MQFF: Bright Colors and Bold Patterns

by Jasmijn Van Houten

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Green cocktails, little pink umbrellas and gaudy prints reign galore in Palm Springs, but guests at a gay wedding have been asked to refrain from wearing bright colours and bold patterns.

At the 2019 MQFF Centrepiece Presentation on Thursday, the star of the night was Drew Droege, who introduced the hilarious filmed version of his one-man smash off-Broadway show Bright Colors and Bold Patterns, directed by David Horn and Michael Urie.

The show invites guests to spend an evening with an outrageous house guest who has been invited to a gay wedding in Palm Springs. As a flamboyant and vivacious gay man, he can’t help but be outraged by the wedding invitation which dissuades guests from wearing bright colours and bold patterns.

Droege possesses the level of charisma and presence that almosts begs to be on the stage. His tour-de-force performance brings a likeability to a character who few would appreciate having at their own wedding -  he seems to delight in causing drama, and fires off non-stop sass.

Throughout the course of a long night, as a pile of half-empty cocktails and beer bottles continuously stacks up, Droege teases out the heart of the show and questions and examines the internal biases in the LGBTIQ community.

The show was generally well recorded, using a minimalist but considered approach. A restricted use of closeups lent emotional weight and and added detail to a parts of the performance that might otherwise be missed from the cheap seats. At times the recording was less high definition that one might expect from a provider that calls itself Broadway HD. The New York City-based, on-demand digital streaming service is to be commended for its contributions to making live theatre performances more accessible, but its recordings for cinema releases could do with a finer touch.

A highlight on the Melbourne festival scene, Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) is the biggest and oldest queer film festival in Australia. Next year the festival will celebrate its 30th birthday.

The festival runs from 14-25 March with over 100 sessions at ACMI, Cinema Nova and Village Cinemas, and encompasses not only Australian and International features, but also documentaries and shorts, including World Premieres, Australian Premieres and Melbourne Premieres.

MQFF has always been at the forefront of showcasing and celebrating the best LGBTIQ cinema in Australia, and the Centrepiece Presentation of Bright Colors and Bold Patterns was a true testament to that.