Rich and sumptuous, at times rather heavy and possibly overwhelming this marvelous concert combined the glorious forces of the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and the Sydney Youth Orchestra.
The conductor Brett Weymark was in energetic, enthusiastic form. The Orchestra was in great shape and performed with a glowing tone, finely nuanced and handling the various musical styles very well. Both the Orchestra and Choir were meticulously rehearsed and under Weymark’s direction caught the light and shade of the music from fragile, crystalline brilliance to thunderous, tumultuous pounding waves.
This will be an evening of Eastern European and Middle Eastern music & dance with legendary musicians, Helm of California, USA and locals, Kush Cabaret!
Featuring Mark Bell on percussion and Ling Shien Bell on vocals and wind instruments, “eclectic, acoustic, and expressive, Helm contributes great music in the traditions of the Middle East through original compositions, folkloric, and classical pieces.
Despite constant rain, some of it torrential, music lovers were not deterred last Sunday from attending what was the 7th Shir Madness Music Festival at the Bondi Pavilion.
Spread over four stages, thirty five acts over tehours performed musical genres including classical, world, choral, cabaret, musical theatre, klezmer, ladino, disco, zydeco, rock, pop, hip-hop, jazz and more.
Each stage was named after songs written and made famous by Jewish songwriters. The marquee was called Beautiful Noise (Neil Diamond), the Seagull room was became the Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) stage, the theatre became the Summertime (George and Ira Gershwin) stage,and the function room became the Tapestry (Carole King) stage.
The range of talent on show ranged from high school kids to top headline acts. Well known musicians such as Dave Faulkner of the Hoodoo Gurus, Mahalia Barnes, Steve Kilbey of The Church and Tina Harrod were prepared to support the Festival such that each sang only one song before coming together to form a choir to sing the finale, The Song Of Songs. This was fitting as the Festival began with the sweet voices of the Sydney Jewish Choral Society singing traditional and popular Jewish songs.
This Festival has been the baby of Gary Holzman, the Festival Director who last year successfully expanded it to Melbourne.
Featured Image- Author Bridget Asher, the pen name for Julianna Baggott, W.H. Jenks Chair in Contemporary American Letters.
Chick lit writ large, Bridget Asher’s whimsical novel, ALL OF US & EVERYTHING, is a three sister ring circus with an eccentric ringmaster mother and a mysterious spy ring father.
Augusta, august and gusty and gutsy is the matriarch, mother of Esme, Liv and Ru.
Esme, marriage in ruins and Tweet obsessed teenage daughter daughter, Atty, named after Atticus Finch, in tow, Liv, marriage also in tatters, and Ru, never married, but recently engaged and now rethinking the idea, are coming home to Mama. Continue reading ALL OF US & EVERYTHING→
BOEING BOEING is a classic farce and in Castle Hill Players production, under the clever direction of Stephen Snars, audiences are given all the expected misadventures and misunderstandings of the characters ensuring a fun filled night at the theatre.
Excellent comic timing from all the talented cast makes the most of the hilarious situations in which they find themselves and of course the set, designed by Jemima Snars, has several doors and entrances to allow numerous secret, and not so secret, comings and goings. Written by the French playwright Marc Camotetti and translated by Beverley Cross the play sees a life of meticulous precision unravels before our eyes. Continue reading BOEING BOEING @ PAVILION THEATRE, CASTLE HILL→
Last year, Mulga’s Magical Colouring Book became an instant best-seller. Mulga’s latest book, MULGA’S MAGICAL MUSICAL CREATURES looks set to follow in its footsteps.
Saturated in amazing colour, MULGA’S MAGICAL MUSICAL CREATURES takes us from marvellous alliteration to imaginative illustration in a rhyming picture book for children starring a lush and illustrious array of zoological instrumentalists.
Might they be the so called Mexican walking fish plucking guitars in ponchos? Blue suited pink elephants tasking their trumpets is a cool mirage and are banjo playing hooters called banjowls?!
Lions growling out lyrics while wearing pink socks are the envy of the man -o – Manfred Man, pretty flamingos while gorillas beat skins rather than their chests in a jungle drum fantasia.
