Music lovers are in for a treat this Sunday afternoon with the concert Classics at Dusk featuring one of Australia’s most sought after pianists Simon Tedeschi with some very special friends. The concert will take place at the North Shore synagogue in Lindfield, and is being held as part of this very active congregations’ 75th birthday celebrations.

The 90 minute program will feature an intriguing mix of music including works by George Gershwin, Lewandowski, Bruch, Ravel, Rosenblatt and Blumenthal. The brilliant pianist will be accompanied by North Shore synagogue Cantor Zvi Teichtahl, a very highly regarded lyric tenor, and musicians Benjamin Adler (recently named the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Emerging Artist for 2016) on lead violin, Angela Cassar on violin, Elizabeth Woolnough on viola, Joseph Eisinger on cello and Samantha Coates on piano.



UTS Backstage is back for its final show of the year, and coinciding with Agathie Christe’s 125th anniversary the Company has chosen one of Christie’s most popular stage adaptations, AND THEN THERE WERE NONE.

This Christie play follows ten seemingly unrelated people, who are lured to the isolated ‘Soldier Island’ for separate reasons, none of who are aware of their mysterious host’s deadly intentions. They soon begin to drop dead, one by one, as they discover that all of them have been previously implicit in the death(s) of other human beings and are now atoning for their sins.  Continue reading UTS BACKSTAGE PRESENTS ‘AND THEN THERE WERE NONE’ @ BON MARCHE STUDIO


Ben Gerrard gives a stellar performance in a very exacting role. Production photography by Rupert Reid
Ben Gerrard gives a stellar performance in a very exacting role. Production photography by Rupert Reid

Theatre doesn’t get much better than this. The old Fitz theatre is currently home to a revival of American playwright Doug Wright’s play I AM MY OWN WIFE, first performed Off Broadway in 2003, and then went on to take the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in the following year.

With painstaking research Wright’s play brings vividly to the stage a remarkable character by the name of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf (1926-2000).

Charlotte was a flamboyant gay transsexual who lived her  colourful life out on the streets of Berlin. She wrote a best selling autobiography, and became a figure of great folklore in the great German  city.

In bringing his play together, Wright conducted several lengthy interviews with Charlotte from 1992 to 1994.  The playwright also took into account newspaper accounts of her life, Charlotte’s interactions with key people in her life, and he also sighted the controversial Stasi file held by the East German Secret Police. Continue reading DOUG WRIGHT’S ‘I AM MY OWN WIFE’ @ THE OLD FITZ THEATRE


Inset pic-Tom Conroy and Colin Friels. Featured pic- Tom Conroy and David Valencia in Angela Betzian’s MORTIDO currently playing upstairs at Belvoir Street theatre. Production photography by Brett Boardman.

We saw this play the other night.

Quite a bit of Sydney theatre is basically elegant pap. Or noisy chaotic pap presented as high drama. Or where actor and director are in an embrace of mutual congratulation and admiration, the audience almost irrelevant….mere observers.

One often goes to the theatre like a prospector hoping that at the end of the day there, at the bottom of the pan will be a speck or two of gold or even a nugget. Continue reading ANGELA BETZIAN’S MORTIDO @ BELVOIR STREET THEATRE


Galleries- second

The current exhibition at the Traffic Jam Galleries is specifically about works on paper. Ten artists are featured, all with different work practices and approaches to their art.

The umbrella title of the exhibition is The Drawing Room and it features over forty works by various artists, including North Sydney Art Prize winner Edgar Schilter. The exhibition explores what it means to use paper as the particular medium of choice and the freedom of expression that this allows.

Jo Chew’s works are vivid and immediate, with an ominous, eerie feel. Chew favours strong cropped close up compositions often with birds as her subject. Continue reading TRAFFIC JAM GALLERIES PRESENTS THE DRAWING ROOM EXHIBITION


MMS Evita Jim Muir - 0N3A0780
Keira Connelly gives a stellar performance in the lead role. Production photography by Jim Muir.

Manly Musical Society is currently presenting the evergreen musical EVITA charting the extraordinary journey of Eva Peron (Keira Connelly) from the slums, heading to the top of society, until she becomes the most powerful woman in Argentina.

