All posts by Allan Chapple

Allan Chapple has done over three thousand performances, including the series director in 2005 Tele movie ''Dynasty – Behind the Scenes'', two thirds of which involved singing, and has produced a dozen or more dramatic and comic plays, 2 full scale musicals, 6 theatre restaurant shows, 20 pantomimes and children’s shows, 2 short films and written and directed some 60 corporate and training videos. He has taught acting for TV and Film at Ensemble Studios as well as acting for theatre at Brent Street and many other schools, and corporate communication skills for many top leaders in the public and private sectors.

ARMS AND THE MAN @ DEPOT THEATRE MARRICKVILLE

This enduring classic from George Bernard Shaw was first produced in 1895 at the Playhouse Theatre. And almost exactly a year ago the STC mounted a production at the Opera House, directed by Richard Cotterill. But with all their lavish set and costumes I doubt they would have bested this little gem of a show at the Depot Theatre in Marrickville last night.

This is all the more remarkable considering the difference in venue and budget and the fact that for the latter part of the rehearsal period the director, Linda Beattie, was taken ill and the cast had to step to bring themselves and the production to opening night performance level! Indeed when I heard of Ms Beattie’s misfortune just prior to curtain up I was filled with misgivings about what I was to see. I need not have worried. This game little group of troupers delivered a delightful rendition of GBS’ masterful script that skipped along at a cracking pace. 

The cast were all very good with stand out performances from Jodine Muir as RAINA, Amrik Tumber as CAPTAIN BLUNTSCHLI, (especially laudable considering his comparative lack of ‘runs on the boards), and Angelina Andrews as LOUKA. (I challenged her not giving me a chocolate before the show as she circulated in character just to see what she would do – but, as always, experience will out!) Thus Will Reilly’s SERGIUS was delicious and Nicholas Gledhill, Denise Kitching and Ross Scott were all tasteful as the PETKOFF Household. There were no weak links and the ensemble cast were a credit to undoubtedly good early direction from Linda Beattie!

The costumes were more than adequate. The rather limited sets were reflective of obvious budget constraints although the furniture looked nice and the lighting and incidental music were fine under the circumstances.

This wonderful example of George Bernard Shaw using farce to examine the foibles of war and vain society in the late 19th century has always been one of my very favourite theatre pieces. This presentation was handled deftly with a light touch. Well done! Very enjoyable.

The Depot Theatre, rising out of the site of the old Sidetrack Theatre from the proud efforts of Julie Baz and David Jeffrey, is a worthy example of rebirth and rejuvenation. Long may it prosper!

ARMS AND THE MAN at The Depot Theatre, Marrickville 21st – 24th September.

WE WILL ROCK YOU @ LYRIC THEATRE, THE STAR

We Will Rock You - second

During early acting classes we were taught to critique performances objectively. Sure they won us but how/ what are the elements, the ingredients that made such a treat? Not easy when you’re talking about the music of Queen and an excitement quotient offs the scale!

My introduction to Queen was their third album Sheer Heart Attack in 1974. And I was lucky enough to see the London production of WE WILL ROCK YOU and the bar was set pretty high. Until last Wednesday night it was one of my very favourite performances! Continue reading WE WILL ROCK YOU @ LYRIC THEATRE, THE STAR

THE 5TH WAVE

5TH WAVE

Event Cinemas in George Street  was abuzz with this exciting preview of Sony Pictures’ THE 5th WAVE as I dutifully joined the queue of almost exclusively young people for “phone cloaking”, (my first experience of this but a great idea), before being allowed to take a seat. I turned to two of student age and asked whence they came; “We’re from Bangladesh.” “That’s nice. But were you just sent an invite or did you enter a competition, or…?”  “Yes. We won a competition.” And the queue moved on.

