STAGE RUSSIA’S PRODUCTION OF ‘ANNA KARENINA’ FROM THE VAKHTANGOV THEATRE

An intriguing but somewhat unsatisfying dance version of Tolstoy’s much loved epic novel, this is part of the Stage Russia screenings and come to us from the Vakhtangov Theatre choreographed by Angelica Cholina.

The ballet transfers very well from stage to screen,  photographed cleanly and thoughtfully, with excellent use of appropriate close up .While the individual elements were great, with fine performances by an excellent cast, this production proved to be rather strange and disappointing.

Cholina has based this work on Tolstoy’s novel of sweeping love and despair which details the life of the eponymous Anna, a St. Petersburg aristocrat who is caught in a loveless marriage, against the backdrop of rigid late 19th century Russian society. Streamlining and abridging the novel, the adaptation is an analysis of (un)happy family life and also looks at the high echelons of society at the time and how emotions conflicted with social conventions. Tolstoy’s novel is widely considered a pinnacle in realist fiction. Continue reading STAGE RUSSIA’S PRODUCTION OF ‘ANNA KARENINA’ FROM THE VAKHTANGOV THEATRE

THE GONZO HOUR @ THE FACTORY THEATRE, MARRICKVILLE

THE GONZO HOUR has been described as  “a marvellous and bizarre story of a professor getting angry about a box.” by Funny Tone whilst also being a “a commentary on group behaviour, nationalism, and the dangers of being human” by the Plus Ones.

The show is also about an idiot in a raincoat playing games on stage for half an hour, followed by her agitated boss being agitated for another half an hour.

It is also about a social experiment as to how the audience will react to the performance. For instance there have been shows where the audience has withheld information, or props… performances where audience members turn against one another, and performances where everyone is very polite and does exactly what they’re asked.

The show is performed by the mercurial Debbie Zukerman.

PERFORMANCE TIMES :-

Thursday 7th September at 9.30 pm and Saturday 9th September at 9.30 pm.

VENUE- The Factory Theatre , Marrickville.

For more about The Gonzo Hour, visit http://fringecomedy.com.au/single-event?show_id=102
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SAKSHAM MAGIC SHOW @ LEICHHARDT TOWN HALL

Get ready to be astonished when SAKSHAM MAGIC SHOW is taken to the stage.

The multi award-winning illusionist Saksham has baffled people from the streets of Sydney to large stages and festivals. He may be only 15 years but is a master of magic and his spectacular illusions will always keep you wondering. He will be astounding you with his astonishing illusions combined with comedy and dance.

Bush Telegraph: “Teen Takes Tricks to Trade.”

Saksham is an upcoming teen magician who makes magic cool, fun and interactive. He changes the face of magic for the modern day.

PERFORMANCE TIMES –

Saturday 23 Sep 2017 at 3:30 PM

Sunday 24 Sep 2017 at 3:30 PM

VENUE –

Leichhardt Town Hall, 107 Norton Street, Leichhardt.

For more about saksham magical madness, visit https://iwannaticket.com.au/event/saksham-magical-madness-MTMzNzk
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MASTER OF THREE WORLDS @ THE COMA GALLERY

Featured Image – Christopher Day’s ‘Pear’.

MASTER OF THREE WORLDS references the storytelling format The Hero’s Journey, also known as the Master of Two Worlds, in which a protagonist is exposed to unexpected hardship and trial and returns to their initial setting having completed a transformative journey, now a master of both the domestic and initially unfamiliar worlds.

The ‘Three Worlds’ in this case relate to artists coming to terms with their initial physical location after development of relationships with new countries and cultures, wrestling with conceptualising work following the influence this may have, and the way in which practice expands and changes over time.

Artists included are Seth Birchall, Christopher Day, Eugene Choi, Mason Kimber, Jason Phu, Tom Polo and Marian Tubbs.

MASTER OF THREE WORLDS is on exhibition at the Coma Gallery, 107 Bayswater Road, Rushcutters Bay until the 10th September.

