CULTURE CLUB DEBATES THE WHY AND WHEREFORE OF FESTIVALS

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A very exciting and vibrant discussion chaired by Fenella Kernebone who led the panel of Rachel Healy (Adelaide Festival) and Wesley Enoch (Sydney Festival) and Fergus Linehan (Edinburgh International Festival) and asks why we put on festivals, what they offer artists and communities, and dives into future festival trends both locally and internationally.

To begin with, a bit of background in regards to each of the panellists.

Wesley Enoch has been a theatre director and writer for over 25 years specialising in Aboriginal Theatre and cultural stories. He has been the Artistic Director of companies including Queensland Theatre Company 2010-15, Ilbijerri 2003-06 and Kooemba Jdarra 1994-97, as well as the Festival of Pacific Arts – Australia in 2008 and 2012. Wesley has been appointed the Director of Sydney Festival for the period from 2017 to 2019.

Continue reading CULTURE CLUB DEBATES THE WHY AND WHEREFORE OF FESTIVALS

THE ROYAL BALLET PRESENTS ANASTASIA @ THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE, LONDON

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A must see for balletomanes, this is completely Natalia Ospiova’s show as Anastasia and she is more than sensational.

The Royal Ballet has just completed the live performances of this production which took place at between the 26th October and the 12th November. We are privileged to see this amazing production via the filming of the performance which took place on the 2nd November which is being presented as part of the current Palace Opera and Ballet season.

The ballet’s subject is the mysterious woman, known as Anna Anderson, who was incarcerated in a mental hospital in Berlin from 1920 and claimed to be Anastasia, daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, who somehow escaped from the cellar where the imperial family had been murdered by the Bolsheviks. Choreographer Kenneth MacMillan explores the whole notion – Was she or wasn’t she?!   Continue reading THE ROYAL BALLET PRESENTS ANASTASIA @ THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE, LONDON

RELATIVELY SPEAKING @ THE ENSEMBLE THEATRE

With his plays Alan Ayckbourn, like Noel Coward, has always had the talent to amuse in a major way.

Kirribilli’s Ensemble Theatre Company has been a frequent producer of Ayckbourn works for many years and is currently reviving one of his most popular plays, RELATIVELY SPEAKING.

The comedy in this clever well made play mainly stems from the moves his characters make as they ‘fight’ to get their way and the time that it takes for the others to cotton on to what is happening and work out how they are going to respond. Continue reading RELATIVELY SPEAKING @ THE ENSEMBLE THEATRE

WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? @ THE GREEK THEATRE

Plenty of shots are fired in the late, great Edward Albee’s classic drama, WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF. Middle-aged couple George and Mildred marriage is a war zone and they invite another couple, Nick and Honey, over to unwittingly join them on the front line.

This latest revival of this oft performed Albee work has been put on by the Theatron Group.

A good creative team comprising John Pryce-Jones’ raised platform set of George and Martha’s 1960’s living room, Martin Kinnane’s sharp lighting design, and Alistair Wallace’s subtle sound design create a very distinct world for what is a stellar cast to weave their spell in. This small troupe of players genuinely seize upon the ‘meaty’ roles which Albee has gifted them. Continue reading WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? @ THE GREEK THEATRE

MORGAN STERN @ BLOOD MOON THEATRE

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Production photos by Chrissie Ianssen (c).

One of the great achievements that writers accomplish is in the area of non-fiction, in their ability to bring people and their stories to life, so that they can be shared with everyone.

For many years Melbourne writer and playwright Gina Schien has wanted to her late brother’s story – his battle with schizophrenia which saw him in the end take his own life.

The result is her play Morgan  Stern which received its premiere production at Blood Moon in a production directed by Goldele Rayment.

It was really hard to hold back the tears as we watched Morgan’s painful, bizarre, brilliant story unfold in a very moving solo performance by Graeme Rhodes who played a number of  different characters as well as Morgan.

There was a haunting line in the play which bears repetition – ‘We can only guess at the hurt we cause. We are all a foreign language language to each other.’

The Company of Rogues and Blood Moon Theatre’s production of Gina Schien’s MORGAN STERN had only a too brief season at the Blood Moon Theatre between the 25th November and the 3rd December.

