And to compliment this array of performance work, Searchlight Festival presents SPEAKING BODIES as ACAPTA director, Gail Kelly, hosts an ‘in conversation’ with Independent physical performance artists including Ira Seidenstein and Peta Tait (20th Feb). Finally…. don’t miss this incredibly special and unique event – MEANT TO BE SPOKEN: A champagne celebration of Australian Playwriting, on Sunday 21st Feb.. as our most established playwrights join forces with our rising stars to read excerpts from their own work.

For more information visit