Delving into the world of the curious

Small Town Stuff: A perfect fit for a Curious Arts Festival

THE word curious has several meanings, from odd and eccentric to exciting interest because of strangeness or novelty.

Small Town Stuff's world premiere at Curious Arts Festival in Toowoomba is the epitome of the word and a perfect fit for the inaugural event.

If you need a good laugh, intertwined with plenty of oohs and aahs, then this is your show.

From an opening 'what the?!' dance scene to a completely unexpected ode to Beauty and the Beast, and aerial acrobatics … the audience is either in awe, in shock or wetting their pants throughout.

The standout performance is Toowoomba local Jacob Watton who hilariously opened with "my name is Jacob and I'm kind of a Toowoomba icon".

After telling the crowd he had been away, he announced: "Now I'm back and you're welcome".

It really set the 'small town' scene as he flicked through scrapbooks, including Toowoomba Chronicle newspaper clippings, and projected scenes from his "claim to fame" performance as Chip in Beauty and the Beast as a 10-year-old.

In a somewhat risqué performance, he pushed the boundaries without stepping over the line.

Just when you thought comedy was his main game, he wowed the crowd with his prowess in the contemporary dance world.

Small Town Stuff on stage at the Armitage Centre in a world premiere performance.
Small Town Stuff on stage at the Armitage Centre in a world premiere performance.

Showing incredible strength and strong lines, he could glide through the air with a sense of weightlessness.

Together with Chris Braithwaithe and Sarah McCarthy, they magically wove comedy with the awe of contemporary dance.

Small Town Stuff also fuses in circus talent as it attempts to explore the endurance, diversity and inclusion of living regionally.

While the thread stitching all the fabulous parts together seemed to be missing, there was no shortage of talent on the stage.

Marriana Joslin rocked the aerial ribbons and Teisha Hinsch was on fire on the tight rope and ring.

Marriana Joslin rocks the aerial ribbons in the world premiere of Small Town Talk at Curious Arts Festival.
Marriana Joslin rocks the aerial ribbons in the world premiere of Small Town Talk at Curious Arts Festival.

Together they form the Pinnacle Collective, a motley troop of artists, each with ties to the Darling Downs.

Small Town Stuff is a collaboration with international circus/dance director and creator Chelsea McGuffin (Company 2, Circa).

But there are hopes to tour the show regionally throughout Queensland and possibly further.

This show is deliberately provocative, challenging small town attitudes and prejudices.

It's aimed at an adult audience but this modern take on the burlesque and cabaret styles is a welcome addition to the regional arts scene.

While rain threatened to mar the opening night of Curious Arts Festival, those who ventured to the Empire Theatre spaces were no doubt able to satiate their curiosity.

From the rolling movement of Expressions Dance Company's The Play of Light through the venue to the heel and toe with the Smashing Bumpkins and the oddities of the Garden of Curiosity, there was a fringe-like feel to the event.

Tonight is looking rain-free, with The Crackup Sisters, EDC and Harrison Paroz setting up soon.

The next Chores event is at 4.30pm with free festival activities from 5pm tonight.

Small Town Stuff will take the stage again tonight at 6.30pm. Tickets cost $28, or $26 concession.

Luke McGregor Live is sold out but there are still tickets to Erotic Intelligence for Dummies at 7.30pm.

Visit the Curious Arts Festival website for more information.

News Corp Australia

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