All posts by Lynne Lancaster

A passionate theatre person Lynne is originally from Sydney and holds a B.Ed (Art) - a postgraduate Diploma in Information Management (Librarianship) and an MA in Theatre. While living in London ( 2002 -2007 ) Lynne completed the dance criticism course at Sadlers Wells linked in with Chichester University. Lynne has worked for both Ticketek and Ticketmaster here in Australia and was involved with the original production of THE BOY FROM OZ An Ausdance member Lynne is passionate about dance and has studied ballet and Flamenco. Before moving to London she photographed the Sydney Dance Company and Australian Ballet among other companies and has exhibited internationally. Lynne is a SAMAG member and a volunteer at the Art Gallery of NSW. Currently Lynne writes for arthub, danceinforma and sydneyartsguide.

ACTS OF FAITH : A NEW PLAY BY MELVYN MORROW @ KING STREET THEATRE NEWTOWN

 

This is the world premiere of a witty, sparkling, delicious comedy from the pen of Melvyn Morrow.

Under Elaine Hudson’s excellent direction the play, full of incisive one liners, is fast paced with the actors swiftly moving between scenes., moving smoothly between the scenes. The two cast members perform with pizzazz and there is a good chemistry between them.

The set by Allan Walpole was in three parts, with a church like atmosphere overall, the two outer sides pulpit like, the main middle section with its lights proclaiming ‘ Last Orders Bar and Bistro’. The arches for the two side areas act as windows and allow very atmospheric lighting. Scene changes (church to racecourse to restaurant and more) are often indicated by changing a prop on the bar – for example, flowers, or a silver teapot, an Islander statue, a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Continue reading ACTS OF FAITH : A NEW PLAY BY MELVYN MORROW @ KING STREET THEATRE NEWTOWN

Cabaret In The Day : I’ll Follow My Secret Heart @ Mosman Arts Gallery

Featured photo- singer Christopher Hamilton.

The second of the 2017 Cabaret In The Day season was the wonderful I’LL FOLLOW MY SECRET HEART, with maestro Glenn Amer on piano and starring Christopher Hamilton

Hamilton has appeared in many musicals and plays in both professional and community theatre including The Pirates of Penzance, Paris, A Song to Sing O!,Vice, Man of La Mancha, The Hatpin, The Producers, Sweeney Todd, Les Miserables, The Venetian Twins and narrating Peter and the Wolf.

This show was a great nostalgia trip, with the performance looking at the career and songs of two of Britain’s greatest 20th Century songsmiths – the dashing Ivor Novello and the ultra sophisticated Noel Coward. Both composers remain the ‘gold standard’ of wit and romance, their works evergreen favourites.

The show opened stirringly with Novello’s 1914 patriotic Keep The Home Fires Burning . Amer then told us a bit about Novello’s life (he was described as ‘ the British Valentino ‘ , terribly handsome, who wrote seven musicals – yet apparently couldn’t sing!) .

Hamilton, dapper and very elegant in black and gold with cravat and tie pin, then launched into the liltingly romantic I Can Give You The Starlight from the 1939 musical The Dancing Years. Also from that musical we then heard the romantic infectious Waltz of My Heart . We then learnt that between the Wars Novello moved to Hollywood where he worked as a script doctor.

Amer then swept into the swirling passionate, longing, yearning title song from the 1935 Glamorous Night .

We then jumped to Novello’s comic songs and Hamilton then, through gritted teeth, performed the biting, witty And Her Mother Came Too.

Amer then talked further about Novello’s luxurious, flamboyant somewhat scandalous gay life and his links to and influences upon Coward. Amer then played Someday My Heart Will Awake from Novello’s King’s Rhapsody.

We then heard more about the rise and rise of Coward and how Novello’s work generally went out of fashion and he sadly passed away in 1951.

Amer and Hamilton performed one of Novello’s most famous songs We’ll Gather Lilacs from Perchance to Dream (1945).

Hamilton swiftly changed from his black to a white dinner jacket while Amer talked more about Coward and his various auto)biographies, letters, plays and aphorisms.

Another duet was enchantingly performed I’ll See You Again. We then heard the title song of this particular show I’ll Follow My Secret Heart, again as a duet , which lead to more discussion about how both Novello and Coward were gay with Coward being more discreet about it.

Hamilton then launched into Cowards’ Mad About The Boy.

Amer then talked about how Coward moved internationally (Bermuda, Jamaica , Switzerland) for tax reasons but always remained at heart an Englishman.

