FRINGE REVIEW: Dali After Dark is here to blow your mind
Dali After Dark emerges from the warped mind of subversive burlesque artist Leah Shelton. It’s an immersive journey through the mind and works of Salvador and Gala Dali, directed by Lisa Fa’alafi and sympatico artists curated by the Burratti Gallery. Every level of the former Metros building is filled with artworks from surrealists including Man Ray and Jean Cocteau, as well as local contemporary artists such as the popular Perth muralist Steve Browne.
With multiple session times each night, each audience group is ushered through the backstage entrance and under the waiting legs of a Club Briefs bunny — in itself a reference to the early installation work of The Dream of Venus. The famously co-dependent surrealist power couple greet the audience - Gala wearing the shoe hat that made her a fashion icon, Dali with his twirled mustache — and with a few rhyming couplets, thrust you into a madcap adventure.
This is a world made up of the best of Fringe. Performers from Club Briefs and Hot Brown Honey wander around, interacting with the audience and the art. The dancing lampshades are hypnotic, setting the scene for a remarkably intimate performance from Ofa Fotu of Hot Brown Honey’s glory. The evening culminates in a trapeze performance in a hoop the shape of giant lips, set to a soundtrack of classic bangers. Some truly brilliant gymnastics from the circus performers round out the night, and we are thrust back into the reality of a summer night in Northbridge.
Of course, for many guests the most surreal aspect is the location. The former Metro City building still holds the ghosts of nights’ out past. Every so often a half remembered scene of sweaty ravers to an EDM soundtrack would flash before me. Then in a split second, I would be back, looking intently at a Dali lithograph as a Club Briefs performer finished his handstand next to me.
Before we entered, we were told one rule — if underwear is off, phones are off. To the pervy guy we found taking surreptitious photos of a nude burlesque dancer — you shouldn't need to have heard the warning at the beginning to know that taking photos of a naked performer isn’t cool.
Ultimately, this is a world premiere for Perth, and an experience you will regret missing out on. Unfortunately, it's kind of an all-you-can-eat buffet of arts. You leave feeling like you didn't quite get to appreciate anything as much as you would have liked. Ideally, the Dali After Dark experience would come with a return pass to look at the art while reasonably focused and sober.