MONKEY BAA BRINGS A CLASSIC AUSTRALIAN KIDS STORY VIVIDLY TO LIFE

Featured image: Puppeteers Michael Cullen, Shondelle Pratt  and Julia Ohannessian with the sleeping Mothball. 

Jackie French’s book Diary of a Wombat bounded boldly into Australian family life in 2002. It nestled itself with a unique exclamation into thousands of young Australians’ bedroom bookshelves. Who better exists in children’s theatre circles than director Eva Di Cesare and the insightful Monkey Baa team to respectfully transform this classic to the stage for the 3+age group?

In doing so the Monkey Baa creatives and assembled performers ensure this age group and the rest of us appreciate the possibilities of a live performance medium to portray this character rather than film or one of many modern electronic alternatives.

For children and adults making the trip to the Lendlease Darling Quarter Theatre, Mothball The Wombat’s innocence, flatulence, curiosity and daily insatiable urge for experimentation with human food are delightfully captured in the action. Through the use of 3D plush puppets manipulated by visible on-stage puppeteers, Bruce Whatley’s fine book illustrations of Mothball’s tirade are greatly enhanced. Continue reading MONKEY BAA BRINGS A CLASSIC AUSTRALIAN KIDS STORY VIVIDLY TO LIFE

LAWRENCE LEE AND SIANG CHING NGU IN RECITAL @ THE CONCOURSE

In early April, good friends and very talented musicians, violinist Lawrence Lee and pianist Siang Ching Ngu, will present a charity concert entitled TRANSFORMING LIVES THROUGH MUSIC during which they will play works by Brahms, Kreisler, Tchaikovsky, Falla, Sarasate and Piazzolla at the Concourse.

All proceeds from the recital will go to a very good cause, Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia; a not-for-profit organisation providing Clinical Musical Therapy and Community Music Programs.

Nordoff-Robbins runs numerous programs aimed at transforming people’s lives through music including musical therapy for special needs schools and aged care facilities, running music clubs for people with a disability, as well various training and education programs to spread the influence of music through the broader community.

CONCERT DETAILS : 

The concert TRANSFORMING LIVES THROUGH MUSIC will take place on Wednesday 5th of April, 7:30 pm at the Concourse Chatswood.

For more about Transforming Lives Through Music: Charity Violin & Piano Duo, visit http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=TRANSFOR17
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THE DANCER :A DANCER’S QUEST FOR BEAUTY AND PERFECTION

Part of the French Film Festival, THE DANCER is exquisitely, lushly photographed with some sensational performances. A feast for the eyes, it is fascinating for those who love dance, even if the film is heavily fictionalised. Some of the film is in English, at other times it is in French with subtitles.

Stéphanie Di Giusto’s film follows the life of avant- garde dancer Loie Fuller (Soko) who was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, lived with her father in the boondocks, and after his sudden tragic death was sent to live with her strict, God fearing mother in New York before becoming a sensation in the world of dance, first in New York and then in Paris at the turn of the 20th century, inspiring artists the like of Toulouse- Lautrec and Rodin and esteemed scientists such as Marie Curie.

The film also tells the story of her relationship and rivalry with Isadora Duncan, a fellow American who at one stage was Fuller’s protégé. Continue reading THE DANCER :A DANCER’S QUEST FOR BEAUTY AND PERFECTION

NT LIVE’S OVERLY AMBITIOUS ST JOAN @ THE DONMAR

 

George Bernard Shaw’s ST JOAN, in a production directed by Josie Rourke at the Donmar, is the latest play in the NT Live screenings.

I had mixed feelings about Rourke’s production. Gemma Arterton as St Joan is superb, and the idea of updating the play to now with computers, mobile phones and rolling screens of financial statistics was intriguing but  didn’t feel like it worked that well.

The dialogues was beautifully spoken it could perhaps be a terrific radio play version. The play is abridged, but much attention is paid to the complicated, convoluted text of Shaw’s play. Continue reading NT LIVE’S OVERLY AMBITIOUS ST JOAN @ THE DONMAR

GRAND FINAL WEEKEND FOR SHORT AND SWEET FESTIVAL @ THE DEPOT THEATRE

After more than two months of heats 120 Short and Sweet plays and over 700 actors, writers and directors, this ingenious and very short play festival, is coming to an end. The winning plays are in competition at the Depot Theatre  this Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. The  winners in the various categories will be announced at the end of Saturday night’s performance.