THE REAL THING LIVE @ 107 PROJECTS

Presented by Mike Williams and Timothy Nicastri

One of my first memories is sitting on my dad’s knee in a tiny booth at 2AY, as it was then , learning  to ‘score’ a record.  Running the groove of the black shellac disc under the needle at exactly the right spot for the content to start immediately. What a joy and delight then to see THE REAL THING recording on all this new fangled equipment.  Cables everywhere , mics, iPads, phones, music FX machine etc.  And 3 wonderful stories, music and some admittedly dodgy Magic.  My idea of a good time. Continue reading THE REAL THING LIVE @ 107 PROJECTS

2017 SYDNEY GAY AND LESBIAN MARDI GRAS SEASON LAUNCH

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Workshop Party

Writing as much as I do , I am sometimes confused about superlatives .  Too much? Too little to make the point? Too literary ?  So with a little tear in my eye , I leaned over to the nice young man sitting next to me and asked what he was thinking.  What the hell was I thinking?  Anyone  who was there was , of course , fabulous . ( I include myself!) but I hit the height of fabulousness with my innocent enquiry.

We were at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Workshop Party to launch the program for 2017.  

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence ( the second oldest in a world wide network of the charity organisation ) had done a blessing which showed a surprising intimacy with the float making process.   ” May  the venue be filled with bitching in an artistic fashion and the noise of action.” They blessed the volunteers , the building, even the tools.  ” May your glue guns never run dry and may glitter never clog your screws.”  Ha!!! Continue reading 2017 SYDNEY GAY AND LESBIAN MARDI GRAS SEASON LAUNCH

PINCHGUT OPERA EXCELS AGAIN WITH HANDEL’S THEODORA @ RECITAL HALL

Those who are privileged to see Pinchgut opera’s current production of Handel’s Theodora are in for a treat. It is, I believe faultless in every aspect.

This opera, dated 1749, Handel considered his masterpiece even though it was a commercial failure.With a libretto by Thomas Morell, it concerns the suffering of Christian martyr, Theodora, at the hands of idol worshipping Roman president Valens in 4th century Antioch and is full of beautiful chorus work and some sublime arias.

Theodora, sung by Valda Wilson, Irene, sung by Caitlin Hulcup and Didymus sung by American counter tenor Christopher Lowrey,  all did full justice to this magnificent work, with convincing, passionate performances and superb vocal work. I thought Valda Wilson’s performance was perfect, being both a joy to listen to as well as being gorgeous to watch. ‘O thou bright sun’, her aria of despair as she faces rape and prostitution, was very moving and her final duet with Christopher Lowrey sung as their characters ascended to heaven, took the audience to heavenly spaces with them!

Caitlin Hulcup’s warm velvety mezzo soprano voice was also one of the highlights of the evening. There was a deep humanity to all the principals’ performances that moved me deeply. Continue reading PINCHGUT OPERA EXCELS AGAIN WITH HANDEL’S THEODORA @ RECITAL HALL

CLASSIC BROTHERS GRIMM TALE GOES PANTO

 

played by Jacqui Greenfield
played by Jacqui Greenfield

Take note – Rapunzel is about to be hip again!

The Maiden in the Tower is taking charge and breaking out of her digs with no door and no stairs. Problem is, the only way down is her hair. Or can Prince Charming save her? Prince Charming is looking for the maiden with the other glass slipper or is he looking for the maiden in the glass coffin? With all these bachelors on the loose in the woods, how will she decide which is her soulmate for life.

RAPUNZEL, THE PANTOMINE  is sure to make this fairy tale your favourite for all time…well at least this month.

From EMU PRODUCTIONS, the producers who brought you the Australian premiere of JUNGLE BOOK – THE MUSICAL and the SELL OUT production of ROALD DAHL’S GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE comes another Christmas pantomime for the young at heart.

This new adaption will leave you believing in happy endings.

Don’t miss out on the Australian premiere of Maria de Marco’s adaption of RAPUNZEL, THE PANTOMIME.

The cast features JACQUI GREENFIELD as Rapunzel, THOMAS ADAMS, ALEX CHORLEY, SIMON WARD and a SPECIAL GUEST APPEARANCE from SANTA CLAUS.
Season Dates: 17 – 23 December, 2015 | Monday to Friday | 10:30 am & 1 pm | Saturday @ 1pm
Where: Level 1, 644 King Street, cnr Bray Street, NEWTOWN, NSW, 2042 (Entrance on Bray St)
Duration: 60 min
Cost: $15 -$25 (Special discount rate for preschools, day & vacation groups of 10 or more @ $15 each – carers free)
Family discount price -$70 (2 Adult & 2 kids / 1 Adult & 3 kids)
Ages: 4+ (Please note, and babes in arms and all children under 2 are free but must book a seat for the show if sitting in a seat)
Bookings: www.kingstreettheatre.com.au or 0423 082 015 for Vacation Care groups.
Audience capacity = 100 per show.

