Featured photo- Belvoir Artistic Director Eamon Flack, Ursula Yovich and Hamish Balnaves.
In an event held in the foyer of Belvoir Street Theatre celebrated indigenous thespian Ursula Yovich was announced as the winner of the this year’s Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award. The Award is for $20,000 which compromises $7500 prize money and a $12500 commission for a new play. Here are some of my pics from the function.
Featured photo- The cast- left to right- Amber McMahon, Luke Watts, Sean O’Shea, Genevieve Lemon (obscured) and Garth Holcombe. Pic by Clare Hawley.
Fellow theatre lovers, try your best to get to see this show. With her play Nina Raine has come up with something special.
TRIBES tells an old story…A person who has been repressed, and lived under the thumb, comes out from under, and stands up and asserts themselves, much to the disbelief, and then the admiration of those around them.
Billy is deaf and has grown up in an all hearing, middle class, well established family. Parents Christopher (Sean O’Shea) and Beth (Genevieve Lemon) choose to raise Billy by treating him like any other child- and having as little attention drawn to his disability as possible.
Then, one day, as a young adult, at a party, Billy meets a young woman, Sylvia, who he falls in love with. Syvia, who is also hearing impaired, offers to teach Billy sign language which Billy accepts.
Billy’s parents are enraged- their beloved, youngest ‘baby’ suddenly using sign language and being identified as one with a disability. The battle lines are drawn, and to the surprise of everybody, including Billy’s older sister Ruth (Amber McMahon) and brother Daniel (Garth Holcombe), Billy is ready to fight for his right to live his life his way.
Director Susanna Dowling guides the action assuredly, and wins strong performances from an impressive cast. The stand-outs are Ana Maria Belo as Sylvia, Luke Watts as Billy and Sean O’Shea as Billy’s dad, Christopher.
Rita Carmody’s set and costumes are spot on. Benjamin Brookman, perhaps Sydney’s busiest lighting designers, lights the stage with his usual flair. Jeremy Silver’s soundscape underscores the action well. I enjoyed the use of ‘cuts’ of Janis Joplin music.
Particularly, when we left the theatre to the sounds of Joplin’s classic, rasping recording of Piece of My Heart. TRIBES sure took a good piece of my heart!
The Ensemble Theatre Company’s production of Nina Raine’s play TRIBES is playing the Ensemble theatre, 78 McDougall Street, Kirribilli until Saturday 2 July.
The fifth Ice Age instalment has come around. Given the previous two films didn’t meet expectations, I was prepared for the worst as I sat down to go on another journey with the Ice Age gang: Manny (Ray Romano), Diego (Denis Leary), and Sid (Joey Leguizamo). It’s a decent film, definitely better than its two predecessors, but it could have been fine-tuned into a great one. While the film does recapture a bit of the life of the original and, indeed, had me chuckling periodically throughout, I found it is trying too hard and achieving too little.
The overall plot is entertaining, particularly the cameos by Neil deBuck Weasel (voiced by famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson) to help ‘explain’ the pseudo-science governing the film. As the title hints, there is a large asteroid coming towards earth as a result of Scrat’s antics in the prologue and the gang need to find a way to divert it and save the world from mass extinction.
This would’ve been a brilliant story for the original characters to tackle alone (read Manny, Diego and Sid), but instead, they are guided by the ever-crazy Buck (Simon Pegg’s character from the third film) and have also brought a bunch of secondary characters along for the ride: Ellie, Crash and Eddie, Peaches, and Julian (Peaches’ hipster, new-age, no-life-plan, opposite-to-Manny-in-every-way, sub-plot catalyst boyfriend). With all these characters vying for a spot in front of the camera, the film is crowded and I felt I never got to truly reunite with my old friends from the original.Continue reading ICE AGE : COLLISION COURSE→
The With One Voice Sydney Sings Choir will present a fundraising concert this Sunday.