Last Swing (Winner of the 2017 WILDCARDS FINAL)

ITC presented by Flutterby Productions

Written by Kazuyo Kitada / Directed by Uma Kali Shakti

Cast: Kerry Foley and Claire Langsford

Last Swing
Last Swing

All the dialogue is absorbing, and has real emotional pathos. Rachel is a young mother, pushing the swing back and forth, at the local park. Magnificent drama, about living in denial. Rachel believes that her long dead child is sitting on the swing. Will Rachel be able to move from denial to grieving?

One Night Stan (Winner of the 2017 PEOPLES CHOICE FINAL)

ITC presented by Third Bite

Written by Adam Szudrich / Directed by Grant Wilson

Cast: Gina Cohen, Ally O’Brien and Emma Caldwell.

One Night Stan
One Night Stan

Gloriously funny dating experiences, madcap fun and wonderfully touching. Rachel, Holly and Marie are three women, who are all back into the dating game. Always at the same Italian Restaurant, their mystery date is Stan (Stanley) who is dating all three women.

Arthur and Marilyn (Winner of the 2017 DIRECTORS CHOICE FINAL)

ITC presented by Half Boy Company

Written By Jasper-Lee Lindsay / Directed by Danen Young

Cast: Meg Hyeronimus and Alec Ebert

Arthur and Marilyn
Arthur and Marilyn

Clever tribute to the romance of Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller in the 1950s, with delicious fictitious dialogue. We learn exactly how Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller met. The production features a smokey haze effect caused by the cast smoking a seemingly infinite amount of herbal cigarettes.

Dead Giveaway (top 80 Week One)

By Daniel Guyton / Directed by Felicity Burke

Cast:- Duncan Armitage and Felicity Burkek

Dead Giveaway
Dead Giveaway

In an unconventional Valentine’s Day gift, Robert has paid for a funeral plot for two. The play delivers an awkward comedy about life, death, dying and permitted re-marrying choices.

Dress Ups (top 80 Week Two)

ITC presented by Grinning Sharks Productions

Written and Directed by Graham Yates

Dress Ups
Dress Ups

A drama unfolds, with the games people play with their lives, piece by piece.  The mask gradually fades away, and a world of terror is revealed. The production features a superb, compelling performance by Garreth Cruikshank.

Painting Seventeen (top80 Week Three)

Written by Sharon Cooper / Directed by Alexander Andrews

Cast:- Lauren Lloyd Williams and Elanore Knox

Painting Seventeen
Painting Seventeen

A self-portrait painted on canvas by the artist Saskia, painted when the artist was seventeen. Today the self-portrait is talking with the now thirty year old artist. The play has beautifully written dialogue, charting her life story, revealed layer after layer.  Both actors deliver charming and very believable performances. A very entertaining life story, delivered in under ten minutes.

Tapping Out (top 80 Week Four)

Written by Maura Pierlot / Directed by Cecile Payet

Cast:- Kaiya Bartholomew, Brayden Harry, Ethan Mestroni and Anton Smilek.

Tapping Out
Tapping Out

This was a winning dialogue driven drama and timpani musical piece, featuring the drummers’s tap tap tap of musical syncopation on assorted musical instruments in the percussion family. Wes is trapped in his mind palace, by reliving all the complex events that occurred   twelve months ago.

A Dog Dreams (top 80 Week Five)

Written by Jeffrey Fischer-Smith / Directed by Jace Pickard

Cast:- Jack Dawson and Richard Lund

A Dog Dreams
A Dog Dreams

This was an interesting drama, that will take you on an unexpected trajectory. Recently deceased Mark tells his partner Andy, that the family dog needs to be taken to the local park so that he can grieve about him.

Out of the Woods (top 80 Week Six)

ITC presented by Everyday Monster

Written and Directed by Brenton Amies and Cam Ralph

Cast:- Brenton Amies and Cam Ralph

Out of the Woods
Out of the Woods

This was a very dark comedy featuring two former Children’s Television hosts who are meeting to resolve their past issues. One of the characters has unresolved anger management issues, and is still costumed and speaking as “The Fluffy Bear”!

Time Squad (top80 Week Seven)

ITC presented by Black Box Theatre Co.

Written by Alexander Cuff / Directed by Luke Berman

Cast:- Bradley Ward, Alex Groombridge, Sam Sweeting and Sam Lovell

Time Squad
Time Squad

This was riotous fun featuring two time travelling police agents. The play is filled with time one liners as they meet and greet past and future versions of themselves.

Will these four Time Travelling Police Agents, solve the Predestination Paradox to stop time unravelling?

Luke Berman has expertly directed nine minutes of never ending audience laughter. One of the best comedies of the Festival.