For more about Master of Three Worlds, visit http://www.comagallery.com
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SOUNDS OF SPACE @ 107 PROJECTS REDFERN

SOUNDS OF SPACE a free inclusive community event happening at 107, Redfern from 17-27 August 2017 that merges the arts and sciences with two exhibition spaces; a large scale projection room showcasing mind-blowing astrophotography, video and audio recordings from Space, and a curated group show of mixed media works from an exciting collection of Australian artists including disability advocate, Digby Webster and Indigenous artist Karen Lee.

The projection room will feature a rotating program of audio/video works. The first will be a traditional look at the actual electromagnetic resonance recordings from Space and the second will be a look into musical interpretations of the Universe featuring works by Classical composers Holst and Debussy and Contemporary pieces by Australian artists Oliver Tank and WZRDKID and French artist Valentin Stip.

This unique exhibition is geared towards inclusive community engagement hoping to spark joy, discovery and awe that lies in the boundless Space surrounding us.

For more about Sounds of Space, visit http://107.org.au/event/sounds-of-space/
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TYPE: Video projection and group exhibition
WHERE: 107, 107 Redfern st, Redfern NSW
WHEN: 17 Aug 2017 – 27 Aug 2017
COST: Free
HOURS: Tues–Sat 11am–6pm, Sun 11am–4pm
WEBSITE: http://107.org.au/event/sounds-of-space/
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SoundsOfSpace2017/
INSTAGRAM: @sounds_of_space

This unique exhibition is geared towards inclusive community engagement hoping to spark joy, discovery and awe that lies in the boundless Space surrounding us.

For more about Sounds of Space, visit http://107.org.au/event/sounds-of-space/
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MICRO THEATRE FESTIVAL NEWCASTLE 22- 26 AUGUST

The Micro Theatre Festival is an independent festival of short plays (5-20 minutes each) performed in intimate spaces such as cafés and small art galleries in Newcastle – where the venue is the stage. In 2017, 16 short plays will be performed across 4 venues during 22 – 26 August.

Micro Theatre supports both small business and Newcastle’s arts and theatre communities by managing this original festival centred in the flourishing culture of small cafés and galleries.

Tickets on sale at www.microtheatre.com.au

Venues are:
The Press – 462 Hunter Street, Newcastle
Curve Gallery – 61 Hunter Street, Newcastle
Vinyl Café – 4 Perkins Street, Newcastle
Studio21 Artspace – 21 Bennett Street, Newcastle

Micro Theatre creates entertaining and innovative theatre in alternative places. Check it out.

DATES
22 – 26 August 2017

For more about Micro Theatre Festival, visit https://www.microtheatre.com.au/
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MUSICIAN PROJECT ORCHESTRA RETURNS TO THE CON WITH SOME CLASSIC BRUCKNER

The Musician Project Orchestra returns to Verbrugghen Hall in September, to present a performance of Bruckner’s magnificent Third Symphony.

Widely considered the first work in which Bruckner’s unmistakable musical language fully blossoms. The work also demonstrates his special relationship to Wagner. Bruckner visited Wagner in September 1873, offering to dedicate either his Second or Third Symphony to him.

It turned out to be a very convivial meeting and the beer flowed freely. So much so that on his return home, Bruckner realised to his horror that he could not remember which of the symphonies the master had chosen. An exchange of letters clarified the situation: Wagner had chosen the Third, something which was no great surprise, as Bruckner had incorporated diverse Wagner quotes in the work. The concert opens with Wagner’s delicate & peaceful birthday gift to his wife: the Siegfried Idyll.

Returning to the podium will be our Artistic Director, the peerless Max McBride.

DATE FOR THE DIARY
September 30 2017 AT 7pm at the Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium Of Music,

For more about Musician Project Presents: Bruckner 3, visit http://musicianproject.net.au/september-2017/
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EX VOTO : AN EXHIBITION BY MADELEINE CRUISE @ GAFFA ART GALLERY

An offering made in fulfilment of a vow. This exhibition features the paintings and collages of emerging artist Madeleine Cruise.

It is about the role of ritual and habit in everyday life and the way these practices contribute to personal identity and purpose.

Madeleine is a National Art School Graduate currently based in Newcastle NSW.

Venue – Gaffa Art Gallery, 281 Clarence Street, Sydney.

Opening Night 17th August between 6 and 8pm.

