It’s challenging to label WE ARE LIGHTNING!. There is a bit of audience participation. It is part performance, part live music gig. There is a narrative arc of sorts, and a touch of whimsy. It is also part biographical, a theatrical extrapolation on what it means when live music venues are closed. Gentrification, council pressure, lockout laws – and what the loss means to the musicians, audience and the community. It defies description, but the result is truly special.
The show begins even before the venue doors are open. Lining up, bouncers stamp our wrists as we walk into the concert hall – which the North Melbourne Town Hall is particularly suited to. JOF and Sam (writers and producers Joseph O’Farrell and Sam Halmarack) usher us into what will be the last concert – this venue is closing down tomorrow. Inside — it’s standing room only — are four concert stages. In the hour that follows we witness and dance to rehearsals, the final concert, and a dreamlike vision from the future.
JOF on drums, Sam on guitar bicker, share stories, make us laugh while playing (great) music with band members. We also meet prodigy fourteen-year-old singer Maddie Farquhar and her (real-life) high school band Pythagoras in the Field who are playing live for the first time. Completing the cast of almost 50 performers are choir and brass band.
WE ARE LIGHTNING! is a euphoric, novel, and ambitious combination of performance and live music that leaves the audience with a sense of wonder at witnessing something unique. It is a celebration of friendship, community, and music. You’ll be smiling yourself thinking ‘I was there to see it live’ when all musicians come together in an apotheotic finale that is an utter joy.
– Christian G.
Christian is an international man of mystery; lover of books, cats, and the performing arts; moonlighting as a finance professional by day.