We then heard (with Big Ben chimes on the piano) the stirring, moving London Pride written during the 1941 Blitz. We then heard the jaunty , bouncy A Bar on the Piccolo Marina with its tongue twisting rhythms .This was followed by the delightful Dance Little Lady Dance with its emphatic rhythms . Amer then performed a powerful captivating solo Gypsy Melody on piano .

Next we jumped to the delicious witty Nina, with its infectious Latin rhythms and tongue twisting lyrics. We were then treated to a provoking, sarcastic and haughty Why Do the Wrong People Travel ? another duet for Amer and Hamilton.

Three classic Coward pieces followed: a breathless Mad Dogs and Englishmen, the witty I’ve Been to A Marvellous Party and the blistering, pleading, eventually furious Don’t Put Your Daughter On The Stage Mrs Worthington.

Amer gave a stellar performance of the rather strange Uncle Harry which was followed by a sad, reflective If Love Were All , which is regarded as autobiographical and is from Coward’s 1929 Bitter Sweet. The final song was a duet, a wistful, romantic version of The Dream is Over.

The audience vociferously cheered and applauded at the end leading to the encore of three Coward songs from his The Girl Who Came to SupperLondon, What Ho Mrs Briskett and the music hall like Saturday Night at the Rose and Crown.

We were then thanks by artistic director Melvyn Morrow and given a sneak peek of next week’s show Broadway Babies with the sizzling powerhouse Adele Johnston.

Running time 90 minutes without interval.

I’LL FOLLOW MY SECRET HEART,  part of the Cabaret in the Day concert series, took place at the Mosman Art Gallery on the 16th July.

DISCOVERING DOBELL : ART CRITIC CHRISTOPHER HEATHCOTE’S NEW PUBLICATION

A large coffee table book, beautifully presented and lavishly illustrated, this is an intriguing book for art lovers brought to us by the excellent Wakefield Press.

Christopher Heathcote is one of Australia’s foremost art critics, has published a number of books on Australian painters, and  is a regular contributor to the current affairs journal Quadrant.

Linked in with the current exhibition at TarraWarra Museum of Art we gain a fascinating insight into the life of Dobell. The book is in effect divided into four sections with a Forward by TarraWarra Museum of Art director, Victoria Lynn.

In her forward Lynn says that the exhibition and this book places Dobell in context, from his working class roots and ‘ between the two camps of the Academy of Arts and the more avante- garde Society of Artists ‘.

The book and exhibition also examine the links and friendships between Dobell and his contemporaries such as Russell Drysdale, Donald Friend, Margaret Preston, Justin O’Brien.

Dobell maintained close friendships with many of these artists and in the 1940s Dobell controversially became a Trustee of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, an influential advocate for rising artists, again indicating how important he was to the mid-century Sydney art scene.

Heathcote,  in his curatorial essay, has written a tremendous examination of Dobell’s life and work. We see how Dobell was concerned with ordinary people, painting subjects ranging from ordinary men and women seen on the streets of Depression-struck London to Sydney’s Kings Cross.

Much mention is made of his 1943 Archibald prize win for his portrait of Joshua Smith and the huge controversy this created , and how it badly affected Dobell afterwards.

Heathcote also looks at Dobell’s work practices, how he developed ideas from sketches to paintings.

DISCOVERING DOBELL stresses Dobell’s trademark style – elongation and lashings of paint – and prominently features the artist’s controversial and recognisable portraits of Joshua Smith, Dame Mary Gilmore and Helena Rubinstein, together with other major themes of his extensive output, including paintings of grinning Ockers, ( Billy Boy ) struggling young mothers, ( Cockney Mother) cheeky street children at play( Cockney Kid With Hoop) and haughty women intent on keeping-up-appearances. (Mrs South Kensington).

Dobell became quite a society portrait painter at one point . We can see his very strong solid use of shape and form. Some striking landscapes are also included of London in the 1930’s. .There is also his portrait of The Cypriot – quite startling for its time – and his portrait of The Strapper.

The book’s overview is completed with analysis of Dobell’s experimental drawings and paintings from New Guinea, ( for  example Highland Natives and The Thatchers) as well as his little-known ventures into abstract form once he moved to Wangi Wangi, some paintings just completed with ball point pens.

This book reminds us of the major creative achievements of this great Australian painter and brings these achievements alive for the younger generation of art lovers.

Details
Category Arts, Architecture and Design
Format Jacketed hardback
Size 290 x 260 mm
ISBN 9781743054802
Extent 112 pages

Price: AU$49.95 including GST.

