“My time is overdue like a roof on a synagogue”, sings David Brent, in the feature length sequel to the TV mockumentary, The Office, DAVID BRENT: LIFE ON THE ROAD.
The film catches up with Brent twelve years on from The Office to find he is now a travelling salesman with Lavichem, a toilet and tampon company.
He’s still pining for rock stardom and is about to embark on a self-financed UK tour with his band, Foregone Conclusion. Assembling a group of session musicians who are just in it for the dough, not the Do-Re-Mi, and rising rapper Dom, in an attempt to gain street cred, Brent cashes in his savings and superannuation and takes unpaid eave in a bid to turn his dream into reality. Continue reading DAVID BRENT : LIFE ON THE ROAD→
Above: Violin soloist Glenn Christensen played Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with TMO. Featured image: The Metropolitan Orchestra and Chief Conductor Sarah-Grace Williams. Photo credit: John B Chen.
The fourth concert in TMO’s 2016 season, ‘The Great’ was a substantial undertaking. Its exciting programme consisted of two very well-known works regarded as being great due to their inspiration, structure and impact.
These works were written by two composers considered amongst the greatest of their era and of all time. TMO admirably met the challenge of presenting early nineteenth century works by Beethoven and Schubert in fresh and captivating interpretations.
To begin this concert’s juxtaposition of two great works, TMO collaborated with violinist Glenn Christensen in a performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major Opus 61. At all times throughout this work TMO supported the soloist well.
The essence of Beethoven’s uniquely direct rhetoric was delivered through clear realisation of thematic material. Full orchestral textures were satisfyingly blended and Beethoven’s burgeoning Romantic leanings were evident in striking declamations from the orchestra alone.
Violinist Glenn Christensen presented an extremely sensitive and elegant opening movement to this work. Without the hectic bravura often heard, the structure of the violin solo utterances was expressively and at times uniquely outlined. The building blocks of this famous movement were laid down successfully with considerable grace and unhurried reverence.
This work’s slow movement demands an interpretation from soloist and orchestra which maintains beauty and lyricism over a difficult and prolonged expanse. The attempt on this occasion was successful in this regard. It also was the best balanced playing between violin soloist and TMO heard in the work.
The performance of this movement yielded a steady thread of exquisite cantabile voice and an exemplary rendering of authentic Beethoven expansive slow movement fare. As in the remainder of the work, Christensen’s moments reaching to the very high register were gentle yet stunning in their precision.
TMO and Christensen launched themselves out of the central movement’s stillness and into the final rondo movement with instant and great contrast. The theme was joyously characterised and we were treated to some energetic fireworks in the violin elaboration.
Following interval Schubert’s profound Symphony No 9 in C major D944 ‘The Great’ was played with great drama, great control and great respect for Schubert’s architectural and dramatic ambition. The creative concepts and textural variety of the composer’s vision were well promoted. We heard this work’s intricacies and climaxes being well articulated despite the large forces assembled.
From the symphony’s outset and introduction from the horn section there was an air of noble restraint. This continued particularly in TMO’s winds whenever needed throughout. Oboe lines were nicely drawn and held above the rest of the orchestral colour. The oboe parts which feature in the second movement were also steadfast and captivating.
The contrasts in the third movement Scherzo and Trio were superbly handled, making this section of the symphonic journey a crisp, buoyant and satisfying event. TMO showcased themselves and Schubert as progressive artisans in this movement, a highlight of the performance.
At the conclusion of this symphony and the concert TMO showed no cracks in their stamina or artistry. This was yet another satisfying Met Series Concert. The final Met Concert for 2016 at the ABC Centre takes place on November 12. It features TMO’s principal clarinettist in a work by Elena Kats-Chernin. The programme will also include Beethoven’s loved Symphony No 7.
Featured image – Self Portrait by Natasha Walsh, submitted for this years’ Archibald Prize.
As part of its annual Art After Hours program, which the Art Gallery has run for many years, the Art Gallery has stayed open on Wednesday nights until 9 pm. This year, due to large after-hour crowds, the Gallery is now open until 10 pm with the program set to run weekly until 26th October.