The concert will feature a set list of new favourites and old classics.
Funds raised from the concert will be donated to Friends Peace Team, an international charity focused on providing support to the many people suffering in the current conflicts taking place in Nepal, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The With One Voice Sydney Sings choir is part of Creativity Australia’s community choir program which has established some 11 choirs across Australia.
The goal of Creativity Australia is to bridge the gap between people experiencing disadvantage and those more fortunate with the neuro-scientific benefits of community singing.
The With One Voice choir will not be singing alone. The concert will also feature performances by the Valley Voices choir, Yona Kim, Caleb Son who was recently seen in Opera Australia’s La Boheme , Robert Teicher will play the magnificent 100 year old organ with 1842 pipes that is housed in the church, and the Daydream Believers choir.
The Daydream Believers choir, the brainchild of Barbara Beinart Pashut, is an Affiliate Choir with Creativity Australia, is a wholly inclusive choir who welcome everybody – there are no auditions, the only requirement is a love of singing. The choir meets every Thursday evening at the Council of the Ageing (COA), 25 Rowe Street, Bondi Junction. Enquiries barbarapashut @icloud.com. Robert Teicher is the current choir master.
The fundraising concert will also feature the public debut of a new song written by choir member and Friends Peace Teams founder John Michaelis called Refugee which was written in response to Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers.
CONCERT FOR PEACE will take place on Sunday 26 June at 2pm at the Pitt Street Uniting Church, 264 Pitt Street, Sydney. Tickets are available at the door – $20 full price. $15 concession.
In THE MERCHANT OF VENICE Antonio, a Venetian merchant, has a friend Bassanio, who is desperately in need of money to court Portia, a wealthy heiress who lives in the city of Belmont. Bassanio asks Antonio for a loan in order to travel in style to Portia’s estate. Antonio agrees, but is unable to make the loan himself because his own money is all invested in a number of trade ships that are still at sea. Antonio suggests that Bassanio secure the loan from one of the city’s moneylenders and name Antonio as the loan’s guarantor.
So, in Venice, Antonio and Bassanio approach Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, for a loan. Shylock nurses a long-standing grudge against Antonio, who has made a habit of berating him and other Jews for their usury, which is the practice of loaning money at exorbitant rates of interest, and who undermines their business by offering interest-free loans. Although Antonio refuses to apologize for his behaviour, Shylock acts agreeably and offers to lend Bassanio three thousand ducats with no interest. Shylock adds, however, that should the loan go unpaid, he will be entitled to a pound of Antonio’s own flesh. Despite Bassanio’s warnings, Antonio agrees.Continue reading BARD ON THE BEACH PRESENTS THE MERCHANT OF VENICE @ THE GREEK THEATRE MARRICKVILLE→
For their next show the Epicentre Theatre Company is presenting the Sydney premiere of American playwright Simon Levy’s adaptation of Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsy.
THE GREATGATSBY , directed by Jody Goodman, will play the Ku-ring-gai Town Hall, 1186 Pacific Highway, Pymble from 16 September to 8 October. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays @ 7.30pm, Sundays @ 6pm, and Saturday matinees @ 2.00pm.
Throwing Shade Theatre’s NO EXIT is good work. Written by Jean-Paul Sartre and famous for the line, “Hell is other people”, it’s a modern theatre classic which demands respect in the production. Yet, as written, it doesn’t quite stand on its own to a general public audience. The delicate balance is well achieved in this production which has a rich period feel with depth enough for an aficionado yet enough contemporary and narrative expression for an audience new to the work.
A nice room. A period room. Rich with velvets, a mantle and even a bronze. Into the room comes a butler with Joseph Garcin and from their initial dialogue, it becomes apparent that this is Hell. As the butler leaves, the newly deceased Garcin is entombed here. Where then is the torturer and his instruments of trade? When Inez arrives, she too wonders the same. The final of this ménage a trois is Estelle who arrives before her vision of the world fades and is able to see that no one is crying at her funeral.
