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.

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

The Paris Opera Ballet in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

f we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended, That you have but slumber’d here. While these visions did appearA Midsummer Night’s Dream, Scene 7

Stunningly danced the latest screening of the Palace Opera and Ballet season is the Paris Opera Ballet’s presentation of Balanchine’s A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT DREAM in two acts and six scenes .It is the first time the Paris Opera Ballet has performed this particular Balanchine work , one of Balanchine’s few narrative ballets .

Created in 1961 it features the marvellous music by Mendelssohn and uses a luscious reworking of the original Karinska costumes by fashion icon Christian Lacroix. Continue reading The Paris Opera Ballet in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

TRAFFIC JAM GALLERIES PRESENT WORKS BY KATHRYN MCGOVERN AND SALLY WEST

The current exciting exhibition at Traffic Jam Galleries is a combined show – Kathryn MCGovern’s DOG SHOW and Sally West’s AROUND TOWN. They are very different artists in subject and style and it makes for a captivating event.

Kathryn McGovern’s exhibition is a series of wonderful canine portraits. McGovern, over the past few months, visited various dog shows in Queensland and mingled with cossetted canines, breeders, stewards and judges.

Individual canines are depicted in great detail and we marvel at the variety of colours, shapes and sizes of the assorted dogs.

Reference photos were combined with on location observations together with McGovern’s imagination to create the final vibrant product of ink and paper.

The paintings are witty and delightful. They feature an exceptional use of composition and an intriguing use of ‘ negative space’.

From beagles to dachshunds,  Churchillian bull dogs to tiny chihuahuas, giant Dalmatians and medium sized terriers, the various breeds are wonderfully shown. Some of them are full of bristling enthusiastic movement, whilst others are posed and poised.

We see it all from the canine perspective, there are no full human portraits but some pictures include legs and arms of the judges/owners.

SALLY WEST’S exhibition AROUND TOWN is her response to the environment in which she now lives. Internationally exhibited West is predominantly an ‘en plein air’ painter, with most of this exhibition’s works having been painted on site.

“I see the harbour and Sydney through different eyes now as an adult and mother, I now crave to capture them as a painter”. says West.

West’s current exhibition is a documentation of her favourite places that she has found in Sydney over the past 6-12 months.

The paintings feature a series of extremely thick, swirling brushstrokes full of wonderful texture, Many of the works are full of vibrant colour and dynamic composition, remarkable images of  the sea or landscapes, including Crown Road, Study From Berry’s Bay,  and Double Bay to Darling Point. The iconic Sydney Opera House is painted from above.

This was an exciting exhibition with special appeal for canine fanciers and landscape lovers.

This current exhibition is on display at the Traffic Jam until 25th May.

AMADEUS : NT LIVE REVISITS A CLASSIC OF THE BRITISH THEATRE

The latest in the excellent series of the NT Live series, this is  a gripping production of Shaffer’s controversial, classic play AMADEUS.

First performed in 1979 and then with the film in 1984 this is a slightly reworked production. On one level, it is about art and creativity, genius, jealousy and revenge, and the struggle to be an artist and use one’s God given gifts. Mostly, however, it is about the fictionalised rivalry between Salieri (here heroically played by Lucian Msamati) who also acts in part as the  narrator, and Mozart .There’s significant debate about this which suggests it was probably a greatly exaggerated antipathy. Respect, envy, resentment and affection are all intertwined in the complex relationship that develops between the two.    Continue reading AMADEUS : NT LIVE REVISITS A CLASSIC OF THE BRITISH THEATRE

HONG KONG PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA @ THE CONCERT HALL

This is the first time the Hong Kong Philharmonic has visited Australia in its 43-year history. Its 2017 Tour was led by internationally-renowned conductor maestro Jaap van Zweden, Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic since the 2012/13 season, who conducted with elegance, aplomb and a terrific sense of timing and phrasing

The ambitious programme included the Australian premiere of Quintessence, a new work by Hong Kong composer Dr Fung Lam as well as Mozart’s Violin Concerto no. 4 and Mahler’s Symphony no. 1.

The opening work Dr Fung Lam’s Quintessence which tries to define and express the Buddhist ideas of striving towards one’s highest goals and attainment. Fung Lam is the orchestra’s Director of Orchestral Planning and the first Hong Kong composer ever to be commissioned by the BBC.
Continue reading HONG KONG PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA @ THE CONCERT HALL

OPERA AUSTRALIA : TWO WEDDINGS ONE BRIDE @ THE PLAYHOUSE

This joyous, frothy operetta is a sheer delight. Robert Andrew Greene’s TWO WEDDINGS ONE BRIDE is adapted from Charles Lecocq’s 1874 classic operetta Girofle-Girofla. Musically it blends some of the most famous and beautiful songs of the operetta repertoire (Strauss, Offenbach, Lehar, Kalman, Lecocq, Stolz ) yet at times it sounds like Mozart, Verdi or even Gilbert and Sullivan.

There is a lush Oriental minimal set design by Owen Phillips – looking as if it could be for The Abduction From The Seraglio or some such – and stunning costumes by Tim Chappel. Andrew Hallsworth’s choreography is inventive and the small cast of five perform with great comic timing.

Polished musical accompaniment was provided by pianist Robert Andrew Green and violinist Yuhki Mayne. Continue reading OPERA AUSTRALIA : TWO WEDDINGS ONE BRIDE @ THE PLAYHOUSE

SPANISH BAROQUE : THE AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA AND CIRCA @ CITY RECITAL HALL

The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Circa have reunited for a glorious blend of Baroque music and circus at the City Recital Hall.

The performance was inspired by the Brandenburg’s ARIA Award-winning CD Tapas, which includes plenty of percussion, guitar and theorbo, and lashings of violin bravado, with music by Albéniz, Merula, Murcia, Martinez and more.

The two special guests were Baroque guitarist Stefano Maiorana from Rome and soprano Natasha Wilson from New Zealand making her Australian debut.

Circa’s artistic director Yaron Lifschitz’s choreography astutely blended sensational dazzling solos and breathtaking ensemble routines while always harmonising with the spirit of the music. It was a fluid combination of tumbling, gymnastics, balancing and aerial numbers , in various jaw-dropping sections making you blink and go “ I see it but I don’t believe it“. Dangerous dives, throws and catches were included as well as feats of strength and daring as well as sometimes triple-level human pyramids. Continue reading SPANISH BAROQUE : THE AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA AND CIRCA @ CITY RECITAL HALL

GLORY : WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA IN CONCERT @ THE CONCOURSE

Featured image : Chilean born Composer in Residence Daniel Rojas.

This was a magnificent, thrilling performance by the combined forces of the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and Choir under the umbrella title GLORY (no, not the song from Pippin) as conducted by maestro Simon Kenway.

Charismatic Kenway was energetic, enthusiastic and precise and introduced each of the three works briefly putting them in context. Under his baton the Orchestra was in fine form and displayed  a lyrical, warm tone.

The concert opened with a lush, intense presentation of Faure’s Pelléas and Mélisande, a suite in four movements of Faure’s music for Maternlick’s play.

The magical mysterious discovery of Melisande is described in the first section – the Prelude began in traditional French Baroque form, rather slow and stately with lush strings that ebbed and flowed throughout. The section featured stormy horns and woodwind.

In  the passionate second movement, Melisande at the spinning wheel  is evoked – you can hear the whirring as she spins.  Faure captures her charm and apparent innocence. Prick your ears to listen for the interplay of soprano and tenor melodies in conversation, especially when the second theme emerges from solo clarinet and horn. The oboe however is the primary ‘singer’ of this song without words.

The third section is the famous Sicilienne featuring a delicate, limpid flute solo, and the orchestra shimmering and bubbling.

Then came the turbulent finale of the death of Melisande, which was played at the end of Fauré’s funeral, as his coffin was carried from the church.

The next piece in the program was a Latin piano concerto by  Dr Daniel Rojas, Composer-in-Residence. Dr Rojas is renowned as an award-winning composer specialising in the Latin American aesthetic, as well as an acclaimed pianist with stunning live improvisations.

Chilean born, Rojas draws on his heritage and a broad musical palette that includes Latin American indigenous, folk, classical and popular traditions, as well as Western classical and jazz techniques.

His concerto blended refined classicism and explosive Latin -American rhythms in three challenging movements.

Rojas’ playing was very energetic and emphatic. He played with enormous authority and exceptional technique – at times shimmering and birdlike, at other times blisteringly fast and joyously explosive when it came to the Latin-American dance rhythms.

The first movement was a showcase for Rojas’ bravura playing, thoughtfully accompanied by the Orchestra. The second movement was more a dialogue between piano and orchestra and the third movement included achingly beautiful violin segments.

The thrilling dynamic work was brought to a breathless , exuberant finish . For this work Kenway was hidden from the view of most of the audience – he was behind the piano so the Orchestra could see him.

The audience applauded rapturously and for an encore we heard Rojas’ arrangement of the soulful, passionate Resureccion del Angel, by Astor Piazzolla.

After interval came the very strong and powerful performance of Poulenc’s Gloria , with Laura Scandizzo as soprano soloist .( Scandizzo has previously performed with the Willoughby Symphony in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for their Joy concert) .Among other choreographers Sir Kenneth Macmillan and Graeme Murphy have used this work for their ballets . Poulenc’s work is short and intense. First performed in 1961 it is a setting of the Gloria from the Catholic Mass in Latin in six short movements. It is full of joy yet threading through it is humility and a luminous clarity.

The packed Choir and Orchestra were superb in a thrilling performance. From the start we become aware of its human focus yet grand scope – a lofty fanfare segues into a somewhat lighter register blowing away hints of royalty or superior aloofness penetrating chords contribute to the sense of continuing quest , but this ebbs as the choir becomes a corroborative authority figure over eddying strings. We are taken on a wheeling kaleidoscopic journey of emotions including wonder, jubilation and satisfaction as well as humility.

The opening was bright and stately the chorus entering with a prominent dotted figure to the word ‘Gloria’, which forms the basis of this movement.In the second movement Laudamus Te the choir bubbled and rippled with pairs of voices -; altos and basses , sopranos and tenors – exchanging a series of short, succinct phrases. In the Domine Deus,with its glorious flute accompaniment, Scandizzo was pleading, sombre and reflective. In the fourth movement the choir and orchestra combined in a lush thrilling blend of six bubbling melodies.

In the Domine Deus and Agnus Dei there was an ominous ticking sound underlying its relentless ,sweeping rhythms .Listen out for the eight point harmony of the Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris and the soaring final Amen as sung by Scandizzo and then echoed by the choir with haunting woodwind brings everything to a radiant conclusion.

Running time 2 hours 10 minutes (roughly) including interval.

GLORY by the Willoughby Symphony was at the Concourse April 29 & 30 2017

 

OPERANTICS PRESENT STRAUSS’ ‘DIE FLEDERMAUS’ @ INDEPENDENT THEATRE

 

Johann Strauss delicious operetta with its catchy tunes premiered on 5 April 1874 at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna and has been part of the regular repertoire ever since. Opera Australia often perform it on New Year’s Eve as a special gala and/or include it as part of their regular season.

The plot hinges on a glittering masked ball, given by a Russian prince, that brings together all the main characters in various disguises. The three-act journey that leads from boudoir to ballroom to jail provides ample opportunities for farce and humour, but also provides for genuine human emotion and what can be a surprisingly realistic view of urban life. There are lovers in disguise, unfaithful wives and husbands and would be stage struck maids…

Operantics have transposed and updated it to Manhattan New York City in 1929 with a witty, scintillating new translation of the libretto that audiences love.

The plot is basically as follows : Gabriel von Eisenstein is evading prison to attend Prince Orlofsky’s ball, with the help of his friend Dr Falke who secretly bears him a grudge over a misjudged practical joke from years before –   hence the title of the show.

Meanwhile his wife Rosalinde has to reluctantly fend off the advances of a persistent suitor, dashing singing teacher Alfred, and she follows Gabriel to the ball in disguise, planning to catch him out flirting. Adele their maid is scheming too, attending the ball also in disguise in the hopes of impressing a Broadway producer…..

The show was presented as it it was a late 1920’s movie. There was a deft use of projections ( on the back panel) to further enhance the art–deco like set.

The dialogue (recitative) was spoken in English.  The arias /ensemble pieces were sung in the original German with translations as surtitles on the screen –this took a little bit of getting used to but worked ok.

Eliza Grundy’s choreography for the cramped small stage was most effective.

The show was without a live orchestra however the score was presented in a piano version , magnificently played by Nathaniel Kong and precisely, delightfully conducted by elegant, energetic Keiren Brandt-Sawdy.

Vocally the opera was splendid with some magnificent performances, especially from the four leads. The chorus had a great time and were impressive too.

As wealthy man-about-town Gabriel von Eisenstein, Michael Handy was a caddish, rather sleazy man who dithers at various points. He was in splendid voice giving a very polished performance. His duets with Rosalinde at the ball and she was masked in disguise were glorious.

His unhappy wife Rosalinde was terrifically sung by Jessica Harper who was in thrilling voice. She has great fun teasing Alfred and Gabriel. She suffered from self-deceiving hauteur and could be bitchy in her interactions with Adele yet positively charming to everyone else. Was she really in love with Alfred ? Or Gabriel ? Her show stopping aria in disguise, as a countess at the ball, when she sings the “Czardas”, her set piece in the second act , (“Klänge der Heimat”/”Songs of My Homeland”) had the audience at her feet in raptures and brought the house down .

As Adele, Amy Balales is superb. In her black short sexy chichi French maid outfit in the first half she is stunning – and such glorious long legs. And then she is in a long green gown for when she is in disguise at the ball. Her ‘laughing song’ (“Mein Herr Marquis”/”My lord marquis) at the ball was a showstopper and she absolutely wowed us and Frank with “Spiel’ ich die Unschuld vom Lande”/”If I play the innocent country girl “ displaying her ravishing thespian talents.

Dashing tall , dark and handsome yet rather louche Alfred is gloriously sung by Spencer Darby.

Tristan Entwhistle as Dr Falke has the vocal presence ensuring all eyes and ears are drawn to him as he masterminds his revenge.

Prince Orlofsky (should that be Princess?!)- was played with charisma by cross dressing Laura Griffin as a White Russian plutocrat who suffers from ennui. The Prince  presides over a sort of multi-sexual post-Mardi Gras  party, rendered furtive by everyone’s adoption of assumed identities.

Matthew Avery delightfully sang the part of Frank.

Even though there is an exuberant full cast champagne chorus finale  we do get the feeling that the Eisenstein’s rocky marriage will more than likely disintegrate, and that  Adele will follow her dream and become a stage star…

This Operantics production was a lot of fun and featured some great music.  DIE FLEDERMAUS played the Independent Theatre  between the 20th and 23rd April.

 

BIG FISH : A MUST SEE @ THE HAYES

 

Once upon a time there was a small intimate theatre that decided to put on a musical called BIG FISH and the show became a smash hit and just grew and grew…This captivating musical has a heart bigger than the Nullarbor Plains.

The show is presented as a ‘chamber opera’ in what the producers have called the ‘twelve chairs’ version. Under Tyran Parke’s refined, accomplished direction, and thrillingly staged, the brilliant cast bring this story to magnificent life.

The small orchestra as led by Luke Byrne are invisible behind the scenery – we never see them but they are terrific. The set – young Will’s bedroom with seashell ruffles at the back for the mermaid – allows for fluid scene and locale changes including the moving  in and out of beds and tables etc. Continue reading BIG FISH : A MUST SEE @ THE HAYES

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN FLORENCE : SIMONETTA CATTANEO

Alyssa Palombo’s book THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN FRANCE strikingly captures the dangerous allure of the bond between artist and muse with delicacy, candour and unforgettable passion.

Palombo is also the author of The Violinist of Venice. She has published short fiction pieces in Black Lantern Magazine and The Great Lakes Review. A recent graduate of Canisius College she holds degrees in English and creative writing. A passionate music lover, she is a classically trained musician as well as a big fan of heavy metal. She currently resides in Buffalo, New York.

Divided into three sections, the book opens in Genoa where Simonetta Cattaneo was born and lived. She is believed to be the model for some of Sandro Botticelli’s finest paintings, including The Birth of Venus. 

She was married to Marco Vespucci of Florence in 1469 at the age of sixteen and moved there upon her marriage. Even before her betrothal with Marco was official, Simonetta was drawn into Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici’s glittering circle of politicians, poets, artists, and philosophers.

The men of Florence―most notably the rakish, rather sinister Giuliano de’ Medici―become enthralled with her beauty. That she is educated and an ardent reader of poetry makes her even more desirable and fashionable …

Florence, however, does not really agree with Simonetta as she eventually keeps on becoming ill. She suffers from recurring mysterious fevers – it turns out Simonetta unknowingly developed TB.

The book follows Simonetta’s tragically short life as she is wooed by the promise of life in artistic, learned Florence, befriended by the mighty Medici family and then moves in the top echelons of Florentine society, what we would now call the A-list, and is given the mixed blessing of being declared the most beautiful woman in Florence.

Simonetta’s unhappy marriage to Marco is well described. The developments of art, music and culture are also mentioned – Donatello’s David , the works of Fra Filip Lippi the amazing dome at the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, as designed by Brunelleschi.

Simonetta’s story is a poignantly sad one, but also strikingly feminist as she fights to be acknowledged for her sharp mind and education (she is bookish and intelligent with a very inquiring mind) and scorns the attention paid to her because of her astonishing good looks. It is Botticelli who sees past her looks to the curious and thoughtful woman within, and through that relationship with him she is immortalised in some of the most treasured works of the Renaissance .

Breaking all convention, Simonetta agrees to pose for Botticelli leading to the creation of his famous The Birth of Venus. Do the two become lovers?  Or is it a chaste affair following the rules of courtly love of the time?

You will have to read the book to find out. Boticelli asked to be buried at Simonetta Vespucci’s feet, in the Chiesa di San Salvatore di Ognissanti, where he remains to this day, makes this an even more seductive love story.

Though little is known of her real life, this story gathers what facts do exist to build a lyrical , fascinating and compelling narrative that is not just a love story. This is an enchanting book that captivates and makes you want to dash to the Uffizzi Gallery.
IBSN: 9781925481167

  • Format: Trade Paperback
    Pub Date: 26/04/2017
  • Category: Fiction & related items / Historical romance
    Fiction & related items / Historical fiction
  • Imprint: Macmillan Australia
  • Pages: 320
  • Price: $29.99

 

KINKY BOOTS @ CAPITOL THEATRE


‘The most beautiful thing in the world is a shoe’ .

Shoes can be art, lovingly crafted sculpture.
Kinky Boots has bounced into Sydney! Price and Son have taken over the Capitol to screams of delight from shoe people.

This bright bold and colourful musical with a huge heart will have you dancing in the aisles. It is often joyous , sexy and exuberant yet also deals with underlying darker issues. It is a story about self-acceptance,  personal growth, prejudice and the acceptance of outsiders .

Kinky Boots is the show that beat Matilda in the 2013 Tony Awards for best Musical – to some raised eyebrows.       Continue reading KINKY BOOTS @ CAPITOL THEATRE

FALLEN : A FASCINATING HISTORICAL DRAMA @ THE SEYMOUR CENTRE

 

Lyrical and powerful this play is a fascinating insight into a little known piece of British/Australian history.

Seanna van Helton’s FALLEN is a stage adaptation of historian Jenny Hartley’s’ novel, THE  HOUSE OF FALLEN WOMEN (2009). Penny Harpham directs this current production which has been co-produced by Sport for Jove and Melbourne’s’ She Said Theatre.

The setting is London in the 1840s. The location is Urania Cottage in London. The cottage was founded by legendary author Charles Dickens with wealthy banking heiress Angela Burdett-Coutts. It was established as a reformatory for fallen women as an alternative to the workhouses and prison.                                 Continue reading FALLEN : A FASCINATING HISTORICAL DRAMA @ THE SEYMOUR CENTRE

LIVE @ LUNCH : FLUTE SPIRITS AND THE SEASONS @ THE CONCOURSE

 

This was a  very exciting, dynamic and unusual concert, part of the Live at Lunch series at the Concourse, devised and presented by internationally renowned flautist Jane Rutter.

The performance opened dramatically with a very unconventional version of the traditional balled The Minstrel Boy featuring a new arrangement by Jane Rutter. Rutter, wearing a  heavily brocaded kimono like outfit with a gold outer layer over pink and green floral underlay, was superb on flute with Blak Douglas equally good on didgeridoo.

Rutter then went on to  talk about how she has a great sense of belonging to the land and country and its songlines and how the flute and the didgeridoo are two of the world’s instruments.

Continue reading LIVE @ LUNCH : FLUTE SPIRITS AND THE SEASONS @ THE CONCOURSE

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG : A HOOT FROM BEGINNING TO END

Written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields of London’s Mischief Theatre, THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is a hysterical loving bouquet to the world of amateur theatre and what can go wrong; a succession of missed cues, lost dogs and props, slapstick, the drinking of turps instead of whiskey,pratfalls, ‘drying’, squashed hands, mangled lines, missed cues, revolving doors, fake snow and melodramatic red lighting.

The play’s conceit is based on the attempts of the fictional Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society to perform the 1920s murder mystery The Murder at Haversham Manor.  

Even before the show officially begins there are problems. On stage, the crew is trying to tape the mantelpiece back to the wall, with help from an audience member.
Continue reading THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG : A HOOT FROM BEGINNING TO END

WILLIAM GOLDING’S CLASSIC TALE GETS THE BOURNE TREATMENT

Dark and disturbing this is a gripping, chilling version of William Golding’s classic novel LORD OF THE FLIES directed by Matthew Bourne.

This is the Australian premiere with a short Melbourne season only and represents the first time that this work has been performed out of the UK. Bourne’s production is driven, relentless and, at time, explosively violent.

Continue reading WILLIAM GOLDING’S CLASSIC TALE GETS THE BOURNE TREATMENT

UNTITLED : AN ENTHRALLING NEW EXHIBITION @ TRAFFIC JAM GALLERIES

UNTITLED, the current exhibition at Traffic Jam Galleries, focuses on guest artists, foreign to the gallery space, featuring a diverse spectrum of themes and mediums.

The aim of this medley of physical and conceptual forms is to promote a culture of diversity and demonstrate that mixed bodies of seemingly disconnected ideas have the ability to strengthen and support each other.

The exhibition is a thrilling visual feast .          Continue reading UNTITLED : AN ENTHRALLING NEW EXHIBITION @ TRAFFIC JAM GALLERIES

THE CHANCELLOR’S CONCERT @ SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM OF MUSIC

This was a thrilling concert in the beautiful , elegant Verbrugghen Hall at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

The Orchestra under maestro Eduardo Diazmunoz was magnificent. Diazmunoz’s conducting was precise, energetic, refined and mostly restrained, except in the case of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring during which he was jumping around,

After the introduction and welcoming speeches by the Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AM ,the opening work was the delightful world premiere of Anne Boyd AM”s Olive Pink’s Garden which requires an absolutely HUGE orchestra,

Boyd’s composition is inspired by the work of anthropologist Olive Muriel Pink, after which a beautiful park in Alice Springs was created,             Continue reading THE CHANCELLOR’S CONCERT @ SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM OF MUSIC

NT LIVE PRESENTS AN IBSEN CLASSIC : HEDDA GABBLER

The NT Live screening of Hedda Gabler brings us a bleak, sparse and shattering version of Ibsen’s classic play, written in 1891.

Under Ivo Van Hove’s assured direction, the play is updated to now, with a crisp, supple translation by Patrick Marber that makes it seem new and vivid .

The set is an almost bare, anonymous apartment in the inner city, in the middle of renovation. There are vertical blinds, a fridge and a security camera at the door. Jan Verswyveld‘s lighting is splendid.

The soundscape features a mix of popular songs including Joni Mitchell’s classic ballad Blue all of which go to depicting a person in crisis.

Ruth Wilson is luminous and riveting in the eponymous title role . We first see her slumped over the piano, in negligee and dressing robe, seemingly oblivious of what is happening around her– but is she really?!                               Continue reading NT LIVE PRESENTS AN IBSEN CLASSIC : HEDDA GABBLER

POLINA : A DANCER SEARCHES FOR HER TRUTH

 

Dark and at times somewhat disturbing . POLINA marks the directorial debut of renowned French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj and his wife, filmmaker Valérie Müller.

The film is wonderfully, at times moodily photographed, with some glorious landscape shots, including a striking early solo outside in the snow against the backdrop of the cooling towers of a nuclear power plant , and later some enchanting use of mirrors and shadows and unusual angles. and much use of intimate closeup. The interior of the Bolshoi Theatre and school are glowingly portrayed.

The film’s sections of electronic score, by 79D, works well with the shift away from classical music to something more edgy and contemporary.

POLINA is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Bastien Vivès and is about a ballerina and her artistic development.

Veronika Zhovnytska plays Polina as a young
girl, whose supportive hardworking parents encourage her dream of one day dancing for the Bolshoi. Continue reading POLINA : A DANCER SEARCHES FOR HER TRUTH

EXHIBITION ON SCREEN : THE ARTIST’S GARDEN : AMERICAN IMPRESSIONISM

“An artist’s interest in gardening is to produce pictures without brushes.” Anna Lea Merritt

The latest luminous film from Exhibition on Screen is from the Florence Griswold Museum in Connecticut located at the former boarding house in Connecticut where the artists gathered .

Narrated by Gillian Anderson and directed by Phil Grabsky, with some voice over of artist’s letters of the time, it documents how the American impressionist movement followed its own path, whilst taking heed of leading French impressionists such as Renoir and Cezanne.

It also puts the art movement in context of the development of America at the time with the adoption of Impressionist techniques by US artists and it examines the way the movement interacted with changing attitudes to gardens, as well as the many other upheavals in American society at the time. Continue reading EXHIBITION ON SCREEN : THE ARTIST’S GARDEN : AMERICAN IMPRESSIONISM