Inside the cinema I checked with another couple sitting beside me. “Yeah. We entered a competition on Facebook and we both won! I just hope they don’t spend too much time dealing with young romance.” (They didn’t. But more about that later.) Then there was a brief intro from a young host from Dymocks Publishing who awarded gift packs for first correct answers to a quiz about the young adult novel by Rick Yancey  from which the movie was made and we were off on our adventure. Continue reading THE 5TH WAVE

SECRETS @ THE FAMOUS SPIEGELTENT HYDE PARK

Photographer  Prudence Upton captures the great atmosphere conjured up by the show SECRETS currently playing in the famous Spiegeltent.
Photographer Prudence Upton captures the great atmosphere conjured up by the current show SECRETS.

Sydney Festival is quickly earning a worldwide reputation as unmissable and this quirky, cheeky, flagrant, even luscious presentation is yet another reason this is so.

The first throaty nuanced vocals from  American Conceptualist/ Singer Claron McFadden promised an intimate insight into the foibles and eccentricities of ordinary people from across the world. Her promise is fulfilled as she treated  us to little tales that ranged from a cute pet goldfish requiem right up to tragic and traumatic suicidal admittances that made the audience uncomfortably close to voyeuristic accomplices. But just like the ‘rubber-necking’ motorists queuing slowly past an accident, we were ‘engaged’ and begged for more. Continue reading SECRETS @ THE FAMOUS SPIEGELTENT HYDE PARK

Royal Shakespeare Company presents Gregory Doran’s production of Henry V

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What a wonderful new innovation this is by the RSC, bringing all the atmosphere of this famous Stratford venue of  Shakespeare’s productions to a whole new range of audiences who may not otherwise have the opportunity!

We start our viewing with an introduction from the director, Gregory Doran, the RSC’s current Artistic Director, setting the scene. This is the first production of Henry V he has staged and he contends that no other of the Bard’s plays has been so appropriated.

Lawrence Olivier produced his film of the play in 1944 as England prepared for the Normandy Landing, was told by Winston Churchill that it needed to lift the morale of the population. He subsequently shortened the script by 1,700 lines, taking out any negative things said about the king! Doran: “It was needed to be a piece of patriotic jingoism, if you like.”

Ever since, the play has often been presented in a time of crisis: Peter Hall’s production in the early 1960’s, while anti Vietnam War demonstrations were going on, Kenneth Branagh’s in 1984, at the height of the Falklands Crisis. It’s a barometer of the public mood towards war.

This time around, although it’s the 600th Anniversary of the actual Battle of Agincourt, there  isn’t a particular war going on. So we can look at the play without feeling we have to be partisan about war itself. Doran again: “Now it’s a study of how Henry grows into his role of Warrior King. His relationship to God is very interesting. I know of no other Shakespearean character who mentions God as much.”

Henry’s  quest as a warrior king does not come lightly but at the cost of many lives of ordinary men, sons of “fathers of war proof” who, as we see in the play, are not necessarily as imbued with the need to conquer as their king. Professor James Shapiro attests that Shakespeare was very attuned to current events and good at incorporating popular mores into his plays. “What’s extraordinary about this play is how he has included all the voices across society from those in power, those challenging or rebelling against this power, to those pro war or against or those just doing what they’re told.”

In 1599, at the end of Elizabeth the First’s reign when this play was written, England was in the middle of the Nine Year War with Ireland. A year earlier the Earl of Essex was dispatched to relieve the garrison at Armargh. His force was destroyed but at that time in England one in fifty men was conscripted. Shapiro: “You can feel the play resting on the tectonic plates of this fraught cultural and social moment.  …it makes you feel the fear in the streets of London.”

We also hear from Alex Hassell who plays Henry, who previously performed as Hal in Henry IV Parts I & II. In his opinion the play is an account of how the young Prince Hal copes with being thrust into the awful position of power upon the death of his father; leaving behind the  influence of Falstaff and  the “gadding about’  and excessive lifestyle, deciding “who to trust” in taking up the legacy of regaining the lands in France lost to his forebears.

Hassell commented, “I think it’s important to allow a character to grow during the time of the play rather than see how the character ends up and play that from the beginning.”