Sartre is synonymous with Existentialism, a philosophy which considers each person capable of determining their own life through acts of will. What happens, then, when these 3 are overseen and choices for action are limited? Considered to be a reflection of Sartre’s ideas about oversight of Parisians by the Germans and his expounding of philosophy by stealth through stories, NO EXIT still has much to give a modern audience.
But … some of the ideas don’t work anymore. Hell is difficult enough to accept without assuming Sapphistry, cowardice or adultery would be condemned eternally. There are some other sins in NO EXIT which deserve their place though. In making the play more accessible without perverting the text as written, Throwing Shade have begun by ignoring the stage instruction that the butler (Jeff Hampson) has no eyelids. The viewing aspect is successfully covered in the Estelle’s search for a reflective surface. The well-appointed set is Victorian rather than French Second Empire and the costuming blends then and now. The accents chosen work well with the characters (Nick Curnow – dialogue consultant) and serve to support the period elements.
With an French upperclass accent, Courtney Powell as Estelle is light and fluffy, prideful of her appearance and expresses well Estelle’s need for reinforcement of what she is by how she looks. In her peacock green period costume, the established character carries nicely through the revelations and her lack of shame about what she has done.
Costumed in a period-indeterminate black block, Darcie Irwin-Simpson portrays Ines with little light and shade. The character has a hardness which doesn’t crack, yet some of the brittleness inside filters through. This is especially so in her responsive and reactions when observing the other two. She also has a clipped delivery which suits Ines well; some ideas require a full stop. Though I would have appreciated a bit more exploration of class in her accent. The working class unkempt Valet (Jeff Hampson) was an usual directorial choice but theme might have been developed further.
Harley Connor as Garcin reflected the facade that cowards can show until caught out. In a costume which gives some sense of modernity, he uses his lengthened speech to show the duplicity and lies behind his words. As the first of the three condemned, he takes control of the room and this makes his cowardly choice not to leave more understandable. The breakdown when it appears is well foreshadowed in the early character choices.
The blocking is tight in the tight space and the enveloping claustrophobia is skilfully manipulated by using the downstage area mostly. Director, Andrew Langcake also allows time for the 3 characters to just sit and think out loud as if sharing with the audience in some dark corner of a sherry sipping effete hostelry. At other times, especially early on, they successfully move around each other enlarging the acting area with their travels. Langcake keeps his cast on track for most of the longer sections but towards the end the energy does sag and there is somewhat of a soundwall effect. But as the climax is reached the audience appeared to engage once more.
On balance the production manages to put Sartre’s themes on show by allowing the text to speak for itself yet allowing intelligent design to guide the considerations and contemplations of a contemporary audience.
NO EXIT played a short season at The Factory, Marrickville and closes tonight.
Above – The shows’ four female creatives: Amy Green, Amanda Laing, Danielle Baynes and Pip Dracakis. Pic Daniel Foeldes. Featured – Writer and performer Danielle Baynes. Pic Sasha Cohen.
Blood nut and pearly whites, the teeth and tresses of the Lady in Danielle Baynes’ BICYCLE are physiological ciphers for the narrative that unfolds in this “cycle-ogical” slice of Gothic comedy thriller.
“The results of the auction at Mossgreen in Sydney is the most significant marker of the maturity of the appreciation of photographic arts in Australia”
Gael Newton Former curator at the AGNSW and NGA
Mossgreen’s landmark auction of Max Dupain (1911-1992): Estate Photographs heldon 19 June 2016 at the firm’s new glamorous Sydney headquarters in Woollahra totalled a record $1,663,237, establishing a new Australian auction record for any photographs collection.
All 500 original photographs by one of Australia’s most famous and highly regarded photographers were sold, with numerous records established including for Dupain’s iconic Sunbaker 1937 which far exceeded the previous record selling for $105,400 and establishing a new world auction record for the artist after spirited bidding.
