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Sweet Child of Mine was performed as part of the Fringe Festival this February. It was a returning hit from the Melbourne Fringe that playfully and earnestly asked, what is the point of art?
Performed by Bron Batten and her father James, Sweet Child of Mine explored the perils of being an artist, and the cross-generational judgement and cultural stigma associated with creative industries such as theatre.
It was brimming with classic Fringe elements: dance, comedy, audience interaction, a messy set and raw, and honest dialogue. The performance also contained improvisation and scripted pieces; all refreshingly uncontrived.
The show opened with documentary footage of Bron’s family, sitting on the home sofa. They shared their honest and amusing thoughts on Bron’s work as a theatre practitioner. Her mother Linda echoed a common perspective toward contemporary theatre, asking “what does it all mean?” Through imaginative dramatic conventions, Bron challenged and embraced this view.
We were impressed by the pair’s bravery throughout the show. Bron danced through the space in white underwear. She rippled and surged to the ground, with curly red hair strewn across her face; an enchanting dancer to watch. Any questions of the dramaturgical purpose were later clarified, when the dance was later revisited. This time it featured a fantastic spillage of bright blue paint, which Batten drenched herself in.
From the dry dad jokes to the hilarious unscripted tangents, James was uncannily similar to every father out there. He even allowed the audience to question him after a spiel on Bron’s growing up. The audience interaction with James and Bron had the audience in fits, and perhaps more importantly, feeling comfortable. The audience were almost treated as friends in the Batten’s family home.