Unfortunately, in this reviewer’s humble opinion, although I have no doubt Alex Hassell’s delivery style suited young Prince Hal, he seemed not to develop the gravitas needed as the Warrior King. “Once more unto the breach, dear friends!” I’m afraid sounded more like a fearful schoolboy trying to banish terror by giving himself a good pep talk than one of the most inspirational speeches in literature, guaranteed to “conjure up the blood”.

We also heard from Oliver Ford Davies who played a charming Chorus: “The Chorus has three characteristics: he narrates, tells the story. But at the beginning it’s a plea to the audience to forgive the inadequacies of staging. Then, third, he is the “unreliable narrator”; a device whereby Shakespeare gives us the unofficial history, contending that war is perhaps more complex than the official history books will tell you.” This Chorus  is a warm, kindly,  likeable figure whose plea or instructions you would be heartless to deny.

The production generally is a lot of fun. Even before the first famous line: “OH, for a muse of fire that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention!…” there is humour. As the Chorus wanders on stage and picks up the King’s crown, supposedly carelessly left on the throne, Hassell strides on and takes it from him, throws a look at the audience, then strides off – to the audience’s delight.

The production features lusty performances from the entire cast, with stand out scenes full of slapstick and wit to suit all tastes as the Bard intended, from Antony Byrne playing Auncient Pistol, Sarah Parks  playing Mistress Nell Quickly, Martin Bassindale playing Robin the Luggage-Boy, (played by Christian Bale in Kenneth Branagh’s film, Robert Gilbert playing Louis the Dauphin and especially Jane Lapotaireas as Queen Isobel and Jennifer Kirby, as Princess Katherine de Valois.

After the Battle of Agincourt is fought and won, (sounds easy when you say it quickly!) the light relief we crave is very ably and enjoyably provided again with wit and nonsense involving Pistol and Captain Llewellyn. Then follows a wonderful tortured scene from Queen Isobel as she decries the loss of peace in France; “Alas, she has too long been chased.” (which turns out to be extremely apt and poignant given the events of Black Friday 13th 2015!).

Then, ironically, Mr Hassell seems more comfortable in the ‘unanswered love’ scene with Katherine,  playing the fumbling King out of his comfort zone with faltering French, trying to win her love.

Everything about this production is quite delightful, notwithstanding my reservations about Mr Hassell’s performance.  The staging and costumes, the live Medieval style accompanying music, (although I would have liked to hear them a little more), and the lusty performances make it a  noble effort  worthy of the  iconic RSC,  and is guaranteed to  “..bend up every spirit to his full height!”

Recommended. Cinemagoers can see this Royal Shakespeare production of the Bard’s HENRY V PARTS 1 AND 2  when it screens at the Palace Verona and Norton Street cinemas. Screening times of the film for both cinemas are Saturday 21 November and Sunday 22 November at 1pm.

Hugh Jackman Announces Broadway To Oz Arena Tour This November and December

HUGH JACKMAN
Images of one of our greatest exports Hugh Jackman. Featured pic courtesy of AFP

A large Sydney Media Scrum, print, electronic and online are  summoned to the Grand Ballroom, Four Seasons Hotel, George Street, Sydney  12.30 setup for a 12.45 start. Hugh’s wife, Debra Lee-Furness and their daughter, Eva, arrive at the same time as the choir and music director file onstage. The choir sing an ascending, non descript cadence, but we can’t be fooled.

Right on cue, cameras swivel and lights flash as the unmistakable voice enters through the audience: ”I’ve been to cities that never close down …”, and we’re off into a rousing rendition of Peter Allen’s “I Still Call Australia Home”.

The consummate showman, Golden Globe, Emmy and Tony Award winner, then announces that he is returning home to Australia in November and December for a five-city arena concert tour – BROADWAY TO OZ – which is based on his smash hit and sold out Broadway show, Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway.      Continue reading Hugh Jackman Announces Broadway To Oz Arena Tour This November and December

Of Mice And Men @ The Reginald Theatre Seymour Centre

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Adapted  in 1937, by  Nobel prize–winning author John Steinbeck from his novella written the same year, this wonderful play tells  the story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced ranch workers in California, searching for a job during  the Great Depression.  The title comes from Robert Burns perhaps most used  quote, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”

You know from the start that this complementary friendship between the intelligent but uneducated George and the gentle, developmentally challenged  giant, Lennie is headed inexorably toward disaster. (The term ‘politically correct’ was not invented in 1937 and Steinbecks’ novella attracted a lot of criticism for using words like “Dumb”  and Nigger!).

