Buzzcuts - arts reviews

Sweet Child Of Mine

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Madeleine Rebbechi

Sep 29, 2011

She may have reached the pinnacle of her career playing a beaver in a school production, but Melbourne based performer Bron Batten has certainly hit another high with Sweet Child Of Mine, a collaboration with her parents which explores the meaning of art.

Sweet Child Of Mine is hilarious, heart warming and friendly. Opening with video footage of an interview with Bron’s parents, the audience is instantly welcomed into the dynamic and loving relationship between Jim, Linda and their creatively inclined daughter. Footage from the interview sets up each short scene, as the Battens chat about such things as what makes art ‘good’, before moving further towards Bron’s art in particular and the early days of her performance career.

Though her mother couldn’t be present for Wednesday’s performance, Bron’s father Jim provided some very funny anecdotes and bewildering ‘Dad Jokes’ throughout the show, as well as an incredibly touching pep talk to an audience member whose parents disapproved of her work in the arts. It was a treat to watch Jim and Bron onstage together – although he may not fully understand what she does for a living, his pride and love for his daughter was clear.

But despite the touching moments, in no way is the show overly sentimental. Instead, it pokes light hearted fun at the older generation’s interpretation of ‘good’ art: according to Jim and Linda, something that’s uplifting, easy to understand and leaves one thinking “well, that was a jolly good show.” In contrast with Bron’s hilarious interpretations of the stereotypical contemporary performance art (rolling in paint, interpretive dance, crushing eggs in her hands while blood leaks from her mouth), the insights from her parents seemed honest and charming.

Sweet Child Of Mine is a must-see show for anyone who has ever struggled at family gatherings to explain what they actually do for a living. Lacking any kind of pretension, the show is instead filled to the brim with laughs, captivating stories and refreshing honesty. You’ll want to call your parents afterwards.

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