Welcome to Bunt
Welcome to Bunt is the new show devised by two versatile creative performers, Sophie Joske and Elly Squire, for the Melbourne Digital Fringe Festival during COVID. This is an innovative, vaudevillian-inspired, low budget show that reflects on the broader consequences of lockdown and isolation, while addressing the urgent need to get out of one’s cave and see the real world again.
Bunt is a small town in the middle of nowhere but somewhere between Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin or maybe Brisbane and anywhere heading North, South, East or West. A televised town meeting has been called by the Mayor (who just so happens to be a sock puppet), to discuss opening the gates to people outside of the Bunt Shire and to address the benefits of tourism after Covid.
Bunt has been closed off for over forty years, after the “abhorrent Polyester invasion in 1983”. The ‘witchy’ knitting circle have taken over the kitchenette in the Town Hall and are summoning their ancestors in a séance collective via zoom. Wires cross and digital interference interrupt sthe live broadcast. The Mayor spouts the benefits of sinkholes and the “mood ring orb”, randomly choosing speakers to promote debate around the hot topic of tourism in Bunt. These colourful townsfolk caricatures are superbly magnified by Joske and Squire, who offer hilarious madcap skittish performances, accompanied by simple and effective cardboard props and sets.
Fortuna, the heiress of the now defunct mood ring company, demands the gates be open, while Jacinta, the proud Buntonian ‘environmentalist’, is vehemently against people flooding into Bunt to gawk at its natural beauties. Reginald Buckall, who runs the maritime museum, has devised a three-system triple decker bus for the up-and-coming tourist invasion.
A small-town portrayal of the bigger picture during COVID, I am sure audiences will laugh out loud in their loungerooms and maybe even consider a weekend away to someplace in the middle of nowhere.