One Punch (top 80 Week Eight)

ITC presented by Ranting Mime

Written and Directed by Jessica Fallico

Cast:- Jacinta Moses and Anthony Thomas

One Punch
One Punch

This was a superbly written drama and message piece. A boy is the  fatal victim of a cowardly one punch attack. After visiting the police morgue, his parents are still processing their terrible loss.

SHORT+SWEET GALA FINALS WEEK 

7.30 pm Friday 17th March 2017 and 7.30 pm Saturday 18th March 2017 at the Depot Theatre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville, with on-site free car parking.

All photos by Robert Miniter.

Website:-    http://www.shortandsweet.org/festivals/shortsweet-sydney-0
Facebook:-   https: //facebook.com/shortsweetsydney
Twitter:-   @ShortSweetFest
Instagram:-   @shortsweetfest

STUDENT TROUPE IN GOOD COMPANY WITH SONDHEIM

Timeless and evocative, Stephen Sondheim’s 7 time Tony Award Winner COMPANY is regarded as one of the great modern musicals.

On the night of his 35th birthday, confirmed bachelor, Robert, contemplates his unmarried state. Over the course of a series of dinners, drinks and even a wedding, his friends force the habitually single Robert to question his rigid bachelorhood during a hilarious array of interactions.

COMPANY features a brilliantly brisk and energetic score containing many of Sondheim’s best known songs including the renowned finale Being Alive. With discussions about marriage, divorce, homosexuality and commitment, COMPANY is a sophisticated and honest look at modern adult relationships.

COMPANY will be playing between Tuesday 4th April and Saturday 8 April at STUDIO ONE, UNSW : Tuesday to Friday at 7.30 pm and a Saturday matinee at 2 pm.

Book tickets at http://bit.ly/MTSCompany

For more about UNSW MTS Presents: Company, visit https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=256429&embed=256429
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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: THE CLASSIC TALE REVISITED AGAIN ON THE BIG SCREEN

 

When the animated film BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was released in November 1991, the film became an instant  classic.

With the film’s rich, beautiful, high quality level of animation and musical numbers that everyone loves and remembers, it belongs to an era known as the Disney Renaissance which includes films such as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and The Lion King.

This was a time when the studio was enjoying a resurgence in producing hit animated films. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was the third highest grossing movie of the year, just behind Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. The film made over $400 million; the highest ever grossing animated film up until that point.

The film won the Academy Award for Best Original Score and Best Original Song and was the first animated film in history to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. It spawned direct to video sequels, a TV series, an award winning live theatre adaption and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

In recent years Disney has been experiencing success with live action remakes of its back catalogue of old animated films. First it was Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, then Maleficent, a remake of Sleeping Beauty in 2014, The Jungle Book in 2016, remake of the 1967 version. To list a few in the works are live action remakes of: The Lion King, Aladdin, Dumbo, Mulan and even a sequel to Marry Poppins scheduled for sometime in 2018.

Understandably, there was enormous pressure on director Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Chicago, Dreamgirls) to come up with something special with his new version. Condon’s strong cast brings his particular vision’ vividly to life.

Emma Watson, best known as Hermione in the Harry Potter films, gives an enchanting performance as the Beauty.

Dan Stevens as the grisly and brooding Beast was a brilliant, as was Luke Evans as the narcissistic and arrogant villain Gaston who was a joy to watch. 

The support cast also deserves a worthwhile mention with Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s father, Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts, Ian McKellen is Cogsworth the clock, and Ewan McGregor as Lumière, the Candelabra were hilarious. Stanley Tucci plays Maestro Cadenza.

Josh Gad as Le Fou, Gaston’s sidekick and secret lover, is very funny. Gad’s portrayal is one of the first, if not the first openly gay character, to be portrayed in a Disney film. This has outraged has some, and there has been a drive in cinema in America that has refused to show the film.

While the film was never going to be as good or nostalgic as the 1991 animated version, this latest movie version does make for great entertainment.

The new film still contains the original numbers created by musical duo Howard Ashman and Alan Merkin such as “Be Our Guest”, “Belle” and the perennial favourite “Beauty and The Beast”. “Be Our Guest” in particular was spectacular with its dazzling CGI.

The castle, the old French villages were all stunning.

A tale as old as time itself, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST will be released in Australian cinemas on March 23.

ROCKDALE OPERA COMPANY’S GALA FUNDRAISING CONCERT

Featured image – Emma Matthews. Pic by Brendan Reid.

Rockdale Opera Company is presenting a Gala Concert, for one night only, featuring international stars and Opera Australia favourites, baritone José Carbó and soprano Emma Matthews.

They will be joined by four young, emerging operatic artists and the Rockdale Opera Company Ensemble in a program of popular arias, duets and choruses from opera, operetta and Gilbert and Sullivan.

