We were privileged to see absolutely dazzling dancing in this revival of Balanchine’s Jewels by the Royal Ballet.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Balanchine’s work and a decade since it became part of the Royal Ballet’s repertoire.

The three works, all without a clear narrative structure, are a homage by Balanchine to French Romanticism (Emeralds) America and Broadway (Rubies) and the Imperial Russian ballet of Petipa ( Diamonds). The works feature scores by three composers – Faure , Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky.



Fresh off the plane from his success at the Melbourne Comedy Festival comes Matty B as part of the Sydney Comedy Festival.

Matty B’s somewhat confronting humour goes where other comedians fear to tread.

Despite the tough and extremely intimate venue – ‘The Container’ at the Factory Theatre, (literally a carpeted storage container with 50 chairs inside), he crossed the line but read his audience well and kept the laughs rolling.

Matty B has got it tough doing comedy in Sydney – he angles himself as a jobless waster on the fringe of the drug scene, yet the type of people who can pay Sydney ticket prices and go out to the theatre on a rainy Friday aren’t from that ‘tax bracket’  our group were all professionals. Continue reading MATTY B – A BLUNT INSTRUMENT @ THE FACTORY THEATRE



It was more than a bit of a challenge when I was requested to write  a review of a book written by an eminent and esteemed critic, academic, best selling author and a person who is the Sydney Morning Herald chief book reviewer. The gentleman is Andrew Riemer, the book Between The Fish and The Mudcake.

In his book, Riemer reminiscences about well known literary figures; there are food references and destinations mentioned. It is part memoir, history lesson, political piece, travelogue and social commentary.

Between the Fish and the Mudcake begins by discussing Patrick White whom he meets at a dinner party in Sydney in 1966 and who undergoes Riemer’s astute character observations  and analysis of his personality. “We see him driven into precisely the taciturn hostility, thinly disguised beneath a veneer of politeness…” Continue reading ANDREW RIEMER : BETWEEN THE FISH AND THE MUDCAKE


This is a gallery that shines a light on extraordinary achievement. It is a showcase of makers and designers who set their bar high, who take a risk, who seek to push ideas, techniques, to further themselves and their work, who pursue a flight of fancy with a twinkle in the eye.

In-House Definition: done or existing within an organisation; without assistance from outside; internally.

Made In-House :  is a showcase of beautiful, functional things for the home, made at MakerSpace.

The exhibition  presented a selection of pieces that fit in a home, and presented a high quality of making and design; a mix of the quotidian and the sublime. The exhibition was set up as a curated series of scenes or tableaux: for example, a chair, side table, light, teacup and napkin set up ready for use.

William Morris famously stated “have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”.

I took a tour of MakerSpace’s creative warehouse where members participated in the culture of making with a growing, diverse range of Metal, Ceramic, Wood, Textiles, Electronics and Printmaking equipment.

I was inspired by the live demonstrations in woodwork, metalwork, ceramics, textiles and more. I find out about regular workshop classes which focused on design, making and business skills.

I browsed  the Makers Market comprised of original works by MakerSpace members and experienced some of the best in furniture, ceramics, metalwork, woodwork and industrial design.

The inaugural exhibition took place yesterday, Sunday 21st May between 10 am and 4 pm at 1/17 Barclay Street,
Marrickville NSW 2204, Australia.

For more about MakerSpace &co Inaugural Exhibition, visit
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Featured photo – Eliza Logan as Mrs Lusty. All photography by Lucy Parakhina.

THE HAM FUNERAL was written by Patrick White, (the irascible and insightful Australian Nobel Laureate of 1973), in 1948. It is set in a gloomy, post-war London boarding house.

The play remained unstaged for 13 years. After being submitted for and controversially rejected by the1962 Adelaide Festival, it was instead first performed by the University of Adelaide Theatre Guild in 1961. It both shocked and delighted audiences.