Not only can you view their works at that time, you can also listen to an entertaining and stimulating talk, which complements the current headline show.
Coming up this Wednesday evening, Archibald Prize finalists Natasha Walsh, Mirra Whale and Zoe Young discuss Frida Kahlo and portraiture. You can also view the film A l’origine ( In the beginning). Afterwards, you can have a snack or relax at the bar listening to Victor Valdes and his mariachi band for a Mexican fiesta.
Later in the year comedians will occupy the 6.30 pm slot with a series of talks called Just For Laughs.
Below are photos of some of the distinguished, comedic and musical that have appeared in previous of Art After Hours. Images by the author (c).
Liane Moriarty was recently profiled in the Good Weekend magazine as being ‘the most successful Australian crime writer that you don’t know.’ A capacity packed Dymocks luncheon held on Friday 29 July at the ballroom of the Shangri La Hotel, along with increasing sales and publicity means that her anonymity is slipping away at an accelerated rate.
As part of a series of talks associated with the Library’s current exhibition Colour In Darkness (World War 1 photographs), on Thursday July 21 the Walkley Foundation arranged a panel discussion at the Metcalfe Auditorium, State Library of New South Wales. The panel, who were moderated by Sally Sara, comprised of combat photographs Gary Ramage, a freelancer, David Maurice Smith, an Oculi member, and Edwina Pickles of Fairfax Media.
By way of introduction Elise Edmonds, curator of the exhibition, stated that this exhibition tried to replicate an exhibition that toured Australia in the 1920s, right down to the original caption notes. Most photos were taken by amateurs whilst the hand colouring was designed to give the images a dreamlike quality.
The discussion was based on a question and answer format. Gary Ramage indicated that he dealt with direct contact with frontline troops in combat. David Maurice Smith dealt with the consequences of war especially Syrian refugees. Edwina Pickles said that she doesn’t go to the frontline but her most recent conflict assignment was in the largest refugee camp in the world, Dadaab in Kenya which contained half a million people mainly Somalia women and children who were still vulnerable to rape and child kidnapping. Continue reading WALKLEY MEDIA TALK : SHOTS FROM THE FRONT @ STATE LIBRARY→
Curated by Rachel Kent, TELLING TALES explores the varied inventive approaches by leading Australian artists to narrative form. Using diverse materials including light, fog, and hand typed text, their works pick apart conventional storytelling approaches to reconsider ideas around structure, duration, repetition, and fragmentation.
This free exhibition runs until October 9. Exhibition times are Mondays to Wednesdays 10 to 5, Thursdays 10 to 5, and Fridays to Sundays at 10 till 5.
New Romance – art and the posthuman brings together artists from Australia and Korea whose works encourage us to ask what it means to be human today and what it might mean in the future. Drawing inspiration from science fiction, robotics, biotechnology, consumer products and social media they offer experiences that raise questions about the idea of the posthuman, a concept that signals new understandings of humanity and a breakdown of boundaries between what we think of as natural and artificial.
The thread linking these diverse artworks is an exploration of new kinds of encounters, not only among connected humans but also between so called ‘intelligent’ objects, plants, animals, and all manner of hybrid entities.
Above image : Sam Moran and Bella Thomas as The Cat in the Hat and Jojo. Featured image- Ensemble members from Birdie Productions. Production photography by Grant Leslie Photography.
Birdie Productions brings professional talent and performers from open auditions to South West Sydney in this excitingly refreshed version of SEUSSICAL. The resulting ensemble is a cast with immense energy, range of experience and an attractive skill set. The depicted Seuss characters as assembled in the musical by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Aherns here showcase Dr Seuss’ genius whilst preserving his keen commentary on good and bad behaviour.