Season- Between between the 17th and the 28th August.

For more about Madeleine Cruise – Ex Voto, visit http://www.gaffa.com.au
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SPORT FOR JOVE PRESENTS ‘ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST @ THE REGINALD THEATRE

The main allure in seeing Sport for Jove’s production of Ken Kesey’s ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST, as adapted for the stage by Dale Wasserman, is seeing a fine group of actors showcase their acting talents playing Kesey’s colourful, quirky characters.

Anthony Gooley is compelling in the role made famous by Jack Nicholson. McMurphy is a small time crim, who chooses to spend his allotted time in a psychiatric hospital rather than a prison. He can’t believe what he finds when he enters the institution – the patients are ‘vegetables’, sitting around, doped to the eyeballs.

McMurphy makes it his mission to shake the guys up. In particular, he wants them to stand up to the psych nurse from hell, Nurse Ratched. He, of-course, leads by example, constantly baiting  her. McMurphy and Nurse Ratched make for classic antagonists.

Di Smith’s  Nurse Ratched, whilst displaying her character’s benevolence and condescending nature, lacked the very creepy quality that Louise Fletcher’s screen performance emblazoned her with. Matilda Brodie plays Ratched’s bland, vapid  assistant, Nurse Flinn.

Johann Walraven plays the weak, easily manipulated Dr Spivey who, at first, McMurphy wins over with his vibrancy, though the good terms don’t last. Continue reading SPORT FOR JOVE PRESENTS ‘ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST @ THE REGINALD THEATRE

DIGNITY OF RISK : A SHOPFRONT AND ATYP CO-PRODUCTION @ ATYP STUDIO 1

“In a world where you can be anything by yourself’ Etta Turner.

“I contradict myself. Very well then, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes.” Walt Whitman.

I loved this show. It was just so, so brave 

The performance saw a troupe of young performers take to the stage for a one hour performance. Now here’s the thing…They didn’t come on stage as a character, wearing some kind of mask, something that young people find relatively easy to do.

They fronted up as themselves, and over the next sixty minutes, shared themselves – their thoughts, their feelings – like open books before us.

Appropriately, the show started off slowly. We were in darkness when the performers started talking to us – describing their physical appearance to us – height, eyes, weight and so on.

Slowly but surely the stage lights came up to show the performers, first behind a thin ‘curtain’ and then this came away to fully reveal them. Continue reading DIGNITY OF RISK : A SHOPFRONT AND ATYP CO-PRODUCTION @ ATYP STUDIO 1

TERRENCE RATTIGAN’S ‘AFTER THE DANCE’ @ THE NEW THEATRE NEWTOWN

This is the first time that this neglected rather early Rattigan play has been seen in Sydney. While it now perhaps seems rather dated and ‘of its time’ under Giles Gartrell-Mills’ excellent direction this play while at first, seemingly very artificial, superficial and slow to take off, develops and becomes quite intense and multi-layered.

Rattigan’s play, AFTER THE DANCE written in 1939, examines the life of the young people who survived World War One and lived life to the full in the hedonistic 1920s, only to find themselves now middle-aged, disillusioned and facing another World War .It is a study of a  lost generation. The script is brilliantly written and the play well plotted and structured. At times the play seems a bit like a brittle Coward comedy – the audience laughed heartily at certain points at the sparking , witty dialogue –  but there remains  an underlying passion and morality. Rattigan is able to let the audience see  the hidden sadness of these doomed fantasists. Continue reading TERRENCE RATTIGAN’S ‘AFTER THE DANCE’ @ THE NEW THEATRE NEWTOWN

MAHBAS : OPENING NIGHT FILM TO THE 14TH ARAB FILM FESTIVAL

Perhaps not as funny or as slick as the current film phenomenon, The Big Sick, MAHBAS, casts a probing eye on carcinogenic parental prejudices that cause impediments to impending intended unions of their offspring.

While both studying in Dubai, Lebanese lass, Ghada and son of Syria, Samer, fall in love and plan matrimony. Ghada’s dad, Maurice, has no trouble giving his blessing but baulks at telling his wife, Therese, knowing her systematic hatred for Syrians will null the nuptials.