It had been said that the play was ‘a triumph of the imagination over mediocrity’. This can certainly be said of director Kate Gaul’s latest production for Griffin Independent at The Stables Theatre presented by Gaul’s Siren Theatre Company. Continue reading PATRICK WHITE’S ‘HAM FUNERAL’ @ THE STABLES


Jetpack Theatre’s ART HEIST is inspired storytelling. Yet there is no story and no telling. You and your companions are the story, the triumph, the saga! Whatever exposition you choose to tell. The 3 performers are just there, part of the tale as you write the script. And these are very nuanced actors with improvisation instincts that must be tested over their 3 shows a night. Great scene partners too because this is bespoke, immersive theatre of the highest calibre.

But, not quite knowing what I was getting into I gathered an odd assortment of four players. We were young (our Yr 11 Workplacement student, Lauren) and old (that would be me). A married couple (Bec and Ben) who know each other well, naturally. I don’t know Ben well except for a dance with him at the wedding and Lauren didn’t know anyone except me. We were a logical yet creative collective. An artist, a banker, a technician and an actor. Continue reading JETPACK’S ‘ART HEIST’ : AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT


This was a hugely entertaining musical that enthrals the audience with its depravity, its fabulous lyrics together and the brilliant performances by all the leads and the large ensemble.

This dark story of hatred, is a unique musical and a revenge thriller, with multiple murders delivering so much blood and gore from each throat slitting.  The musicals’ dark themes include a young woman being raped, and a mother and daughter being wrongfully committed to an institution. Just what you expect from the City Of London in that era?!

Benjamin Barker was a barber in 19th-century London, an expert with the cut-throat razor, and was transported to an Australian penal colony by Judge Turpin.  Fifteen years later, and now named Sweeney Todd (Paul Nicholson), Barker moves into his old shop above the pie shop owned by Mrs. Lovett  (Miriam Rihani).



A dream house becomes a nightmare dwelling in J P Delaney’s uber impressive debut novel, THE GIRL BEFORE.

Stick Girl in the title these days and you’re assured a bestseller it seems, but THE GIRL BEFORE is bound to sweep away Gone, Girl and Girl on a Train on equal merit and not just marketing spin.

“Sometimes I have a sense that this house- our relationship in it, with it, with each other -is like a palimpsest or pentimento, that however much we try to over paint Emma Matthews, she keeps tiptoeing back: a faint image, an enigmatic smile, stealing its way into the corner of the frame.” Continue reading THE GIRL BEFORE : A DEBUT NOVEL BY J.P. DELANEY

Diary of a Volunteer: Sydney Writers Festival 2017


SWF Survey Questions

This week, in an organisation I work with, I participated in a study about volunteer retention. Today I had a practical lesson in how. Via the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Survey taker Induction. How hard can it be? I might just miss this one! It will be fine on the day! It’s all good! Just asking questions, right? This might have been my thinking when my roster first came out but my Festival volunteer experience so far leads me to believe that if they run a course in something, go to it. And I was right.

We were a pretty representative group and all the worries when I am approached to do surveys were mentioned in today’s briefing: Is my data available to marketers; if I give you my email to enter the competition for a $200 Glebebooks voucher, is it linked to my data; you just want me to say good stuff about the Festival don’t you; will you be sending me emails asking for donations? Answer to all of the above. Nope. Continue reading Diary of a Volunteer: Sydney Writers Festival 2017


This very exciting concert blended world premieres and nineteenth century Romanticism in a program of six relatively short works.

The program featured performances by three soloists – violinists Satu Vanska and Glenn Christensen and cellist Timo-Veikko Valve.

Ruth Crawford Seeger’s Andante (for her 1931 String Quartet) opened the concert. It began slowly almost eerily with sharp, spiky, dissonant, shimmering strings. The piece was intense and atmospheric and filled with moments of calm and jarring disharmony. The ACO’s renowned precision for detail was on show in terms of phrasing, articulation and the ability to keep body movement to a minimum.