For more about Rapunzel – The Pantomime, visit http://www.kingstreettheatre.com.au/rapunzel-the-pantomime/
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NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

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NOCTURNAL ANIMALS is Tom Ford’s lush, tense, thriller wrapped in a melodrama.

Amy Adams is Susan, described by her ex as a nocturnal animal, sporting a Veronica Lake hair style that’s a visual delight,an inspired aesthetic nimbly signifying the noirish nuance of the nocturnal animal tale.

In one of the year’s most startling starts, the opening titles feature obscenely obese elephantine females flaunting their fat – prolapsed tummies flap in their laps, thighs of thunder threaten to drape knees in curtains of adipose, a gross flesh fetish that glories in the gross, the gluttonous and the unglamorous.  Continue reading NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

THE FOUNDER : ANOTHER MICHAEL KEATON TRIUMPH

From Beetlejuice to Batman to Birdman to Burger Man, Michael Keaton is on a roll, an open sesame to Oscar contention with a big, beefy performance as Ray Kroc, the Big Mac and French Fries franchise robber baron.

Kroc was a travelling salesman caught up in the American Dream of succeeding. It was a dream that was receding. Until a chance lunch stop at a hamburger joint.

Run by bothers Dick and Mac McDonald it was a phenomenon of clockwork cuisine. Nick had already devised and mastered the time and motion marvel that made the McDonald’s conveyor belt burger a superior fast food operation and Kroc was impressed. He suggested franchise, but the boys had already tried that and failed because Nick wanted absolute control and could not guarantee it outside his personal fiefdom of patties and fries. Continue reading THE FOUNDER : ANOTHER MICHAEL KEATON TRIUMPH

JINGLE BELLS XMAS FAIR @ THE CONCOURSE

JINGLE BELLS XMAS FAIR is an exciting new festive event that puts the fun back into Christmas shopping. This retro Christmas shopping and entertainment extravaganza features a carefully curated array of vintage, retro, festive and rock ’n’ roll stalls. It’s an all weekend Christmas party too featuring a fantastic line-up of swing, retro and rockabilly bands, plus swing and rock n roll dancing lessons for adults and kids.

DATES
10/12/16 10am – 7pm and 11/12/16 10am – 5pm

VENUE – The Concourse, 409 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood.

For more about JINGLE BELLS XMAS FAIR, visit
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THE WINNER’S CIRCLE : THE ARIAS

After receiving their Awards several of the winners made themselves available for photographs and interviews. The following artists attending the Media Room were Best Group and Rock Album – Violent Soho, Breakthrough Artist – Montaigne, Best Urban Album – Drapht, Best Adult Contemporary Album – Bernard Fanning, Best Adult Alternative Album – Sarah Blasko, Best Country Album – Sara Storer, Best Children’s Album – The Wiggles, Best Video and Apple Music Song Of The Year – Troye Sivan, Best Australian Live Act – The Hilltop Hoods, Best Blues and Roots Album – Russell Morris, Best Album, Best Male Artist, Best Dance Release, Best Pop Release and Best Independent Release – Flume. Hall of Fame Inductees- Crowded House.

Featured image – Flume. All images by Ben Apfelbaum(c)..

RED CARPET : THE ARIAS

The 30th Anniversary of the Arias was held at the Star in Pyrmont on 23 November. A rainy and thundery afternoon could not dampen the glitz and sparkle of the red carpet and the joy and enthusiasm of emerging performers.

As was the case with last years Arias which was dominated by Tame Impala, this year 5 awards were taken out by Flume, a soundscape DJ who reminded me of David Guetta.

The Arias often have a major international pop star and this yeat it was Robbie Williams.

In addition Kylie Minogue made a surprise appearance with her fiance Joshua Sasse to advocate for marriage equality in Australia. Another welcome appearance from an ex patriate was Ben Lee who is now based with his family in Los Angeles.