The audience follows Horton the Elephant’s quest to survive mockery, help friends and save the small inhabitants of Whoville as they drift to possible peril on a speck of dust. A scrim at the start of the musical confronts the audience with a quote which motivates us to accept the responsibility to help others. Newspaper clippings about children in detention then appear, providing a sobering reminder about need in our contemporary life. Continue reading BIRDIE PRODUCTIONS PRESENT SEUSSICAL @ BRYAN BROWN THEATRE BANKSTOWN→
JS Bach (1685–1750) Lobet den Herren alle Heiden (BWV 230) for 4-part choir
Herbert Howells (1892–1983) Three Latin Motets Op.38
JS BachJesu meine Freude (BWV 227) for 5-part choir
Johann Michael Bach (1648–94) Das Blut Jesu Christi
Gregorio Allegri (c.1582–1652) Miserere
Olivier Messiaen (1908–92) O sacrum convivium
JS Bach – Singet dem Herren ein neues Lied (BWV 225) for two 4-part choirs
Following their sell out Melbourne performance of BACH IN THE CASTLE OF HEAVEN, the sublime voices of the highly acclaimed Australian Chamber Choir is performing this concert one time only this Sunday afternoon at St Mary’s Cathedral.
Acclaimed in six countries by audiences and critics alike, the choir has attracted glowing reviews and return invitations that are testament to this Choir’s international standing:
“Delivered with complete stylistic perfection. “AUSTRALIAN CHOIR IN THE SUPER LEAGUE””Dagbladet, Denmark, July 8, 2015
“In music that seems to penetrate into visionary dreamscapes … The choristers consistently impressed with their exploration of sonority and atmospheric depth” Echo, Darmstadt, July 4, 2015
Australian Chamber Choir Director Douglas Lawrence OAM, renowned for his highly-engaging programs, has taken as a starting point a comment made by John Eliot Gardiner in Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven: “Who needs pills to lift the spirits when we have the six Motets of Johann Sebastian Bach?” Lawrence contrasts three of JS Bach’s masterpieces with a gem from Bach’s father-in-law, Johann Michael Bach highlighting the talents of the Choir’s six sopranos, four altos, four tenors and four basses. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER CHOIR PRESENTS BACH IN THE CASTLE OF HEAVEN @ ST MARY’S CATHEDRAL→
Set in a remote mountain cabin, Sam Shepard’s RED CROSS dissects the infectious nature of personal fears: Carol is terrified her head might explode; Jim is convinced he is plagued by lice draining his life; and the maid is scared of drowning. Together they push the boundaries of communication and shared experience in this surreal dream play.
Cast- Henry Hulme, Genevieve Muratore, Emma Throssell
Creative Team- Director Victor Kalka, Sound Design- Ryan Devlin, Producer-Tabitha Woo, Stage Manager- Chris Starnawski.
The play is presented by arrangement with ORiGiN™ THEATRICAL, ON BEHALF OF SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.
14th – 17th September AT 8pm
VENUE- Off Broadway Festival Hub,
Gehrig Lane, Annandale
A grotesque and entertaining French cabaret is the latest production at The Depot Theatre. Chrissie Shaw’s Bijou is a faded character from early twentieth century Paris. She was a sought after beauty, a collector of jewelry, a singer, a dancer, a great hostess and a seedy operator when times were hard.
If you like your facts stranger than fiction, you’ll be tickled by TICKLED, a Kiwi documentary that initially sets out to be about an extreme sport called competitive endurance tickling, but turns out to be something even stranger.
New Zealand Journalist David Farrier stumbles upon a mysterious tickling competition online, which piques his professional interest. There could be a real story here, he thinks.
Identifying himself as a reporter, he requests info and interview from the organisers. Not only does he get a response declining a story but receives a continued and harried homophobic attack via an avalanche of emails.
The torrent of vitriol galvanises Farrier to delve deeper, and he comes up against fierce resistance, which includes a trio of attorneys flying into Auckland first class Air New Zealand from Los Angeles. Continue reading TICKLED→
On Saturday 9th July NAIDOC’s Blak Markets popped up at Barangaroo Reserve for one day only, transforming Nawi Cove into a lively marketplace showcasing Australia’s rich indigenous culture and also featured free music and traditional Aboriginal dance performers.
