Rise and grind! July awakens the senses with the return of The Rocks Aroma Festival to the intimate laneways of Sydney’s historic Rocks district. Throughout the month, the Festival will offer coffee enthusiasts a blend of activities and workshops from Monday 6th July leading up to the 18th annual Aroma Festival Day on Sunday 26 July, 2015 between 9am and 5pm.
For the entire month of July The Rocks will ignite the senses with all things coffee. Savour a tasty cup and take part in a variety of workshops curated by the Australian Speciality Coffee Association (ASCA). Become a café-fiend as you learn insider’s tips on coffee cupping, latte art and coffee appreciation. The Rocks Aroma workshops run Thursdays through Sunday from the 9th July. Continue reading →
Most of us can play when playing is required… small relatives or cute fluffy animals will bring out our childlike side. However, I think we can agree that public play is really the preserve of the young. Explain then, how a predominantly elder audience ended up on the floor of the Old 505 theatre this evening indulging in a bit of advanced silliness. How Kay’s unnamed stand-in managed to get us to experience Follow the Leader, world mapping and the building of a weird Martian War of the Worlds landscape.
AN HOUR WITH KAY is actually an hour with Kay’s stand-in, who does look suspiciously like the Kay we see on mobile phone footage abandoning the building. The unnamed, white suited, blue high heeled substitute guides the audience through an hybrid hour of play, dance and image creation. Continue reading →
TMO’s MET CONCERT # 3 continued the 2015 season by enjoying another capacity crowd at the ABC Centre’s Eugene Goossens Hall. Its cohesive programme celebrated an Australian work evoking the spirituality of an iconic local landscape, a popular Australian pianist performing one of the nineteenth century’s best known concertos, and a symphonic favourite influenced by indigenous American melodies and culture.
Peter Sculthorpe’s ‘From Uluru’ (1992) was an intense and atmospheric start to an expressive night. It is perhaps not heard as regularly as his landscape-specific works ‘Kakadu’ (1988), ‘Earth Cry’ (1986), or ‘Mangrove’ (1979), but this shorter work is no less a gem with sustained sections of shifting atmospheres. TMO presented the work with pleasing clarity and richness of colour. Many shapes, aspects of Dreaming and a sense of a landmark’s impact were communicated through this performance. Continue reading →
This was a superb afternoon spent enjoying the three fine music selections, chosen for the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra, and presented as BOHEMIAN TANGO.
Energetically conducted by Warwick Potter, the first piece was a symphonic masterwork in five movements, composed by Elena Kats-Chernin, Willoughby Symphony Orchestra’s 2015 Composer-in-Residence. ‘Recollecting ASTORoids’ provided a detailed and most magnificent tango experience, performed by the full symphony orchestra. If a CD recording of ‘Recollecting ASTORoids’ existed, its beautiful tango music would be a recommended purchase. Continue reading →
The Broadway musical BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL (2011), a Tony award Best Musical nominee based on the film of the same name that came out in 2000, is currently having its Australian Premiere season at NIDA, well timed for the school holiday season.
The musical brought together some of the freshest creative minds then on Broadway. The show features an original story by Tony Award winner Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q), music and lyrics by Tony Award-winning composer Lin-Manuel Miranda (In The Height), music by Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning composer Tom Kitt (Next To Normal), and lyrics by Broadway lyricist Amanda Green (High Fidelity)
It is in two parts: one written by Brendan Cowell (Dog Part) and the other by Lally Katz (Cat Part)
They are both prominent in Australian theatre. Cowell lives in downtown Newtown and Katz is one of Melbourne’s great comedic playwrights. She is also a great actress, though she doesn’t appear in her play.
The play has three actors and the performance by the two men, Xavier Samuel and Benedict Hardie, deserve the highest superlatives. Andrea Demetriades is also darn good. Continue reading →
The latest ACO concert, EGARR AND THE GOLDEN AGE shines with brilliance from every part of its varied programme. Incidental music to theatre sits well beside an adaptation of viol consort music. Works from the early concerto styles are successfully placed beside symphonic style. The British and Germanic styles developing between 1641 and 1783 are juxtaposed with stunning effect.
Guest soloist and director, Richard Egarr, Music Director of the Academy of Ancient Music, leads from both harpsichord and fortepiano. His charismatic playing and interpretation of the various compositional styles joins with the ACO’s expertise in delivering exciting early music moments. Continue reading →
Luvvies love looking in and TOAST OF LONDON is a luvvie fest that looks in on London’s likeliest contender for worst actor, Steven Toast.
Actually, Toast isn’t really such a bad actor, it’s just that he has either made bad choices or has had an agent make bad choices for him. At least he’s a working actor which is more than can be said by many. Although he does seem to spend an inordinately long time having tete de tete with his agent, Jane.