Rockdale Opera is proud to be able to bring such a special night of beautiful music to suburban audiences in the newly refurbished Rockdale Town Hall.

DETAILS 

Rockdale Opera Company’s Gala Fundraising Concert will take place on Saturday April 8 at 7.30 pm at Rockdale Town Hall . The  ticket price of $60 includes a complimentary drink on arrival and a souvenir program.

Bookings can be made through http://www.rockdaleopera.com.au./

For more about Rockdale Opera Company Gala Fundraising Concert, visit http://www.rockdaleopera.com.au
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STELLAR ADLER MASTERCLASS IN SYDNEY FOR THE FIRST TIME

 

STELLAR ADLER MASTERCLASS in Sydney
STELLAR ADLER MASTERCLASS in Sydney

“Love the art in yourself and not yourself in the art.” – Constantin Stanislavski.   

Stella Adler Academy of Acting & Theatre – Los Angeles, is a world renowned acting school located in the heart of Hollywood, California. The school offers extensive training for the serious actor in theatre, film, and television.

The Stella Adler Technique grew out of Ms Adler’s personal work with Konstantin Stanislavski, the father of modern acting.
With a lifetime of experience, the Stellar Adler acting technique, has been studied by Hollywood stars like Robert DeNiro, Salma Hayek and Mark Ruffalo.

Short and Sweet Sydney offered two exclusive Stella Adler Master Classes to festival-goers. Continue reading STELLAR ADLER MASTERCLASS IN SYDNEY FOR THE FIRST TIME

LOVING : AN EXCEPTIONAL FILM BY JEFF NICHOLS

I saw LOVING back in November and loved it. I saw LOVING again last week and loved it even more.

As good as Emma and Natalie and Isabel were, I was fervently rooting for Ruth Negga to win the Academy Award for her beautifully poised performance as Mildred Loving, a black woman who had the temerity of accepting a marriage proposal from a white man, Richard Loving, in the state of Virginia, United States of America, 1958.

The United States of America, contrary to its appellation, was not united in everything, as the Appalachian state continued with a miscegenist law about marriage. It was the state of Virginia, where the appropriately named Loving’s were making their home and starting a family, that first terrorised and humiliated them, then jailed them and then banished them for defying its law against interracial marriage. Continue reading LOVING : AN EXCEPTIONAL FILM BY JEFF NICHOLS

MELBOURNE CITY BALLET PRESENTS ‘BEING IN TIME’ @ THE CONCOURSE

Melbourne City Ballet has been going for a decade now and this is their first visit to the Concourse with their explosive and dynamic triple bill of world premieres given the umbrella title of BEING IN TIME.

One of the important philosophical publications of our time by Martin Heidegger is the foundation for the work. The program examines the belief that philosophical thinking begins with and reflects its human subjects, in their acting, feeling, and as recognisable living human individuals. This existential understanding of being is grounded in time. Another phrase for it is ‘living in the moment’. All three short, sharp works used a recorded soundtrack. Continue reading MELBOURNE CITY BALLET PRESENTS ‘BEING IN TIME’ @ THE CONCOURSE

JACINTEGRATING WITH JACINTA GREGORY @ THE FACTORY

Jacintergrating is … um… Entertainavating!  

Jacinta Gregory has constructed an entertaining show full of carefully balanced variety, terrific singing with great music and loads of promise.  Beginning with a very well penned, funny yet sort of sad, opening song about Gregory’s depression and ending with a full downer ballad about her struggles, the show has Gregory’s singing and original material at its centre.

And she writes really well.  The songs, short and snappy in the main, have a wistful ring beneath their wry look at life. It’s light with an occasional hint of something deeper but not taking itself too seriously.  There is no shortage of satire either.  Getting an audience on her side to singalong with a racist ditty about nationalism was really clever.   Continue reading JACINTEGRATING WITH JACINTA GREGORY @ THE FACTORY

DYLAN THOMAS’ ‘UNDER MILKWOOD’ @ GENESIAN THEATRE

Production photography by Chris Butel.

In their impressive opening night of UNDER MILKWOOD by Dylan Thomas  the Genesian thespians have intrigued and entertained their audience once again.

This was a wonderful stage adaptation of Dylan Thomas’s radio drama from 1954. Director Yularia Rogers and Assistant Director Michael Heming bring to life in miniature the  goings-on in everyday life in a close-knit, but cliquey Welsh fishing village, in which Thomas with his wry wit  dubbed ‘Liareggub’ – where bugger all (the spelling backwards) happens!