 

ROMEO AND JULIET @ THE COMEDIE FRANCAISE: A PRODUCTION TO SWOON FOR

This production  sees Shakespeare’s ROMEO AND JULIET performed for the first time in over 50 years at the Comedie Francaise.  The play is performed in French, it is the Victor Hugo version with English surtitles.

The clean camera work exquisitely transfers the play from the stage to screen, with very effective use of close up when appropriate.

There are some wonderful touches in Ruf’s direction as for instance when Romeo blow dries Juliet’s hands with his breath.

The high, looming sets were cold and imposing (mostly tiles or marbled walls) with fluid, seamless set changes .

The costumes by Christian LaCroix were evocative of a broken down glamour.

This production resets Shakespeare’s classic play to the early twentieth century. A main theme is the idea of the vendetta and with turbulent emotions seething just under the surface. There were no extended sword fights but rather the deadly use of a small, hidden stiletto dagger. Continue reading ROMEO AND JULIET @ THE COMEDIE FRANCAISE: A PRODUCTION TO SWOON FOR

CABARET IN THE DAY : YOU ARE MY HEART’S DELIGHT @ MOSMAN ART GALLERY

 

This first concert in this year’s delightful series and included music by Johann Strauss, Franz Lehár and Imre Kalman.

Piano maestro Glenn Amer played and sang fabulously. Amer also played the role of narrator and enjoyed making incisive, witty comments.

We were whisked to Vienna and heard classics such as The Blue Danube,and selections from Die Fledermaus, The Gypsy Baron, The Merry Widow, The Land of Smiles, Countess Maritza, The Gypsy Princess and works by Richard Tauber, Joseph Schmidt and others.

Amer opened the program with a very dynamic, infectious selection of famous waltzes. He placed the waltz in social context and remarked how scandalous it was when it was first performed, even raising t,he chagrin of certain bishops in Germany.  Continue reading CABARET IN THE DAY : YOU ARE MY HEART’S DELIGHT @ MOSMAN ART GALLERY

PALACE OPERA AND BALLET :  ROYAL BALLET PRESENTS AN ASHTON TRIPLE BILL

 

As part of the Palace Opera and Ballet season, celebrating 70 years at the Royal Opera House, the Royal Ballet brings it season to a close with a tribute to its founder choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton.

The tribute comprised a marvellous triple bill featuring The Dream (1964), based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the non-narrative work Symphonic Variations (1946) to music by Franck (Ashton’s first work after World War 2), and then finally the 1963 passionate, tempestuous Marguerite and Armand (1963), based on La Dame Aux Camellias, created for the legendary partnership of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev to a Lizst sonata.

This particular performance also marks the retirement from the stage of principal Zenaida Yanowsky and at the end we see the extended curtain calls and appearances by several of her leading men who have partnered her over the years in various roles.

Opening the program was a delightful revival of The Dream. The forest clearing set was enchanting and beautifully lit, the Mendelssohn music gloriously played by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House under the energetic baton of Emmanuel Plasson with the London Oratory Junior Choir giving a fine performance. The fairies were absolutely enchanting. Continue reading PALACE OPERA AND BALLET :  ROYAL BALLET PRESENTS AN ASHTON TRIPLE BILL

AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA : INTIMATE MOZART @ CITY RECITAL HALL

Intimate Mozart indeed. This was a ravishing concert full of superb playing.

The concert was  a small scale recital, the ACO being represented by Artistic Director Richard Tognetti and three featured principals: second violinist Helena Rathbone, cellist Timo-Veikko Valve, and guest viola player Florian Peelman.

Kristian Bezuidenhout was the amazing soloist on piano. Born in South Africa, raised in Australia, educated in the US and now a resident of the UK, pianist, Bezuidenhout is regarded as one of the world’s leading performers of Mozart. (Since 2009, he has been recording the complete keyboard music of Mozart). Continue reading AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA : INTIMATE MOZART @ CITY RECITAL HALL

PINA BAUSCH : THE FIRST BIOGRAPHY OF ONE OF THE LEGENDS OF DANCE

“ Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost …“

Marion Meyer’s book PINA BAUSCH : THE BIOGRAPHY  is the first biography of the legendary dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch to be published in English.

Pina (short for Phillipina) Bausch ranks among the most influential performers and choreographers of the twentieth century, regarded as a leading influence in the field of modern dance from the 1970s until her death in 2009.