Vivaldi’s Concerto in G minor for two violins and cello with a glittering, crisp and precise performance displayed the ACO’s ability to be vigorous and exact, particularly in the opening movement. After a soft, rather tentative and slow start, the piece turned into something quite  tempestuous, though one section sounded like delicate raindrops. Continue reading ACO SOLOISTS TAKE CENTRE STAGE @ CITY RECITAL HALL


Production images by Prudence Upton.

WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF is about a cocktail party that goes terribly wrong. George and Martha are a deeply unhappy academic couple who are on the precipice of imploding. And this is exactly what they do in front of their unfortunate guests, fellow academic couple, Nick and Honey.

This is a torrid, harrowing night in the theatre. One kind of wants to flee like Honey as the shrapnel from George and Martha’s war flies everywhere, however Albee doesn’t let us go until after the last, final scene between George and Martha which is just heartbreaking. It simply takes one’s breath away.

Iain Sinclair directs this ‘War Of The Roses’ scenario impeccably. Michael Hankin’s set and costume design, assisted by Jeremy Allen, lays the groundwork for the actors to cast their spell. Through the action Sian James-Holland’s lighting and Steve Toulmin’s score complement their performances.


South African playwright Victor Gordon’s play is set in contemporary Tel Aviv. Ya’akov is a brilliant young Israeli composer who causes a storm when he announces his intention to play a Wagner work in the final of an international,music competition.

Morris, the competition’s organiser, advises the concert’s patron, Esther, of the situation, and she is appalled. Jewish and a Holocaust survivor, she can’t believe that a fellow Jew living in the homeland of the Jewish people, would even consider playing a work by a German composer who was a renowned anti-semite.Esther insists on confronting him in the hope that she  can make him change his mind.

What is driving Ya’Akov to want to play Wagner? Will Esther be able to change his mind? Will the competition final go ahead? What would the reaction be in Tel Aviv if such a heresy was to be committed? These are some of the questions that we, the audience, want  the play to answer. Continue reading YOU WILL NOT PLAY WAGNER :A TIMELESS DEBATE @ THE ETERNITY PLAYHOUSE


All images by Tracy Schramm.

This year, the Australian Theatre For Young aPeople (ATYP) has initiated an  exciting new program – the Homeroom Series.  The first in the series featured  a thought provoking A Double Bill depicting the challenges that young people face in an increasingly complex and at times overwhelming world.

The two plays performed were British playwright Evan Placey’s GIRLS LIKE THAT, an ensemble piece for young women, and Australian playwright Lachlan Philpott’s MICHAEL SWORDFISH  which was an encore season  for young men which was originally written for, and  performed by students from Newington College.

Both main characters are teenagers who are out of synch and different with their peers. This being the case their lives become increasingly difficult, to the point of being unbearable.  Both go missing, and the guts of both plays are concerned with the anxiety that  their disappearance causes, and the longing to bring them back to the herd and somehow make it up to them.

As dark and penetrating as both plays were, it was comsoling to see that both playwrights came up with endings that featured notions of reconciliation, a desire to  accept differences, and to be part of a team/a group, to belong.

Both productions, GIRLS LIKE THAT was directed by Rob Jago and MICHAEL SWORDFISH  was helmed by Tamara Smith, were exhilarating in terms of the electric  energy coming from the actors. The leads gave strong performances and the group/chorus/dance work was outstanding with effective use of edgy contemporary music and incisive set and lighting designs.

The cast of Girls Like That :  Lucy Valencic, Cara Severino, Annika Bates, Lara Wood, Rashie Kase, Natasha Pontoh-Supit, Emily Simmons, Emily Longville, Ella Hosty-Snelgrove, Claire Giuffre, Miranda Longhurst, Molly Kyriakakidis-Costello and Michelle Khurana.

The cast of Michael Swordfish : are: Ashutosh Bidkar, Eden Bradford, Fergus Finlayson, Jason Hartill, Tim Kenzler, Louis Nicholls, Angus Powell, Daniel Steel and Gus Watts.
HOMEROOM SERIES played Studio 1 at ATYP between 10/05/17 and 19/05/17.








