Bred is the newest production from Briefs Factory, an Australian creative collective known for their highly acclaimed and mischievous cabaret.
Led by company founder and director Fez Faanana, the ensemble cast of First Nations artists, plus one “token white”, present a work-in-progress performance that crosses lines between circus, cabaret, contemporary dance, physical theatre, open conversation and everything in between.
The show was born from the lockdown writings of Faanana, and isn’t intended to be a polished, succinct performance. Instead, concepts phase in and out, vignettes of each artist’s experiences expressed through word and movement.
Themes of culture, identity, discrimination and acceptance question boundaries and ideologies. Hard-hitting truths and experiences are delivered with emotions running high.
Lines are blurred from the moment the audience walk into Ngunyawayiti Theatre at Tandanya, with the ensemble seemingly not quite ready, but warmly welcoming friends and strangers alike. Throughout the show it is often hard to tell if the performance has gone off-course or if it is being steered in the hands of expert players purposefully creating a challenging confusion.
One moment of intense contemplation is shattered by a round of “guess the bread” – a game of politically charged arrangements involving white bread and vegemite.
Moments of flawless performances punctuate the fumbling, passionate challenge of engaging the audience to join the conversation – but once a few do join in, there just isn’t enough time to honour the depths that need to be explored.
The key to refining Bred will be to find a way to seamlessly draw these interactions out of audiences. Because the show is in its early stages of development, one night’s performance will likely look different to the next, and it will be interesting to see what emerges from this experiment.
The audience leave with a lot to think about, and a call to action to understand more. Bred needs some refining, but the seed is planted.
Bred is at Ngunyawayiti Theatre at Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute until March 7.
Read more Adelaide Fringe reviews and previews here.
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This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.