More than twenty store holders sold indigenous arts, crafts, skin care products and bush foods. These included Cheryl Davidson (gift card, painting), Claire Bates (traditional handmade Aboriginal jewellery and woven baskets), Glenn Timbery (boomerangs), Torres Strait Islander Ilan Treasurez with hand painted shell work and Tangentyere artists from Alice Springs.
Outdoor cooking demonstrations were held with renowned indigenous chefs, Clayton Donovan, Fred’s Bush Tucker and Black Olive who encouraged visitors to try bushfoods and learn about traditional indigenous cooking methods.
There were also weaving and shell workshops and Aboriginal cultural tours with Barangaroo’s Visitor Service Guides which were free for the day only.
For the High-Rise soundtrack, Portishead created a haunting cover of ABBA’s 1975 hit ‘SOS’, a song that represented the glamour and disintegration of the period for the director, Ben Wheatley.
It becomes a haunting refrain in this highly risible adaptation of J G Ballard’s dystopian novel, written by Amy Jump.
There’s not a lot of glamour but plenty of disintegration as we move through the stories of this brutal monolithic structure, architecture as allegory in the rise of Thatcherism.
The appropriately named Royal, played with regal indifference by Jeremy Irons, is the architect with the edifice complex, creator of this tower and occupier of its highest level. The levels are signifiers of status, the highest rung is where the Royals live, the closest to the ground are the lower classes. Continue reading HIGH RISE→
The relocation of Tropfest to Parramatta Park was announced at a Media Call in the Park attended by filmmaker and Tropfest Board Member George Miller AO, actor and previous Tropfest Judge Sam Neill, Tropfest supporter and producer Marian Macgowan and actors Brendan Thwaites and Tess Haubrich. The inaugural event will take place on Saturday February 11. Also in attendance was Environment and Heritage Minister Mark Speakman, City of Parramatta Council Administrator Amanda Chadwick, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, the Premiers’ Cultural Ambassador for Western Sydney and Lucy Turnbull AO, Chair of the Greater Sydney Commission.
The location boasts a quick twenty five minute train ride from Sydney’s Central Station plus is easily accessible making Parramatta a central location that opens up the event to people from all over the greater Sydney region.
Tropfest has for the first time moved to a Saturday night, recognising the opportunities that this night brings, and will be held in the four hectare cattle paddocks
Tropfest will be a major anchor event for Parramatta Park’s The Crescent Live summer music and event series that runs from January to March 2017.
Tropfest Jnr will be held on Friday Febraury 10 in the Cresent, Parramatta Park’s natural ampitheatre.
Queensland Theatre Company has announced that the critically acclaimed, smash hit and Helpmann Award winning musical LADIES IN BLACK will tour nationally in early 2017, opening at the Sydney Lyric Theatre on January 3 for its premiere season, in the city in which the story is based.
From the adaptation of Madeleine St John’s 1993 novel, The Women In Black, this acclaimed production has been brought to life by Australian screenwriter Carolyn Burns and internationally renowned director Simon Phillips. The show features over 20 original songs written by Tim Finn and a stunning range of some 30 custom – designed and created dresses and suits to reflect the 1950’s in which the musical takes place.
With a dash of delicate comedy, LADIES IN BLACK is a modern day fairy tale set in a stylish department store – F. G. Goode – in a Sydney on the cusp of becoming cosmopolitan, crossing the threshold between the stuffy repression of the 1950’s and the glorious liberation of the 1960’s. From the Christmas rush to the chaos of the sales, these women stand shoulder to padded shoulder and together learn lessons in life, love and longing – and at the end, it’s not just the fancy frocks that are forever altered.
The cast includes Sarah Morrison in the lead as Lisa, Bobby Fox, Natalie Gamsu, Kathryn McIntyre, Carrita Farrer Spencer, Greg Stone, Kate Cole, Madeleine Jones and Ellen Simpson.
LADIES IN BLACK will play the Sydney Lyric Theatre between 3 and 22 January 2017.
Featured image- John Cleese holding up a pencil. Cleese exclaimed to the audience that, contrary to the high tech young generation, when he writes he simply uses a pencil, a rubber and an exercise book. All images by Ben Apfelbaum.
