Link December 2018 Volume 27 Issue 6 - Page 32

arts By Carole Lander Bringing people together The arts have an uncanny ability to bring people together and as Link writer Carole Lander discovers, two Melbourne Fringe Festival events have done just that. She reviews two shows performed at the Northcote Town Hall as part of the Darebin Arts’ Speakeasy program. 32 arts “C ome one, come all, “My unique look is very similar to come small, come tall,” the original KooKoo the Bird Girl, so Sarah Houbolt cries it was a natural choice of character,” to audience members gathering in the studio foyer at Northcote Town Hall. This catch-cry neatly covers the aim of two stunning events staged she said. “KooKoo’s story is one that’s not often told, and it’s an important one.” The original Bird Girl was Minnie there for the Melbourne Fringe Woolsey, born in the United States in Festival, both performed by people the late 19th century, who performed with disability, and both warmly in side shows and features in Tod welcoming people of all abilities. Browning’s iconic 1932 film Freaks. Excerpts of this film are projected KooKoo the Bird Girl onto the back wall of Houbolt’s show, Sarah Houbolt is multi-talented embellishing her own performance as with credits such as TEDxSydney speaker, United Nations delegate, a ‘freak’, a word she has reclaimed. Houbolt weaves circus skill, Paralympian, and featured actress multimedia and story into her in Cirque du Soleil’s Worlds Away. production. She knows how to She created KooKoo the Bird Girl to mesmerize her audience, shifting the celebrate the beauty of difference. mood to keep us on tenterhooks one