All posts by David Kary

David Kary completed a Bachelor of Creative Arts (BCA) at Wollongong University between 1990 and 1992 majoring in Arts Journalism and Theatre Studies. Since completing his degree in 1992 he has been writing continuously about the performing arts. He has contributed to a number of publications including Stage Whispers (16 years), The Messenger, South Sydney Bulletin, Tharunka, Sydney Observer, Latte Life Double Bay, and the Australian Jewish News. Since 2005, he has been the publisher and editor of the online Arts magazine Sydney Arts Guide:- He is a member of the Australian Journalists Association (AJA) of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), the Australian Academy Cinema Television Arts (AACTA), the Film Critics Circle of Australia (FCCA), and is a member of the Helpmann Awards Voting Collegiate.


This is a neat piece of small scale theatre, written and directed by Hot Room Theatre Group Artistic Director Steve Hopley.

One of Hopley’s main goals as Director is for his Group to create new work, and get actors, who aren’t regularly performing, up on the stage.

The show riffs off a simple idea that makes one think why hadn’t anyone thought of it before. The concept – to draw parallels between the classic property game ‘Monopoly’, and the real life property ‘game’ of buying and selling real estate in Sydney. Continue reading MONOPOLY : A NEW PLAY BY STEVEN HOPLEY


We are a species with a great ability to improvise. One of our more modest and  frequent outlets for our creativity is in the way we express ourselves  with/through our nests, our homes. 

Movie rooms, music rooms, game rooms, the list goes on… One friend set up a fully fledged cafe in his house. Everything was set up…the latest coffee machine, fresh pastries in glass cabinets, journals such as the New Yorker on the coffee table,  plush sofa seating.

Great ideas…These, however, are nothing near the scale of what Hollywood legend Barbra Streisand established in her home. Are you ready for it?! A  shopping mall in the basement of her LA mansion. Continue reading BUYER AND CELLAR @ THE ENSEMBLE THEATRE


As our world gets more complex, and more and more technically savvy, the line between reality and fantasy is becoming increasingly blurred. One inevitably begins to ponder where all these technological advances are going to leave us? Will life, as we know it, still be manageable? Have we human beings  become far too smart for our own good?! It is this area, and these questions, which Sydney playwright Julian Larnach explores in his new play.

The play is a two-hander, Anni Finsterer plays an unnamed middle  aged mum and Elizabeth Nabben is her (also unnamed) adult daughter.  Nabben also plays a number of other, incidental characters.

Very early on in the play we cotton on that the  two have a very fractured, tense relationship.

At the heart of the tension between them is the daughter’s great antipathy towards her mother’s corporate career based in cutting edge technology. She sees her mother as being cold and dispassionate. Tension mounts up between them, culminating in the daughter storms out of the family home and simply vanishes.

She might have all the smarts in the world, but mum doesn’t know how to deal with her baby’s disappearance. She is used to being able to work out, and control everything. At the point of full on despair she comes up with a strategy. She will try and create a clone of her daughter. That way she will never have to miss her daughter again!

Larnach’s narrative has plenty of twists and turns over its two hour journey. Sometimes the shifts, especially in time sequences, are a little confusing, still it was a provocative night in the theatre, leaving one with plenty to think about.

The performances by Anni Finsterer and  Elizabeth Nibben were excellent. Luke Rogers direction worked well, as did the work of his creative team, with highlights being an edgy soundscape by James Brown and a compact, very good looking set by Georgina Hopkins.

Julian Larnach’s IN REAL LIFE is in its last few days at the Eternity Playhouse. The season ends this Sunday, 15th October.


Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age: masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum

Experience the first major exhibition in Sydney of the great Dutch painters of the 17th century, Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age: masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum at the Art Gallery of NSW.

Drawn from the Rijksmuseum, the renowned national collection of the Netherlands, the exhibition comprises 78 exceptional works of art. Immerse yourself in intense portraits, dramatic seascapes, tranquil scenes of domestic life and careful studies of fruit and flowers.