I did a walk through of the exhibition and then attended the auction. The quality and scope of Dupain’s work is simply breathtaking. These are some of my photos.
I attended the Stanton Library in North Sydney yesterday when Tara Moss, Canadian-Australian author, television presenter, journalist, former model, UNICEF national ambassador for child survival and PHd candidate in gender and cultural studies at Sydney University came through to give a brief talk about her new book, TARA MOSS SPEAKING OUT- A 21st Century Handbook for Women and Girls, and then did a book signing.
Featured photo- Aerial Artistry, Pic by Jesse Jaco. Photos above- 1. It actually snows inside EL CIRCO BLANC. Photo supplied by Slide. 2. Live vocals accompany a romantic aerial act”. Photo credit Petr Sedlacik. 3. Brioche pastry filled with layers of salmon, mushroom and rice, served with a lemon butter and chive sauce. Photo credit Jesse Jaco.
So where do you go with your special lady, friend or even your wife on a Wednesday night? Or with your mates on a boys’ (or girls’) night out? Somewhere memorable. Unusual. And not too noisy…
You go to SLIDE at 41 Oxford St Darlinghurst and see El Circo Blanc. And you eat a five course degustation menu. Slide is a cabaret lounge that used to be a Commonwealth Bank.
In WARCRAFT-THE BEGINNING the peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilisation faces a fearsome race of invaders : orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonise another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people, and their home.
WARCRAFT – THE BEGINNING is currently having a wide release in cinemas around Sydney and should have a lot of appeal for lovers of the adventure/action/fantasy genres.
I recently went to the films’ premiere held at Event City cinema complex. As you can see from these photos it was a lot of fun.
The revival of the musical adaptation of Roger Corman’s movie LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, which was a big hit at the Hayes Theatre earlier this year, is returning to a much larger and more accommodating venue, the Roslyn Packer theatre in Walsh Bay. The show is having a short season playing between the 20th and the 28th July.
These are some of my favorite photos from the Media Call before the show’s recent Hayes theatre season to whet your appetite.
This was presented in a very impressive semi staged ‘’ workshop “ version of the amazing new opera composed by Freddie Hill based on the classic children’s book by Charles Kingsley. The cast sat in rows of chairs onstage when not performing.
THE WATER BABIES tells the story of Tom, a persecuted chimney sweep who slips under the water. The story comments on the harshness of Victorian society, child labour and the ethics of the time.
Musically it is contemporary is style and multifaceted. It includes elements of jazz, Victorian music hall, Sondheim, perhaps Sullivan and the atonality of Schoenberg. Some of it ripples and bubbles, other parts include lyrical ballads and exciting ensemble work. Hill’s wonderful score was energetically conducted by Rowen Fox, who also also had a minor acting role as Ellie’s tutor, and finely played by an excellent small orchestra gathered on the stage. Continue reading FREDDIE HILL’S NEW OPERA ‘THE WATER BABIES’ @ THE SEYMOUR CENTRE→
Featured pic- Rosemary Valadon – Sleepy Cat -Oil On Canvas.
This exhibition comes at a time when animal rights are becoming an increasingly significant issue and more and more city dwellers are adopting them as companions.
Michelle Perry, the gallery owner, has selected works which celebrate animals in their beauty, their grace and our connection with them. We love, eat, revere, abuse and anthromorphise them.
A diverse range of animals are displayed using a range of media, in a range of art forms that includes sculpture, drawing, painting and soft furnishings.
Artists that are featured include Suzanne Archer, Karen Barbouttis, Michelle Belgiorno, Danelle Bergstrom, Michael Esson, Geoff Harvey, Sylvia Ross, Luke Sciberras, Ian Smith, Rosemary Valadon, Emily Valentine and ARDMORE Ceramics.