Dread and trepidation accompanied me as I took my seat last night in the Reginald Theatre down the stairs  at the Selmour Centre. The idea of not controlling our destiny was echoed again in the program note about, “we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.”

The moment we stepped into the theatre space we saw a very natural relaxed character playing slide guitar blues in the style of a panhandler  straight out of the great depression. Then the unlikely pair of road travellers, George and Lennie, enter and put us at ease naturally with nicely crafted characters, regular humour and warmth that transported us with them to the promised land of the farm up ahead and the possibility of their own little ‘passle’ of land, a safe haven where Lennie can stay out of trouble and George can relax.

The stage then erupts with raucous farm hands transforming the space into the bunkhouse to the accompaniment of that natural guitar again and we know that we’re in good hands- but  it’s gonna be a bumpy ride to drama and pain!

The cast are superb in every role. Andrew Henry delivers a sensitive characterisation of Lennie, a role which  it  would be so easy to overplay and lose empathy. Anthony Gooley is a wonderful, caring George. (I saw those tears at the end.)

Anna Houston  was  captivating  as Curley’s plaintive desperate wife. Andre de Vanny played Curly, a villain to hate and Christopher Stollery played Slim, a solid support for George when needed.

John McNeil, Laurence Coy, Terry Serio, Charles Allen and Tom Stokes were all splendid and natural in character and performance. I make no apologies for reusing the word ‘natural’  to describe everything about this outstanding production.

We saw a simple but effective design from Michael Hankin,  (I loved his design of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels),  enhanced by the lighting design from Sian James Holland and Nate Edmondson.

Iain Sinclair’s direction elevated this classic script  to  unusual  heights, the use of naturally occurring  sound in the background created atmosphere, and the audience’s commitment was palpable. I heard sighs and gasps at all the right times.

The last scene led to nearly half a minute of stunned silence, then the rapturous applause exploded. Then we all trooped out, moved but satisfied .. naturally.

A Sport for Jove production, Jon Steinbeck’s OF MICE AND MEN is playing the Reginald theatre at the Seymour Centre until the 1st August.

A TOUCH OF WINTER MAGIC COMING UP @ THE PADDINGTON RSL CLUB

Kirribilli Choir 4.1
The Kirribilli Choir

BlackbirdThey say that music soothes the savage beast and warms the heart. And the therapeutic strength of the human voice is well documented. So, in one of our coldest winters, we are ready to weave a little hypnotic magic, care of some wonderful choir music.

The BONDI SINGS COMMUNITY CHOIR, with their much loved arrangements in many styles from classical to gospel, jazz standards and contemporary pop music, will be heading a night celebrating the power of the human voice, joined by BLACKBIRD, an engaging vocal/guitar duo who will captivate with their  unique arrangements of popular songs, THE KIRRIBILLI 4, an outstanding guitar quartet, THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER CHOIR Continue reading A TOUCH OF WINTER MAGIC COMING UP @ THE PADDINGTON RSL CLUB

Hot Shoe Shuffle @ The Bryan Brown Theatre Bankstown

Birdie Productions - Hot Shoe Shuffle - Grant Leslie

HOT SHOE SHUFFLE at the Bryan Brown Theatre – an illustrious show by David Atkins and Max Lambert- at a venue with an illustrious name. Both were enhanced last night by a pearl of a performance, a reinvention of this wonderful show with an enthusiastic young cast led by an equally enthusiastic old hand in the person of Mr Daryl Somers OAM!