Director Carl Olsen, has brought the world of the play vividly to life, and we follow everything that happened to Eva up until her untimely death in 1952 including her extensive charity work and her passionate romances, most famously with President Peron (Neville Bereyne)

In this excellent revival every member of the ensemble was in great voice. Costumes, choreography and the minimalist and very flexible set added to the experience.

After interval, Eva’s costumes were truly magnificent. A guilty pleasure was the wonderful quality of the presentation of the many love songs and ensemble pieces.

 Duration 120 minutes with one interval.

Remaining performances are:-

Thursday 26 November  at 7.30pm
Friday 27 November  at 7.30pm
Saturday 28 November at 2.00pm
Sunday 28 November at 7.30pm

Official website:-


The Star of the Sea Theatre
52 Eurobin Avenue,
corner Iluka & Collingwood Avenue
Manly, NSW


Production photography by Bob  Seary
Production photography by Bob Seary

There are not that many plays with tremendous parts for fifteen women and a goat!

Linda Aronson’s wonderful play, full of music and with plenty of tap dancing, in a terrific production that has just opened at the New Theatre is splendid. Under Sahn Millington’s precise, deft direction the large ensemble performs exuberantly. The script is witty at times, much fun, at others dark, pessimistic and extremely tense.

Set in the fictional north Queensland country town of Warrabadanga, Aronson’s play follows the lives of a group of women working in a biscuit factory during World War 11. Their factory is one of the major businesses in town  but is going through hard times. Will the factory survive, threatened with closure, survive?  Continue reading DINKUM ASSORTED @ NEW THEATRE NEWTOWN


orch seventeen88 2
Main image (l to r): Kate Clark, Nicole van Bruggen, Daniel Yeadon, Darryl Poulsen. Above: (l to r) Lisa Goldberg and Nicole van Bruggen

The latest project by orchestra seventeen88 adhered to its agenda to educate and inspire through their enlightened performances. The ideals of historically informed performance (HIP) were followed when presenting two works as they would have been heard in 1800 and 1824.

The featured chamber wind and string soloists were Kate Clark, flute, Nicole van Bruggen, clarinet, Darryl Poulsen, horn, Lisa Goldberg, bassoon, Jacob Lehmann, violin, Caroline Henbest, viola, Daniel Yeadon, cello and Maxime Bibeau, double bass.

Collectively the instrumentalists possessed an immense combined history of education, performance work and research across the globe in historically informed performance. The combination of this experience and period-instrument tone colours entertained with exquisite results. Continue reading ORCHESTRA SEVENTEEN 88 @ SYDNEY GRAMMAR SCHOOL


The Actors College Of Theatre and Television (ACTT) presented the musical comedy THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE, directed by Stephen Lloyd Helper, the final show of six unique student productions this year, that have elegantly showcased the talents of their graduating Advanced Diploma acting students.

This is a revival  of  Rodgers and Hart’s entertaining musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s COMEDY OF ERRORS that was first produced back in 1938- book by George Abbott, music by Richard Rodgers,  lyrics by Lorenz Hart.

Stephen Lloyd Helper has reset the musical to the 21st century and the audience location has also been changed to the beautiful tropical island of Manu, which has within it a completely mismanaged tourist “holding centre” with two security guards (actors) on constant patrol. Welcome To Paradise?!…. Continue reading ACTT PRESENT THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE



This fascinating Australian documentary about Bill Lancaster was put together by the Lost Aviator’s  great nephew, filmmaker Andrew Lancaster (Accidents Happen).

Captain ‘Bill’ Lancaster, (no relation to the author of this review), was a pioneer flyer of the twenties and thirties who disappeared on a flight over the Sahara in 1933. It took twenty-nine years before his mummified body was found beside the wrecked plane. His log-book, was tied to the wing, and his diary contained the calm yet moving record of his horrific wait for death eight days with virtually no water and his poignant devotion to Chubbie. Bill Lancaster’s horrific end was in keeping with his racy, colourful life, love of planes and constant search for adventure. Continue reading THE LOST AVIATOR


Inset pic- Ben Freeman and Annette van Roden. Featured pic- Mary Clarke, Annette Snars and Annette van Roden.

