One Night in Brisbane

27 04 2009

School holidays are nearly at an end here in WA. Made good use of them this time around and made our way to (mostly)sunny Queensland for a long-promised visit to the theme parks and other myriad child-based attractions – and one or two for the adults as well.

Started out in Perth, as do most excursions ex-Broome due to a singular lack of alternative gateway ports. Few days spent shopping and catching up with folks over Easter, even indulging in some sightseeing – those ferris-wheel  ” eyes” are popping up everywhere these days it seems.

And then after a brief overnight in Sydney, we dropped onto the Gold Coast around the same time it seemed as a million or so other school-holidaymakers from all over the country. I may whinge here a tad, but at the end of the day, this leg was all about the kids, and they had a ball, crowds or no crowds. But yeah, mainly crowds included.

Managed 4 adventure parks in 4 days, with even a day squeezed in somehow for Mum to hit the shops at Pacific Fair. The girls managed to get in all the rides they wanted at the likes of Movieworld and Dreamworld – plenty to see and do to even keep this big kid happy despite the queues. Seaworld was also good, though being the only one we had to visit in the rain meant a couple of the big-name attractions were out. Wet and Wild Waterpark on the last day was a fitting grand finale.

And then it was on to Brisbane for 3 nights, one of which was scehduled from the get-go as “dads night out” !

My mate Dodgy lives here, my once-best man  and best mate since school-days  long ago in Auckland.  We catch up sporadically over the years, generally going by the creed of quality-over-quantity time, certainly so when it comes time for the requisite inebriated ranting and reminiscing, and certainly the case should our respective wives have any say in the matter.

So we schedule lunch for the Friday, Dodgys’ had a big week workwise but thinks he can spare “an hour” for lunch on a Friday when I’m in town. Uh huh. So we meet at 12 and 5 minutes later we’re at his local. 10 minutes later, not much is happening here, so we decamp to an outside venue, busy little place in the middle of whatever the main mall is Brisvegas. And the days events take on a decidedly mellow turn from here, as we proceed to basically talk endless shit while drinking the afternoon away in a haze of WA’s own Matilda Bay Breweries “Fat Yak” Pale Ale, on tap.

After an hour here, I have Dodgy convinced there really is no reason at all for him to go back to work.  As for me, I’m having the best of times, relaxing in the Big Smoke and priming up for a night at the theatre – the Brisbane Arts Theatre to be exact, and the highly anticipated masterpiece, He Died with a Felafel in his Hand.

So on it goes, and before you know its past 6pm – the show starts at 08:00 and I’m looking forward to meeting up with fellow Burgers Moko and Uamada before the show. Some animated discourse takes place and we decide to grab a feed and check out another part of the city. So after a quick detour to Dodgys work,  we’re in a cab headed for wherever Dodgy reckons we might catch a decent bite.

And it is here, where for whatever reason who can know, that things went awray. For a start, we never made it to dinner. No, instead Dodgy decides for whatever reason after we’d been in said cab maybe, 10 minutes tops, that “here” was where we were to exit! “Here” being, well, hells knows where! He certainly didn’t. Yep, here we were, miles from anywhere in some godforsaken barely-backlit suburb of Brisbanistan miles from anywhere either of us knew, at 7 in the evening, in the dark – and you guessed it – its starting to rain.

Things are decidely vague at this point. I do remember, in that odd flashback kind of sense that only really makes sense when you know you’ve had far too much to drink  in far too short a time, that we were lost. I remember crossing a busy road at one point – I hope it only seemed like a freeway – and somehow ending up traversing railway tracks, climbing fences, scaling ravines and wandering sodden through some light industrial area in the backstreets of Brisbane without a clue as to where we were or how I was to make it to the theatre on time.

And then, just as all hope seemed lost and I was about to ring Moko and tell him to go in without me – salvation, in the form of an obliging taxi I just managed to flag down as we trudged down the side of some desolate road in what may as well have been the bronx in Brisvegas.