Highlights include a rare painting by Vermeer and a room dedicated to Rembrandt – one of the greatest minds in the history of art.

The exhibition forms part of the Sydney International Art Series 2017-2018, bringing the world’s most outstanding exhibitions exclusively to the Art Gallery or NSW and MCA, every summer.

Purchase a Sydney International Art Pass to see both exhibitions and save 20%:

For more information and tickets,  visit

From November 11.

For more about Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age: masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum, visit
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Crash Test Drama, a unique theatre event located in inner Sydney, is going to hold its last audition showcase for the year on October 31 at 107 Theatres, 107 Redfern Street, Redfern.

The event provides a fantastic space for  directors, playwrights, actors, and actresses to  network and work in.

Pete Malicki, the coordinator of Crash Test Drama, has constructed a friendly and warm atmosphere for all comers and made Crash Test Drama a fun and fruitful event for theatre people to take part in. Continue reading CRASH TEST DRAMA : NOW IN ITS TENTH YEAR


Production photos by Chris Lundie.

In Simon Stephens’ new play BIRDLAND Paul is a rock God. Everyone knows his face. Everyone knows his name. He can have whatever he wants. He can fuck whoever he wants. Buy anything. Eat anything. Drink anything. Smoke anything. Go anywhere.

He is on his latest European tour which is coming to an end. The mega fame and limitless money that go hand in hand with the rock stardom are messing with his head. The pressure is finally getting to him and he could implode at any time…..

What to make of New’s latest play?!  

I have to say that I was lukewarm about it. Do we really need to see another story about an indulgent, excessive, belligerent rock god?!

Frankly, I have seen enough of them. Stephens’ play didn’t stand out for me. Anthony Skuse’s taut production did as rock  god Paul’s fall from grace production is captured in minuscule detail.

Graeme McRae gave a very strong performance in the lead with a good supporting cast playing long time friends, hangers on, mistresses, and managers.

Simon Stephens BIRDLAND is playing the New Theatre, 542 King Street, Newtown until Saturday 4th November.

Performances Thursdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm and Sundays at 5pm. Final performance Saturday 4th November at 2pm.

Creative Team –  Director/Set Designer Antony Skuse, Lighting Designer- Christopher Page, Costume Designer – Brodie Simpson, Assistant Director- Jack Angwin, Vocal/Dialect Coach- Linda Nicholls-Gidley,, Bio Box- Olle Borch, Stage Manager- Ricca Costa.

Cast – Jack Angwin, Charmaine Bingwa, Matthew Cheetham, Airlie Dodds, Louise Harding, Leilani Loau, Graeme McRae.


Rockdale Opera Company’s final production for the year is an opera double bill.

Gaetano Donizetti’s IL CAMPANELLO is a comedy about the most interrupted wedding night anyone could imagine, whilst Giacomo Puccini’s SUOR ANGELICA, the tragic tale of a Mother’s love for the baby she was forced to give up, will be sure to tear at your heart strings. Angelica’s famous aria “Senza Mamma” is one of Puccini’s most touching compositions.

November 11, 18 @ 7.30pm 12,19 @ 2.00pm at Rockdale Town Hall.

Musical Director – Steven Stanke
Directors – Joe Restubog (Il Campanello) & Ralph Bott (Suor Angelica).

For more about Double Bill of Comedy & Tragedy: Il Campanello and Suor Angelica, visit
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Royal Secret – 2017 Christmas Ball @ Pitt Street Uniting Church

Royal Secret – 2017 Christmas Ball in Town Hall


This year’s Christmas Show Ball at Pitt Street Uniting Church will have something for everyone in your family:

• Beautiful fusion of famous and most loved opera arias and modern musical classics
• Opera Australia, The Voice, and Australia’s Got Talent performers
• Original Christmas “Royal Secret” theater story with a Mystery Queen character
• One of the oldest organs in Sydney in a fascinating acoustic atmosphere
• Elegance and charm of the antique architecture

DATE for the Diary
10 December 2017 3pm – 6pm at Pitt Street Uniting Church, 264 Pitt Street, city

For ticket prices and more about Royal Secret – 2017 Christmas Ball in Town Hall, visit
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The Russian Resurrection Film Festival is one of the largest, oldest and most respected Russian film festivals outside of Russia. The festival takes audiences on a captivating journey into one of the world’s most diverse film cultures.