For a fun night of madness & mayhem Castle Hill Players A BAD YEAR FOR TOMATOES is just the thing. Written by John Stanley in 1973 the director Meredith Jacobs has filled the stage with a collection of crazy characters that keep the audience entertained and laughing to the very end.

The central character is Myra Marlowe, a television actress fed up with the demands and pressures of her career, who leases a cottage in the tiny hamlet of Beaver Haven in order to escape Hollywood and write her autobiography. The role requires an actor who can carry the entire show on her shoulders and Annette van Roden does just that. She is wonderfully cast and very believable in her role. Continue reading CASTLE HILL PLAYERS PRESENT A BAD YEAR FOR TOMATOES



Part of the Palace Opera and Ballet season this latest dance offering featured a brilliantly danced triple bill from the Paris Opera Ballet.

This was Benjamin Millepied’s premiere programme, coming in his first season as the Artistic  Director of the Palace Opera Ballet. The performance filmed took place on Thursday 1st October.

Millepied introduced each of the three works and the film also showed short interviews also with a couple of the dancers. The works were performed in reverse chronological order. All three pieces were plotless, with very demanding and revealing choreography and very little set to speak of. The predominant colour throughout was blue, the dancing dazzling…

Millipied’s piece Clear, Loud, Bright, Forward was the opening work, an abstract work which featured sixteen members of the corps de ballet, rather than the usual soloists or etoiles (stars/principals).

The demanding choreography required laser sharpness and a very clean ‘line’. It was starkly, sparsely, ominously lit with just a couple of swinging overhead lamps. There was an eerie use of shadows and some snappy, controlled blackouts. The lighting and set design were jointly credited to United Visual Artists and Lucy Carter.

A bench stage right provided a resting place when needed for the performers who all stayed on stage for the duration of the performance. always on stage. Millepied’s choreography included posed sculptural group tableaux as well as some astonishing entwining pas de deux. At one point the men were like rocks, on the floor, anchoring the standing women, who displayed elegantly undulating, seaweed like arms .

One could see the Balanchine influence, (Millepied openly acknowledges his work has been influenced by both Balanchine and Robbins), as well  as inspirations from Forsythe and McGregor.

There were some breath taking pas de deux. The women, in metallic mesh leotards, had incredibly steely pointes and exhibited wonderful control. The men were in bluey- grey outfits. A long, fluid line was also demanded.

There was no emotion, the dancers were neutrally cool. The score by Nico Muhly crashed and pulsated and like the work of the dancers was driven, relentless, and almost other worldly.

The next work performed was  Opus 19/The Dreamer, a work originally created for Mikhail Baryshnikov and Patricia McBride in 1979. The piece opened with a lovely sculptural tableaux of a chorus of six ladies in blue and a single male dancer in white. This was  a poetic, dreamlike work about a male dancer searching for his beloved.

Mathieu Ganio had a sensational opening solo. The main ballerina,  Amandine Albisson for this performance, wore blue, but a slightly different shade to the other ladies.

Interestingly, in this work I was reminded of Balanchine’s style – there were allusions to his Prodigal Son and Apollo, and also traditional Petipa works such as Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty .

The dancers performed to Prokofiev’s glorious music.  The choreography, at times, was sharp and spiky, at other times lyrical. There were some extraordinary pas de deux and some “Russian” style lifts. One pas de deux in particular was sort of Orpheus and Eurydice like as Ganio refused to look at Albisson’s face.

In another hypnotic pas de deux embodying ‘The Idealised Woman’ there was extensive use of pas de bouree on pointe around the male. In one segment there was a strong, challenging dance for the seven men and a slinky, emphatic duet for the main couple.

The final work was Balanchine’s 1947 work Theme and Variations performed to Tchaikovsky music. This work represented the choreographer’s nostalgic return to his Russian Imperial Ballet heritage and featured plenty of tutus, tiaras and the like.