John Cleese is the latest artist to appear in the Sydney Opera House’s excellent Culture Club : Exploring The Arts discussion series. Ann Mossop, head of Talks and Ideas at the House, came on stage to start proceedings, and then introduced Cleese and the evenings’ emcee James Valentine. Cleese responded to wide ranging questions by Valentine and in the last quarter of an hour, he fielded questions from the floor.
Sometimes celebrities can disappoint when they are put on the spot however this was not the case with Cleese. Cleese came across as warm and open and expressed his views on a range of issues.
Cleese spoke about his concern that the theatre world is too comfortable with the status quo and would rather put on a fresh production of an old show rather than take the risk on coming up with a new work. He felt this was the case with both sides of the ‘equation’ – on one side, the producers and other side, the audiences, who prefer to go with what they know. Continue reading CULTURE CLUB : JOHN CLEESE IN CONVERSATION→
Like waking up on a crystal blue sky morning some place far up in the Blue Mountains and deeply breathing in the fresh mountain air, SONS FOR A NEW WORLD was an exhilarating experience.
Four very talented young performers – Sophie Carter, Cameron MacDonald, Christopher Scalzo and Teegan Wouters– sang their hearts out, making the most of Jason Robert Brown’s great score. The troupe covered the musical terrain well from aching ballads such as I’d Give It All For You to rhythm and blues numbers like The Steam Train.
This was a free wheeling piece of musical theatre – there was no specific storyline, simply an over arching theme – exploring the different choices that we make in life when we reach crossroads, and how some of these choices work, and others come asunder.
A great live band, well partitioned off by Jacob Battista ‘s impressive set, provided great backing. The use of simple props, costume changes and lighting changes deftly wrought by Matthew Tunchon, triggered the smooth scene changes.
Blue Saints’ in association with the Hayes Theatre Company production of SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD, music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, directed by Luke Joslin with musical direction by Lucy Bermingham, is playing the Hayes theatre, 19 Greenknowe Avenue Potts Point until Sunday 28 August.
The definition of tribunal is a body established to settle certain types of dispute or a court of justice.
The aptly named TRIBUNAL is the title of the group devised presentation by Powerhouse Youth Theatre from a concept by Karen Therese.
This is no kangaroo court, more a possum panel presided over by Aunty Rhonda Grovenor Dixon, in full fur regalia, as she convenes a number of characters to give testimony of the treatment of refugees in Australia.
Thankfully, Aunty Rhonda is no brash Judge Judy and we hear, simply and eloquently, personal stories, oral histories, and verbatim transcripts from minority ethnic Afghan Hazaras theatre practitioners fleeing oppression, from disillusioned aid workers as frustrated and confused as their wards, from hardened detention centre operatives, from lawyers, from experts on psychological effects of sustained detention, and from Islamic feminist rappers. Continue reading TRIBUNAL @ SBW STABLES THEATRE KINGS CROSS→
German artist Julian Rosefeldt (born 1965) is internationally renowned for his visually opulent and meticulously choreographed moving image artworks.
In the immersive film installation MANIFESTO (2014-2015) Rosefeldt has collaborated with Australian actor Cate Blanchett to present a series of striking monologues that Rosefeldt has created by editing a collage of artists’ manifestos.
Ever the chameleon, Blanchett performs these ‘new manifestos’ whilst inhabiting thirteen different personas – among them a school teacher, a newsreader, a factory worker and a homeless men.
Julian Rosefeldt’s exhibition continues at the Art Gallery Of New South Wales until January next year.
TIKKUN OLAM with its sub theme ‘my place + your place = a better place’ is a multi-cultural exploration and exhibition co-presented by Jewish Arts and the Shir Madness Jewish Music Festival with B’Nai B’rith as its principal sponsor.
The underlying theme of this exhibitionembraces all of the values required to make the world a better place. These core values include social justice, friendship, generosity, peace and the environment. The exhibition, curated by Estelle Rozinski,recognises the universal significance of the family in every culture. By inviting artists of Aboriginal, Korean and Jewish communities to share in the exploration of their personal experience through Art, Rozinski has begun a significant and beneficial multi-cultural conversation.