From humble beginnings in 2004 screening in just three cities in Australia, the festival has grown in size and now screens in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Auckland in New Zealand.

2017 is set to be bigger than ever with a fantastic line up of new films screening and a special retrospective celebrating the 80th Birthday of Andrei Konchalovsky, the legendary Russian and Hollywood director.

One of the most keenly anticipated films of 2017, THE BOLSHOI tells the story of a young small-town girl who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer with the Bolshoi Theatre. Continue reading THE RUSSIAN FILM FESTIVAL IS COMING!


WeAreSOUND is an upcoming dance event which is the brainchild of Callum Mooney.

The performers will create visual representations of the stuff that goes around our brains as we encounter the machinations of public transport. I would imagine there will be a plenty of room to move with this concept!

The work fuses Physical Theatre, Contemporary, Hip Hop and Comedy.

PLAYING FOR THREE NIGHTS ONLY between November 17 and 19 @ the Annandale Creative Arts Centre, 81 Johnston Street, Annandale.


For more about WeAreSound Dance Theatre, visit
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An indie hit in the US and on the international Festival circuit, INGRID GOES WEST stars Aubrey Plaza as “Ingrid Thorburn” an unhinged social media stalker who sets her sights on “Taylor Sloane” (Elizabeth Olsen) an Instagram-famous “influencer” whose perfectly curated, boho-chic lifestyle becomes Ingrid’s latest obsession.

When Ingrid moves to LA and manages to insinuate herself into the social media star’s life, their relationship quickly goes from #BFF to #WTF.

INGRID GOES WEST releases at cinemas on Thursday 26th October.

Sydney Arts Guide has ten in season double passes to see this fun indie film during the first two weeks of its release.  with INGRID GOES WEST in the subject heading. Please provide your postal address in the body of your email. Winners will be advised by email.



This is the stage adaptation, by Tim Firth, of the very popular movie of the same title, starring Helen Mirren.

Many will know the story, based on real life events, when a group  of women working in a small Women’s Institute group in Yorkshire, London, took their kit off to put together a calendar to raise funds for cancer research after one of the women in the group, Annie,  lost her husband John to cancer.

The Calendar was released and went ‘viral’. The women found their sudden fame hard to deal with, and friendships within the group become strained. All however does end up happy enough.

Firth’s adaptation is clever, racy, funny and at times touching, and Pymble Players have given it another life with a fresh, winning production in their intimate theatre,  a converted church space.

Julia Griffith’s direction is sharp and featured elegant staging. Her cast maintained their accents well. Ian Ackland’s  compact set  of a village church hall where the Women’s Institute meets. Other locations are well established by full length images projected on the back wall.

Melissa Abrahams soundscape, primarily featuring excerpts of popular songs worked well, as did Jan McLachlan’s period costumes.

Griffith’s enthusiastic cast were all good. Louise Deibe as Chris and Fran Etheridge as Annie were very effective in the main roles. Favourite performances in the supporting cast were by Bronwyn Courts  as the glamorous, good natured Celia, Maria Karambelas as the vivacious, feisty retired teacher.Jessie, and Racquel Boyd, who after initially being reluctant, does pitch in with her friends. 

Margaret Olive plays the social climbing Marie, Helen Hunter-Lee plays both local dignitary Lady Cavendish and a deceitful beauty consultant, Elaine, Royden Broad has a brief part playing Annie’s dying husband John before he shuffles off his mortal coil, Wills Burke is the shy photographer Lawrence who receives his best assignment ever, and Murray Fane plays two roles, those of Rod and Liam.