Even before the performance,  in the tiny Genesian foyer, we have an ocean tang of the nautical  events set to unfold on the stage.  Under the opaque lamps,  glass mooring  buoys are strung.

A beautiful mural, etched in ink and subtle  water-color created by one of the actors Tiffany Hoy, hangs near the glass buoys.  Her seascape mural is worthy of close perusal before even entering the theatre.  Framed by twisted rope we are given an introduction to the blind clipper seaman Captain  Cat.

Under a dinghy buoy three mermaids are clasping ropes under water.  Sitting on a jetty we observe a fisherman ‘snag’ a mermaid.  In the village there are headstones of past lives and the village pump the scene of fresh washing billowing in the wind, while children chase hoops near the village pub ‘The Sailor’s Arms’. Then  finally on the left side of the mural jolly friesian cows with brimming  udders.

Hoy’s creative mural serves not only as an extension to the set on stage but gives us an exciting insight into the wide array of characters on stage and their dreams of a less onerous existence.

To portray these Fisher-folk, Yularia Rogers has written in her program notes that her nine crazy actors  managed to juggle  and play some 54 characters! Quite an amazing achievement.

The stage set by Martin Searles and lighting design by Liam O’Keefe is magical with misty midnight blue hurricane lamps glowing from  barnacle ropes – looking like twisted kelp.  

We are drawn into King Neptune’s cavern at forty fathoms. Then we see Blind Captain Cat who is adrift in a dinghy with drowned sailors tugging on ropes willy-nilly bow and stern, trying to pull the Captain in and out of Davey Jones watery Locker. It is then the Captain sees the web footed cockle women.

Through the play Dylan Thomas  is the omniscient  narrator who entices the audience with the allure of his words into the dreams and subconscious thoughts of the Fisher- folk.

“From where you are, you can hear their dreams. Captain Cat, the retired blind sea-Captain, asleep in his bunk in the sea-shelled, ship-in-bottled, shipshape best cabin of Schooner House dreams of.”

Second Voice : “never such seas as any that swamped the decks of his S.S. Kidwelly you- bellying over the bedclothes  and jellyfish – slippery and sucking him down salt-deep into the Davey dark where the fish come biting out and nibble him down to the Wishbone, and the long-drowned nuzzle up to him.”

And love-tragic Captain Cat who hankers for Rosie Provert  whose name is tattooed on his belly. But poor Rosie is long dead and tells Cat she can taste the dirt in her mouth and that she is being taken away in the darkness.

The production’s soundscape featured original music guitar, organ/accordion and saxophone credits by Courtney Hough, Tiffany Hoy, and Tim Quaife. Their music added yet another dimension to the production.

With their costume designs, Pheonuh Callan and Susan Carveth added authenticity and vibrant colour to the characters.

I was saddened by the character of Polly Gartner- a scarlet woman who sings and scrubs in her bloomers of the same colour, much to the chagrin of others in the village. Polly sings and dreams of her past paramours and pines for her dead lover while trysting with countless others.

My recommendation. Book yourself tickets to see this fascinating  show, and give yourself the pleasure of seeing first hand Tiffany Hoy’s wonderful mural and then meeting all 54 characters in Dylan Thomas’ classic tale. The show plays till April 8.

 

 

 

ROCKDALE MUSICAL SOCIETY DELIVERS A MEMORABLE ‘THE KING AND I’

This Rogers and Hammerstein play is one of the great works in the canon of musical theatre.

There is so much heart in this tale, based on a true story, about a widowed English schoolteacher who travels to Siam, now Thailand, to take on the job of the King of Siam’s flock of children.

Rockdale Musical Society, in a production directed by Cathy Boyle, has just completed a very fine revival of this masterpiece, replete with melting moments. It is a production which the Society should be immensely proud of.

Stephen Halstead was suitably regal and arrogant as the King of Siam, a fictional version of the King Mongkut. Halstead showed good dramatic range but also displayed some good light touches, etc, etc, etc….

Charmaine  Gibbs gave a faultless performance as the anything  but demure British widow, Anne Leonowens.

Tisha Kelemens was a stand-out as the King’s proud chief wife Lady Thiang and she thrilled the audience with her rich, strong voice.

Natalie Rose Cassanti gave a heartfelt, luminous performance as Tuptim, one of the King’s junior wives, formerly a slave in Burma, who rebels and  falls in love with Lun Tha, a Burmese scholar, well played by Jeremy Boulton. The romantic scene played  out between Natalie and Jeremy was one of the show’s highlights.

Max Fernandez  was very fetching as  Anne’s sweet, adorable son, Louis.