A musical menagerie full of quirky colourful creatures and delicious detail, a mind expanding blend of the familiar and the surreal, MULGA’S MAGICAL MUSICAL CREATURES is simply delightful, akin to a magical mystery tour, sans the walrus.
A two of us against the world attitude pervades the world of Pig and Runt, the seventeen year old inseparable couple in Enda Walsh’s play Disco Pigs.
The play starts with their mothers in simultaneous labour and exaggerated detail about hospital trolleys racing through wards, pushing, screaming and heads emerging. Through this chaos the infants eventually lock eyes on each other and so starts their journey through life together, closer than brother and sister. They grow up in the rough part of Cork, Ireland, sharing birthdays, nicknames, a secret language and outlook. Continue reading DISCO PIGS @ PACT THEATRE ERSKINEVILLE→
This enduringclassic from George Bernard Shaw was first produced in 1895 at the Playhouse Theatre. And almost exactly a year ago the STC mounted a production at the Opera House, directed by Richard Cotterill. But with all their lavish set and costumes I doubt they would have bested this little gem of a show at the Depot Theatre in Marrickville last night.
This is all the more remarkable considering the difference in venue and budget and the fact that for the latter part of the rehearsal period the director, Linda Beattie, was taken ill and the cast had to step to bring themselves and the production to opening night performance level! Indeed when I heard of Ms Beattie’s misfortune just prior to curtain up I was filled with misgivings about what I was to see. I need not have worried. This game little group of troupers delivered a delightful rendition of GBS’ masterful script that skipped along at a cracking pace.
The cast were all very good with stand out performances from Jodine Muir as RAINA, AmrikTumber as CAPTAIN BLUNTSCHLI, (especially laudable considering his comparative lack of ‘runs on the boards’), and Angelina Andrews as LOUKA. (I challenged her not giving me a chocolate before the show as she circulated in character just to see what she would do – but, as always, experience will out!) Thus Will Reilly’s SERGIUS was delicious and Nicholas Gledhill, Denise Kitchingand Ross Scott were all tasteful as the PETKOFF Household. There were no weak links and the ensemble cast were a credit to undoubtedly good early direction from Linda Beattie!
The costumes were more than adequate. The rather limited sets were reflective of obvious budget constraints although the furniture looked nice and the lighting and incidental music were fine under the circumstances.
This wonderful example of George Bernard Shaw using farce to examine the foibles of war and vain society in the late 19th century has always been one of my very favourite theatre pieces. This presentation was handled deftly with a light touch. Well done! Very enjoyable.
The Depot Theatre, rising out of the site of the old Sidetrack Theatre from the proud efforts of Julie Baz and David Jeffrey, is a worthy example of rebirth and rejuvenation. Long may it prosper!
ARMS AND THE MAN at The Depot Theatre, Marrickville 21st – 24th September.
A good dose of theatre verite takes over the top tier of the Old Fitz pub as resident production company curate the first of a new series of performances, THIRTY THREE.
THIRTY THREE is not only the title of the play but the capacity of audience allocation as viewers sit along three walls and watch a dinner party thrown by Sas to celebrate her thirty-third birthday degenerate into a debauched debacle. Continue reading THIRTY THREE @ THE OLD FITZ→
This much loved Shakespeare play features one of the most lush, fun and fantastical worlds to ever grace a stage.
The play, in fact, features very different worlds which interact with each other through the piece. We have the world of Royalty, we have the world of ordinary folk, and then we have the spirit, fairy world.
In his note for the program, Andrew Upton described ‘Midsummer’s’ as, ‘everyone’s go to for Shakespearean fun’. With Kip Williams current revival, parents thinking of bringing along their kids to see the show will be able to feel confident that the night will be a success.
Williams wins good performances from a large cast. My favourite performances – Robert Menzies was outstanding in the dual roles of Athens leader Theseus and Fairy King Oberon. Menzies, with his superb diction and gestures, is surely one of this country’s finest Shakespearean actors. The ever spritely Paula Arundell matched Menzies well as Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta and Fairy Queen Titania. Continue reading SYDNEY THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS ‘A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT DREAM’ @ SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE→
Last time I saw The Great Gatsby it was as a movie on one of the large VMAX screens at the Event cinema complex in Bondi Junction by way of Baz Luhrmann’s grand Academy Award winning film.