Make a date soon to meet up with these feisty, vivacious Calendar Girls. They are a lot of fun, and keep the audience well entertained. The show is playing at Pymble Players, on the corner of Bromley Avenue and Mona Vale Road, until 28th October.  Please check the website for performance times.





It was so good to be at the Basement again, Sydney’s legendary jazz venue. We were there to see Frances Madden and her Band.

This young lady of jazz has built up a really good following  and plenty of respect from her jazz peers.

Frances played two sets with about ten songs each bracket. She  had a warm, silky voice with great phrasing, was very deft on the piano, and had a good rapport with both her band and her audience.

Her concert was a winning mix of strong original material and lovely renditions of pop standards.

First for the original material. Some favourites. I loved the up tempo, jivey Haunting Melody, with rich saxophone and trumpet.

Two of her ballads stood out, I Will Remember You and The One Who Walks You Home, poems dedicated to those who have indelibly touched her  life. I Will Remember You featured lovely flugelhorn playing.

Francis’ cover versions featured some lovely arrangements – I  loved the way her voice caressed every nuance out of I Love Paris/ La Vie En Rose. Simply beautiful.

Her soulful, very catchy delivery of the Beatles classic Can’t Buy Me Love  was another highlight, as was her bluesy version of the Nina Simone classic Feeling Good.

During her second Set Frances included a rendition of ‘a song by a composer who died late last year.’ The song just happened to be Hallelujah, one of Leonard Cohen’s masterworks.

The audience which built up through the night lapped up every minute of the concert. We were all sad to see the concert finish. For her two encores she gave very bluesy versions of two pop standards, Somewhere Over The Rainbow and Georgia On My Mind. Continue reading FEELING GOOD WITH FRANCES MADDEN : A MEMORABLE  SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE BASEMENT



Feature image – Pamela Rabe as Mrs Helene Alving and Robert Menzies as Pastor Manders in ‘Ghosts’. Pic by Brett Boardman.

Dave, one of my close friends, has a pet saying – ‘That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it? He uses it whenever he hears a bad news story,  yet another story of man’s inhumanity to man.

Dave’s turn of phrase can be applied to any number of dramas penned by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. Actually that is something of an under-estimation…his plays tend to be very harsh. They are explorations into the dark side of life. 

Take his play GHOSTS. Ibsen draws us deeply inside the world of Mrs Alving, played by the remarkable Pamela Rabe.

Mrs Alving’s life has been tough, mainly due to a very unhappy marriage – a common scenario for women in Ibsen’s plays. Her late husband, Captain Alving, went to the grave with his reputation as a distinguished military man and respectable family man in tact. The reality was that he was anything but, he was an alcoholic and as well had countless affairs on his wife. Continue reading GHOSTS : CLASSIC DRAMA UPSTAIRS @ BELVOIR STREET


Photographs by Ben Apfelbaum.

This Festival explores and re-imagines the state of mental health in the 21st Century.

Leading national and international artists, scientists, technology experts and thinkers have got together to make this a special Festival.

During the Festival over 60 events will be presented across Sydney with hubs being located at Customs House, Riverside Theatres Parramatta and the UNSW School of Art and Design.

The  Festival hopes to transform the way people think about and deal with mental health issues via innovative experiences that include state of the art immersive environments including the world’s highest resolution 3D cinema, international art exhibitions, theatre and performance, contemporary dance, interactive media events and  public forums  for the entire family. Continue reading THE BIG ANXIETY FESTIVAL : TILL NOVEMBER  11 ACROSS GREATER SYDNEY


Chatswood Musical Society’s much anticipated season of HOT MIKADO has commenced.

The show opened last Friday night and features the updated version of the classic Gilbert and Sullivan tale The Mikado as pieced together by Rob Bowman (music) and David H. Bell (lyrics).