Somers takes the opportunity to thank Rod Bertram of  Birdie Productions for the invitation to appear in this show. And if you’ve ever wondered how this worthy recipient of 30 Logies, 3 of them Gold, and an Order of Australia Medal for service to the Television and entertainment industries, with over 40 years experience in TV and Theatre spends his time currently, then worry no more. Celebrate a charming, sparkling performance amid this vital and talented group of performers! Continue reading Hot Shoe Shuffle @ The Bryan Brown Theatre Bankstown

Jerry and Tom @ The Exchange Hotel

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Production photos by GiGee Photography

The director, Maggie Scott welcomed me  last Thursday night to a delightful little venue, the Craftsman Bar within Balmain’s Exchange Hotel. I took my seat to settle in for ninety odd minutes of something a little different in the arena of comedy.

Rick Cleveland, the writer of this quirky little one-act play, happened to be working at a “mob run comedy club in Ohio”, (shades of  “The Sopranos”, a confessed favourite of Maggie’s; she even used the TV show’s theme music). Surprise! He later learns that a couple of his friends are hitmen, convicted of murder. This of course prompts a script about the almost causal tendencies of people with a ‘very specific skill set’! Continue reading Jerry and Tom @ The Exchange Hotel

Short and Sweet Voices Gala Final @ The Chatswood Concourse

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Inset pic- The group Sista. Pic Geoff Sirmai. Featured pic- Group shot. Pic- Sylvi Soe

The SHORT and SWEET, VOICES Festival Coordinator, Lenore Robertson,(singer, chorister, director) confided to me that she saw music as very therapeutic and often inspiring, especially: “…sitting in the audience and watching the faces. It’s about sharing the joy of singing!

Last night’s Gala Final was a feast of auditory delight, a love fest for devotees of choral excellence or just GP audients ready to have their ears treated to a wonderful variety of choirs, vocal ensembles and barbershop quartets.          

Continue reading Short and Sweet Voices Gala Final @ The Chatswood Concourse

Waves @ Bondi Pav

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Inset- Alice Mary Cooper in her one woman show WAVES. Featured- The inventor of the butterfly stroke, Aussie swimmer, Elizabeth Moncello

Sipping a pre-show drink on the deck, watching the surfers while you wait to take your seat you realise the Bondi Pavilion Theatre is the perfect venue for a show called WAVES about a swimmer by a swimmer. In performance Ms Cooper’s affinity for the subject, (“So, you’re a swimmer?”) becomes an obvious asset as she begins to weave a spell over her audience on this delightful journey from her recent past.

WAVES  is the story of Elizabeth Moncello: and her youth spent growing up on a small Australian island in the 1920’s and how she came to be the unofficial inventor of the butterfly stroke, by copying the fish, penguins and dolphins, as told to the writer/performer. Ms Cooper’s  eloquent retelling using occasional mime, regular vocal gymnastics and humour, but always very apparent love for her subject swept us up in her warm tale. Continue reading Waves @ Bondi Pav

It’s the Stones, Man!

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THE ROLLING STONES , Adelaide Oval, 25/10/14,

Just writing ROLLING STONES CONCERT has a mystique that causes the heart to quicken, and feelings of awe and almost scary anticipation. When the day arrives you make your way to this grand old revered venue where many  legendary contests have been fought and one, and you join the throng as fifty thousand devotees come to worship at the feet of the most iconic group of entertainers the world has ever known. Indeed one fan did make it on stage to Jagger’s feet before he was pounced on  and bundled off unceremoniously!

Why is it so exciting? How does this bunch of geriatrics, (Jagger is seventy, for God’s sake!), hold so many entranced for two hours so easily? Why was there not a second thought about flying interstate and being squashed like sardines into tram and bus just to  get to the venue? It’s the STONES, man! Continue reading It’s the Stones, Man!

OPEN FOR BUSINESS: The Wharf Review 2014

The clowns are back for their 2014 gig. Phil Scott and Douglas Hansell in The Wharf Revue 2014
Those splendid, clever clowns are back again for their 2014 gig. Phil Scott and Douglas Hansell in The Wharf Revue 2014

You don’t take a long walk off a short pier but you do take a long walk down a long pier. But last night it was certainly worth it to see Sydney Theatre Company and The Wharf Review’s latest offering: OPEN FOR BUSINESS at the Wharf 1 Theatre.