Michael Esson’s etchings Animals of the Chinese Zodiac (numbers 1-x) is a crowd favourite and talking point. It is quirky and at times disturbing. A more political message is conveyed by his Feathered Rhino.
Also political are Sylvia Ross’s photographs of the Grey Squirrels from her Feral – Dislocated Series as the squirrels allegedly are being poisoned.
Karen Barbouttis draws a range of birds, donkeys, a dog and a camel in her various fine detailed works. Her use of colour and light makes them easy to view.
The way animals can exude amiability and distinct personalities, are shown in Geoff Harvey’s depiction of dogs and in the delicate lines of Danelle Bergstrom’s silkscreen print of a friend’s Siamese.
Rosemary Valadon’s oil artworks of cats reveal that even when sleepy, cats can still be unsettling, if not scary.
Michelle Belgiorno’sUntitled (Cat, Bird, Caterpillar) elicits a chilling feeling of foreboding.
A range of works from Ardmore Ceramics, comprising artists from the Drakensberg region of Natal in South Africa, demonstrate the use of vivid colours.
Different forms and function are presented including teapots, dishes and candlesticks. Frog Vase by George Manyathela & Msomi/Roux Gwala has yellow frogs ‘settled’ on green leaves yet still displaying significant energy and movement.
Both Elephant Monkey Jug by Sviso Mvelase & Sthabiso Hadebe and Warthog Teapot by Sviso Mvelase & Wiseman Ndlovu show dynamism, robustness and fecundity.
This is not a restful exhibition. There is plenty of motion, grace, beauty and humour. Foreboding and at times political, the messages are at different times- disturbing, pretty, quirky, classic, unsettling, robust, fecund and forlorn. Appealing and repulsive, we are drawn towards and away from the intensity of the works.
This enlivening exhibition of our fellow sentient beings, ANIMALS, continues until Sunday 26 June 2016 at SPOT81, 81 Abercrombie Street, Chippendale. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Sunday 11a.m. to 5p.m.
Nominated for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, MUSTANG is a magnitude seven cinema experience, quite possibly THE Go To, Go Girl movie of the year.
MUSTANG starts in the sublimely sultry, sea salty beginning of summer, where, on the Black Sea shore of a village in the north of Turkey, Lale and her four sisters, at the cessation of school, innocently play with boys.
The supposed sluttishness of their games causes a scandal and the “girls just want to have fun” vibe curdles into “girls should never have none”. The family home slowly turns into a prison, classes on housework and cooking replace school, and marriages begin to be arranged. The five sisters are given gynaecological goings over to verify their virginity and are placed on the meat market, driven by dowry and antediluvian ideas that dash desire and freedom. Continue reading MUSTANG : ‘A TURKISH DELIGHT’→
End Times Variety is back with all the wonderful things you didn’t even know you needed! Likely because you don’t.
End Times Variety presents an election special. Obviously, the election is mostly gross and horrible. But we certainly don’t have to be. It’s a good time to look and laugh at the way we choose to run our society, while taking in some brilliant minds along the way. Also music. Also dancing? It looks like it will be great.
Razor sharp comedian CHRIS ENDREY will host the event. The panelists are :-
ELEANOR ROBERTSON (Brilliant who Writes) FRAN MIDDLETON (Comedian) RICHARD DENNISS (Australia Institute Economist) STEPHEN OWEN (@Rudd2000 genius) QUENTIN DEMPSTER (Journalist Extraordinaire) JULIA JOHNSON (incredible-voice)
Put the date in your diary- 30th June. The bar will open at 7pm. The show will start at 8. Venue is the Giant Dwarf, 199 Cleveland Street, Redfern.
Above: Annie (Caitlin Frazer) and Daddy Warbucks (Simon Militano) with ensemble. Featured image: Miss Hannigan (Susie Blackwell) and orphans.
At the centre of ANNIE the musical is a great big heart, a fully dressed smile and bucketloads of energetic optimism. Mosman Musical Society’s recent production, as directed by Jody Rose, stays true to these required features.