Gilbert and Sullivan’s storyline is just a bit of silly nonsense, with the main characters facing life and death situations as if they were on their way to afternoon tea parties. It’s the music, the dancing and the costumes that make this show. The music ranges from jazz to blues to gospel to torch songs, and there’s some tap dancing in the big Company numbers. Continue reading HOT MIKADO : TWO HOURS OF QUIRKY, MESSAGE FREE ENTERTAINMENT


Featured image : Guy Simon, Contessa Treffone and Rose Riley who will next year in Sydney Theatre Company’s production of ‘Harp In The South’. Pic by Rene Vale.

Sydney Theatre Company(STC) has unveiled its 2018 Season – Kip Williams’ first as Artistic Director. It is a bold program of sixteen shows across five venues which will inspire, challenge and entertain audiences. The season comprises a range of new works by Australian writers, the epic stage adaptation of a beloved trilogy of novels, and the return of a rarely produced Australian classic. These sit alongside ground-breaking and inventive new productions of contemporary and classic international works.

Speaking about the season, Artistic Director Kip Williams said:

“The theatre is where we come to find pleasure, to ask questions, to understand ourselves, and to negotiate our society. In 2018, these traits are the bedrock of the season. I’ve aimed to put together works that reflect our city and our community. The writing comes from some of the world’s great playwrights, who give lively and expressive shape to timely questions around political leadership, social responsibility, gender equality and race relations. Continue reading SYDNEY THEATRE COMPANY LAUNCHES ITS 2018 SEASON


Featured image- The cast of ‘Assassins’. Production  photos by Phil Erbacher.

The great American composer likes to explore, at times.  very dark  subjects. Take Sweeney Todd, his play about a serial killing barber. Or his 1990 play ASSASSINS which the Hayes Theatre Company is currently reviving in a production directed by Dean Bryant.

ASSASSINS takes place in a fairground shooting gallery, where a group of misfits gather. Each has a problem they need to solve and each has discovered the answer – they must shoot the President of the United States!

From John Wilkes Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald we learn of the many ways that each has committed or attempted to commit the ultimate crime.

In his program note, the esteemed Director states that he has wanted to put on a revival of ASSASSINS for a long time. He makes the most of his opportunity by assembling one of the strongest line-up of performers seen at the Hayes theatre for some time. Continue reading ASSASSINS : SONDHEIM’S DARK MUSICAL REVISITED @ THE HAYES


Her real name was Carole Klein. Just a Jewish kid from Manhattan who could play a mean piano – thank to the piano lessons her mum organised – and she also had a way with writing songs.

The show starts with her as a teenager, going with her girlfriend to the Brill Building, the Big Apple’s famous songwriting factory, to sing them a few of her songs. A cynical, hard edged producer  by the name of Don Kirshner (Mike McLeish) gives her a listen and straight away picks up that she’s got some talent.

So began Carole’s one in a trillion journey where she went on to record Tapestry, one of the best selling albums of all time, and become one of popular music’s songwriting superstars.

The show doesn’t tell the whole Carole King story. Far from it. It closes fairly early on in her illustrious career with her performing a sell out concert at Carnegie Hall. Continue reading BEAUTIFUL : THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL @ SYDNEY LYRIC THEATRE

Factory Space presents “Hedda” in a new version by Emma Willis

“A woman, a fire and a gun; three men, a manuscript and a child.

This is a complex narrative of the twisted issues of power, sexuality and blackmail. Would your fear of scandal triumph over your urge for wanton revelry?

7:30pm performances:
13, 14, 20, 21, 27 & 28 October
2pm matinees:
15 & 22 October

Star of the Sea Theatre, junction of Collingwood St and Iluka Ave, MANLY,

Factory Space is an independent theatre company of professional actors.

For more about Factory Space Theatre Company presents “Hedda” a new version by Emma Willis, visit
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Operantics presents ‘La Finta Giardiniera’

Independent young artist opera company, Operantics, presents Mozart’s ‘La Finta Giardiniera’ this October for a limited season at the Independent Theatre.