I was lucky enough to sit next to leading Sydney theatre actor, Peter Carroll, (currently rehearsing A Christmas Carol at Belvoir, which I promised to review), who opined that writers of revues are not given the recognition they deserve considering how clever, accurate and funny their work often is. Last night was all of that and entertaining, even inspired in many instances. This outstanding talented group of writers and performers took aim at everyone in federal politics from speaker to PM and from Greens to P.U.P. in a high energy, tuneful rollercoaster that grabbed our attention from the start! Continue reading OPEN FOR BUSINESS: The Wharf Review 2014

Iconic A Cappella at the House

Melissa Kenny and some of the Soulfood team
Melissa Kenny and some of her Soulfood team

Brainchild of Melissa Kenny, ( B.Mus. in composition at the University of Sydney, Diploma of Jazz Studies in trombone at the Sydney Conservatorium), we’re told: Soulfood is the finest a cappella group in Sydney and possibly Australia with an impressive list of awards and noted performances to date.” So, with high expectations last night, we went along to the Opera House Studio to see them celebrate their 10th birthday with their performance of ICONIC A CAPPELLA.

We were not disappointed; try transported, delighted, entertained from start to finish!

We were treated to selections from their song list of over 80 fabulous popular hits including songs from genres like Motown, Soul, and 80s classics, and artists from Stevie Wonder and Abba, Burt Bacharach and Otis Redding, to Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy and Sting, Pharrell Williams and Nick Cave.           Continue reading Iconic A Cappella at the House

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 C.J.Delling in Reality Bandit

BRAD CHECKED IN

Living in the mobile world. Pic Katy Green Loughrey
Daniel Bunton as Grub and Yannick Lawry as Brad forever on their mobiles. Pic Katy Green Loughrey

“There’s a new world that both compliments and conspires against our own – the digital world” says writer Paula Noble, describing a ‘key stroke’ for a very noble effort that opened at the Old Fitz last night. While Director Steven Tait hopes that “audiences leave the Old Fitzroy, not simply satisfied with an enjoyable theatrical experience, but with the basis for starting a new conversation with each other.”

As you’ll see in the program notes, Brad has relinquished a torturous relationship with control freak wife, Maggie and prompted by best friend ,Grub, ‘checks in’ on Facebook to find new relationships. He doesn’t have to wait long as Di, a rather ravishing and predatory (and attached) blonde bombshell ‘explodes’ on the scene looking for mischief, followed inevitably by her menacing, jealous husband who is actually not far of the mark, (literally when he tries to rearrange Brad’s face!) Rebecca, a young ‘old flame’ (also attached), who’s never really got over being rejected by Brad, returns for a second tilt, and jilt! But current wife Maggie hasn’t accepted separation either and moves back in to re-stake her claim (or maybe Brad’s heart?)

Continue reading BRAD CHECKED IN

ENSEMBLE EXTRAVAGANZA

The Sydney Classical Guitar Society’s annual concert , this year entitled ENSEMBLE EXTRAVAGANZA,  has long been one of the most popular and exciting events on the Society’s calendar and after being in the lucky audience I can understand why!

The CGS Orchestra and Ensemble were featured with special guests including the Canberra Guitar Society, who trekked all the way especially for the occasion, the Segovia Ensemble, the Hills Ensemble, the Carmen Trio, Completely Plucked and more.

The varied program included works by Vincent Lindsey-Clarke, Mark Houghton(UK), Eric Clapton, Percy Grainger, Roland Dyens, Haydn, and Albeniz.

Particular highlights were the premiere performances of Christopher Keane’s 3 movement work Frets and Leonard Weiss’ Six String Suite. Mr Keane kindly gave us a little background on the title, Frets, its varied meanings, including the description of the movement of water over and around obstacles, and how he endeavoured to recreate this using four and sometimes more time signatures simultaneously “crashing into each other, like the waters they represent”, producing an exciting virtuoso performance from the group, Completely Plucked.