The work featured allusions to works such as Swan Lake and Nutcracker, both musically and choreographically. There were echoes of the Grand pas de deux at the end of Sleeping Beauty as well as its final polonaise.

Theme and Variations was full of Balanchine’s trademark fast, fleet footwork yet it also demanded extreme control especially in the adage. There was an intricate interweaving/folding in/out for the corps de ballet of women and the ballerina.

Leading lady, Valentine Colasante, was  dazzling, cool, elegant yet also refined and regal. Simply glorious! François Alu, in the Prince role,  featured in some tremendous, showy solos, and displayed ease and grace in his numerous spectacular turns and jumps. What a terrific, fluid line and glorious soft ballon! What a splendid way to end this all American yet made in France evening!

The Palace Opera and Ballet season presentation of ROBBINS, MILLEPIED, BALANCHINE screened in cinemas between the 13th and 18th November. Running time 2 hours and 30 minutes including one interval.


Jackie MacKenzie as Orlando. Production photography by Prudence Upton.
Jackie MacKenzie as an ever searching, resilient, reflective Orlando. Production photography by Prudence Upton.

Some theatregoers, upon seeing that there is currently a stage production of Virginia Woolf’s great, fantastical, sprawling 1928 novel Orlando playing at the Sydney Opera House, may feel rather circumspect about going to see it. They would rather retain the world that Woolf’s novel created for them, rather than go and see a stage adaptation that may leave them feeling unsatisfied.

From my view, a visit to this Sydney Theatre Company production, currently playing the Drama Theatre, is well worth stepping out of one’s comfort zone for.

American playwright Sarah Ruhl’s adaptation is effective and faithful to the spirit of the novel as is  Sydney Theatre Company Resident Director Sarah Goodes’ vibrant and colourful production. Continue reading ORLANDO @ DRAMA THEATRE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE


Promo pic-10

Jackie Loeb is a very funny and highly accomplished performer. She’s come along way from her astounding performances in the Australian TV classics Full Frontal and Good News Week to now be based in the USA where she’s recently performed in the 2014 Aspen Comedy Festival, Last Comic Standing, and the Hollywood Fringe Festival and is the writer/ director/ star of web series Play Date.

Meanwhile Gretel Killeen has recently starred in, and co-written, the web series phenomenon Minister For Men and co-hosted the ABC’s How Not to Behave. A reluctant comic Gretel too has come far since performing a very serious poem and being laughed at. Winner of a Mo Award, a best-selling author, a famed TV host, documentary maker, voice artist and irreverent bright spark Gretel is also regularly seen in segments on television programs such as Sunrise and The Project.

This odd couple first performed together in 2014 to standing ovations and this Christmas Jackie Loeb and Gretel Killeen are bringing the ho’s to your festivities with their hit night out, Show Us Your Crackers.

Join internationally acclaimed comic/ musician, Jackie Loeb and outspoken smart-arse Gretel Killeen for one amazing night of old material tweaked to reference Jesus and tinsel and new stuff that’s so brilliant it could make the Three Wise Men feel stupid.

Comedy lovers should take this opportunity to see this brilliant duo perform their magic together. Courtesy of Star 100 Entertainment Jackie and Gretel are performing their show SHOW US YOUR CRACKERS on Saturday 5th December at 7pm at the Comedy Store, Building 207, the Entertainment Quarter, 122 Lang Road, Moore Park. Tickets are $37. Bookings can be made on  93571419 or .au.

Royal Shakespeare Company presents Gregory Doran’s production of Henry V


What a wonderful new innovation this is by the RSC, bringing all the atmosphere of this famous Stratford venue of  Shakespeare’s productions to a whole new range of audiences who may not otherwise have the opportunity!

We start our viewing with an introduction from the director, Gregory Doran, the RSC’s current Artistic Director, setting the scene. This is the first production of Henry V he has staged and he contends that no other of the Bard’s plays has been so appropriated.

Lawrence Olivier produced his film of the play in 1944 as England prepared for the Normandy Landing, was told by Winston Churchill that it needed to lift the morale of the population. He subsequently shortened the script by 1,700 lines, taking out any negative things said about the king! Doran: “It was needed to be a piece of patriotic jingoism, if you like.”