Ellis Pinkerton, playing the King’s oldest son and heir Prince Chulalongkorn made the most of his big scene when the dying King hands over the reins of power to him.

The large supporting cast playing the King’s wives, the Amazons who protect them, his many children and an array of Ballet dancers each made important  contributions to the show.

As indeed did Boyle’s impressive creative team – Bob Peet’s very functional set, Keely Soulsby’s choreographer, and Musical Director  Ian Buchanan and his very fine, lush sounding orchestra.

Rockdale Musical Society’s impressive production of THE KING AND I played the Rockdale Town Hall between the 3rd and the 13th March.

 

THE PANTHER WITHIN : A STRIKING NEW AUSTRALIAN DOCUMENTARY

Knocking the Who Do You Think You Are? concept out of the ring, THE PANTHER WITHIN is a winning technical and emotional knock-out of a film.

In a tag team bout of several suspenseful rounds, film-maker Edoardo Crismani and his mother Barbara embark on a search to unravel the mystery surrounding Barbara’s father Joe Murray, an indigenous boxing champion who danced and sang vaudeville, and married a blue-eyed blond white woman in 1930s Australia. Astonishing!

On the ropes as far as reliable historical documentation regarding Joe Murray, mother and son journey across the land, from Adelaide to Mildura, Melbourne and Ballarat. They trawl through libraries, meet with researchers, historians and Aboriginal elders, delving into the hidden heritage of the man known as The Black Panther, trying to piece his story together. Continue reading THE PANTHER WITHIN : A STRIKING NEW AUSTRALIAN DOCUMENTARY

THE PUZZLE COLLECTIVE PRESENTS ‘SUPERHAL’ @ THE PARADE THEATRE, NIDA

Sorry readers but I am afraid this production was disappointing. Enthusiastically directed by John Galea, The Puzzle Collective is currently presenting an abridged version of both parts of Shakespeare’s Henry IV as well as Henry V, after interval.

The idea behind this adaptation was clever, involving updating the three pieces, and then adapting them to be akin to computer games, with superheroes to make the plays more accessible and contemporary to younger audiences.

The production kept the historical linear narrative as necessarily demanded but it wasn’t sure if it was ‘traditional ‘ Shakespeare ,beautifully ,eloquently spoken or rough and ready in ‘contemporary ‘ style with minimalist staging.

There were three platforms that could be shifted to represent different locations and allowed for fluid scene changes. Continue reading THE PUZZLE COLLECTIVE PRESENTS ‘SUPERHAL’ @ THE PARADE THEATRE, NIDA

PALACE OPERA AND BALLET : LA SCALA BALLET PRESENTS MACMILLAN’S ‘ROMEO AND JULIET’

 

Lush and stylish, this production is a glorious feats of dance, yet again proving why this version is rightly regarded as a classic. Macmillan’s fiendishly difficult choreography is marvellously performed.

This screening,  in which we get to see Roberto Bolle and Misty Copeland dance together for the first time. is of the performance that took place at the  Teatro alla Scala in Milan on the 15th January this year.

The orchestra under the baton of maestro Patrick Fournillier played the lyrical, achingly passionate Prokofiev music thrillingly.  Music lovers should enjoy the many detailed closeups of the various sections of the orchestra.

Continue reading PALACE OPERA AND BALLET : LA SCALA BALLET PRESENTS MACMILLAN’S ‘ROMEO AND JULIET’

SHORT+SWEET PEOPLES CHOICE FINAL 2017 WEEK NINE @ THE DEPOT THEATRE

Eight plays were selected by audiences, during the eight weeks of Top80 S+S heats.

Every week Short and  Short audiences voted for just one play to make the People’s Choice Final held this weekend, both on Saturday and Sunday evening.

The play voted winner of the People’s Choice finals gets to compete in the Short and Sweet Grand Final next weekend.

The Divide (Week One)

Written and Directed by Nicola Quilter

Cast: Pearl Herbet and Emmanuel Spiropoulos

Drama showing future events in the un-United Kingdom, almost thirty years after BREXIT Thursday 23rd June 2016. Dialogue was very hard to understand, because of the collapse of the English Language. Message of despair, now with the main character carrying his unusual square-shaped Union Jack Flag. Keeping his valid London passport in hand, he is seeking to return to the deliberately walled City of London, within the time limitation.

George Brown Steps Out (Week Two)

By Gerry Greenland / Directed by Sonia Bible

Cast: Rob White and Dudley Levell

George Brown (original cast)
George Brown (original cast)

George Brown has been kidnapped for ransom, and expects to die as he knows of no-one willing to pay the ransom. Yet another awesome comedy experience, as we learn everything about this pretty ordinary George Brown, who needs to change for the better.

