The best of the fest: Guide to the Melbourne Festival 2012
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The best of the fest: Guide to the Melbourne Festival 2012

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With something to please everyone, here are the the highlights of this year's festival.

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Londoner Akram Khan performs in DESH.Photo: Richard Haughton

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New Zealand rock trio The Trons is staffed entirely by automatons.

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A character from Chamber Made Opera's ambitious The Minotaur Trilogy.

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Young Jean Lee, who will perform We're Gonna Die.

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Polygot Theatre's How High the Sky, a show specifically designed for babies.

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Arena Theatre Company's The House of Dreaming is for five to eight-year-olds.

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Indonesion food carts for the Grobak Padi event.

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Seven teens present the lived experience of kids today in Before Your Very Eyes.

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Swanlights, by American singer Antony Hegarty, of Antony and the Johnsons.Photo: Jan Erik Svendsen

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Luke Wright of Square Poets.

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La Soiree nights are a rapid-fire spectacular of music, circus, burlesque and acrobatics.Photo: Paul Harris

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Billy Bragg brings a tribute concert to iconic American songwriter Woody Guthrie.

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The Miners' Hymns is a film pieced from footage from Britain's mining past.

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Spanish artist Santiago Sierra's Destroyed World.

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Bermuda Float will have audiences experiencing sunset from a boat made over by local artists.

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New Zealand artist David Cross's Hold.

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Any indie kid worth their salt will already have snapped up a ticket to Grandma Lo-Fi.

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Home-grown heroes: Conversations With Ghosts. Paul Kelly's status as a local legend was cemented decades ago, but he's never been one to rest on his laurels. Here he's teaming up with a gaggle of young musicians to re-imagine writings from some of the great poets (W.B. Yeats, Judith Wright, Les Murray) in musical form.

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Never Did Me Any Harm. Physical theatre can take us to the far reaches of the imagination, but this collaboration between dance-maker Kate Champion and the Sydney Theatre Company is set much closer to home: a suburban Aussie backyard.

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Human Effect. Post-work revellers might rub their eyes if they stumble upon this laneway installation - a blooming forest of vines, ferns and lichen snaking its way up walls and along the pavement. Artist Yandell Walton, animator Tobias J. Edwards and software developer Jayson Haebich have worked together to realise the visually impressive and subtly melancholy work.

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An Act of Now. Since taking up her position as new head of Melbourne's Chunky Move, dance fans have been waiting to see what Anouk van Dijk's (pictured) first outing would look like. It's looking good - this is a reworking of one of the pieces that made the Dutch choreographer an international name.Photo: Rodger Cummins

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Wunderacts. The festival's purpose-built new bar along the Yarra is home to a pile of sharp acts this year, including this collection by Aussie circus champions Circa (who last week took home the Helpmann award for best visual or physical theatre production). Don't expect the same old tricks - Circa is one of a number of local companies taking the art form in strange and exciting new directions.