Ever since, the play has often been presented in a time of crisis: Peter Hall’s production in the early 1960’s, while anti Vietnam War demonstrations were going on, Kenneth Branagh’s in 1984, at the height of the Falklands Crisis. It’s a barometer of the public mood towards war.

This time around, although it’s the 600th Anniversary of the actual Battle of Agincourt, there  isn’t a particular war going on. So we can look at the play without feeling we have to be partisan about war itself. Doran again: “Now it’s a study of how Henry grows into his role of Warrior King. His relationship to God is very interesting. I know of no other Shakespearean character who mentions God as much.”

Henry’s  quest as a warrior king does not come lightly but at the cost of many lives of ordinary men, sons of “fathers of war proof” who, as we see in the play, are not necessarily as imbued with the need to conquer as their king. Professor James Shapiro attests that Shakespeare was very attuned to current events and good at incorporating popular mores into his plays. “What’s extraordinary about this play is how he has included all the voices across society from those in power, those challenging or rebelling against this power, to those pro war or against or those just doing what they’re told.”

In 1599, at the end of Elizabeth the First’s reign when this play was written, England was in the middle of the Nine Year War with Ireland. A year earlier the Earl of Essex was dispatched to relieve the garrison at Armargh. His force was destroyed but at that time in England one in fifty men was conscripted. Shapiro: “You can feel the play resting on the tectonic plates of this fraught cultural and social moment.  …it makes you feel the fear in the streets of London.”

We also hear from Alex Hassell who plays Henry, who previously performed as Hal in Henry IV Parts I & II. In his opinion the play is an account of how the young Prince Hal copes with being thrust into the awful position of power upon the death of his father; leaving behind the  influence of Falstaff and  the “gadding about’  and excessive lifestyle, deciding “who to trust” in taking up the legacy of regaining the lands in France lost to his forebears.

Hassell commented, “I think it’s important to allow a character to grow during the time of the play rather than see how the character ends up and play that from the beginning.”

Unfortunately, in this reviewer’s humble opinion, although I have no doubt Alex Hassell’s delivery style suited young Prince Hal, he seemed not to develop the gravitas needed as the Warrior King. “Once more unto the breach, dear friends!” I’m afraid sounded more like a fearful schoolboy trying to banish terror by giving himself a good pep talk than one of the most inspirational speeches in literature, guaranteed to “conjure up the blood”.

We also heard from Oliver Ford Davies who played a charming Chorus: “The Chorus has three characteristics: he narrates, tells the story. But at the beginning it’s a plea to the audience to forgive the inadequacies of staging. Then, third, he is the “unreliable narrator”; a device whereby Shakespeare gives us the unofficial history, contending that war is perhaps more complex than the official history books will tell you.” This Chorus  is a warm, kindly,  likeable figure whose plea or instructions you would be heartless to deny.

The production generally is a lot of fun. Even before the first famous line: “OH, for a muse of fire that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention!…” there is humour. As the Chorus wanders on stage and picks up the King’s crown, supposedly carelessly left on the throne, Hassell strides on and takes it from him, throws a look at the audience, then strides off – to the audience’s delight.

The production features lusty performances from the entire cast, with stand out scenes full of slapstick and wit to suit all tastes as the Bard intended, from Antony Byrne playing Auncient Pistol, Sarah Parks  playing Mistress Nell Quickly, Martin Bassindale playing Robin the Luggage-Boy, (played by Christian Bale in Kenneth Branagh’s film, Robert Gilbert playing Louis the Dauphin and especially Jane Lapotaireas as Queen Isobel and Jennifer Kirby, as Princess Katherine de Valois.

After the Battle of Agincourt is fought and won, (sounds easy when you say it quickly!) the light relief we crave is very ably and enjoyably provided again with wit and nonsense involving Pistol and Captain Llewellyn. Then follows a wonderful tortured scene from Queen Isobel as she decries the loss of peace in France; “Alas, she has too long been chased.” (which turns out to be extremely apt and poignant given the events of Black Friday 13th 2015!).

