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Love Bites at the Hayes Theatre

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LOVE BITES at the Hayes Theatre at the moment.  Well, sometimes it bites, taking a large chunk out of your heart but at other times it just nibbles your ear and makes you love it.  Toe tappers and heartbreak songs sit well together in this deceptively cabaret outing from Wooden Horse Productions.

Act One of the show opens with ‘Falling in Love’ and this is reprised in bookends at interval and the finale.  The quartet (Kirby Burgess, Tyran Parke, Adele Parkinson and Shaun Rennie) make it very clear that there is to be no judgement about where the human heart will love.  The final tableau of this intro gently reinforces to the audience that they are about to run the gamut of desire.   Continue reading

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Other Desert Cities

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Lisa Gormley as Brooke and Deborah Kennedy as Polly Wyeth. Pic Clare Hawley

With his play OTHER DESERT CITIES, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2012, American playwright Jon Robin Baitz tackles some major subjects the most interesting being the fall-out that takes place, as it often does, when a brave soul, particularly one in the public eye, decides to put pen to paper and write a tell-all autobiographical piece.

I am sure that Mr Baitz would be highly impressed if he saw Mark Kilmurry’s current production at Kirribilli’s Ensemble’s theatre. The five member cast poignantly bring to life his very well drawn and easy to relate to characters.

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Jean-Paul Sartre’s NO EXIT

For me, Sydney is at its best in September.  Warm, sunny days and cool nights which can be spent in odd little theatres watching unique shows courtesy of the Fringe Festival.  “No Exit” is both these things. It’s playing in an Archway and it’s a text which is more often read than performed.

Written by Jean-Paul Sartre in 1944 (this translation by Paul Bowles), NO EXIT explores the situation of three souls locked together in a small cell in Hell.  They are brought there by a butler with no eyelids (Mathias Olofsson).  Joseph (Matthew R Grego) is a coward and a wife beater; Ines (Beverley Bugeja) is a seducer of women and Estelle (Stephanie Cowton) has committed the gravest of crimes. They are confined together in this room, with no darkness, for eternity. Each arrives expecting fire, brimstone and a torturer.  It is later they realise that they are not haphazardly cramped together, they are each other’s torturers. Continue reading

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Charitable Intent

Jessica Sullivan and Catherine McGraffin in David Williamson's CHARITABLE INTENT. Pics Clare Hawley
Jessica Sullivan and Catherine McGraffin. Pic Clare Hawley

A conniving, narcissistic, backstabbing bitch is the central character in the final play in David Williamson’s Jack Manning trilogy. Bryony (Catherine McGraffin) has been appointed as CEO of a charity and her modern corporate methods cause conflict with the staid, long term members of the organisation. The harmonious operation of the organisation has become dysfunctional to the extent that the board requires a community conference in an attempt to restore balance.

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Yes Dance

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As part of the Sydney Fringe I caught YES DANCE at the Dickson St Space, Newtown, a very intimate venue. The audience was on two sides of the ‘square’ and almost on stage themselves .There was just a tiny clear space of beautiful wooden floor, and the brick wall , for this challenging , quirky piece by Rennie McDougall which ‘ explores choreography for free-thinking bodies.’

Choreographer Rennie McDougall is one of the up-and-coming talents of the Melbourne dance scene. Since graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts four years ago he has worked with some of Melbourne’s most prominent contemporary dance companies, including Chunky Move, Lucy Guerin Inc, Luke George and BalletLab. YES DANCE promises the “guilty pleasures” of popular dance, as he and fellow performers Leah Landau and Harrison Hall “surround the audience with movement”. Continue reading

The Boxtrolls HD Movie Wallpaper

Boxtrolls

The-Boxtrolls-6THE BOXTROLLS is based on Alan Snow’s childrens novel “Here Be Monsters”, part of a series of rather ghoulish but quirky and very clever childrens’ books.