Thirty years ago CROWDED HOUSE captured the inaugural award for Best Young Talent and this year, as if to fulfill that promise, they were inducted into the Aria Hall Of Fame.

All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).

FRANZ KEMPF : ASPECTS OF A JOURNEY 1947- 2016

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Celebrating Kempf’s 90th birthday, FRANZ KEMPF : ASPECTS OF A JOURNEY is the catalogue of the exhibition that was recently on show at the State Library of South Australia.

Melbourne born Kempf studied at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School and in Austria and Italy. While in the UK he worked as a film designer with Richard Macdonald and was associated with Peter Blake, Joe Tilson, Ceri Richards and Keith Vaughan.

From 1973 to 1981 Kempf was Senior Lecturer in printmaking at the University of South Australia and he has been a Guest Lecturer at the Slade School of Fine Art, the University of London, the Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland; Gloucester College of Art, United Kingdom and has participated in over 90 one man invitation exhibitions in America, China , Germany, Israel and Poland.

In 1964 Kempf was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society UK and in December 2002 he was awarded The Member of the Order of Australia Medal for his contribution to the Arts. In 2006 he was the subject of a documentary film. Continue reading FRANZ KEMPF : ASPECTS OF A JOURNEY 1947- 2016

KOALA JOE – THE MUSICAL @ KING STREET THEATRE NEWTOWN

The Australian Premiere of a musical for kids

KOALA JOE – THE MUSICAL
By Markus Weber & Michael Summ

From the producers who brought the successful season of Jungle Book – The Musical in 2014 and 2016, finally Koala Joe – The Musical is coming to the King Street Theatre. Brought to you again by Author/Director Markus Weber and Composer Michael Summ, this new musical will take you on a mystical journey driven by the spirit of the Dreamtime. Continue reading KOALA JOE – THE MUSICAL @ KING STREET THEATRE NEWTOWN

PLATFORM 72 GALLERY PRESENTS ‘PHOTOGRAPHY GROUP SHOW’

Facebook-event-page-photo-PhotographyThis exhibition will feature the works of local photographers: Shannon Cotterill, Jennifer Chua, Paul Foley, and Angela Robertson-Buchanan and will take place between the 3rd and 17th December.

The official opening with the opportunity to meet the artists will take place on Saturday 3rd December between 1-3 pm.

VENUE
Platform 72 Gallery is located at 62 Atchison Street St Leonards.

For more about Photography Group Show, visit http://platformstore.com.au/collections/photography-group-show
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COCK CROW : ROSEMARY DOBSON IN WORDS AND MUSIC @ MOSMAN ART GALLERY

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Have you ever considered the fate of the humble childhood toy  “Jack in the box”  ?

Well, Rosemary Dobson has:

“He crouches low and supplicant/His elbows knocking on the wood…/He waits the tapping at the locks/He hears the children calling”Jack!”…/They think he sleeps, but how he weeps/His small tears falling with no sound……”

Rosemary Dobson was a distinguished and prolific Australian poet who died in 2012 at the age of 92. Her poetry is somewhat more intellectual and detached rather than visceral…but nevertheless she still writes movingly of the human experience.

COCK CROW puts a handful of her poems in a musical context. Leonie Cambage is the poet’s voice (she trained as an opera singer), Shaun Ng plays Lute, Viola da Gamba and Theorbo, and  Diana Weston plays Harpsichord. Continue reading COCK CROW : ROSEMARY DOBSON IN WORDS AND MUSIC @ MOSMAN ART GALLERY

BOOK SIGNING : MICHAEL CLARKE : ‘MY STORY’

Australian cricket great Michael Clarke was on hand last Wednesday at the Dymocks city store to sign copies of his newly published autobiography MY STORY. 

Clarke was the greatest batsman of his generation and, as captain, possessed the sharpest tactical mind in the game.

Bursting onto the scene in 2004 with a Test century on debut, Michael Clarke was Australian cricket’s golden boy. And the batting prodigy they nicknamed ‘Pup’ certainly fulfilled his destiny in a stellar 11-year international career of 115 Tests, 8643 runs and 28 centuries. Continue reading BOOK SIGNING : MICHAEL CLARKE : ‘MY STORY’

KING AND QUEEN OF JORDAN VISIT GOVERNMENT HOUSE

King Abdullah and Queen Rania of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan made a quick visit to Sydney, such that they did not even have time to do the obligatory trip on Sydney Harbour.