Co-created and starring Matt Berry as the eponymous Toast, TOAST OF LONDON is part sit com, part satire and part musical which takes to abseiling absurdity as gleefully as it does descending to the gutters of smut and potty humour in the best British tradition and does not scorn soft comedy porn or scoff at politically incorrect opportunities to lambast and skewer.
The vampire genre has found its vintage again in the last year with Jim Jarmusch’s ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE and the Kiwi cult hit WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS.
Now an Iranian film makes a thrilling trifecta in the hallowed hall of the unhallowed, A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT.
Set in a seedy outer suburban outskirt surrounded by oil wells plundered in perpetual motion by machines evoking some kind of dunking birds designed by H R Giger, a woman walks home alone night after night, a shadowy figure in her chador, her garb not unlike a cape and cowl, evocative of Transylvanian tailoring according to Hollywood filmmakers of yore. Continue reading →
Brisbane playwright Stephen Carleton was awarded the 2015 Griffin Award, with a prize of $10,000, supported by the Copyright Agency Limited, for his new work THE TURQUOISE ELEPHANT at the SBW Stables Theatre on Wednesday evening.
Now in its eighteenth year, the prestigious national Griffin Award is given in recognition of an outstanding play that displays an authentic, inventive and contemporary Australian voice. Continue reading →
It is difficult to ascertain a name in this situation. The patient is some kind of performance collective and refers to itself as LIKE ME. This is the pseudonym used for this document. The group is identified only by the colour which they have painted their faces. 9 entities identifiable.
Merchant’s House, The Rocks, Sydney
Date of Admission:
Background to the Current Situation:
This group of ex patients has returned to the Treatment Centre and are treating the derelict building as their home. Nightly they are seducing ‘normal’ people into the bizarre and frenetic goings on in order to create some kind of cathartic healing.
Spreading themselves over the 8 rooms of the decaying dystopia they have illegally accessed the electricity to fire up the discarded LCD desktop screens to light the spaces. These screens have had their liquid manipulated into shapes and forms which are repeated and reflected in each of the sleeping quarters. Continue reading →
John Frost, one of Australia’s leading theatre producers, has played what feels like a very safe hand with his current national tour of the James Kirkwood’s play LEGENDS.
Kirkwood’s play is well crafted. unoffensive, mainstream theatre, nothing edgy or adventurous here, and is a good vehicle for the Mills sisters to showcase their skills.
In LEGENDS, Juliet Mills plays Sylvia Glenn and Hayley Mills plays Leatrice Monsee. Both actresses are courted by an unscrupulous young hot-shot producer named Martin Klemmer, played by Maxwell Caufield (Juliet Mills’ husband in real life). Continue reading →
In THE SUGAR SYNDROME a character eats raw cake batter from a large mixing bowl … with a knife. It’s an unusual choice in a production of unusual choices. The directorial concepts of this thoughtful show have evident logic and meaning yet it feels like a production on the edge. The choices don’t always gel, yet the show is good, entertaining in a creepy kind of a way but I left vaguely unsatisfied.
Dani is who she wants to be. It’s the early days of the internet. We hear the dial-up modem presaging her interactions. She is 17, back from a stint in an eating disorders clinic, jigging college, hating on her father and especially her mother. On-line and then in person she meets Lewis, a geeky boy with aspirations to be a music critic and a strong belief that Dani will allow him to have sex with her. Continue reading →
Brahms’ German Requiem was the advertised centrepiece of the Sydney Chamber Choir’s thematically titled Creativity + Loss performance on 14 June at the Great Hall, Sydney University, as part of the 2015 concert cycle to celebrate the Choir’s 40th anniversary. But the concert also included a number of classical and modern pieces to display the variety and breadth of the Choir’s range, nuance the performance across a lengthy program, and provide the listener with a diverse choral experience and possibly some welcome discoveries.
Conductor Nicolas Routley, the founder of the then Sydney University Chamber Choir, returned to conduct a very fine performance throughout, interspersed with witty and insightful commentary. A fitting return as he has been instrumental in shaping the Choir to merge the classical traditions with modern currents and thus ensure that the Choir retains the traditional values of beautiful choral characteristics but also incorporates a modern edge. Continue reading →
As Rod Stewart used to sing in his classic early days, ‘Every Picture Tells A Story’ and this photo of the cast of TRIASSIC PARQ vamping it up, gyrating everywhere, and outrageously made up and dressed up pretty much tells the story of this latest Squabbalogic production.
TRIASSIC PARQ - lyrics and book by Marshall Pailet, Bryce Norbitz and Steve Wargo with music by Marshall Pailet - is a rarely performed piece that premiered at the 2010 New York Independent Fringe Festival. Continue reading →
Tennessee Williams described Bertolt Brecht’s MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN as one of the great dramas of the 20th century. A strong recommendation, considering he wrote a few of them himself.