Born in Solingen Bausch’s parents were hotel owners and her career began at a very young age performing for the hotel visitors. At age 15, Bausch was accepted into the Folkwangschule (Folkwang Academy directed by the highly influential Kurt Jooss. Bausch eventually joined Jooss’ Folkwang-Ballett (Folkwang Ballet) after a stint in America on a scholarship and ended up becoming artistic director in 1969.  Continue reading PINA BAUSCH : THE FIRST BIOGRAPHY OF ONE OF THE LEGENDS OF DANCE

THE ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY IN SHAKESPEARE ‘S MIGHTY ‘ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA’

 

The latest Royal Shakespeare screening is a fluid, fast paced ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA starring Josette Simon as Cleopatra and Antony Byrne as Antony.

While the political machinations, battles and titular romance depicted are all historically accurate, most of the action takes place offstage, and the play focuses on the greed, pride, ambition and passion which drive Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt , Mark Antony and Octavius Caesar.

Messengers report the movements of the rivalling triumvirs and the results of unseen battles, making it  confusing and difficult to keep up with shifts and twists of the complicated narrative, especially with the huge cast involved.

Iqbal’s Khans production is contemporary in its speech rhythms,  almost everything is spoken in a kind of  prose, which means that we  lose the poetry in Enobarbus’  famous lyrical ‘burnished barge ‘ speech describing the arrival of Cleopatra.

Otherwise this production is clear, fast paced and dynamic, with a huge cast zooming through the various battles. The set, by Robert Innes Hopkins, has various parts that move up and own but features mainly minimalist staging with tall columns and imposing stairs for Rome and a bed and a giant cat for Egypt.

For the Roman scenes there are imposing senatorial togas or the soldiers are grandiose in their heavy armour, while for Egypt it is generally lighter with wonderfully textured robes for Cleopatra and exotic eye makeup.

The Roman scenes also feature a steamy sauna while for Egypt we catch a decadent masked party.The tower/tomb scene at the end for Cleopatra is performed on a risen plinth as if on a rooftop. I was  impressed by the use of the model ships for the battle of Actium.

At first mismatched there is great chemistry between the two main eponymous lovers. Simon as Cleopatra is astonishing. She is a perfectly poised chameleon, kittenish, proud, full of feline grace, teasing, mocking , with an incredible vocal and physical range. She hints at an underlying insecurity in Cleopatra.

There is brief nudity towards the end when she changes robes to stoically meet her death. As Cleopatra she reveals her inner Egyptian self, regal to the last. She changes between joyous love, icy anger, despair and laughter to hide tears. Her death is viewed as a fitting, perhaps welcomed crowning culmination. Her handmaidens Iras and Charmain ,(Kristin Atherton and Amber James),  are steadfast and loyal caught up in events .

Byrne as Antony is dominated by his love for Cleopatra yet he is also a fiery, bull headed, top flight military commander.  He has sudden cruel, violent rages yet we also see his softer, tender side.

Khan’s production highlights Mark Anthony’s personal struggle between his love for Cleopatra and his political duty to Rome.

Mostly the Roman scenes are colder and more formal, the characters moving in neat blocks of formation and where political and military decisions are made the dialogue is fast-paced dialogue, signed ,sealed and delivered quickly.

Antony’s wedding to Octavia, for example, is very stylised. Egypt, however is a decadent, captivating place of romance and pleasure. Antony’s death scene is quite brutal.

Ben Allen’s darkly handsome Octavian is a finely nuanced, captivating performance. He is presented as likeable, astute and perceptive, yet ruthless, always one step ahead of his political rivals.

In this opulent production Rome eventually conquers all at the final curtain as Octavian (the future Emperor Augustus) assumes the pose of the famous statue of him.

Running time allow just under 4 hours including interval, interviews and behind the scenes short documentary plus the cinema ads.

The Royal Shakespeare’s production of ANTONY AM Antony & Cleopatra screens at selected arthouse cinemas from the beginning of July.

 

LIVE AT LUNCH : NOCTURNES AND SONGS TO THE MOON @ THE CONCOURSE

Featured photo – Jane Rutter.

This was a delightful concert the theme of which was nocturnes and songs to the Moon – appropriate for a performance on the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year.

Jane Rutter’s special guests artists this time were soprano Catherine Bouchier, pianist John Martin and singer/guitarist Bertie Boekemann.

For the concert Rutter wore a striking, elegant blue gown with a draped over the shoulder long silver shawl.