Then, ironically, Mr Hassell seems more comfortable in the ‘unanswered love’ scene with Katherine,  playing the fumbling King out of his comfort zone with faltering French, trying to win her love.

Everything about this production is quite delightful, notwithstanding my reservations about Mr Hassell’s performance.  The staging and costumes, the live Medieval style accompanying music, (although I would have liked to hear them a little more), and the lusty performances make it a  noble effort  worthy of the  iconic RSC,  and is guaranteed to  “..bend up every spirit to his full height!”

Recommended. Cinemagoers can see this Royal Shakespeare production of the Bard’s HENRY V PARTS 1 AND 2  when it screens at the Palace Verona and Norton Street cinemas. Screening times of the film for both cinemas are Saturday 21 November and Sunday 22 November at 1pm.

Left Bauer Productions presents Harvey Milk: The Opera in Concert @ Sydney Town Hall

Tod Strike plays H nand the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir's production of Harvey Milk
Tod Strike plays H nand the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir’s production of Harvey Milk

In my experience, when you go to a Shakespeare with fellow Shakespeare lovers or a Chekhov with a Chekhov lover there is something that happens beyond shared engagement. Reverence is too trite a word, communal too overused, immersion too visceral. The word that springs to my mind is quietude. There’s stillness where understanding meets art. The 1995 New York Times review of the first performance of HARVEY MILK the Opera, noted the cheers of the audience. In Sydney’s Town Hall this evening there was no such reaction. Like the aforementioned classics, everyone in the hall knew the story and why it needs testament.

HARVEY MILK is a 3 act opera, music by Steward Wallace and lyrics by Michael Korie. The man of the title was a San Francisco hippy camera shop owner turned politician. On his third attempt, after a change in the laws to allow district elections, Milk became a San Francisco City-County Supervisor on January 9, 1978. This was a milestone for what was then the LGBT community. One of his fellow supervisors was Dan White. Continue reading Left Bauer Productions presents Harvey Milk: The Opera in Concert @ Sydney Town Hall



Main image: Sarah-Grace Williams leads The Metropolitan Orchestra. Above: Da Silva Chen was soloist in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
Main image: Sarah-Grace Williams leads The Metropolitan Orchestra. Above: Anna Da Silva Chen was soloist in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto

The Metropolitan Orchestra’s (TMO) Concert #5 at the ABC Centre’s Eugene Goossen’s Hall followed the successful pattern of previous concerts in this series.

A local soloist was featured with TMO in the concert’s first half. After interval TMO was showcased in a performance of a major work from the orchestral repertoire.

Met Concert #5′s soloist was 19 year-old Sydney Conservatorium student Anna Da Silva Chen. Anna performed the Violin Concerto in D major Op 35 by Tchaikovsky. This work, premiered in 1881, is famous for its technical fireworks and emotional intensity. Continue reading TMO PRESENTS CONCERT #5 @ THE EUGENE GOOSSENS HALL, ABC CENTRE


Author Michael Connelly. Pic by Ulf Anderson Getty images
Author Michael Connelly. Pic by Ulf Anderson Getty images.

Cosy as a cardigan, Michael Connelly’s THE CROSSING is a police procedural that features Harry Bosch. Bosch is retired from the LAPD but is suing his former employer for wrongful dismissal. His lawyer is Mickey Haller, who happens to be his half brother.

Haller is also defending an ex gang member for the rape and murder of a Los Angeles Sheriff’s deputy’s wife, a defendant whom Haller believes to be innocent.

When Haller’s regular investigator, Cisco, is run off the road and incapacitated, he implores his half brother to take up the case. Bosch perceives such a posting would be crossing to the dark side, and initially wants no part of it. But the fact that the real perpetrator might still be at large sways his initial response and he agrees to at least look into it. Continue reading MICHAEL CONNELLY’S THE CROSSING


Production photography by Scott Clare
Production photography by Scott Clare

When it first appeared on Broadway in 1957 West Side story, inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with its dark themes, sophisticated music, extended dance scenes and focus on social problems marked a turning point in American musical theatre. With a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim together with Bernstein, West Side Story has become one of the most popular musicals ever to grace the stage.