Are you on the lookout for some witty comedy, a good bit of escapism?! The Guild Theatre’s current production should fit the bill.

This is a a very witty and clever play by American writer Paul Rudnick.  The main character is sensitive young soapy star, Andrew Rally, who is going through a lot of stuff and the play’s central question is whether he is going to be able to keep it together.

The play starts with Rally having moved from the suburbs to an apartment in the Big Apple. He has made the move because the television network pulled the plug on the soapy series in which he starred as a charismatic Doctor and has had to find new work.

He auditions and wins the role of Hamlet in a production taking place in Central Park. His agent tells him that, many aeons ago, the great Shakespearean actor John Barrymore lived in the very same apartment. Can you tell where this is going?! Continue reading I HATE HAMLET : A FUN NIGHT OF THEATREANTICS @ THE GUILD


Everything goes right in terms of comedy with this West End hit which is currently having a very successful return season at the Ros Packer theatre.

The play is a spoof on a very amateur, fictional Drama Society. The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society  put on a murder mystery entitled  The Murder Of Haversham Manor  which turns into a disaster; the murdered corpse comes alive, the actors constantly bungle, stagehands walk in and out and take part in the action indiscriminately, parts of the set collapse or combust. Have you got the idea?!

On  the night that I went the cast played to a full house that was constantly erupting in laughter. What a buzz that must have been for the excellent local cast to draw from that energy.

My pick of the cast  :- Nick-Simpson Deers is great as the earnest, frustrated Detective. Adam Dunn  was a lot of fun as the lighting and sound operator whose bio box was situated in the dress circle, Dennis Tyde as the frazzled butler and Brooke Satchwell as  the volatile, sexy Sandra.

If you need a really good laugh I can’t recommend this play enough. This is comic mayhem at its best. THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, written by Henry Lewis, Jonathon Sayer and Henry Shields and directed by Mark Bell,is playing until May 21.




“Makes Buckingham Palace look like a bungalow”, Lady Mountbatten opines as she surveys her new digs in THE VICEROY’S HOUSE, the latest picture to depict Partition and the creation of Pakistan.

The dwelling was designed by Lutyens and took 17 years to build. Its imposing architecture was an expression of Imperial power, intended to intimidate. It was completed in 1929, as Wall Street crashed, but few could have imagined that in less than 20 years it would become the home of the first President of India. Interestingly, it remains the largest residence of any head of state anywhere in the world.

Back in 1947, Lord Mountbatten was appointed the last British Viceroy of India, a Horay Henry of the Last Hurrah of the Raj, and this film depicts him as much a hapless pawn in the machinations of the British Government at the time as the creator and administrator of the divvy up.

Director Gurinder Chadha, probably best known for her breakout film, Bend It Like Beckham, split’s the film’s narrative fairly evenly between the political wrangling of the real historical figures upstairs in the seat of Colonial power and the emotional downstairs scenes, centred on the fictional romance between Jeet, a Hindu personal valet to Mountbatten, and Aalia, a Muslim
translator for Mountbatten’s daughter Pamela, and it’s as cheesy as a naan laced with rennin. Continue reading THE VICEROY’S HOUSE


Above : Jack Thompson plays the silkiest of silks, Bob Myers. Featured photo- Sara West plays the gutsy main character, Lyndel.

DON’T TELL is the kind of film that makes audiences “do tell” and strong word of mouth should launch this splendid court room drama into the box office success it so richly deserves.

Sara West is superb as Lyndal, a young woman at crisis point, desperate to be heard and needing to be believed. A decade ago, she was sexually abused by a teacher at a school run by the Anglican Church.

The vile experience together with the bottled up anger, guilt, and fear has derailed a life on track for a stable and productive life.

After ten years of troubled existence, Lyndal must tell of her experience, must publicly dispel her appalling sentence of silence to have any semblance of a normal life. Continue reading DON’T TELL : A BRILLIANT NEW AUSTRALIAN FILM


Swift as wind. Supple as water. Grounded as surely as the summit of a mountain nimbly flits through fleeting clouds, and stays irrefutably present.