The concert opened with Dvorak’s Song to the Moon  from his opera Russalka in a passionate performance. Schumann’s Mondnacht was melancholic and Strauss’ Die Nacht was somewhat brighter in mood with a rippling piano and flute. Continue reading LIVE AT LUNCH : NOCTURNES AND SONGS TO THE MOON @ THE CONCOURSE

THOROUGHBASS OVERTURE AND CONCERTO @ MOSMAN ART GALLERY

Featured photo – Guest artist Michael Tsalka on harpsichord.

This was a very charming and delightful concert performed with delicacy and vigour. There was fine ensemble work by all and some dazzling harpsichord playing. Under the direction of Diana Weston we were privileged to welcome the return of Michael Tsalka on harpsichord.The program featured six short works. First we heard the elegant, quite operatic Johann Freidrich Fasch’s Overture arranged by Stephen Yates. This piece was stately yet lyrical and at times very fast paced.

Next was Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto RV 319 arranged for two harpsichords in three movements again arranged by Stephen Yates. The first movement began with a fast and insistent feel, one harpsichord acting like the violin soloist, the other the orchestra in a delightful dialogue between the two.

The second movement was more heartfelt and sorrowful, melancholic and reflective– however this changed to cascading, shimmering, faster, rippling notes on the keyboard taking us through to the third movement. This was an animated discussion between the two harpsichords full of crystalline delicacy and circling rhythms that led to a bright, powerful conclusion. Continue reading THOROUGHBASS OVERTURE AND CONCERTO @ MOSMAN ART GALLERY

WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA PRESENT ‘MIRACLE’ @ THE CONCOURSE 

Conductor Carol,yn Watson

Featured photo – Guest artist,  Artistic Director of Ensemble Offspring, Claire Edwardes

Under the enthusiastic, precise and dynamic baton of Carolyn Watson, garbed dramatically in red and black, Willoughby Symphony Orchestra were in fine form with their latest concert, MIRACLE.

The first work gave the program its umbrella title, being Haydn’s Symphony No 96 in D The Miracle, so called because of the tale of the work’s premiere when a chandelier fell from the concert hall ceiling and narrowly missed the audience!

The first of the ‘London ‘ symphonies, it is in four movements and there were hints of the Beethoven symphonies and some surprises. The work begins dramatically with a strong, crashing opening and emphatic strings. The second movement contrasted with lyrical and stormy sections and had a quite balletic atmosphere full of airy elegance. Continue reading WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA PRESENT ‘MIRACLE’ @ THE CONCOURSE 

‘FIFTY’ BY MAGGY TONKIN CHARTS THE HISTORY OF THE AUSTRALIAN DANCE THEATRE

This beautifully presented book will be treasured by contemporary dance lovers. Wakefield Press yet again have brought us a stunning medium to large sized coffee table book, in this case the history of Australian Dance Theatre, informatively, eloquently written and with superb photos.

The publication features forwards by both the current Chairman Kim Boehm and Robyn Archer, an excellent index at the back is included, and there is also a handy listing of the various dancers who performed under each of the artistic directors.  The writer, Maggy Tonkin, is a leading writer on dance who resides in Adelaide .

Considered radical, daring and new, Australian Dance Theatre (ADT) is Australia’s oldest continuously running contemporary dance company. Celebrating half a century of innovation in dance performance, FIFTY blends archival research, interviews and magnificent photos to take us from its founding by Elizabeth Cameron Dalman through to the exciting performances that are taking place nowunder the current Artistic Director Garry Stewart.

ADT’s tumultuous history is divided into seven chapters (each of the artistic directors reigns) with a striking portrait of each. The book fascinatingly follows the sometimes quite different paths ADT has taken under the successive artistic direction of Elizabeth Cameron Dalman, Jonathan Taylor, Lenny Westerdijk and Anthony Steel, Leigh Warren, Meryl Tankard, Bill Pengelly and Garry Stewart. Continue reading ‘FIFTY’ BY MAGGY TONKIN CHARTS THE HISTORY OF THE AUSTRALIAN DANCE THEATRE

LONNIE’S LAMENT : A NEW BOOK OF POETRY BY KEN BOLTON

LONNIE’S LAMENT,  the latest collection of poems by Ken Bolton, was recently published by Wakefield Press. Bolton has been a major figure in the Australian poetry and experimental writing scene for decades.  Whilst he says that he writes ‘to keep awake, and amused’, this latest collection is yet another reminder of how wonderful a writer he is.  

This rather small and slim book is in four sections. Most are new poems, some have been published in other collections before. They are incisively written often as stream of consciousness poems.