The GGS Ensemble’s rendition of Ouagadougou by Luc Levesque was another unique standout. Indeed I had never heard guitars used in this way to reproduce percussion inspired by obscure African tribal music. This was then complimented by the wonderful musicianship of the Carmen Trio’s three varied pieces.

Variation, in fact, was the hallmark of the evening’s repertoire. The resulting performance ran the full gamut from very good through adventurous, thoughtful, wonderful, and delightful to the sheer power of the combined orchestra finale.

The concert, a genuine musical treat,  took place on Saturday 31st May at the St Anne’s Ryde Anglican Centre, 42 Church Street, Ryde, on the corner of Gowrie Street.

For more information about the Society, upcoming events and concerts, visit the Society’s official website:-www.classicalguitarssydney.org

 

‘BONDI SINGS’ WITH FRIENDS

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BONDI SINGS started off as a council funded community choir  around 2005. Then they went through 3 different choir directors until they struck gold with Mr Gary Smith and gradually became a self-supported group. They officially established themselves as Bondi Sings! Incorporated in May 2013 and have not looked back!

They have performed at the Waverley “Carols by the Sea” Christmas concert every year since the beginning and have also performed at Ronald McDonald House Christmas Carols the past 2 years, as well as “Taste of Orange Festival”, “Festival of the Winds”, and “Bronte School Fair.” They have also appeared in “Freedom Insurance” TV spots.

Continue reading ‘BONDI SINGS’ WITH FRIENDS

SOCRATES NOW

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Yannis Simonides as Socrates. Pic Benelux Photos

“True wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.”

Last night, I was very privileged to be present at a rare gift at the Seymour Centre’s York Theatre. It is a rare gift to see a consummately performed, English translated version of Plato’s play, APOLOGY OF SOCRATES.

This piece has been performed in 14 countries and is scheduled to tour the U.S., Russia, China, South Africa and New Zealand. Through the efforts of Theatro Productions, who first saw it at the Acropolis, and Elliniko Theatro, embracing the Greek Theatre of New York and Greek Theatre International and promoting Greek Culture worldwide through Hellenic Theatre, we got  lucky!

Continue reading SOCRATES NOW

HANNAH ARENDT

Barbara Sukowa as Hannah Arendt contemplating the controversy that her reporting of the Eichmann trials in the New York Times caused
Barbara Sukowa as Hannah Arendt contemplating the controversy that her reporting of the Eichmann trial held in Jerusalem in 1961 for the New York Times caused

Although it is not ideal it seems appropriate that, as I review a film whose subject and production polarised readers and viewers respectively, I am prompted to use two conflicting perspectives.

The subject whose name is also the film’s title was also conflicted by two perspectives of Adolf Eichmann when, at his trial in Jerusalem in 1961, she tries to reconcile the terrible crimes committed and the unexpected persona he presents. “Expecting to find a monster…she finds a nobody.” It’s a fascinating story about profoundly important ideas that are as thought provoking now as they were fifty years ago.

Continue reading HANNAH ARENDT

EVERYTHING I KNOW I LEARNT FROM MADONNA

Wayne Tunks in EEVERYTHING I KNOW I LEARNT FROM MADONNA. Pic Katy Green Loughrey
Wayne Tunks in his latest solo venture. Pic Katy Green Loughrey

Wayne Tunks is an award winning writer, director, producer and actor. So, although I have to confess to not remembering seeing his work, his one man show promised a lot. I’m afraid it didn’t deliver. I suppose the title having “I” in it twice should have been a clue. And if more of what I’m sure Wayne has learned had been revealed rather than just his often graphic and sometimes sordid love life it might have been more rewarding.

Continue reading EVERYTHING I KNOW I LEARNT FROM MADONNA

WILL AND ME: HOW SHAKESPEARE TOOK OVER MY LIFE

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‘Alas poor Yorick, I knew him well’… One of the many Globe productions directed by Dominic Dromgoole.

The joy of Shakespeare is that whether you are a Bard Tragic or just a dabbler, you are guaranteed to find at least one or two quotes that feel so tasty and nice to speak and hear that you want to find the odd opportunity to trot them out.