The spry air is charged, set alight by the fiery lightning that strikes from dancer to dancer and shoots through the audience.

The space between dancers is at once brimming with intercourse and fully, delectably pregnant: opening a boundless wellspring of infinite flow and limitless directions in which to move. Continue reading SYDNEY DANCE COMPANY’S ‘ORB’ @ THE ROS PACKER THEATRE



Celloist David Pereira. Images by Steven Godbee

One hundred years after the First World War, bullets, bones and bombs are still being discovered by farmers in the fields of France. They remind us of the men of Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Germany, and France who died so painfully in the trenches in the rain and mud.

I was privileged to be at this latest Live at Lunch concert and hear this luminous, soulful performance.

The marvellous quartet of musicians consisted of Jane Rutter on flute, Tamara-Anna Cislowska on piano, David Pereira on cello and Christopher Lantham ( the director of The Flowers of War) on violin. Rutter wore a striking kimono/suit like outfit in turquoise and black the other performers were in orchestral black. Continue reading LIVE AT LUNCH : MONET : THE FLOWERS OF WAR @ THE CONCOURSE


The Regals Musical Society’s revival of 42nd Street opened with a wonderful brass heavy Overture played by a solid 14 piece Orchestra led by Peter Sampson as Musical director.

A strong opening to the revival of this quintessential musical comedy directed by Christie Koppe who was drawn to this project due to it’s large-scale, its classic tunes and effervescent storytelling.

It’s the kind of Broadway feel good musical loaded with knockout song and dance numbers (“We’re In the Money’, The Lullaby of Broadway, “Dames”, ‘42nd Street) requiring high energy from the cast and creativity from the production team.

42nd Street comes from a line of musicals that emerged initially as Hollywood films. Based on the 1933 Warner Bros movie, the original stage production had a nine year Broadway run and was a tap-dancing extravaganza. It’s based on a book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, lyrics by Al Dubin, and music by Harry Warren. Continue reading REGALS MUSICAL SOCIETY’S PRESENTS A TAPFASTIC PRODUCTION OF 42ND STREET



You can’t go wrong with Agatha Christie. Well I suppose you could. But not if you are the Genesian Theatre Company. This is their metier. A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED is gripping, stylish entertainment. Adapted by Leslie Darbon, the play is from 1987 but it retains all the period elements that audiences require of a Christie Mystery. The Genesians have assembled an excellent cast, put them on a lovely set and costumed them superbly.

A unusual notice has been put in the village paper of the small English spa town of Chipping Cleghorn. It announces a murder will be committed at ‘Little Paddocks’ on Friday evening at 6:30. The household see it as rather a joke but neighbours and villagers are sure to drop by around about then. And no one is going to keep a certain Miss Jane Marple, in the village to take the waters for her rheumatism, away from the possibility of a delicious mystery.

And delicious it is. Owing much to  the way the climax has been adapted by the playwright who has wisely removed some of the novel’s more hysterical events such as an attempted drowning in the kitchen sink and the Snugglepuss redolent, Miss Murgatroyd: yet kept the period flavour which is required to keep Miss M in her place and time. Continue reading AGATHIE CHRISTIE’S ‘A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED’ @ THE GENESIANS



Frank Bryant (David Jeffrey) has become a tutor, for an Open University English Literature course, entirely just for the money. He is an older middle-class professor, a career academic, and a high-functioning alcoholic, who had ambitions to be a great poet and is bored with his University job of teaching undergraduate English Literature. His first student Rita White (Emily McGowan) struts into his book-filled office.

Rita is an unhappy married hairdresser, down-to-earth and excessively talkative but often rambling, and now aged 26 years, she needs freedom and is driven to dedicate herself to receiving all of the education, that she failed to receive in school.