The pieces are lyrical, thoughtful,  dreamily associative and easily distracting. Bolton reflects on life in ‘difficult times’ and tries to capture how recognize the feeling of changing from one era to another, describing it as being like, ‘a history of the vanishing present’. The poems explore how we define ourselves and how we think we are perceived by others.

There is a great use of the senses in his . Some of the poems are short – only a few lines – others are several pages in length. There are many references to other poets, art, artists, films and books. Bolton’s poems question the meaning and purpose of life and death.

Bolton’s poems with their loose rhythms and sudden shifts jump fluidly between Europe and Australia – mainly Sydney and Adelaide- and there is repeated mention of a favourite Greek restaurant Bolton used to frequent.

The book’s first section consists of three poems.  The opening extended poem 2/12/08A Poem for Philip Whalen meditates not just on Whalen and his work but on Bolton’s father’s World War 2 service. There are references to many artists including Grace Cossington-Smith, the Bauhaus, Rembrandt, Kirchner, and Apollinaire.

 Life is a series of short couplets over several pages reflecting on the brevity of life, the passing of time and the passing of important loves in Bolton’s life.

The Funnies uses comics as a springboard for social comment and analysis.

The book’s second section is entitled September Poems and comprises thirteen poems. Poems range from The Palm , where the exploding burst of fronds and the Ent- like ‘ tree-ness’ of the palm is captured to The Blues which is a meditation on inspiration and travel. Geography is visually and aurally sharp and evocative.

Rooftop Apartment is written with a painter’s eyes and love of detail. West Hampstead captures the feelings brought up when Australians catch up far from home.

The third section consists of five poems. New Way of Worrying is a stream of consciousness poem – should he be worrying about Life? Old friends he hasn’t seen for ages? He observes other people and speculates about what they are worrying about.

It also captures other people he is observing and their possible worries.

Train Tripping has plenty of Australian references and is about eavesdropping on people’s conversations.

September Song is about the writing of a poem with dreams of giving a lecture on poetry.

What’s Best distills images of a flower and the moon. or is a streetlight?, interspersed with reflections on his partner Cath’s writing.

The final section – All New Tunes – opens with Spirits – which jumps between Sydney and Surfers Paradise and Bolton’s favourite Greek restaurant. Drink and the muse are invoked as are the spirits of old friends.

Maybe For You twists standard expectations of gender and identity and looks at ways of reading and comprehending a poem. There are also many musical references too.

30:11;12 concerns stylistic decisions in Adelaide and Fewer Pages is another exuberant yet thoughtful riff on reading, art and dogs.

You would be able to read this book in one sitting but my recommendation is to read/savour only a few poems at  a time, and then have the pleasure of returning to the book at a later time and having another very enjoyable session.

Publisher – Wakefield Press

Category –  Literature – Poetry

Format Paperback

Size 210 x 148 mm

ISBN 9781743054727

Extent 112 pages

Released March 2017

RRP- $22.95.

http://www.wakefieldpress.com.au/product.php?productid=1359

NT LIVE : ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD

Fifty years after its debut Tom Stoppard’s ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD, directed by David Leveaux’s, returned to the Old Vic in this marvellous production direcuj. We here in Australia are privileged to see it as part of this year’s  NT Live Series.

Stoppard’s play is an existential philosophical comedy, examining the very meaning of existence, memory and our fear of death.

Against the backdrop of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, two unfortunate minor characters, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet’s friends, are now thrust centre stage. As the young double act stumble their way in and out of Shakespeare’s iconic drama, they become increasingly bewildered and out of their depth as their version of the Hamlet story unfolds.

Much attention needs to be paid to Stoppard’s wordy at times convoluted text. In some ways the play has a Becket like Waiting For Godot like feel.  

The set is fluid and changing and includes drapes with a fabulous dreamy Magritte- like cloud print for the opening scenes and sails and kegs of wine for the ship scenes. Continue reading NT LIVE : ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD

TWISTED ELEMENT PRESENTS ‘OPUS’ @ THE DUTI STUDIOS ENMORE

This was a strange, exciting, visually stunning work that can best be defined as a ‘dance theatre event’.

Twisted Element has finally returned (hooray) after several years hiatus and with a slightly changed name to bring us this ‘immersive and interactive contemporary dance theatre work’.

The ensemble work was strong and terrific, requiring precise control and there were some excellent solos and duets.

A lot depended on the special costumes the performers wore, as well as the lighting design which was very effective.

The electronic soundscape beeped, throbbed and hummed.