However, they did have lovely views of the Harbour from Government House where prior to a formal lunch they inspected its gardens whose flowers were in full bloom, accompanied by Governor David and  Mrs Linda Hurley.

All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).

BOOK LAUNCH : MARK TEDESCHI’S ‘MURDER AT MYALL CREEK’

Whether Mark Tedeschi, AM, QC, the State’s Senior Crown Prosecutor, intended this or not, he has written a trilogy of three legal cases each from a different point of view. In EUGENIA, the central subject, Eugenia Falleni, is a murderer, though some simplicity is elicited, KIDNAPPED whose main subject is Graeme Thorne, the kidnap victim, and now his latest  book MURDER AT MYALL CREEK where a courageous colonial Attorney General and the legal system itself is put on trial.

In 1838, 11 convicts and former convicts were put on trial for the brutal murder of 28  indigenous men, women and children at Myall Creek in  Northern New South Wales. Controversial for the colonial era this was the first time Europeans were charged with the murder of indigenous people who were ranked lower than sheep and cattle in the eyes of the law. It would become one of the most serious trials of mass murder in Australia’s history. Continue reading BOOK LAUNCH : MARK TEDESCHI’S ‘MURDER AT MYALL CREEK’

VELMA VEGAS PRESENTS THE VEGAS LOUNGE CABARET

For last year’s Mardi Gras, Velma Vegas played to sold out houses at the Seymour Centre portraying Judy Garland, Barbra, Streisand, Liza Minellei and Bette Middler amongst others! And in 2015, she starred in SCREAMERS! (Best Musical Theatre/Cabaret, Sydney Fringe).

Velma will be back at the 2017 Sydney Mardi Gras to rock the Seymour Centre again in a brand new live cabaret show for Sydney – The Vegas Lounge! It’s a raucous rollercoaster ride through the best of disco, pop, and diva classics from the 60s to today! Continue reading VELMA VEGAS PRESENTS THE VEGAS LOUNGE CABARET

CRANSTON CUP : THEATRESPORTS FINAL

The Crash Test Dummies team don't touch the floor at the Cranston Cup

THEATRESPORTS is everywhere in the performing arts. Whether a tool in school drama classes or brain training for professional artists, it’s high energy, risky and not for the faint of heart. The Cranston Cup is the ultimate in Australian Theatresports. It took 3 months of ‘offer and accept’ to get the 742 teams participating in the heats down to 94 teams and finally to the 6 teams in front of 1500 people crammed into the Enmore Theatre.

The brainchild of Canadian and British teacher, author, playwright and director Keith Johnstone, Theatresports was refined and developed into its current form through his legendary Loose Moose Theatre Company in Alberta Canada in the late 1970s. But it’s everywhere now and there is a huge world alumni of famous theatre people associated. Take the (now destroyed) Bubble Gum Wall performances of Unexpected Productions of Seattle where GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE’s Brendan Fraser honed his skills. Continue reading CRANSTON CUP : THEATRESPORTS FINAL

ANDREE GREENWELL LAUNCHES HER NEW CD ‘GOTHIC’

Andree Greenwell is a dynamic singer and award-winning composer with a catalogue of almost 100 scores, including credits for Sydney Theatre Company, Symphony Australia, Australian Dance Theatre, Bell Shakespeare, Belvoir and the Queensland Music Festival where she was commissioned by director Deborah Conway to compose Behind The Cane with David Bridie.

She is artistic director and composer of Green Room Music (GRM), creating multidisciplinary, independent music theatre with exciting and challenging themes. Continue reading ANDREE GREENWELL LAUNCHES HER NEW CD ‘GOTHIC’

FIVE GO ON A STRATEGY AWAY DAY

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famous-fiveTry to fathom the Famous Five in adulthood, old grist to the Millennial mill of clap trap commerce as they embark on their modern adventure, FIVE GO ON A STRATEGY AWAY DAY.

On securing a new job with large multinational corporation called Lupiter Funckstein, Julian realized his team was severely understaffed and promptly hired his childhood pals Anne, Dick and George. Ripping.

The harmony of their working relationship is threatened when they are required to attend a Strategy Away Day with all the manufactured tensions and stress of hot housed leadership games and fatuous team building exercises intended to “incentivise”, build “cohesiveness”, and create “outcomes”. Continue reading FIVE GO ON A STRATEGY AWAY DAY

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