Rita brings all of her under-educated blunt honesty, to loudly challenge Frank’s deep intellect and limitless knowledge of literature. Each inspires the other to become more alive, and better live their lives. Socially inept Rita believes that she is trapped by her working class life and her husband, and the theme of identity emerges, because she changed her birth name from Susan to Rita. Rita believes that studying literature for twelve months, will give her the worldly knowledge that she needs to grow as a person.

Playwright Willy Russell has sleekly styled EDUCATING RITA with realistic character-driven dialogue, providing the perfect balance of humour and poignancy. The play is fast paced, dialogue intensive 120 minutes of theatre entertainment, full of purpose, comedy and pathos, as these two people, learn more about each other, the class system, and the many shortcomings of institutionalised education systems.                 Continue reading WILLY RUSSELL’S CLASSIC ‘EDUCATING RITA’ SPARKLES @ THE DEPOT

The Paris Opera Ballet in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

f we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended, That you have but slumber’d here. While these visions did appearA Midsummer Night’s Dream, Scene 7

Stunningly danced the latest screening of the Palace Opera and Ballet season is the Paris Opera Ballet’s presentation of Balanchine’s A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT DREAM in two acts and six scenes .It is the first time the Paris Opera Ballet has performed this particular Balanchine work , one of Balanchine’s few narrative ballets .

Created in 1961 it features the marvellous music by Mendelssohn and uses a luscious reworking of the original Karinska costumes by fashion icon Christian Lacroix. Continue reading The Paris Opera Ballet in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream’


The current exciting exhibition at Traffic Jam Galleries is a combined show – Kathryn MCGovern’s DOG SHOW and Sally West’s AROUND TOWN. They are very different artists in subject and style and it makes for a captivating event.

Kathryn McGovern’s exhibition is a series of wonderful canine portraits. McGovern, over the past few months, visited various dog shows in Queensland and mingled with cossetted canines, breeders, stewards and judges.

Individual canines are depicted in great detail and we marvel at the variety of colours, shapes and sizes of the assorted dogs.

Reference photos were combined with on location observations together with McGovern’s imagination to create the final vibrant product of ink and paper.

The paintings are witty and delightful. They feature an exceptional use of composition and an intriguing use of ‘ negative space’.

From beagles to dachshunds,  Churchillian bull dogs to tiny chihuahuas, giant Dalmatians and medium sized terriers, the various breeds are wonderfully shown. Some of them are full of bristling enthusiastic movement, whilst others are posed and poised.

We see it all from the canine perspective, there are no full human portraits but some pictures include legs and arms of the judges/owners.

SALLY WEST’S exhibition AROUND TOWN is her response to the environment in which she now lives. Internationally exhibited West is predominantly an ‘en plein air’ painter, with most of this exhibition’s works having been painted on site.

“I see the harbour and Sydney through different eyes now as an adult and mother, I now crave to capture them as a painter”. says West.

West’s current exhibition is a documentation of her favourite places that she has found in Sydney over the past 6-12 months.

The paintings feature a series of extremely thick, swirling brushstrokes full of wonderful texture, Many of the works are full of vibrant colour and dynamic composition, remarkable images of  the sea or landscapes, including Crown Road, Study From Berry’s Bay,  and Double Bay to Darling Point. The iconic Sydney Opera House is painted from above.

This was an exciting exhibition with special appeal for canine fanciers and landscape lovers.

This current exhibition is on display at the Traffic Jam until 25th May.


Featured image – Olivia Kingston, Raegan Williams and Alex Warren in Limitless Dance Company’s ‘Se7en’ at the NIDA Playhouse.

When does synchronised motion stop mimicking a machine and, instead, move like a flock of birds in flight?

When do the constituent parts of animate limbs stop being mere tendon, muscle and bone and, instead, soar like the wings of an eagle?

When do individual dancers stop moving in brilliant unison and, instead, let one another’s individuality brilliantly move each dancer into living intercourse with the whole, much like the wind can rouse the leaves of a tree to leap, each leafy blade shimmering the other? Continue reading LIMITLESS DANCE COMPANY IN ‘SE7EN’ @ THE NIDA PLAYHOUSE

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