Twenty years ago, Therese’s brother was killed by a Syrian bomb and ever since she has borne a bias against all things Syrian.
Dad has the fervent but foolish belief that an ambush meeting between the intended in laws will bring Therese to her senses, especially as the stakes are her only child’s happiness.

And so the scene is set for some some sprightly, spiteful conflict, with Therese going into seat of the pants sabotage mode in an attempt to rent the couple asunder.

Apart from being a study in racial or cultural tensions, MAHBAS can be read as a meditation of marriage, the sterility of the unions of both parents in contrast to the couple eagerly anticipating their own embarkation into the deadlock of wedlock.
Maurice is busily shagging his secretary, excused by Therese’s devotion to her martyred brother. Samer’s dad is gregarious whereas his mum is the opposite. She harbours an idea that all Lebanese girls are sluts.

It is interesting to note that both mothers perceive their prospective son in law/daughter in law as unsuitable, whereas the father’s are both happy for the match to take place.

Sophie Boutros‘ film has a slow burn beginning where drama takes the ascent before the descent into comedy leavens the mood. However, just before it free falls into farce, the fractious facts of foibled humans ferment and foam in a brew that is true, sobering and bitter sweet.

MAHBAS is anchored by a sterling performance by Julia Kassar as Therese, conniving, manipulating, furious and flawed. Her counterpoint is delightfully played by Betty Taoutel, as her daffy neighbour, Solange, a scene stealer at every stage.

A screening of MAHBAS will launch the 14th annual Arab Film Festival Australia at the opening night party in Sydney, held at Riverside Theatres Parramatta, Thursday 17 August with director Sophie Boutros in attendance.

http://riversideparramatta.com.au

SAND SONG @ BARANGAROO

Families will love SAND SONG, an uplifting contemporary Aboriginal dance and theatre performance and workshop at Barangaroo during the October school holidays.

SAND SONG will illuminate the Cutaway at Barangaroo Reserve across six days from Tuesday, 3 October to Sunday, 8 October 2017.

A unique and inspiring Aboriginal culture experience for children aged 5-12 and their parents or carers, SAND SONG tells the story of ‘Cheeky Brolga stealing Emu’s egg’, which is the Gammilleroi Dreaming story of the ‘First Sun’ – the first time the sun’s light shone on Australia. The story also represents the dawn of understanding, growing up and gaining wisdom.

During a 30-minute hands-on workshop, children meet the performers, learn the Emu dance and ‘paint up’ their dream on a glass ‘dream holder’ that becomes part of the SAND SONG set. Children will get to keep their dream holder after the show.

The workshop is followed by a mesmerising and humorous 40-minute performance exploring the power of light, dreams and fire and featuring a fusion of contemporary and traditional music, with live singing, didgeridoo and clap sticks.

Created by visual artists Walbira Murray and director Elena Vereker, and produced by Insite Arts.

For more information and tickets, visit www.barangaroo.com/see-and-do/whats-on/sand-song/

DATES
Tuesday 3 October (10am), Wednesday 4 October (10am), Thursday 5 October (10am & 1:30pm) , Saturday 7 October, Sunday 8 October (11am & 2:30pm)

For more about SAND SONG at Barangaroo, visit http://www.barangaroo.com/see-and-do/whats-on/sand-song/
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TENNESSE WILLIAMS ‘THE ROSE TATTOO’ @ THE GUILD THEATRE ROCKDALE

Tennessee Williams plays are always immersive  experiences as indeed THE ROSE TATTOO is.

This Williams play takes us deeply into the world of a tightly knit Sicilian community situated along the coast of Mexico, between New Orleans and Mobile.

We follow Serafina Delle Rose’s story. At the play’s start she is in a good place, a busy local dressmaker, pregnant, and a devoted wife to truck driver husband Rosario. Then the ‘slings and arrows of misfortune’ take a large slice of her when her husband dies in a truck accident. From the shock of ir all she loses her baby and basically goes into a shut down mode.