As we entered the space we were greeted by the sight of Charlotte Schinckel-Brown who was standing on a plinth. She was topless (but taped across revealing areas) and was wearing a long, specially formed skirt that was circular at the bottom. It was quite sculptural and the effect was beautiful and challenging. She used her arms in long stretched lines above her head or in angular poses. Eventually she descended and used the skirt in various formations. Continue reading TWISTED ELEMENT PRESENTS ‘OPUS’ @ THE DUTI STUDIOS ENMORE

NT LIVE : TWELFTH NIGHT

 

This is a very interesting but perhaps somewhat disappointing version. Shakespeare’s dark comedy has been updated to now, and in a major twist we have Tamsin Grieg as Malvolia, compelling us to view everything through fresh eyes. But that is not the only twist in this unusual version – sexual orientations and gender identities are fluid in the confusions of Twelfth Night – not everyone is what or who they appear to be.

Countess Olivia and Duke Orsino are both captivated by the shipwrecked Viola when she’s in disguise as the page ‘Cesario’, while Viola’s twin brother Sebastian, in his search for her, is lovingly watched over by Antonio the sailor who rescued him.

This new modern dress production by Simon Godwin increases complications by boldly transforming Malvolio, the Puritanical steward, into Malvolia, a woman who has a lesbian passion for her employer, the Countess Olivia .

Does it work? To a degree, yes, but it is a bit uneven and rushed under Simon Godwin’s direction. For the screenings there are lots of dizzying shots of the use of the revolve and the unfolding of the pyramid like set (which at times unfolds like a 3D pop up storybook to fluidly become a ship’s prow, a chapel , a cell , a highly manicured courtyard full of box trees, a nightclub). The opening shipwreck scene is masterly. There are long dangerous staircases and a swimming pool or two … not forgetting the fountain in the famous letter scene … water is a major theme.

Continue reading NT LIVE : TWELFTH NIGHT

TRAFFIC JAM GALLERIES : ANAKITA ESCALANTE AND DANIELLE MCMANUS IN EXHIBITION

The latest exhibition at Traffic Jam Galleries features two artists from its stable – Anakita Escalante with Sydney Surroundings and Danielle McManus with Wild.

Anakita Escalante’s work is an exploration of the relationship between the man-made and the natural, examining how we live and interact from the fringes of Sydney to the tumultuous bustling of the CBD. Her invigorating paintings feature a glorious use of texture and strong, dynamic composition.

Her subjects range from the iconic Coca Cola sign at Kings Cross, the Harbour Bridge and the Archibald Fountain to striking rock faces and crashing waves (Sea Breeze).

In Fun on the Waves we are almost on board the bobbing boats. There are some striking portraits of Hornsby Lighthouse at different times of day while Rainy Day – The Rocks is grey and mysterious. Continue reading TRAFFIC JAM GALLERIES : ANAKITA ESCALANTE AND DANIELLE MCMANUS IN EXHIBITION

The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes @ the Powerhouse Museum

“Watson. Come at once if convenient. If inconvenient, come all the same.”

(Sir Arthur Conan Doyle -The Creeping Man )

In this very  exciting exhibition history fans and Sherlockians are able to journey back to Sherlock Holmes’ Victorian London and help solve a fascinating murder mystery.

The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes opened on 3 June at the MAAS Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo and runs until 8 October 2017.

Museum visitors explore the science and mystery behind the world of Sherlock Holmes and the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, doctor-turned-author, and the man behind the legend.

Holmes was a chemistry and forensics expert ahead of his time, who used seemingly trivial observations of evidence that others missed, or interpreted incorrectly, to solve challenging mysteries.

The exhibition shows how his methods altered the way police work was conducted in the real world, leading the way to the modern forensics of today. Continue reading The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes @ the Powerhouse Museum

RAPHAEL : LORD OF THE ARTS

“ Here lies Raphael: when he was living, nature feared he would defeat her, now that he is dead, she fears her end is near.”

From the team that has produced “The Vatican Museums”, “Florence and the Uffizi Gallery” and “St. Peter’s and the Papal Basilicas of Rome”, we are privileged to see a stunning examination of the life and works of one of the greatest Renaissance artists.

Widely regarded and celebrated as an “enfant prodige” by both his peers and generations to follow, together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael completed the triad of Renaissance Masters.