Moist (Week Three)

ITC presented by Grumpy Mandrake Theatre

By Seymour Nixen / Directed by Nathan Farrow

Cast: Nyssa Hamilton, Tayla Jarrett and Debbie Neilson.

Moist
Moist

Beautifully costumed epic comedy set in a bakery, including Frosty wearing those very famous ruby slippers. Both Sparkle and Frosty are cupcakes. Almond is a sucrose-free and gluten-free xylitol-infused organic muffin. All three are desperate, because they remain unsold at the end of the business day.

Huge comedy piece, dialogue driven comedy that has been expertly timed, and the cast gave perfect performances. Magnificent and shining example of the best of everything that the Festival provides every week. Continue reading SHORT+SWEET PEOPLES CHOICE FINAL 2017 WEEK NINE @ THE DEPOT THEATRE

LUCY KIRKWOOD’S ‘CHIMERICA’ @ ROSLYN PACKER THEATRE

The inspiration for Lucy Kirkwood’s play CHIMERICA was the famous photo taken of a Chinese man, holding grocery bags in both hands, who stood defiantly in front of a group of tanks, the morning after the Tiananmen Square massacre of protesters by the army in Beijing in 1989. When the front tank tried to swerve past him, in either direction, the man bravely continued to block him. Images of this defiant man were captured and ‘spread’ around the globe. The anonymous man became known as Tankman.

Kirkwood’s CHIMERICA is a work of the imagination. It features a what if scenario woven out of a well known real life situation. Continue reading LUCY KIRKWOOD’S ‘CHIMERICA’ @ ROSLYN PACKER THEATRE

FESTIVAL DIRECTOR’S PICKS FIGHT IT OUT THIS WEEK @ THE DEPOT THEATRE

During the eight weeks of S+S heats, Festival Director Wayne Tunks has picked one S+S play each week which displayed excellence in writing, directing, acting and team work.

This week those eight S+S plays now have their own final, on Thursday March 9 and Friday March 10 at 7.30pm

This is a fierce competition, because one play, will be chosen to go to the S+S Gala Final the following week.

Beard (Week 1)

ITC presented by Viridescent

Written by Erin Middleton and Robert Miniter / Directed by Lawrence Dooley

Cast: Erin Middleton and Robert Miniter

Beard
Beard

Praying the gay away. The need to pretend to be, what parents incorrectly want. Both ignoring aversion therapy, boy meets girl, and the girl offers to be his beard, to misleadingly prove that the weeks of treatment actually works.

T3 Trojan (Week 2)

ITC presented by Bare Bones Theatre Co.

Written and Directed by Judith Duncan

Cast: Karishma Mathur

T3 Trojan
T3 Trojan

Very entertaining, dramatic injustice monologue of woman versus machine, with essential content very reminiscent of “Fahrenheit 451” and “Divergent”. The human element has been removed, dystopian justice is now very blind. Blindfolded and kept in an execution cell, and a computer is your judge jury and executioner, because all justice is badly administered by artificial intelligence, with urgent need for change. The twist ending was inspired, and brilliantly original.                Continue reading FESTIVAL DIRECTOR’S PICKS FIGHT IT OUT THIS WEEK @ THE DEPOT THEATRE

JOURNEY OF EXPECTATIONS : TRACY DODS AND WILL MAGUIRE @ TRAFFIC JAM GALLERIES

As part of Art Month there is a wonderful exhibition currently showing at Traffic Jam Galleries , by Tracy Dods and Will Maguire, under the umbrella title JOURNEY OF EXPECTATIONS.

TRACY DODS

With its recurring motifs of businessmen walking into, or being consumed by the sea – Tracy Dod’s idiosyncratic work is bleak yet striking.

Most of her works have ominous clouds or at least a hint of stormy weather in the background.

Tracy lives in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales and spends much of her time in Sydney, observing the people she paints in areas/zones of urban activity such as Martin Place.

Merger, featuring two older businessmen on the edge of water, is not just about a business merger but is also slightly surrealistic – note how the hair of the pair is blown and merged together.

Mare Ditat (The Sea Restores) features a hunched, anxious businessman , holding his jacket, perhaps returning to the waiting viewer – cleansed of his sins of corruption?!

Momentary Equilibrium is rather surrealistic too in the depiction of the tumbling windblown, twig like hair.