This ‘mode’ has repercussions for her 15 year old daughter Rosa who has a thing for sailor boy Jack. Panicking Serafina tries to keep her daughter at home  as much as possible. Continue reading TENNESSE WILLIAMS ‘THE ROSE TATTOO’ @ THE GUILD THEATRE ROCKDALE

JERRY SEINFELD WOWS AUDIENCES DURING HIS LIGHTNING AUSTRALIAN VISIT

“You made an effort to come, to worry where you will meet, who has tickets, to get here on time then get out of here on time!”

These were the first lines of Jerry Seinfeld’s opening monologue to a sold out crowd on his second show on Monday night.

The audience, a diverse lot from middle aged to teens that weren’t even born during the run of the show roared with laughter. It was classic Seinfeld humour and he’s being doing it that way for the past 40 years.

Jerry’s career as a stand-up comedian began in the late 1970s in the New York comedy club scene. Not long that after he became a favourite on the late-night talk show circuit where his witty and sharp observations about day-to-day life from the quirkiness of weather reporters to phone answering machines became his trademark.

Then from 1989 to 1998 he co-starred, produced and created what TV Guide Magazine named the Greatest TV Show of All Time: a show about well; nothing. After a slow start and at one point an uncertain future, Seinfeld the sitcom became a cultural phenomenon. Continue reading JERRY SEINFELD WOWS AUDIENCES DURING HIS LIGHTNING AUSTRALIAN VISIT

5TH QUEER SCREEN FILM FEST 19 – 24 SEPTEMBER 2017

The QUEER SCREEN FILM FESTIVAL lineup has been announced and it will feature 20 films from four continents, including 16 Australian premieres, puts the diversity of LGBTIQ experience and Queer strength on screen in Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

There are screenings at the Mt Vic Flicks, Event Cinemas and thanks to a partnership with City of Sydney, Queer Screen Film Fest will also present three free film events for the whole community.

There is an outdoor family screening of Moana at Sydney Park, a seniors (and friends) viewing of the moving documentary The Lavender Scare, complete with afternoon tea. In addition there is a youth event featuring Behind The Curtain: Todrick Hall, a high energy documentary following the titular YouTube and Rupaul’s Drag Race sensation.

“Being able to give back and reach out to the community is something Queer Screen views as vitally important, and through our strong relationship with City of Sydney we are again able to provide free entertainment that focuses on three pillars of the LGBTIQ community: families, seniors and youth” says Festival Director, Lisa Rose. Continue reading 5TH QUEER SCREEN FILM FEST 19 – 24 SEPTEMBER 2017

SCULPTURE @ BARANGAROO EXHIBITION CAPTURES THE IMAGINATION

Featured photo- Christopher Langton and his sculpture ‘Shoe’. All photos by Ben Apfelbaum.

SCULPTURE AT BARANGAROO, presented in partnership with Barangaroo Delivery Authority and Sculpture By The Sea, opened last Saturday.

Official launch proceedings were held a day earlier with speakers David Handley, Founding Director of the Exhibition, Geoffrey Edwards, Exhibition Curator, and Barangaroo Delivery Authority CEO Craig Van De Laan.

The exhibition showcases 14 artworks by 9 established and emerging Australian artists.

Exhibiting artists include acclaimed Australian sculpture Michael Le Grand who is celebrating a mini retrospective of six works, Richard Tipping, Nicol Monks, Cave Urban, Andrew Rogers, Adam King from the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative, Teresa Trevor, Christopher Langton and Elyssa Sykes-Smith.

SCULPTURE AT BARANGAROO is on display at the Barangaroo Reserve until the 19th August.

SUDS GOES A WANDERING WITH ‘IN TWO CIRCLES’

So their ceiling fell in. But that is not going to stop the oldest theatre company in Australia from getting a show on! Would a destroyed venue have stopped alumni like Kip or Kit or, wayback, Clive and Germaine? Not likely.

Sydney University Dramatic Society (SUDS), has been creating performance for nearly 130 years. So, during their displacement from the Cellar Theatre, they have taken root in the Common Room plus they have branched out into the wilds of Annandale. IN TWO CIRCLES is SUDS’ immersive theatre experience and it begins at the Annandale pub.

We meet Prof Gerald who is obviously under pressure and who has a theory about a time and place shift. In his halting and nervous way he explains that there has been a series of disappeared persons over 100 years in the Herald obituary sections. The latest is someone he knows.