Thus it came to pass that I arrived, barely on time, wet and desheveled to last Friday nights’ Felafel performance at the BAT.

Dodgy couldn’t make it, managed to send him on his way in the cab on a wing and a prayer. Met up with Moko, his missus and Uamada, couple of top blokes who I felt bad for having kept waiting, specially as I was the one who’d said to Moko, “best we try and get there half an hour early or so….” –  doh!

But they were understanding, or maybe they just felt sorry for me, and in we went. Although I’d booked the tickets a couple of days ahead, not quite sure how we ended up with allocated seats on two opposite sides of the theatre – poor Uamada got stuck with me, but by all accounts a good time was ultimately had by all.

And so to the play. I won’t go the detailed review here as so many have already done it far more eloquently than I could hope to, suffice to say that it was Awesome with a capital A!

The beauty of it in my humble opinion was in the way the story drew you in regardless of any preconceived notions of how ” theatre” operated. I myself am not a live theatre kind of guy, in fact the only times as an adult I ever attended a live play-type event I could count on, well, two fingers : Thunderbirds, the Stage Show (yep, based on the Gerry Anderson puppet-show) and Chess, the Musical. The latter many years ago almost soley based on the intent to impress potential love-of-the -day. Must have worked, 18 years and 2 kids later, shes still around 😉

But “Felafel” was something else – that rare slice-of-many-lives that speaks so much to so many of a generation who can all remember (at least some) of the good and the bad sides of sharehousing and our first furtive attempts at living and sometimes just barely getting by post-high school in the big, bad, “real” world.  Heck, any play that opens with a discourse on the Benefits in Efficiency beholden in the bucket-bong has a big head start !

Highlights – so many. The bloke playing JB really raised the bar. Without an appealing lead, the play could only have been above average, but he really did a wicked job. All the cast likewise, forgot to grab a program so my recall of names is schetchy, but Amy as Sweden Milka and others, was first rate also!

And big highlight! – meeting the Fabulous Girl Clumsy who took the time on a busy night to say hello and make us feel welcome!  As director she set a benchmark I reckon for an action packed dramatic  masterpiece set in  our own backyards and kitchens and thoroughly deserves all accolades afforded. That 2 hours was over oh-so quickly and unexpectedly. Big tip of the hat  to playwright Simon Bedak who penned such an engrossing tale in such an upfront manner – the difference between telling a story through the characters and dialogue rather than sets and props special effects never more clearly defined.

 Got to chat again afterwards with GC and other cast and crewmembers and various other attendees including ‘burger IT man, Anthony, before calling it a night around midnight.

In all, one fantastic night. Had a ball meeting fellow burgers and enjoying some real “culture”.  As for the end of the night, you guessed it, lost again – took me a good two hours or so to find my way back to the Sofitel, a trip I have on good authority should have taken me half an hour or less – though I suspect, the fresh air and exercise were sorely needed.

And that was Brisbane 09 for me, the sojourn to Australia Zoo the next day a woeful anticlimax of the worst sort, but again, the kids had a good time, and overall it was the break we all needed before the onset of terrorist season here now in the NorthWest. Thanks again Moko, Uamada and GC – I owe you all!

And if any of you are in fact lucky enough to be in the Brisbane area over the next week and Haven’t-yet  checked out He Died with a Felafel in his Hand – do yourselves a favour and get along on this its last week! You will NOT be disappointed, and trust me when I say, you’ll be glad you took the time to partake in a little piece of dramatic history that just may blow you away as it did me!




2 responses

28 04 2009

I was good to have met you – I would never had known you’d had a big day prior to meeting up with us. You hid it well. ;-D. It is surprising you got there at all after being lost in the urban jungle.
I think i might come to broome at some stage (always wanted to see a sunset on the other side) do you know any good travel agents?

28 04 2009

Well, only the best one in the whole world…!!! (that’d be the better half 🙂 )
Seriously, sunsets are awesome here ; just get over here and I’ll show you a very different side of the country to Brisbane 🙂
Had a great night. Thanks again guys.

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