Just as in their previous film CORALINE, Laika Animation has worked really hard to stand out with their unique stop motion movies, and their genuine stop motion is so exquisite in every detail and is uniquely charming, as amply demonstrated in the trailers for their third American animated feature length film BOXTROLLS. I am an absolute fan of movie animation in its many forms, however the physical process of creation by the frame-by-frame alteration of every character, still is a very welcome treat for my eyes. Continue reading

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The Sheds

THE SHEDS, which is part of the Sydney Fringe festival, originated as part of the Melbourne Fringe, and is travelling to the Adelaide Fringe in February.  The play is a niche piece and the gay community will probably take it to their heart as the community has done elsewhere.  The 3 male actors have travelled with the show and they are beautiful boys who look sporty and at home in the locker room setting. Continue reading

The Balmain Sinfonia

The Balmain Sinfonia

Guest artist Clemens Leske performs the Beethoven Piaono Concerto No. 4

The Balmain Sinfonia is always a capable collaborator with the instrumental soloist in each of their concerts. This latest partnership was no exception, as the orchestra sympathetically accompanied Sydney based pianist Clemens Leske in Beethoven’s fourth piano concerto. The dialogue created and textures resulting from interplay between the orchestra and soloist was always well balanced and entertaining. Continue reading

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Michael Gow’s EUROPE

Pippa Grandison as highbrow European  actress Barbara and Andrew Henry as Douglas his besotted Aussie fan In the current revival of Michael Gow's 1987 play EUROPE. Pic Kurt Sneddon, Blueprint Studios
Pippa Grandison as highbrow European actress Barbara and Andrew Henry as Douglas his besotted Aussie fan In the current revival of Michael Gow’s 1987 play EUROPE. Pic Kurt Sneddon, Blueprint Studios

Theatregoers are in for a genuine treat if they make their way across to  the  Seymour  Centre to see EUROPE, Slip of the Tongue’s very fine production of Michael Gow’s poetic 1987 play.

EUROPE is a quite remarkable play. From a simple premise Gow has come up with a richly textured work, replete with meaning and thematic content.

The premise…. A young Aussie guy, Douglas, and European actress, Barbara, have a brief  affair when Douglas meets Barbara in the foyer after seeing her show that she has brought to Oz. Continue reading

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Aunt Agony

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This is a show that explodes open with chaos and empty wine bottles.  To “Que sera sera” on the soundtrack, the Aunt Agony of the title attempts to straighten up her disordered life in hilarious fashion.  Straight away the audience fell for her disarming beige-ness and we cheered this manipulating manic psycho through the next 90 minutes.

AUNT AGONY is the story of Christine (Sasha Dyer) who just wants a quiet, free room in the ‘burbs to lick her wounds from a failed relationship.   With no support from her mother or male menopause father, she ends up with Aunt Lynn (Taylor Owynns).  Aunt Lynn has changed since the death of her mother and Christine is in for a ride.  Plus, there seems to be a mystery here somewhere.  Not least of all what Auntie sees in Tommy (Dave Kirkham) the revolting building caretaker who can’t even use the toaster! Continue reading

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Going Björk -Sydney Chamber Choir

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Any concert referring to pop innovator Björk in its title is sure to evoke ideas of new experiences and unique performances. In the tradition of singing and soundscapes emanating from this artist and the far northern hemisphere, this was an exquisite event showcasing a high level on innovative performances. Plenty of commentary from musical director Paul Stanhope and The Idea of North brought us close to the artists, the musical concepts and lyrical concerns. Continue reading

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A Night With Melbourne City Ballet

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As part of the huge Sydney Fringe Festival on at the moment we were lucky to see an impressive mixed bill by the Melbourne City Ballet in their first visit to Sydney. The company was founded in 2013 under the direction of Michael Pappalardo and has already had several seasons in Melboune to great acclaim. The three works were Quantam, Acceptance (part of a larger work called ‘Grief’) and Consumption.

Two of the works were quite spiky and ‘neo-classical ‘ in style with Acceptance, the middle work, being far more ‘traditional’ classical ballet style. Continue reading

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Scampia’s Gold

Scampia's GoldSCAMPIA’S GOLD may sound like a seafood spaghetti western but it’s an inspiring tale of a committed man trying to deter the errors of the past being visited on the youth of the present.

Like a gritty Neapolitan Karate Kid, SCAMPIA’S GOLD focuses on the discipline of a martial art to infuse discipline and respect in a neighbourhood bullied by Camorra gangs.