Esse appears to be one of the disappeared. Gerald has sent a call to arms on Reddit and here we are. The ten of us will join with his colleague Michael to make a dozen warriors. We bond as we travel though lanes and backstreets and later when I find myself confronted with a scary run-in with ‘The Patron’ I can grab a young man’s shirt and request his assistance. Enjoyed that may be a bit too much. Moving on.

Through the portal, armed with a recent picture of Esse we go. We enter … The Vale!!! (It’s more ‘Welcome to Night Vale’ than Littlefinger territory.)

Immersive theatre is all the rage, from escape rooms to takeovers of historic buildings. And each, the good ones anyway, has a distinct story, genre, cast of characters and raison d’etre. IN TWO CIRCLES is detailed, well created, immaculately conceptualised and there must be an English Major there somewhere because it is beautifully plotted and, in a few places, scripted. Not to mention the terrific improvisational talent of the performers.

The space has detail enough to keep participants wandering and questing without either real world intrusion or any claustrophobia. The intent of the props and sets are conducive to detective work, whether you are a brooding thinker looking for signs or an action seeker searching for events.

The fairly modern costuming does the trick to support the artist’s character but the real delight is in the makeup. Apart from highly visible audience members, such as an elder citizen with grey hair and a notebook, it would be hard to recognise those from whom information might be elicited. That’s where the makeup empowers a participant. It clues one in to the internal struggle and therefore what can be believed. It’s really clever!

Obviously an audience requires some kind of herding toward a conclusion, a solution, an experiential climax. In this production, some simple, effective lighting and audio goes a long way toward that but shepherding inevitably falls to the cast. The immersion is about 50 minutes and not one of those actors dropped character or showed any sign of fatigue, even after a 4 show day. Each character has some kind of arc, can answer backstory questions and yet travel the mystery forward.

There is something for everyone in IN TWO CIRCLES. SUDS have taken their adverse architectural situation by the orbs and held a contorted mirror up to an alternate reality. Great concept, great fun it continues until 12th August.

ARTWORKS ON KINDERTRANSPORT THEME ON DISPLAY @ THE ETERNITY PLAYHOUSE

 

Featured image – Dr Ella Dreyfus and her artwork, ‘Ich bin Jude’. Photos by Ben Apfelbaum.

During the Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s production of Kindertransport, Sydney artist and educator  Dr Ella Dreyfus is presenting selections from her latest exhibition Walking in Wiesbaden in the new Gallery Space at the theatre.

Dr Dreyfus’ artworks bring to life the names and identities of her German Jewish ancestors in the streets they walked and lived in.

Whilst undertaking an Artist-In-Residence residency at the Kunsthaus, Wiesbaden this year, she created a series of public art installations which act as contemporary memorials to those who perished in the Holocaust as well as acknowledging the lives of her father and uncle, Richard and George Dreyfus, who left on a Kindertransport ship, the SS Orama, arriving in Melbourne in 1939, where her composer Uncle still resides. Continue reading ARTWORKS ON KINDERTRANSPORT THEME ON DISPLAY @ THE ETERNITY PLAYHOUSE

SEASON 2018 LAUNCH : ENSEMBLE THEATRE

Featured photo –  Ensemble Patrons Georgie Parker and Todd McKenney.

All photos by Ben Apfelbaum (c).

At a swish function held  at the theatre, the Ensemble announced its 2018 season. The foyer was overflowing with both subscribers and theatre identities.

Artistic Director Mark Kilmurry unveiled details of  the season and the theatre’s 60th birthday celebrations, with an opening song by Queenie Van De Zandt accompanied by Max Lambert from her cabaret BLUE – THE SONGS OF JONI MITCHELL.

Guests then enjoyed a Spanish themed after launch party in the downstairs Bailey restaurant with George Washingmachine’s  trio playing in the background.

The 2018 Season includes four world premieres from Australian writers, a novel adaptation of a French play, four comedy classics, and two gripping international dramas from master playwrights.

Mark Kilmurry is directing five of the plays and there will be five guest directors; John Bell, Mitchell Butel, Susanna Dowling, Nadia Tass and Janine Watson.  Theatre legend Reg Livermore will be performing his new one man show, The Widow Unplugged.