Sandrina (aka Marchioness Violante Onesti) is La Finta Giardiniera: betrayed and abandoned by her lover, Count Belfiore, and now courted by the local Mayor who believes her to be one of his gardeners. His maid, Serpetta, strings along Sandrina’s manservant, Nardo, while ambitiously pursuing her boss. Meanwhile, the Mayor’s niece, Arminda, has left her suitor, Don Ramiro, and arrives at her uncle’s house to marry none other than Belfiore…

Nothing is as it seems in this opera full of love triangles, disguises, intrigue and emotional upheaval – complemented with beautiful music performed by the next generation of Australia’s operatic artists.

The Independent Theatre
269 Miller St, North Sydney

Performance dates:
Friday, October 6th at 7:30pm
Saturday, October 7th at 7:30pm
Sunday, October 8th at 7:30pm

Children: $15, Students: $25, Concession: $35, Adults: $45


Friday October 6th at 7:30pm, Saturday October 7th at 7:30pm, Sunday October 8th at 4:30pm

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Surry Hills Festival – Suburb Wide Double Take creative arts program

This year’s Surry Hills Festival program introduces the Double Take arts program, where over 60 works will be spread across multiple streets in Surry Hills. The various artworks will take form as projections, installations, performances and immersive experiences…..all geared to make people look twice at buildings that they have walked past numerous times, or to show visitors to the area a side that they wouldn’t normally see.

The initiative is from the Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre and local creatives Esem Projects, who collaborated with each business and residential location to develop site specific artwork which will transform the heart of Surry Hills into a curated trail of projections and arts.   Continue reading Surry Hills Festival – Suburb Wide Double Take creative arts program


This has to be one of the films of the year. Certainly one of the most striking.

Francis Lee’s new film is set in the deep country in the IJK. Elderly couple Martin and Deidre Saxby own a large, sprawling country property which, as they become increasingly frail, are finding it harder and harder to maintain.

Their twenties something son Johnny, who  they are hoping will take on more responsibility, is a big problem. He is uncommunicative, withdrawn, and  has taken to the bottle in a big way. When he has tasks to do around the farm he labours over them grudgingly.

He spends most nights going to the local getting smashed, and when he comes home he literally falls out of his trailer. As well as resenting the responsibilities of being the future heir to the property, he is also battling dealing with being gay. Continue reading GOD’S OWN COUNTRY : ONE OF THE MOVIES OF THE YEAR


This show is described as being,  “a non stop hour of riot sketch comedy, outrageous dance moves, featuring all the best noughties pop culture references bought to you in 3 matching pink velour track suits.”

Theatregoers can expect bootyliscious dance routines, a visit from Kath and Kim, and fearless campaigning to bring back all your favourite things from the 2000s (gluten anyone?).

Part of this year’s Sydney Fringe Festival, be prepared for a Noughty trip down memory lane..

19-23 September at 7pm at the Blood Moon Theatre, inside the World Bar, Bayswater Road, Kings Cross.

For more about Noughty Girls, visit
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BE YOU is a morning designed to empower, inspire, motivate and celebrate YOU, whilst raising money to support the work of The Butterfly Foundation.

The morning will involve the following:

Session 1: A sweat session led by the Monique Craft, founder of BodyCraft Health and Fitness. This session will get your heart pumping and endorphins racing.

Brunch: It will then be time to refuel! You will be treated to a brunch full of delicious food and thirst quenching beverages, take some time to chat to one another, snap some selfies (remember to #beyouevent) and meet our lovely instructors.

Session 2: After brunch make your way to your mat for a calming yoga flow led by yogini Becky Power of Becky Power Yoga.

There are limited tickets available and the first 75 registered will receive a gift bag.

Tickets are $39.93 (which includes a $2.93 booking fee)

Any enquiries – .

Sunday 1st October 2017 9:30am-1:30pm at the High Tide Room, Bondi Pavilion, Queen Elizabeth Drive.

For more about Be You, visit
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