Principal cast members and the versatile ensemble preserve the traditional caricatures within this tale. The reactions of individuals and the group in this production clearly outline the tone of 1930’s New York in need of a ‘New Deal’ and a better life.
Featured photo- internationally acclaimed Australian flautist,Virginia Taylor who performed Hindson’s new work.
The magnificent Willoughby Symphony is one of Australia’s most exceptional orchestral organisations – a professional symphony orchestra of outstanding quality, serving the community of Sydney’s North Shore and beyond. It has notched up yet another success, with their third concert of the year, BRILLIANCE. On the musical menu was Mozart’s Symphony No.35 in D, K385 (Haffner); Resident Composer Matthew Hindson’sHouse Music; and Danish Composer Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No.6.
Taking the place of resident Artistic Director and Chief Conductor, Dr Nicholas Milton, was the very versatile Maestro Stephen Mould, a regular guest with the WSO. Stephen is currently Chair of Opera Production and Senior Lecturer in Operatic Studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music whilst also continuing his freelance activities as a conductor and accompanist.Continue reading WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA IN BRILLIANT FORM→
Tucked away in inner city Kent steet is the Genesian Theatre. With its luxuriant velvet curtain and plush red seats, it is amongst the most elegant and intimate of Sydney’s theatres. Thomas Hardys’ “Far from the Madding crowd, adapted by Mark Healy, is currently being performed here.
It is a sumptuous, generous play with a large cast and production crew. Hardy wrote it in the late 19th century, at a time when England was transforming from a mercantile, rural society to a harsher industrial one. Mores too were changing, and the Great Era of Women’s Emancipation glimmered in the distance. The heroine, Bathsheba Everdene (could there ever be a name more grounded, independent and respectable than that ?!), graciously played by Nicole Harwood, saves the life of Farmer Oak ( solid, working class), played with great gusto by Ben Dewstow. From then on their lives become inextricably entwined.
Hardy never has much time it seems to me, for the upper middle classes. His faith lies with the working class. The upper classes are invariably cheats and ne’er do wells. The lower are the salt of the earth.
The beginning finds Farmer Oak in burgeoning financial circumstances and Bathsheba relatively impecunious. In a twist of fate this is reversed. Bathsheba become wealthy and Farmer Oak becomes poor. Farmer Oak remains the same but she becomes delicate and vulnerable to being preyed upon by the upper classes.
It is a gripping tale, played across 40 scenes with 12 actors playing multiple roles, in which rural England comes to life amid scenes of song, dance and celebration. it is a stellar cast and for my part, I was particularly drawn to Bathsheba’s maid and rock of support Liddy, played by Kathryn Hutchins. Her character is another of Hardy’s metaphors for the working class being the solid backbone of England.
The Genesian Theatre has been the provenance of many fine actors, including John Bell, Baz Luhrmann, Bryan Brown and Judi Farr.
The current performance is in the spirit of these great actors.
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, directed by Debbie Smith, is playing the Genesian Theatre, 420 Kent street, until the 25th June 2016.
Miranda Musical Society’s production captures the audience with a very moving musical revue of the work of the late Belgian songwriter and performer.
Jacques Brel was a major influence on English-speaking songwriters and performers such as David Bowie and Leonard Cohen, and English translations of his songs have been recorded by many top performers including Ray Charles and John Denver.
These are a selection of my pics from this current exhibition. The exhibition is free and can be seen daily at the public outdoor space in Darling Harbour’s Civic Connector space and is running until June 30.
Swedish born actor Alexander Skarsgard, the new Tarzan, was in Sydney recently promoting his new movie THE LEGEND OF TARZAN, directed by David Yates. The film is a modern retelling of the classic story about a boy raised by apes in the jungle.
The pics are a selection of my pics from the Media Call that took place at the Sydney Wildlife Park in Darling Harbour.