Hospital worker Enzo is a Judo sensei in the suburb of Scampia. Born and bred in the area, he is determined through his youth work to release his neighbourhood from the yoke of the criminals who rule the roost. Continue reading

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Sean Morahan in 1 LINER

Comedian Sean Morahan at the Hive
Comedian Sean Morahan at the Hive Bar

The Hive Bar in Erskinville is a lounge room type venue with a lounge, bench seats and chairs with cushions and delivered pizza from the kitchen downstairs. Just the type of room one would want for some intimate comic entertainment. With back to the window, warm up comedian, CJ Delling and main act, Sean Morahan stand behind a microphone that is a metre away from many of the audience. Given Sean’s impressive height, one could easily be intimidated, but the down the front seats were the best. Some chose to hang further back, but were warned that playing the video game during the routine would be considered a “heckle”. Continue reading

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C.J.Delling in Reality Bandit

C.J.Delling performing her shtick at the Den in the Chippendale Hotel
C.J.Delling performing her shtick at the Den in the Chippendale Hotel

There’s a new comedy venue in town. It’s called  The Den, it’s in the Chippendale Hotel,  and  after seeing THE REALITY BANDIT WITH  C.J. Delling there last night, I’d say  it’s well worth a visit.

When you rock up to the venue the first thing you notice is a sign saying Under New Management. The food is good, generous, and very reasonable and there’s a good atmosphere. Then you descend stairs reminiscent of the Fitz Theatre and you discover a neat, comfortable little live venue. Then, right on time, (not always the case), the show starts. All good so far, but is this going to be another comedienne who thinks shock and poor taste equate to comedy or will there be something clever as well as funny? Yes, yes, YES! Continue reading

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Spider’s Web

A scene from Agathie Christie's SPIDER'S WEB. Pic Mark Banks
A scene from Agathie Christie’s SPIDER’S WEB. PicS by Mark Banks

With a set design and directed by Ylaria Rogers the Genesian Theatre’s production of Agatha Christie’s Spider’s Web is a thoroughly enjoyable romp. We know one or more of the characters will be murdered, but how & why & by whom? Everyone has something to hide but can we solve the mystery before the last clue is given and the final twist unfolds. Probably not!

The action takes place in the drawing room of a country house Copplestone Court in the 1950s. The set has the typical Christie secret passageway, a desk with hidden compartment and French doors opening into a garden for the possible quick entry/exit of suspicious characters. Well timed lighting ensures black outs occur just at the correct the moment to allow for dark deeds and menacing music hints at evils to come. Continue reading

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Bob Dylan Back In Fine Form

Bob Dylan with his band. Pics Raymond Reade-Majaw
Bob Dylan with his band. Pics Raymond Reade-Majaw

Those who have frequented Bob Dylan concerts over the last three decades will undoubtedly know that you’ll never know what to expect.  Seldom resting in any one genre, he has never been reluctant to experiment, as was the case in his highly criticised move from folk to rock’n’roll in the 60s.

It is this unpredictability and self-assuredness that brings audiences back again and again and has Dylan still touring and writing songs at age 73.  Blessed with a golden pen, his lyrics have always had unique simplicity, yet run deep, rattle our nerves and inspire great imagery.  A dedicated poet and minstrel, he loves touring and playing live.  Since his first London tour in 1965 and the eclectic Rolling Thunder tours of the 70s, Dylan has toured every year from 1987 to 2014, playing over 2.600 shows. Continue reading

SEIZURE KAISER - UNTITLED CANCER PROJECT 320301_10151524383525910_876533630_n

Seizure Kaiser- Untitled Cancer Project

SEIZURE KAISER - UNTITLED CANCER PROJECT 320301_10151524383525910_876533630_n

 Seizure Kaiser is fully enjoying his fortunate life as a cancer survivor and now at age thirty, he delivers his latest maniacal comedy routine with a twist, encompassing the hilariously dark and completely true story of his dangerous high risk lifestyle during his twenties. Equally fun and entertaining PLUS crude and rude.

With his personal cancer message piece that uses stand-up comedy to reinforce the “go to your doctor” immediately when anything changes. Continue reading

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The King and I

Lisa McCune (Anna Leonowens) and Teddy Tahu Rhodes (King of Siam) in THE KING AND I. Pic Brian Geach
Lisa McCune (Anna Leonowens) and Teddy Tahu Rhodes (King of Siam) in THE KING AND I. Pic Brian Geach

Opera Australia have brought to Sydney a most splendid production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s ‘The King And I ‘ with a gigantic cast and glorious , lavishly opulent ,dazzling sets and costumes .Directed by Christopher Renshaw ,it is an aural , olfactory and visual feast and treat : Brian Thomson’s set designs are outstanding as are Roger Kirk’s costumes. The curtains, screens etc allow for almost cinematic fluid scene changes , torches burn brightly and incense wafts through the auditorium. Continue reading

Performing Arts, Literary Arts and Visual Arts Reviews