In White Paper, the reflections and flying hair are marvellously depicted. Continue reading JOURNEY OF EXPECTATIONS : TRACY DODS AND WILL MAGUIRE @ TRAFFIC JAM GALLERIES

MIRANDA MUSICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS ‘WICKED’ @ SUTHERLAND ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE

WICKED – music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, book by Winnie Holzman, tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two girls who first meet as sorcery students at Shiz University: the blonde and very popular Glinda and a misunderstood green girl named Elphaba. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz  see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.

The Miranda Musical Society’s (MMS) revival of WICKED will play the Sutherland Entertainment Centre on Wednesday March 22 at 8 pm, Thursday March 23 at 11 am and 8 pm, Friday March 25 at 2 pm and 8 pm, and Sunday March 26 at 11 am and 5 pm.

Bookings : 95218888 or goo.gl/pC7ylM

For more about WICKED presented by Miranda Musical Society, visit http://www.mirandamusicalsociety.com.au

Find MMS on: YouTube | Facebook

WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA : GENIUS @ THE CONCOURSE

The Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and conductor Dr Nicholas Milton were off to a terrific start for 2017 with their concert entitled GENIUS, part of the year long program entitled ENDURING PASSION.

The concert featured works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Brahms with special guest artist, gifted violinist Lily Higson-Spence.

Overall the orchestra was in fine, glowing form with a delicious rich tone. Dr Milton conducted very energetically yet extremely precisely .

The concert rocketed off to a tense, dynamic start with Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No.3. In the form of a dramatic full scale single symphonic movement, the piece was eloquently played and featured an augmented horn section. The work featured surging, crashing, tempestuous strings with a flute soaring above and  an inquisitive questioning woodwind, all leading up to an impressive, thrilling finale.

Guest artist Lily Higson-Spence, in a long flowing halter neck beige gown with a large bow at the back, dazzled playing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor Op.64.

The standard symphonic structure is used by Mendelssohn but slightly changed by the composer. It is regarded as one of the most lyrical and flowing works of its type and is one of the most frequently performed of all violin pieces. The work had its premiere in Leipzig on March 13, 1845.

For this work, Higson-Spence, Dr Milton and the Orchestra combined as one for a magnificent performance. It was mostly Higson-Spence ,however, leading the discussion between the three in collaborative harmony .

Higson-Spence’s bravura solos were mesmerising. Her violin had a pure tone, precisely controlled yet volcanic underneath. Sometimes the violin, singing its heart out, was lyrical and reflective, melancholic and passionate, at other times the violin darted about at a blistering pace.

There was a seamless flow between movements : the first was somewhat turbulent, with a wonderful bassoon transition to the ardent second movement and the third movement was animated , leading to an invigorating finale. Continue reading WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA : GENIUS @ THE CONCOURSE

DAVID STRATTON : A CINEMATIC LIFE

What a cast!

Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Sam Neil, Judy Davis, Jackie Weaver, Rachel Griffiths, Geoffrey Rush, Bryan Brown and Eric Bana. To name a few. That’s the incredible line-up amassed for DAVID STRATTON: A CINEMATIC LIFE.

A film critic can sometimes unearth an audience for a film that does not have the vast advertising techniques and budget that ensures a mass audience for a major movie, usually from a studio in Hollywood.

Such an excavator is David Stratton whose exuberance for the wide exhibition of quality films, especially those made in Australia, is extolled in this brilliant exultation of local films, DAVID STRATTON: A CINEMATIC LIFE. Continue reading DAVID STRATTON : A CINEMATIC LIFE

SHORT+SWEET QUEER LGBTQI 2017 WEEK NINE @ THE DEPOT THEATRE

Curated by Festival Director Wayne Tunks, this was presented as part of Short+Sweet Sydney 2017 and the Sydney Mardi Gras 2017.

The plays featured in this brief season taking place on Tuesday 7th March and Wednesday 8th March at 7.30 pm, featured the very best QUEER LGBTQI plays from the Short+Sweet 2017 Season.

(1) – Dress Ups

ITC presented by Grinning Shark Productions

Written and Directed by Graham Yates

Dress Ups
Dress Ups

Drama unfolds, with the games people play with their lives, piece by piece, as the mask gradually fades away, the world of terror within is revealed. Superb and compelling performance by Garreth Cruikshank.

(2) – Queerachy

Written by Zoe Brinnard / Directed by Megan Shooter

Cast: Rebecca Abdel-Messih, Alana Birtles, Wayne Dawson and Zed Norrie

Queerachy
Queerachy

Message comedy at the disco, out for a night of fun, two lesbians and two gays. Every day is S.S.D.D. and important to remember that we are all people. Discrimination males against females, taking exception to the disc-jockey at the venue not being male. Continue reading SHORT+SWEET QUEER LGBTQI 2017 WEEK NINE @ THE DEPOT THEATRE

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