This time I was seeing F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic story as a play, in a newish, Sydney premiere adaptation by American playwright Simon Levy, presented by a local north side community theatre troupe, the Epicentre Theatre Company.
As I was watching the action impressively unfold, I thought to myself that there was something special about this experience. One doesn’t need all the hype, the big bucks, the huge production values, and fancy Hollywood stars for a show to work. All one needs is a damn good story, and a performing troupe who put their all into doing the best show that they can. In some respects the achievements of a small, unassuming troupe can be more impressive.
THE GREAT GATSBY is a hell of a story. The ‘major chords’ that it plays never fail to resonate. It is a parable for the ages….telling the story of Jay Gatsby, a ridiculously wealthy and classy man who assumed that he could have anything that he possibly wanted and yet falls short of keeping Daisy, the woman of his dreams.Continue reading THE GREAT GATSBY @ KU-RING-GAI TOWN HALL→
A couple of years ago, the documentary CitizenFour won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. The film was directed by Laura Poitras, who has become a character in Oliver Stone’s dramatic narrative version of the same story, SNOWDEN.
Poitras is played by Melissa Leo who is flanked by Tom Wilkinson as journalist Ewen MacAskill and Zachary Quinto as reporter Glenn Greenwald, the trusted trio NSA whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, flies to Hong Kong to meet to spew his secrets concerning U.S. Government cyber surveillance programs of seismic proportions.
A top security contractor with virtuoso programming skills, Snowden has discovered that a virtual Everest of information is being assembled tracking all forms of digital communication — not just from foreign governments and terror groups, but from ordinary Americans. Disillusioned with his work in the intelligence community, Snowden meticulously gathers hundreds of thousands of secret documents that will expose the full extent of the surveillance and the mountain of meta data.Continue reading SNOWDEN→
Sydney Fringe threw its first street party in the inner East but recently the inner West had its turn at street partying in tiny Gehrig Lane in Annandale. Thanking the cooperation of the inner West Council, John Wardle and Fringe Festival Director Kerry Glascock formally launched the creativity centre in this precinct.
I went to the circus last night, set up in the tiny space that is the Reginald theatre at the Seymour Centre. This was by way of a show called ELIXIR put on by Head First Acrobats and presented as part of this years’ SydneyFringe Festival program.
ELIXIR proved to be a bit of knockabout fun. Just a note to begin with. With its colourful blend of risque humour that runs through the show, ELIXIR does not come under the ambit of a family show, and is not suitable for young kids. Three very enthusiastic performers- Callan Harris, Thomas Gorham and Rowan Thomas– took over the small Reginald stage with their very impressive acrobatic skills, honed from years of training. Continue reading ELIXIR @ REGINALD THEATRE SEYMOUR CENTRE→
While her dad, Ron Howard, is stroking the nostalgia zone of baby boomers with his brilliant Beatles doco, Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years, daughter Bryce Dallas Howard is rekindling interest in a remake of a classic children’s film, PETE’S DRAGON. And whaddya know, it’s one of those remarkable remakes that is OK.
Bryce Dallas plays Grace, a forest ranger complete with Smoky Bear hat who finds young Pete, deep in the woods, a kid who was orphaned in a car wreck years before and brought up by a cute and cuddly dragon called Elliot, who looks like the love child of the flying critter from The Never Ending Story.
Grace’s dad, Meacham, has long held that the legend of the dragon lurking in the local woods is true, and has been wood working the seemingly mythical beast all his life. Of course, he is vindicated, but Elliot is vilified, and the hunt for the ferocious fire breathing flapper becomes hysterical by certain logging log-heads. Continue reading PETE’S DRAGON→
The Coke neon sign has dimmed but this show sparkles with wit, freshness and quirkiness. It is part of the expansion of the City of Sydney’s Art And About program which is a celebration of Art in unusual places. You could not get a more unusual place than a theatrical performance in a former brothel, the Nevada in Kings Cross, which boosted the biggest bed in the world. This cabaret is a history of the Cross told through its most colourful characters. It takes place over several floors and in different settings to immerse you into the most notorious era of the fifties to the seventies in Kings Cross. Continue reading HIDDEN SYDNEY – THE GLITTERING MILE→
THE SHALLOWS arrives in theaters with a great deal of anticipation. The film’s marketing campaign has focused on it’s minimal setting and straight forward narrative—a drawn out game of cat and mouse as a surfer tries to make it out of the ocean without getting eaten by a shark—and Blake Lively’s figure in a bikini. This is, it seems, enough to generate great anticipation.