Raphael’s life and works traced the development from the arts of the Renaissance to Mannerism bringing the figurative arts to unprecedented heights.
He died young, aged 37, on his birthday, and yet managed to leave an unforgettable mark on the artistic world. Continue reading RAPHAEL : LORD OF THE ARTS

MARTIN SHARP, HIS LIFE AND TIMES BY JOYCE MORGAN

This is a splendid, richly detailed biography of the iconic Australian artist Martin Sharp. He was the co-founder and principal cartoonist at Oz magazine, a song-writing partner to Eric Clapton, the  producer of many famous pop, and much more.

Joyce Morgan, former Sydney Morning Herald  arts editor and journalist, interviewed artist Martin Sharp frequently and intensively during the last decade of his life and unearthed a  fascinating, complex man – from his involvement with Tiny Tim and Luna Park to Arthur Stace’s Eternity landmark scrawl, Picnic at Hanging Rock, and the Sydney Opera House.

Morgan also uncovers information about Sharp’s part in architect Jorn Utzon’s secret departure from Australia in 1966 and his eventual re-connection with the Sydney Opera House. Continue reading MARTIN SHARP, HIS LIFE AND TIMES BY JOYCE MORGAN

WILLOUGHBY THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS ‘WICKED’ @ THE CONCOURSE CHATSWOOD

 

‘No one mourns the wicked’.

The Willoughby Theatre Company transport us to OZ in this, their latest splendid production. It is colourful and spectacular with some sensational staging. The cast is young, vibrant, energetic and enthusiastic.

For this version the front cloth is a green and gold revolving compass like design . (No looming dragon, sorry fellow OZians).

The orchestra as boisterously led by Greg Jones played magnificently, but in Act 2 a couple of times I thought the sound was a little overwhelming and was presented like a rock opera rather than a musical.

Now regarded as a modern classic WICKED by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holman, based on the book by Gregory Maguire tells the story ‘ behind the scenes’ of The Wizard of Oz and what really happened. Who is Elphaba, the ‘Wicked Witch of the West‘? Why is her skin green ? What is Glinda’s real name? Who were the Tin Man , Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion originally ? All these questions are answered in the show… Continue reading WILLOUGHBY THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS ‘WICKED’ @ THE CONCOURSE CHATSWOOD

THE ROYAL BALLET IN BALANCHINE’S ‘JEWELS’

 

We were privileged to see absolutely dazzling dancing in this revival of Balanchine’s Jewels by the Royal Ballet.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Balanchine’s work and a decade since it became part of the Royal Ballet’s repertoire.

The three works, all without a clear narrative structure, are a homage by Balanchine to French Romanticism (Emeralds) America and Broadway (Rubies) and the Imperial Russian ballet of Petipa ( Diamonds). The works feature scores by three composers – Faure , Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky.

Continue reading THE ROYAL BALLET IN BALANCHINE’S ‘JEWELS’

ACO SOLOISTS TAKE CENTRE STAGE @ CITY RECITAL HALL

This very exciting concert blended world premieres and nineteenth century Romanticism in a program of six relatively short works.

The program featured performances by three soloists – violinists Satu Vanska and Glenn Christensen and cellist Timo-Veikko Valve.

Ruth Crawford Seeger’s Andante (for her 1931 String Quartet) opened the concert. It began slowly almost eerily with sharp, spiky, dissonant, shimmering strings. The piece was intense and atmospheric and filled with moments of calm and jarring disharmony. The ACO’s renowned precision for detail was on show in terms of phrasing, articulation and the ability to keep body movement to a minimum.

Vivaldi’s Concerto in G minor for two violins and cello with a glittering, crisp and precise performance displayed the ACO’s ability to be vigorous and exact, particularly in the opening movement. After a soft, rather tentative and slow start, the piece turned into something quite  tempestuous, though one section sounded like delicate raindrops. Continue reading ACO SOLOISTS TAKE CENTRE STAGE @ CITY RECITAL HALL

LIVE AT LUNCH : MONET : THE FLOWERS OF WAR @ THE CONCOURSE

 

Celloist David Pereira. Images by Steven Godbee

One hundred years after the First World War, bullets, bones and bombs are still being discovered by farmers in the fields of France. They remind us of the men of Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Germany, and France who died so painfully in the trenches in the rain and mud.

I was privileged to be at this latest Live at Lunch concert and hear this luminous, soulful performance.

The marvellous quartet of musicians consisted of Jane Rutter on flute, Tamara-Anna Cislowska on piano, David Pereira on cello and Christopher Lantham ( the director of The Flowers of War) on violin. Rutter wore a striking kimono/suit like outfit in turquoise and black the other performers were in orchestral black. Continue reading LIVE AT LUNCH : MONET : THE FLOWERS OF WAR @ THE CONCOURSE