There was even a song called “Brush up Your Shakespeare” written in “Kiss Me Kate” dealing with the universal delight that this genius can spark. (For years my daughters giggled and wondered, when we were sailing, at my exhortations directed at the heavens to “Blow mighty Jupiter!” and “Blow winds and crack your cheeks!”; delivered, of course, at the top of my voice. You only need “Blow wind” for Google to direct you to King Lear Act III Scene ll.)

Continue reading WILL AND ME: HOW SHAKESPEARE TOOK OVER MY LIFE

DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS

Tony Sheldon, Katrina Retallick and  Matt Hethrington. Pic Kurt Sneddon
Tony Sheldon, Katrina Retallick and Matt Hethrington. Pic Kurt Sneddon

Nearly a month ago I watched a rehearsal of DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, the new musical based on the movie of the same name, starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin. With performances at that rehearsal by musical luminaries as Tony Sheldon, John Wood, Matt Hetherington and Amy Lehpamer, deftly directed by Roger Hodgman it was an exciting experience. On that occasion I  interviewed Katrina Retallick and Matt Hethrington who both asserted that the rehearsals were such fun that it had to translate to an uproarious, laugh a minute experience for the audiences. Bold predictions all fulfilled and then some!

In what could best be described as  an effervescent performance, (the metaphor of a glass of  French champagne comes to mind – no make that a magnum), the audience was treated to a deliciously witty, quick succession of gags and musical numbers that positively fizzed on the palate and left one feeling sated. The humour was often tongue in cheek. For instance, as the set is struck through the wings, a hung over Muriel Eubanks, delightfully played by Anne Wood, asks:”Are these stairs moving?”

The tunes were catchy and the lyrics funny.  Stand outs numbers were “What’s a Woman to Do?” and “Love is My Legs”. The energetic mischievous cast were matched by great direction from Roger Hodgman,  a wonderful set and lighting, (even the lighting was mischievous!) Tony Sheldon, Matt Hetherington, Amy Lehpamer, John Wood  and Katrina Retallick were hard to fault, except perhaps for John’s fairly ‘sus’ French accent – but even that was tongue in cheek, puns and all!  The ensemble and orchestra were also very good.

When I asked Matt what he thought audiences would remember, he said “A great fun night.”   Too true! Don’t miss this.

DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS is playing at the Theatre Royal  until Sunday December 8. Bookings Ticketmaster or 1300723038.

SONS OF SUN

SUN1

Elvis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, stars of Rock and Roll, have one thing in common: a start at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. Last night at the Bridge Hotel, Roselle, a rare insight into the struggling first days of these and many other icons of this very important part of popular music history was presented in a lively, fun production written by Kieren Carroll from an original idea by Singer/Guitarist John Kennedy, and directed by Neil Gooding.

The performances by John Kennedy and his band were great, (apart from a suspect chord in “Walking in the Rain”) John’s vocal diversity is excellent ranging from the low keys and style of Johnny Cash and Elvis through to a reasonable Jerry Lee Lewis, (“Great Balls of Fire” needed to be more shrill – but then who could emulate him?) Matt Charleston was good as Sam Phillips, Corinne Marie good as Marion Kaisker.

I found it distracting to see both actors swigging water and checking their scripts in the background of most scenes. Perhaps the lighting could be tweaked so that at least they are just sillouettes? Damian Sommerlad was good as the narrator and all other male characters. I liked the device of turning away from the audience. The characterisations were only adequate – I don’t think Johnny Cash ‘shimmied’ in quite that way when he sang? But then there is a big difference between the singer “Benton”, who I liked, and Jerry Lee!

Set seemed to be virtually non existent apart from a badly draped black fabric across the back wall. I also think personally that the script needs to finish on a high rather than…  Maybe go back in time to the reunion at the studio we had already seen to reward our attention? The next performance at the Bridge isn’t until November. With a bit of spit and polish, worth rocking along to.

SONS OF SUN  back at the Bridge Hotel in November