West Side Story places star crossed-lovers Tony and Maria squarely at the centre of a gang war in the ethnic blue collar Upper West Side neighbourhood of New York City in the mid 1950′s. The two young, idealistic lovers find themselves caught between warring street gangs, the established American Jets and the immigrant Puerto Rican Sharks.

Tony is a former member of the Jets and best friend of the gang leader, Riff, while Maria is the sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks. This is a story of their struggle to survive in a world of pointless hate, violence and prejudice. Continue reading CHATSWOOD MUSICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS WEST SIDE STORY @ THE ZENITH CHATSWOOD


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Secret House has come up with a captivating two hour adaptation of Shakespeare’s great love tragedy, in modern dress and using the original language and plot.   This stripped down new version is fast-paced and features an ensemble of just eleven actors skilfully playing some twenty seven roles.

In  this epic play the Bard brilliantly charts the highs and lows of the intimate relationship between the besotted Mark Antony and the beautiful Cleopatra. Thematically, the work is a unique exploration of the conflicts of politics, sex and power, in a war torn empire, starting with the Sicilian revolt until Cleopatra’s suicide, during the Final War of the Roman Republic. Shakespeare tinkers with the historical facts to aid in his dramatisation.



David McAllister at the launch of the 2016 Season of the Australian Ballet in September.
David McAllister at the launch of the 2016 Season of the Australian Ballet in September.

Plie, chasse jete all day, as the Australian Ballet’s t shirt and tote bag says. Well, sort of … today was a chasse , pas de bouree kind of day.

Part of the Ballet’s educational programme , this was a fascinating chance to watch some of class and rehearsal for the upcoming production.

Promptly at 1130 am the curtain rose and we saw some of the members of the Australian Ballet in their daily grind of class. Teacher David McAllister, with headphones and miked welcomed us and explained about the daily ritual of class and how they were about half way through.  Barre work had just finished and they were about to start centre work. The portable barres were shifted and the ladies changed into their pointe shoes.

The class took place with the piano hidden off stage.The set for the current production of Filigree and Shadow ( part of 20:21 ) was at the back of the stage , plastic barricades keeping it separate. The dancers wore a motley of colours and styles of t shirts, legwarmers, leotards and some floaty skirts for the ladies. Some of the men were bare legged and some wore bandannas or headbands.

McAllister set the various enchainments ranging from pas de Basque,  grande battement, calling and demonstrating the steps and counts and what he was looking for. Most of the dancers – if not all – marked the steps with their hands, instilling the steps in their body memories and getting the counts correct .

The class then settled into various groups, sometimes quite small in number, because of the need for space. Some enchainment were repeated both left and right, some not. Individual expression in the use of arms was quite acceptable. Eventually the class moved to pirouettes, flying jetes etc. For the penultimate enchainment, different variations were given for the ladies and gentlemen, utilizing their differences (cabrioles for the men, more lyrical but still fast and demanding for the ladies).

McAllister kept an eagle eye on everything and everyone. For some of the enchainments, afterwards he would give general corrections about placement and alignment of the hips, as an example. A couple of times he gave quiet, individual corrections to particular dancers who then repeated the phrase of movement a couple of times until McAllister was satisfied. He was often very encouraging with a “ yes! Better ! “ or “Very good “ or similar.

There was no cool down as such – just very briefly releves to keep the feet warm and supple.

McAllister explained to us once class was over that often dancers work in class on particular steps for the repertoire coming up .

Then, very briefly, we were privileged to watch a short rehearsal of the tricky Rose Adagio from The Sleeping Beauty with Lana Jones as Aurora and the four princes Ben Davis (Spanish prince), Rudy Hawkes (Hungarian), Andrew Wright (Swedish) and Brett Simon (English). There were a couple of stop/starts and quite a discussion on placement, weight distribution in the lifts, and other partnering technicalities. The terrifying balances were excellently performed.

It was just the one run-through and then unfortunately it was time to leave after a round of applause and thanks.