If experimental, avant garde theatre is your thing, then head to the 107 Projects performance space in Redfern this weekend to catch Michelle St Anne’s show I LOVE TODD SAMPSON.
Since graduating in 2003 from the Victorian College Of The Arts (VCA), Michelle has been leaving a strong imprint on the avant garde theatre scene with her theatre company, the Living Room Theatre. She has created some thirteen challenging works across both Sydney and Melbourne.
Her process is to present her work in unusual spaces and to give those in society who are vulnerable. The work builds on conversations between artists and non-artists and their disciplines.
The current production sees her again work with architect Genevieve Lilley and designer Lian Loke.
I LOVE TODD SAMPSON is set in a circuitous environment , merging sound, angled light and startling imagery. The play is billed as an ‘an experiential theatrical work which integrates architecture, sound, film, equine science and performance to expose the vulnerability of human nature.’ We follow the performer through light that illuminates the exhibition and theatre spaces, a café, corridors and a stairwell filled with snow.
Michelle changes guises through the performance including playing a vulnerable young girl, and the mother who abandoned her. Sadly, domestic violence/abuse plays a major part in the play. On her troubled journey she seeks comfort with an Iberian horse by the name of Jazz, carefully taken care of by horse trainer Kate Fenner, whom she shares tea and toast with, and Todd Sampson is always in her thoughts. Speaking to Michelle after the performance, she indeed identifies as a big Todd Sampson fan!
Recommended, there are three more performances to go. I LOVE TODD SAMPSON will play tonight, Saturday night and Sunday night at 7.30pm at 107 Projects, 107 Redfern Tickets: $30/$20. Bookings: www.trybooking.com/194127. Website: www.livingroomtheatre.org
On Monday evening, Artistic Director Mark Kilmurry launched the Ensemble Theatre’s program for next year. It’s a rich and varied program featuring some of our finest writers, directors and performers.
Kilmurry officially launched the program and then took a seat with the rest of the audience as a video was presented on the big screen with the directors providing brief introductions to their productions and cast members talking about their roles.
At first blush it looks like it will be another exciting year for theatregoers with Kilmurry curating a year with a rich variety of shows from classics like Jim Cartwright’s Two and Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf to bold new Australian works such as Kate Mulvany’s The Rasputin Affair, John Misto’s Lip Service and Kit Brookman’s The Plant.
The Ensemble foyer, always a lovely place to spend time in with its waterfront vista, was buzzing after the program was announced. Arts Guide photographer Ben Apfelbaum attended and took these photos of stars such as Georgie Parker, Kate Raison, the Chaser boys Craig Reucassel and Chris Taylor, Sandy Gore, Tim Draxl, Ben Gerrard and Peter Kowitz enjoying a drink and a chat, and lending their support to their appearance in next year’s program.
David Lynch, who will be performing in the 5th play next year, Tim Firth’sNeville’s Island, was there along with his lovely wife, theatre legend Penny Cook, and their beautiful daughter Poppy Lynch.
Every year the Ensemble Theatre employs a few Literary Advisors who undertake the challenging task of reading the many plays that the Ensemble peruse or receive. Current Literary Advisor Jane Fitzgerald, who for a number of years was a Literary Advisor with the Sydney Theatre Company, talked about how much she enjoyed reading the different ideas that playwrights pursued with their works.
The very amiable Front Of House Manager Jim Birch was there ensuring the function ran smoothly. Many may not know but Jim is a very keen painter who spends a lot of his free time in his studio creating new works. Actress Jessica Sullivan had a night off helping Jim behind the bar and just enjoying mixing with the crowd.
Kilmurry dedicated the 2017 program to the memory of Peter Bates, husband of former long time Artistic Director Sandra Bates, who lost his battle with a long term illness recently. Always a trooper, and not deterred by the wake earlier in the day, Sandra was , in attendance at the launch…in true show business tradition, life and the show must go on!