Other highlight 60th birthday events include a season of Pop Up Cabarets, featuring Mitchell Butel, Todd McKenney and Queenie Van De Zandt and a series of  ‘Mornings with Sandra’- 11am matinee sessions featuring Australia’s longest serving Artistic Director , recounting some of the theatre’s history and highlights with Ensemble founding members , Lorraine Bayley and Reg Livermore together with acclaimed playwright David Williamson.

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LOGAN LUCKY : STEPHEN SODERBERGH’S LATEST, A CRIMINALLY ENTERTAINING ROMP

Think Oceans 11 as made by the Coen Brothers, inverting Vegas artifice into a red neck, blue collar, John Denver themed heist at a speedway and you’ve got LOGAN LUCKY, Steven Soderbergh’s sensationally silly return to the big screen after a four year spell.

LOGAN LUCKY is wheeling, stealing West Virginia, where two brothers and a sister, Jimmy, Clyde and Mellie Logan plot to make a pot from relieving a raceway of its takings. The scheming siblings enlist the help of another trio of kin, the Bang Brothers, Hoe, Fish and Sam.

Joe is a safe cracker currently incarcerated in the local penitentiary, so part of the plan is to extricate this bleached blond in black and white bars onesie, and reinstall him in the pen after the robbery is just one of the delicious intricacies in this criminally entertaining romp.

The script is credited to Rebecca Blunt, a first time screenwriter, and is filled with plot twist, twisted humour – what’s with the bag man bear in the woods? – and characters who are around the twist. Continue reading LOGAN LUCKY : STEPHEN SODERBERGH’S LATEST, A CRIMINALLY ENTERTAINING ROMP

WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA : FANTASY @ THE CONCOURSE

Featured photo – Violinist Ji Won Kim.

The latest wonderful concert by the fabulous Willoughby Symphony Orchestra was entitled FANTASY, regarding stories of sorcery, storytelling and true love.

Conducted enthusiastically and energetically by Dr NIcholas Milton the Orchestra was in glorious form and dealt with the quite different styles of playing required for the various pieces excellently . It was a multilayered, beautifully nuanced elegantly precise performance that at times was explosively powerful.

First up was Glinka’s Ruslan and Ludmila Overture (1842) It was played at a fast and furious pace. An emphatic melody for winds, brass and timpani is connected by the surging violins in a tearing hurry. A dialogue develops between the creeping woodwinds and swirling strings, then the cellos sing lyrically with the melody being taken up by the violins and all ends in a tempestuous, breathless finale.

The bulk of the first half was Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in E Flat major for violin Viola and Orchestra K 364, as performed by two of Australia’s most exquisite instrumentalists, Ji Won Kim on violin and Caleb Wright on viola. Ji Won Kim wore a beautiful long pale ice green gown, Caleb Wright was in orchestral black.

Both soloists were given equal billing and dazzled in their solos and showy duets. The opening was brisk and emphatic and mostly the work was a dialogue between violin and viola with mini solos. Their playing was many textured and multilayered, full of exquisite delicacy and thoughtful phrasing .At times it was fiery and passionate, at others lustrous , fluid and shimmering. The middle adante movement began as an aching lament and the Orchestra pulsated underneath with a heartfelt shimmering duet for the two soloists. The third Presto section was in a far brighter and bouncier tone leading to the delicious conclusion.

There was thunderous prolonged applause and for an encore Kim and Wright performed Handel’s Passacaglia in G Minor for Violin and Viola in a jaw dropping version that was strikingly different in style to the previous Mozart piece. It began quite formally then dramatically changed – some parts were explosively powerful, others were lyrical and emotional (eg the rather reflective central variation).

The second half, an exotic Turkish delight, consisted of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s orchestral fantasy Scheherazade,( 1888 ) based on the tale of the storyteller princess who tricks a murderous Sultan into letting her live by telling him 1001 enchanting tales. Balletomanes might remember this was choreographed by Mikhail Fokine for the famous ballet by the Ballets Russes starring the legendary Nijinsky and Karsavina.