Written by Anthony Jaswinski (KRISTY) and directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, whose previous directorial efforts include the Liam Neeson vehicles UNKNOWN and NON-STOP, the film proper delivers on the marketing campaign’s promise and little more.
One of Sydney’s most anticipated musicals, DREAM LOVER : THE BOBBY DARIN MUSICAL, directed by one of Australia’s leading music theatre director Simon Phillips and starring David Campbell as the late, great Bobby Darin, will start previews at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre next Thursday.
The show will present many of the great hits from the 1950s and 1960s including Mac The Knife, Beyond The Sea and the title song. The stage will be filled by a cast of over 40 performers including an 18 piece big band. As well as David Campbell, the principal cast will also include Caroline O’Connor, Hannah Fredericksen, Bert LaBonte, Martin Crewes and Marney McQueen.
Sydney Arts Guide is delighted to announce that it has two double A Reserve passes to give away to the evening performance – 8 pm -performance on Saturday September 24. Be one of the first to email the Editor on email@example.com. with Dream Lover : The Bobby Darin Musical competition in the subject heading. The two winners will be advised by return email. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED.
The first time I ever heard chamber music was in a medieval church lit by candlelight in Dubrovnik, Croatia. It was atmospheric and the acoustics were superb. Cut to Drummoyne and the challenging contemporary chamber music benefited from the warm acoustics of St Bede’s Anglican Church.
This recital which took place on Saturday 10th September was staged by Halcyon, an advocate for new contemporary music, especially by 20th century composers.
With a career spanning more than 25 years mezzo soprano Jenny Duck-Chong is the Artistic Director of Halcyon. She performed in the first piece, composer Margaret Sutherland’sWoman song, Midnight and Winter Kestrel, based on poems written by Judith Wright and Duck-Chong was sensitively accompanied by Daniel Herscovitch on piano. Herscovitch is Associate Professor in Piano at the Conservatorium of Music. The abstract rhythm and metre of Wright’s poems were equally matched by the dissonance of the intense, bold, long flighted melody that threw out a challenge to Duck-Chong which she easily mastered. She found a balance between voice and words and her diction was excellent so as to wring the emotion from the poems.
This musicianship was continued in composer Brett Dean’s Literature And A Child Is A Grub, based on Michael Leunig’s prayer poems, which are both whimsical and serious. Duck-Chong ably mastered these contradictory themes.
Composer Roger Smalley’sPiano Trio was performed by Ewan Foster on violin, who currently works with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Geoffrey Gartner on cello, who has played ambulatory cello for the Sydney Dance Company’s CounterMove, and who lectures extensively at Universities and Conservatoriums throughout Australian and the United States. Daniel Herscovitch played on the piano, the titular instrument in this piece. It draws its inspiration from a chromatic chord of Chopin’s Mazurkas. The work comprised with a prelude cherzo followed by a passacaglia. The Trios performance encompassed hypnotic dissonance interspersed with accessible Chopin like motifs and extracted the delight and complexity of this piece. Composer Andrew Shultz’s Paradise naturally deals with a dystopian world. Performed by Gartner on cello and Herscovitch on piano, this piece is sung by soprano Alison Morgan. Again with a 25 year career span, she has performed as a soloist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Pinchgut Opera, The Song Company amongst others. Shultzs’ melodies matching its theme were, for me, the most accessible. I found that I was so enchanted by Morgan’s bell like soprano that I occasionally lost track of Shultz’s lyrics.
I have presented mini biographies of these performers to highlight the calibre of musicianship and to show how they have battled and won the challenge for audience acceptance of new classical chamber music.