The great German playwright wrote the piece in 1939 in direct response to the rise of Nazism in Germany. Brecht set the play in a different time period, the time of the Thirty Years’ War between 1618-1648. Continue reading →
Checking in to Fratelli Fresh for a pre-show chow down I spy Dave from the Umbilical Brothers sitting solo. I figure he’s here for a similar pre show chow down. As I am shown to my table, he is shown the door. See you soon, I say to myself, anonymous audience member mumbling anonymously. I wonder if he had in fact eaten or drunk anything or was he miming a degustation.
Later in the Mens at the Roslyn Packer Theatre, after a pre-show bladder voiding, I wondered if I’d blundered into the show proper and was part of an elaborate audience participation manoeuvre as I encountered a sink with a washing and drying apparatus a certain dexterity; a device where you can simultaneously wash and dry your hands if you’re not careful. Timing is everything. Continue reading →
The MINIONS 3D computer-animated comedy movie begins from the dawn of time, with the relatively simple-minded MINIONS evolving from single-celled organisms, and then starting with the Jurassic Era becoming fiercely loyal beings who live just to serve history’s most despicable masters. The forever-young goggles-wearing yellow henchmen, from the two delightful ‘Despicable Me’ childrens’ movies, now have starring roles in this latest film produced by Illumination Entertainment for Universal Pictures. Sandra Bullock finally gets the role of a lifetime as the nasty super-villain, ‘Scarlett Overkill’.
‘Scarlett Overkill’ does mention the bard, and to quote William Shakespeare “She vaunted ‘mongst her minions t’ other day” (Henry VI Part 2). This retro ‘Despicable Me’ prequel is set during 1968 initially in New York and Orlando, with wonderful pop culture icons/references throughout. In the Swinging 60s London finale, Scarlett Overkill alongside her inventor husband Herb, wants to steal Queen Elizabeth’s crown from the Tower of London. The trio of Minions – Stuart, Kevin and Bob pass the henchmen recruitment process at Villain-Com International. Scarlett Overkill gives the job to her new henchmen, the trio of Minions, KEVIN (the leader), STUART (the teenage rebel with his ukulele) and the diminutive and very lovable BOB carrying Tim his Teddy Bear, and is easily identifiable with his brown/green “Heterochromia Iridum”. Via the bedtime story of THE THREE LITTLE PIGS, Scarlet threatens to kill the minions if they fail to steal the crown.
Mosman Musical Society’s revival of the rock opera THE WHO’S TOMMY is a fun and entertaining production ably led by director Anthony Young. This opera was written by Pete Townsend and Des McAnuff and is adapted from The Who’s 1969 double album rock opera Tommy also by Pete Townsend with additional material by John Entwistle, Keith Moon and Sonny Boy Williamson. The work first opened in San Diego in 1992 and then went on to Broadway in 1993 taking out 6 Tony Awards.
The prologue begins in 1940 and flows into Act 1 revealing Tommy’s parents dysfunctional marriage (the roles are well played by Daisy Lawrence and George Hannaford). The exposition is done very effectively using a quick flow of short vignettes linked by audio-visual projections setting the scenes of the actions and music. These projections are a feature of the entire musical highlighting the mood and adding to the colour and interest. Continue reading →
Sometimes, sobriety can be a tough pill to swallow …
In its second major production of the year, UTS Backstage returns with the story of one man’s struggle to re-establish his identity, his career, and his relationships with those who matter most to him. As the last theatrical performance before RUBEN GUTHRIE hits the big screen, this is not a show to be missed.
RUBEN GUTHRIE follows the highs and come-downs of its eponymous character, as he searches for his own happiness in a city that tells him it comes from the bottom of a bottle. In an industry so engrossed in the thrills and spills of its own indulgence, is it really possible to have too much of a good thing? Continue reading →
It is the wish of many artists to make their living from their creative endeavours. In the full passion of youth it appears eminently possible. As time marches on and one hasn’t achieved a best selling novel, risen to the top of the I-Tunes chart, or received a commission from an Art Gallery, the hard practicalities of life mean that many people have to get a ‘real job’ to survive.
Forgive the indulgence but here is a personal anecdote that deserves retelling. This is going back a fair bit in time….It is my graduation ceremony from the University where I completed my Bachelor of Creative Arts degree. The ceremony has fallen about six months after the actual completing the degree. Continue reading →
Want a story that leaps off the page? Leap into LEAP.
With a narrative that has all the agility, grace and momentum of parkour, Myfanwy Jones’ novel is leaps and bounds ahead of the pack in recent published fiction.
LEAP embodies and ennobles no less the great themes of love, loss, grieving and coping, in a splendid story of Joe, a young Melbourne man dream dashed and guilt bashed by the death of his beloved, Jen, and of Elise, mother of the beloved Jen, devastated by the death of her daughter and the dying of her marriage. Continue reading →