Both Kim and Wright joined the Orchestra, Kim leading the violins and shimmering as the ‘voice’ of the narrator Scheherazade, or Zobeide (if you are thinking of the ballet version).It was given a lush, dramatic and stirring performance full of fiery passion and sweeping melodies. Ji Won Kim dazzled in the delicate violin solos .The symphonic narrative is divided into four sections and Rimsky-Korsakov’s dazzling creation of being at sea and other luscious sounds is hypnotic .

The composer had originally given the four sections story titles but later changed this. The first section introduces Scheherazade and the Shah , with her tremulous , shimmering voice on violin and his stern, turbulent one and you can hear the ships and the sea .The second and third sections are circular in format with the beginning theme of each movement heard again at the conclusion, in the third movement woodwind have a dialogue with the strings , both ‘voices’ are featured , lush strings occur in the third movement and a crashing, tumultuous section and more brass fanfares lead to a restatement of the main melody and a hushed, lyrical conclusion.

There was great enthusiastic applause for this captivating concert .

Running time 2 hours including interval
Willoughby Symphony in Fantasy runs at The Concourse Chatswood 5-6 August 2017

 

BROOKE ROBINSON’S ‘TELESCOPE’ @ THE OLD FITZ

TELESCOPE is bent over laughing entertainment. Part of Red Line Productions THE NEW FITZ, a season of ten Australian writers, this show is wonderfully, obliquely … silly. In fact, histrionic, hilarious, high spirited, it is an exercise in advanced silliness. With a whole heap of my viewing-year-so-far bests!

Beginning with best use of an antennae to open a show. Daniel is on the lookout for aliens when we meet him as we enter the theatre. He and his transistor and his aerial are perched on a table centre stage. There is great deal of leaping and arm raising and getting of mixed signals. (Terrific audio cues btw) until his parents arrive.

Mum and Dad get my best in show for most disengaged parents! Only slightly interested in anyone else’s agenda, this absurdly dysfunctional family is completed by the arrival of Lenny. An expert non-listener, she is driven to try and save the family home from the Government’s greedy claws as it buys up the Sydney suburb. Their little home and those around it are the perfect place for a radio telescope and there are big ass bucks to made by selling up and heading out. Continue reading BROOKE ROBINSON’S ‘TELESCOPE’ @ THE OLD FITZ

BLUE – THE SONGS OF JONI MITCHELL @ THE HAYES

Over last weekend I went and checked out Queenie Van De Zandt’s cabaret tribute show, BLUE – THE SONGS OF JONI MITCHELL.

This was a touching low key, small scale tribute show to one of the most respected figures in popular music. Hopefully one day a fully fledged tribute show/musical will be mounted along the lines of  the current Broadway musical Beautiful : The Carole King Musical,  currently playing around Australia. Mitchell is certainly deserving of it.

All her big songs got a whirl. The concert started with on a sublime note with Queenie’s incisive version of the title song from Mitchell’s most personal, compelling album.

BIG YELLOW TAXI was given a rousing rendition. A gentle version of THE CIRCLE GAME saw Queenie ask the audience to sing along, which of-course we were dying to do. Continue reading BLUE – THE SONGS OF JONI MITCHELL @ THE HAYES

You’ll Never Guess Where I Hid The Cheese @ the Factory Theatre

Do you have a family??? Then this is the show for you! (It’s a family show, not a show about families).

Bobbi & Wanda are your guides in the hunt for the cheese they hid. Did you know you can catch a bear with cheese? You can learn this, and other important facts at You’ll Never Guess Where I Hid The Cheese.

The “out-of-the-ordinary” (The Plus Ones) Debbie Zukerman, and “superb” (Adelaide Theatre Guide) Alicia Gonzalez have made a new family show. It’s so new, it’s like a tamagotchi in the summer of ’96. SCIENCE. There may be some in the show.

“Choo Choo Troupe is … a force for good” – Sydney Arts Guide

DATES FOR THE DIARY-
Sat Sept 2, 5:45 & Sun Sept 3, 4:45 at the Factory Theatre.

For more about You’ll Never Guess Where I Hid The Cheese, visit http://fringecomedy.com.au/single-event?show_id=103
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