The Australian Ballet’s Behind the Scenes With Sleeping Beauty took place at the Joan Sutherland auditorium Sydney Opera House on the 11th November.  Running time an hour.


Hannah Cox as the Owl

If you do it properly, life is one big adventure. Or, I suppose, technically, a series of adventures. Like being rowed around Iron Cove with the sunset behind you… and with a bewildered owl in front of you. Jetpack Theatre Collective is an inspired and inspiring group of artists setting out to have some interesting adventure and PEA GREEN BOAT- producer Kenny Murphy, director- Jim Fishwick, cast- Hannah Cox and Alexander Richmond- is their latest foray into immersive, boutique performance. It is nonsense. Pure, breathtaking, exciting nonsense.

THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT was written nearly 150 years ago by painter, illustrator and limerick writer Edward Lear and was included in his collection Nonsense Songs (1870). It has been popular with children ever since. An owl and a pussycat set to sea in a beautiful pea green boat and their love develops on the year long journey until they are married by a turkey in the land where the Bong Trees grow. (Not that kind of bong!) Continue reading JET PACK THEATRE COLLECTIVE PRESENTS PEA GREEN BOAT


Tod Strike plays H nand the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir's production of Harvey Milk
Tod Strike plays H nand the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir’s production of Harvey Milk

Sydney opera lovers  are in for a genuine treat this Saturday night when Left Bauer Productions and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir (SGLC) present a concert performance of Stewart Wallace and Michael Korie’s ground breaking opera, Harvey Milk.

The Harvey Milk story is a sad and disturbing one. In January 1978 Harvey Milk, a 47 year old camera salesman made history in San Francisco by becoming the first openly gay  man to be elected to public office in America. Ten months later, having secured the city’s first gay rights ordinance, Milk was shot and killed by fellow City Supervisor, Dan White. Continue reading HARVEY MILK – THE OPERA IN CONCERT @ SYDNEY TOWN HALL

Elysian Fields – Australia’s first electric viola da gamba band

Jenny Eriksson
Jenny Eriksson

It’s not often that a totally new instrument enters the Sydney improvised music scene but in what is believed to be a local and a national first, band leader Jenny Eriksson is proud to launch Elysian Fields featuring the electric viola da gamba and a star line up of local jazz  artists including: Matt Keegan, Matt McMahon and Steve Elphick.

Eriksson is widely recognised as one of Australia’s leading acoustic viola da gambists – a 7 string, bowed instrument about the size of a cello with frets – and one of her instruments great risk-takers. She has performed and recorded with jazz and world music artists for many years alongside, and as a part of, her highly regarded classical chamber music performances. Continue reading Elysian Fields – Australia’s first electric viola da gamba band


What really makes us human? Sure, we have opposable thumbs, but, as Emily Tresidder points out (strangely, using her thumbs), it’s most likely because we can define so much as crazy, and indeed can be whatever crazy is. Even with those thumbs, do we actually know what the term really means? Emily Tresidder’s new stand up show explores crazy.

Emily’s story is that she started her career in sketch comedy and in its evolution she has worked with different theatre companies, businesses and charities offering entertainment in the form of the world’s best medicine, laughter. Continue reading COMEDIAN EMILY TRESSIDER PRESENTS CRAZY IS @ THE RECORD CRATE GLEBE

Musica Viva presents The Eggner Trio @ City Recital Hall

Eggner Trio2
The Eggner Truio from Vienna. From left to right- brothers Georg, Floria and Christoph

Musica Viva’s first Sydney concert to present The Eggner Trio was a successfully constructed programme. There were satisfying cross-references between the works. The concert also celebrated some key aspects of the streamlined piano trio genre and the rewarding nature of chamber music itself.

The Eggner brothers’ musical empathy was excellent. This innate quality, combined with their enthusiastic interpretations and fine musicianship resulted in piano trio music of a very high standard.

This ensemble had a very secure blend at all times. The City Recital Hall resonated with the Eggner Trio’s full tone in unison moments as well as the smooth movement of musical conversation across the ensemble. Continue reading Musica Viva presents The Eggner Trio @ City Recital Hall

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