My favourite piece was the whimsical The Domestic Sublime Part 1, composed by Katy Abbott Kvasnica, based on the poems of Christopher Wallace-Crabb. The poet asks us to pause and think about mundane things like shaving, changing beds, and the indoor yacht and spinnaker when you throw out the bed sheet, and coathangers coming to life. These pieces show that new music can have a sense of humour. Alison Morgan sang playfully, accompanied by Herscovitch’s piano chords.
The next piece brought a real sense of occasion to this enjoyable recital. This was the World Premiere of David Malouf’sThree Malouf Songs and it was performed in the presence of fabled author David Malouf and its composer Gordon Kerry. Both they and the audience were delighted by the performance of Duck-Chong, violinst Foster and cellist Gartner. The three songs – Stars, Rock Pools, and The Glass House Mountains had the theme of water interacting with the shoreline. Kerry created music that shimmered like water and brought out liquid motifs on the piano. Duck-Chong’s mezzo soprano beautifully amplified the glassy piano chords and string harmonies suggesting still and then suddenly shattered water surfaces. Malouf’s songs are intensely atmospheric and the performance captured this. The piece was also performed in the presence of the compositions’ sponsors Denise and John Elkins who applauded enthusiastically.
Petit Testament, the final piece, composed by Elliott Gyger, saw both singers harmonising and singing counterpoint to each other. The piece is based on the hoax poems of Ern Malley, (really written by James McAuley and Harold Stewart), spoofing incomprehensible modern poetry. Duck- Chong and Morgan mimicked the two poets whose voices then create a single musical line and then drop out of unison into polyphomy as though the two poets sought to highlight their individuality.
Symphony Orchestras can only be commercial if the contemporary classical music they play is a musical score. So the modern Symphonic icons are composers like John Williams and Enrico Morricone. By playing in intimate venues like St Bede’s Church and performing for love rather than money, Halcyon keeps the flag flying for new Australian and international chamber works.
Marte Dusseldorf slowly unravels in Benedict Andrews’ new play Gloria. Production photography by Brett Boardman.
Director and playwright Benedict Andrews theatrical tastes have always leaned towards the dramatic, the controversial, the provocative…True to form Andrews’ new play is a powder keg of a play.
In a coup for the Griffin Theatre Company, one of Australia’s finest actresses Marte Dusseldorp plays the leading/title role. Gloria is a highly strung and skilled actress with a troubled personal life, exemplified by a fractured family life,and a continuing battle with the booze.
Pressures mount on her when she accepts the lead role in a new production which could well resurrect her career but will challenge her to her core- she has to play the part of a real life survivor of a sadistic crime. It isn’t long into rehearsals that Gloria realises that the part will take her to the very edge of her sanity. Continue reading GLORIA @ THE STABLES THEATRE KINGS CROSS→
Not only does September have lots of cultural events shooting up, the same thing happens in a literal sense every year at the Elizabeth Street David Jones Department store. The ground floor is festooned with a multitude of flowers and plants adding vibrant splashes of colour to its usual black and white themed floor display. The store was packed with flower fanciers taking selfies of themselves and the blooms. If you found the crowds too claustrophobic inside, there were also floral displays in the windows outside.
Tom Hanks’ prior to this movie has depicted a number of real life heroes, the titular Captain Phillips, Walt Disney (Saving Mr Banks), James B Donovan (Bridge Of Spies), and it makes a nice bookend to Apollo 13 where he starred as another pilot, Jim Lovell, who must also overcome a life threatening crisis.
The film is based on Chelsey Sullenberg’s 2009 memoir Highest Duty and is co-authored with Jeffrey Zaslow. Numerous commentators are calling Tom Hanks the Jimmy Stewart of our era. Here Tom Hanks plays Sully the pilot of the passenger plane that landed on the Hudson River in New York on January 19, 2009 saving all crew and a 115 passengers on board.
This film depicts the aftermath, with a dour self doubting Sully suffering post traumatic stress syndrome, sleeping badly, and suffering nightmares. Heb takes insomniac runs to 2 am New York accompanied by his co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles, played by Aaron Eckhart. In trying to cheer Sully up, in what is a one note performance by Hanks, Eckhart steals most of their scenes together. Continue reading SULLY : THE UNTOLD STORY BEHIND THE MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON→