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.

WOOLF WORKS : THE ROYAL BALLET REIMAGINING SOME CLASSIC VIRGINIA WOOLF STORIES

Ferri and Bonelli in The Waves

Originally created in 2015 this is a welcome return of resident choreographer Wayne McGregor’s three part work based on the life and works of Virginia Woolf.

McGregor’s three acts delve into three of Woolf’s novels, interwoven with images from her own life. The choreography is athletic and extremely demanding at times with death defying leaps and catches in the partnering and laser sharp legs .The Royal Ballet dancers are AMAZING.

Continue reading WOOLF WORKS : THE ROYAL BALLET REIMAGINING SOME CLASSIC VIRGINIA WOOLF STORIES

THE LADEN TABLE : A BIG ISSUE PLAY @ THE INTIMATE KINGS X THEATRE

Dinner is waiting. Come with an open heart and mind to the resplendent, heavily laden table. This production by bAKEHOUSE Theatre company is superb, beautifully crafted, written and acted by a largish, strong cast of twelve and is sensitively directed by Suzanne Millar.

Be warned, this production is quite intense and divisive and features explosive inter-generational and racist remarks and quarrels.

THE LADEN TABLE is set in Sydney, right now, and is extremely timely, making us question our own faiths, principles and beliefs. From ‘both sides’ we  hear a plea for understanding. Continue reading THE LADEN TABLE : A BIG ISSUE PLAY @ THE INTIMATE KINGS X THEATRE

GOLDINI’S ‘SERVANT’ GIVES COMIC BOOST TO KING STREET THEATRE

Carlo Goldini’s comedy, THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS, presented by Emu Productions and Fool In Progress Theatre Company, features a sparkling translation by Edward J Dent.

The play’s main character, Truffaldino,  is hungry. ALWAYS hungry (claiming his master never feeds him, he dreams of spaghetti). While working for one master, Federigo, he decides to double dip and work for a second master,  Florindo, to satisfy his everlasting hunger.

Meanwhile lovers are betrothed, meet, fight and, more importantly, love. Where there is love, there is food and where there is food there is Truffaldino.

Continue reading GOLDINI’S ‘SERVANT’ GIVES COMIC BOOST TO KING STREET THEATRE

THE DANCER :A DANCER’S QUEST FOR BEAUTY AND PERFECTION

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

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

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

NT LIVE’S OVERLY AMBITIOUS ST JOAN @ THE DONMAR

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRACY DODS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA : GENIUS @ THE CONCOURSE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN DIFFERENCE : DANCE ME TO THE EQUALITY OF LOVE

IN DIFFERENCE, part of FORM Dance Projects ‘ 2017 and also linked to the current Mardi Gras festival, is a challenging, at times confronting  work, dazzlingly danced by a tremendous cast, that challenges our thoughts and preconceptions in regards to  LGBTI marriage and (in) equality.

Craig Bary, with his co-creators and performers Kristina Chan, Timothy Ohl and Joshua Thomson, has devised a show that represents two real life couples, one of heterosexual and the other of homosexual orientation.

This work, through a series of ordinary and extraordinary everyday life moments, explores how we interact and express ourselves no matter what our sexual orientation is.

The bleak scaffolding set is shifted and rotated by the cast, allowing for fluid scene changes .Karen Norris‘ lighting is often shadowy and ominous. Eden Mullholland‘s soundscape thrums, beeps and pulsates, and includes songs as well as voice overs of various incendiary speeches about LGBTI marriage and equality. Continue reading IN DIFFERENCE : DANCE ME TO THE EQUALITY OF LOVE

EXHIBITION ON SCREEN : I, CLAUDE MONET

Directed by Phil Grabsky this is an autobiographical exploration of the great Impressionist painter Claude Monet’s life based on his voluminous correspondence  (over 2500 letters). The letters are mellifluously, eloquently read by Henry Goodman and in the background there is a dreamy soundscape including compositions by Satie.

Many of Monet’s works, over a hundred, now scattered around the globe, are luminously photographed in closeup so we can see the swirling brushstrokes.

The film features glorious view of favourite Monet locations including Paris and Giverny and we can see the changes that have taken place since Monet’s time. Continue reading EXHIBITION ON SCREEN : I, CLAUDE MONET

PRELUDE IN TEA : THE STREETON TRIO @ THE INDEPENDENT THEATRE

After a delicious afternoon tea we were treated to a magnificent concert by the Streeton Trio, part of the Prelude in Tea series of concerts held at the beautiful Independent Theatre.

The concert was given the umbrella title The Vienna Congress.

Before the concert began violinist Emma Jardine set the program in context, explaining the turbulent times of the period and the dominant influence of Napoleon Bonaparte. She advised that the program explored the complex musical situation in Vienna, the capital of European music at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Two decades of great cultural ferment saw the Vienna Congress (1814/1815) as the turning point between the ideals of the Enlightenment and those of the Restoration. What took place was a radical change in the social role of music, which was no longer used as an instrument of awareness and knowledge, but instead became ‘the opium of the masses ‘ and proved useful in disguising the harsh reality of post-Napoleonic and post-Enlightenment society. Continue reading PRELUDE IN TEA : THE STREETON TRIO @ THE INDEPENDENT THEATRE

RSC : THE TEMPEST : LIVE FROM STRATFORD- UPON – AVON

This Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) production of Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST, two years in the making, and well directed by Gregory Doran, will probably be remembered for two main things- its amazing use of the latest technology for great special effects and, after twenty years, the return of Simon Russell Beale to the RSC stage, playing the role of Prospero.

Brimson Lewis’s multi layered set is the huge decaying spine and ribs of a broken, sunken ship while director Gregory Doran and designer Stephen Brimson Lewis, working with actor Andy Serkis’  Imaginarium Studios, have developed a series of grandiose images — from terrifying hounds of Hell to charming landscapes and striking underwater images – that add to events rather than distract from them.

The lavish, elaborate masque Prospero conjures up to bless the marriage of Miranda and Ferdinand featured vibrant colours, astonishing costumes, three singers, several dancers, peacock tails and stylised landscapes. Continue reading RSC : THE TEMPEST : LIVE FROM STRATFORD- UPON – AVON

AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA PRESENTS HANDEL’S MESSIAH @ CITY RECITAL HALL

In the lead up to Lent and Easter we are very privileged to have the Brandenburg’s glorious performances of Handel’s THE MESSIAH, enthusiastically led and directed by Paul Dyer with the magnificent Brandenburg Choir, four soloists and a striking, very unusual and effective staging by Constantine Cosi.

Handel’s Oratorio on the life of Christ is divided into four ‘scenes’ : Darkness to Light , The Dream , Shame and Mourning, and Ecstatic Light.

THE MESSIAH follows the story of Christ from birth to crucifixion and resurrection, but it also examines Israelite history, exploring the prophets who preceded the Messiah (especially Isaiah) and looks forward to the birth of the Church. There is no single dominant narrative voice and little use is made of quoted speech.

The Orchestra, seated on a slightly raised platform, was in luminous form, and played with a warm, elegant tone on their period instruments – extra horns and drums were incorporated where necessary. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA PRESENTS HANDEL’S MESSIAH @ CITY RECITAL HALL

DAVID HARE’S ‘JUDAS KISS’ @ THE OLD FITZ

 

“Some love too little, some too long/Some sell, and others buy/Some do the deed with many tears/And some without a sigh/ For each man kills the thing he loves/Yet each man does not die.” – Oscar Wilde: The Ballad of Reading Gaol.

Sensitively directed by Iain Sinclair this production by Red Line Productions of David Hare’s play THE JUDAS KISS would have to be one of the best shows on in town at the moment.

This compelling production is part of the Mardi Gras Festival and looks at the tragic fall of the great author Oscar Wilde.

The play was written in 1998 and Neil Armfield directed a landmark version at Belvoir in 1999 and more recently an overseas production starring Rupert Everett as Wilde.

Hare is regarded as one of the great contemporary British playwrights writers and it is a huge pleasure to hear his magnificent use of language and observe the confident, secure construction of his  play.

In the tiny intimate theatre it is as if we are a fly on the wall observing events. Act 1 is set on the 5th of April, 1895, in a room of the Cadogan Hotel in London, the night on which Wilde must decide whether to stay in England, and face imprisonment, or flee.

The Cadogan Hotel, set is plush red velvet curtains, lamps, chairs and tables and crowded with paintings (pick out the Whistlers and St. Sebastian).

After interval, Act 2 is set two years later, on the 3rd December, 1897, after Wilde’s release from prison, in the Villa Guidice at Posillipo, near Naples. This set is minimalist featuring a white backdrop , a chair and a white slab on which Galileo reclines as we enter.

The production features terrific period costumes, designed by Antoinette Barbouttis . Continue reading DAVID HARE’S ‘JUDAS KISS’ @ THE OLD FITZ

PARIS OPERA BALLET MAGNIFICENT REVIVAL OF NUREYEV’S ‘SWAN LAKE’

If you want to see pure, dazzling, practically perfect classical ballet technique danced superbly then this screening is for you.

The Paris Opera Ballet’s revival of  Nureyev’s SWAN LAKE is superb. The production choreographed by Nureyev was first presented at the Paris Opera Ballet in 1984 and previously last seen in 2011.  This screening was of the performance that took place at the Opera Bastille in Paris on the 8th December 2016.

Nureyev’s rather Freudian version is presented as if it is the main characters Siegfried’s dying dream,  controlled by Wolfgang, his tutor, who in Siegfried’s mind becomes the mysterious, malevolent Rothbart. The orchestra, under maestro Vello Pahn, plays superbly .

For the scenes in the palace there are clean , elegant lines of doorways and for the lakeside ‘white’ scenes there is  a rather Turner like ominous landscape. Continue reading PARIS OPERA BALLET MAGNIFICENT REVIVAL OF NUREYEV’S ‘SWAN LAKE’

AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA : MURDER AND REDEMPTION @ CITY RECITAL HALL

 

Featured image – Guest violinist Pekka Kuusisto.

This was not your standard Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) concert, but as always it featured absolutely superb playing by the ACO who were in inspired form and dynamically led by the charismatic, bouncing, at times close to dancing guest violinist Pekka Kuusisto, who has taken the place of Richard Tognetti, who is currently in residence at the Barbican in London. (The ACO will play at the Barbican next month).

The concert was divided into two halves,as befits the concert’s title. There was a fascinating blend and contrast of blues grass folk songs sung and played on guitar and banjo by  guest artist Sam Amidon, with a turbulent, passionate Janacek piece (his first string quartet, The Kreutzer Sonata, as well as a dazzling version of a John Adams work entitled, Shaker Loops (1947) .

In the first half, Murder, the turbulent , at times quite spiky Janacek piece was magnificently played by the ACO. The wprk was inspired by the Tolstoy novella of the same name. At one time there was a stormy argument between sections of the orchestra tensely, breathlessly played, and this was contrasted with more melancholic and reflective sections .

Amidon’s folk songs, played in both halves, appeared at first to be simple tunes but then proved to be more complex. In the first half, in the work Way Go Lily, there were rippling flowing rhythms.  How Come That Blood featured a fluid, clip clop almost galloping rhythm – Amidon on banjo , the orchestra accompanying him, and there was an interesting use of pizzicato.

For the first half the songs were arranged by Nico Muhly.  Amidon’s rough hewn, sincere vocal style gave his retelling of these folk songs a powerful punch.  Amidon’s raw playing contrasted with the more refined tomes of the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

The Redemption set opening the second half was a selection of songs performed by Amidon and Kuusisto alone, in a delightfully intimate yet casual and relaxed manner. This contrasted with, and allowed some relief, from the darker subject matter of the program’s first half.

Kuusisto treated his violin more like a folk fiddler, and occasionally joined his voice to Amidon’s in a delightful performance that also included a showy violin solo.

This half also featured an acapella like, haunting and powerful version of Brackett’s Simple Gifts, (the most famous hymn of the Shaker sect) as sung by Amidon.

John Adams work Shaker Loops was rich and multi layered and featured an aching ‘centre’. At times, the piece evoked the ‘music of the spheres’, shimmering and delicate, at other the playing was strident, with bubbling violins and  cellos rumbling underneath.

This was a dazzling concert with a running time of two  hours and ten minutes.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra’s toured the concert  MURDER AND REDEMPTION nationally between the 2nd and 14th February.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra in Murder and Redemption was on national tour February 2 -14

https://www.aco.com.au

MELBOURNE BALLET COMPANY GETS PHILOSOPHICAL WITH ITS NEW WORK : BEING AND TIME

Simon Hoy is the resident choreographer and tour director of the Melbourne Ballet Company and up till now has created seventeen works for the Company.

Hoy studied at the Australian Ballet School and has worked in Europe, Asia and America before returning to Australia in 2007.

The Melbourne Ballet Company, established in 2007, is led by Alisa Finney, and has talented dancers from around the globe.

As part of a national tour, and the Company’s tenth anniversary celebration, they are bringing a triple bill entitled BEING AND TIME to the Concourse at Chatswood.

This is a world premiere production and will feature new works by Simon Hoy,  Lucas Jervies (who has worked with the Australian Ballet, Scapino Ballet, Expressions Dance Company , Sydney Dance Company and the Queensland Ballet, among others ) and Tim Podesta (who has worked with the South African Ballet Theatre, Queensland Ballet and Projection Dance, to name just a few).

Hoy described this new production, ” as  examining the belief that philosophical thinking begins with, and reflects, its human subjects, in their acting, feeling, and as recognisable, living human individuals. This existential understanding of being is ‘grounded in time’, or the more popular way of describing it, is ‘of living in the moment.”

Hoy has been inspired by reading the works of Martin Heidegger the German philosopher. “While the predominant value of existentialist thought is widely acknowledged to be its freedom, its intrinsic primary virtue lies in its authenticity. Being and Time seeks to explore the concept of authenticity and the meaning of life, striving to articulate the question of Being.

“Through the movements depicted , questions are raised, – where does this movement come from? what does it mean to be human?!”

Hoy said that with this new work he is, “attempting to ignore his knowledge and preconceived ideas about the Company’s dancers, and create something as new, fresh and challenging as possible.”

The company is very excited as Mara Galeazzi, a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet – currently performing with them in Woolf Works – will be joining the Company for the production.

Hoy has worked with her previously on a gala, and has already met with her this year.and met her again earlier this year.

In other exciting news, Joseph Phillips , of the State Primorsky Opera and Ballet Theater in Vladivostok, and formerly of the American Ballet Theatre,  will also be part of the production.

The Melbourne Ballet Company is classically based but like almost all dance companies now performs a mix of a variety of styles including ‘neoclassical’ and contemporary, They have a loyal following and have developed enthusiastic audiences in not just Melbourne but in regional areas too.

Hoy said he  regards regional touring as very important and is excited that the Company  is touring widely including to Darwin, Alice Springs and Western  Australia.

The Melbourne ballet Company can be seen performing BEING AND TIME at the Chatswood Concourse on March 11 and 12.

The Company will return to the Concourse again at the end of June when it will stage another new work, Arche, based on Swan Lake.

 

BOTTICELLI INFERNO : BOTTICELLI’S PAINTING OF DANTE’S VISION OF HELL

Featured image – Director Ralph Loop at an event for the film.

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Dante

This is a  fascinating, intense examination of Sandro Botticelli’s (1445- 1510) famous work that jumps from the Vatican to Florence, Berlin, London and the Scottish lowlands.

The film is directed by Ralph Loop, who also has an expert, an Italian historian who knows the city of Florence in the Renaissance period to enthusiastically narrate part of the film. As well there are interviews with the Directors of the various galleries.

The film examines the history of one of Botticelli’s famous works : the illustrations he produced based on Dante’s Divine Comedy and particularly concentrates on The Inferno and his depiction of the nine levels of, and the map of the descent, into Hell, as described by Dante. In contrast, we also see his vision of Paradise. Continue reading BOTTICELLI INFERNO : BOTTICELLI’S PAINTING OF DANTE’S VISION OF HELL

SWEET SUMMERTIME CAPTURED IN THE NEW EXHIBITION @ TRAFFIC JAM GALLERIES

Another way to escape the current seemingly endless scorching Sydney heatwave is to catch the delightful HARBOURING THE BEACH exhibition now showing at the Traffic Jam Galleries.

The exhibition features the works of Anakita Eskalante, Danielle McManus, Bruno Mota, Bronwen Newbury,  Rebecca Pierce and Sally West in a themed exhibition that embraces Summer, The Harbour,  beaches and positivity for this coming year. Don’t forget to check the gallery’s windows facing the street as they feature some of the works included.

Anakita Eskalante’s four works can perhaps be viewed as a group, perhaps companion pieces on the same theme. The texture of the huge rocks are vividly depicted and you can feel the dangerous sea crashing against them. In Walking Along the Edge (Bondi to Coogee) the sea appears to be in a happier mood but is it actually?!
Continue reading SWEET SUMMERTIME CAPTURED IN THE NEW EXHIBITION @ TRAFFIC JAM GALLERIES

THE ROYAL BALLET PRESENTS ‘THE NUTCRACKER’ @ THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE LONDON

Ballet lovers should take this opportunity to see this screening of the Royal Ballet’s production of Sir Peter Wright’s version of Tchaikovksy’s /Petipa’s THE NUTCRACKER. This Royal Ballet production was particularly special as it was part of Sir Peter Wright’s 90th birthday celebrations.

This is terrific family fare, a quite traditional and enchanting production with some technically AMAZING dancing, particularly in the second act.

Visually this production is stunning with opulent, lavish sets and costumes and features some wonderful special effects, including a Christmas tree that grows on stage. Continue reading THE ROYAL BALLET PRESENTS ‘THE NUTCRACKER’ @ THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE LONDON

A STREET CAT NAMED BOB

Directed by Roger Spottiswoode (who also directed Turner & Hooch), this film is based on the autobiographical books by James Bowen about a man and his cat which tells the story of how Bowen, portrayed by Luke Treadaway, a homeless, recovering drug addict, ekes out a rather edgy and skint existence busking on the streets of London.

His patient, sympathetic support worker Val (Joanne Froggatt) manages to find him accommodation. One evening Bowen discovers Bob the cat guzzling his cereal. At first Bowen shoos him, but then he notices that the cat is badly injured, after which he then makes contact with his  neighbour, animal lover and activist Bettie (Ruta Gedmintas). Between Val, Bob and Bettie, Bowen’s life will never be the same. Continue reading A STREET CAT NAMED BOB

NT LIVE PRESENTS HAROLD PINTER’S ‘NO MAN’S LAND’

 

Following their hit run on Broadway, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart (they last appeared together in Waiting for Godot back in 2009) returned to the West End stage in Harold Pinter’s NO MAN’S LAND, captured live to cinemas from Wyndham’s Theatre, London as part of the wonderful NT Live series. The production ended its season at the Wyndham on December 17, 2016.

Pinter’s play transfers wonderfully from stage to screen , is clearly and thoughtfully shot with terrific use of close up at certain points ( for example when Patrick Stewart as Spooner crumbles in despair at one point in the first act, or the tension at his crawling exit. Or McKellan’s face when Hirst admits to seducing Spooner’s wife).

Superbly directed by Sean Mathias and with a stellar cast this is a magnificent, tense production. Continue reading NT LIVE PRESENTS HAROLD PINTER’S ‘NO MAN’S LAND’

CIRCA PRESENTS ‘HUMANS’ @ THE SPAGHETTI CIRCUS BIG TOP, PARRAMATTA

 

The young, fit, highly trained human body is capable of astonishing things.

Circa is a very exciting Brisbane based company.  HUMANS asks what it means to be human. How much weight do we carry? Who can we trust to support our load? It leads us to reflect on our lives, our loved ones, the burdens we carry and the physical and emotional strength it takes to overcome them.

Directed and created by Yaron Lifschitz, HUMANS, performed in the round at the Spaghetti Circus Big Top is a breathtaking combination of acrobatics, contortionism , tumbling, balancing, aerial trapeze, handstands and back flips.

Contact improvistaion, pyramid building, banquine and risley, and hand-to -hand partnering are also featured and strikingly blended with elements of contemporary dance.

At times the audience audibly gasps. There is no real narrative, rather a fluid sequence of various dazzling and surprising interactions combining various finely honed circus skills.

There is much use of haze and the lighting is delicately, warmly vibrant and atmospheric.

The scintillating cast of ten wear a uniform of autumn/russet coloured shorts/leotards and a semi -transparent black top. They wear ankle and/or wrist supports .Some have tattoos,

At the beginning the cast wear casual street clothes and have fun rolling acrobatically twisting in and out of them.

There is a fiercely tender and intimate sense of trust between the cast – some of the lifts, drops, throws ,twists and catches,  let alone the pyramid balancing, are extraordinary.

HUMANS is full of hot and sweaty bodies in explosive, movement , leaping, twisting ,twirling jumping, somersaulting ,precariously balancing , intimately entwined , swooping and swinging from a trapeze , dragged by the hair, sliding across the stage and  forming sculptural poses,

One hilarious sequence that had the audience in rapture was where the cast twisted and bent in almost impossible shapes attempting to lick their elbow. Floating balancing lifts in other sections are contrasted with this A breath, a clap, a bend of the knee,  a beautifully flexed and pointed foot or extended arm are all important .

With astonishing strength, grace, agility and integrity, each moment is seamlessly connected.

The relentless, pulsating soundscape varied from an assortment of popular songs to music theatre standards to techno thump to the sound of a single clap..

The almost hysterical standing ovation at the end was richly deserved.

Running time – 80 minutes without interval.

HUMANS, presented  by Circa, is playing atat the Spaghetti Circus Big Top,  Prince Alfred Square Parramatta up until 19th January.