WINNERS – SYDNEY ARTS GUIDE AWARDS

WINNERS of the annual SYDNEY ARTS GUIDE AWARDS

SYDNEY ARTS GUIDE ANNUAL AWARDS 2015

last cab to darwin.large

2015 SYDNEY ARTS GUIDE STAGE & SCREEN AWARDS               

 

Sydney Arts Guide is a key part of stage and film culture, and exists to celebrate the art of performance, in theatres and cinemas.

2015 was a year of amazing diversity, and our twenty accredited specialist reviewers, were all spoiled for choice in the quality of the live theatre performances to be experienced in the City of Sydney, and the suburbs of Sydney.

As the old adage goes, “live theatre is not dead theatre, as there is a different performance to be experienced every night”. Our team of professional reviewers, have each nominated their personal preferences for both theatre and cinema. A small number of movies were nominated out of the hundreds of cinema films that were seen during the last twelve months.

Unfortunately some live theatre venues closed permanently in 2015.

Having reached the end of another outstanding year for the arts in Sydney, on Thursday 31st December 2015, Sydney Arts Guide announced its 2015 awards in these Stage and Screen categories:-
Continue reading SYDNEY ARTS GUIDE ANNUAL AWARDS 2015

2014 Sydney Arts Guide Stage & Screen Awards

Bell Shakespeare's WINTERS TALE  2014 winner - Best stage production
Bell Shakespeare’s WINTERS TALE  2014 winner – Best stage production

 

Sydney Arts Guide is a key part of stage and film culture, and exists to celebrate the art of performance, in theatres and cinemas.

2014 was a year of amazing diversity, and our twenty accredited specialist reviewers, were all spoiled for choice in the quality of the live theatre performances to be experienced in the City of Sydney, and the suburbs of Sydney.

As the old adage goes, “live theatre is not dead theatre, as there is a different performance to be experienced every night”. Our team of professional reviewers, have each nominated their personal preferences for both theatre and cinema. A small number of movies were nominated out of the hundreds of cinema films that were seen during the last twelve months.

At the end of another outstanding year for the arts in Sydney, on Wednesday 31st December 2014, Sydney Arts Guide announced its 2014 awards in these Stage and Screen categories:-

Continue reading 2014 Sydney Arts Guide Stage & Screen Awards

The Crucible @ Bella Vista Farm

Crucible-inset Image
Images from Sport for Jove’s revival of The Crucible. Pics by Seiya Taguchi

It was only as I started my car engine to begin the trip to the performance tonight that I realised I wasn’t carrying any tissues. On my wander back to the house, I wondered … would I really need them? THE CRUCIBLE always makes me cry and it is the Elizabeth Proctor character who is the agency of those tears but Sport for Jove’s production is at Bella Vista Farm. Perhaps the open, less intimate space of a barn wouldn’t really translate into the genuine emotion which Arthur Miller’s text brings out in me. In the event, it was lucky that I did go back. Tissues were required but the agency was unexpected.

In the 1692 Puritan community of Salem, Massachusetts, Betty Parris, one of the town’s young women, has been struck down with a strange illness which leaves her unable to speak or move. Her friend, Abigail, confesses that the girls have been dancing in the woods with the West Indian servant woman, Tituba. Dancing combined with nakedness and drinking blood seem to have brought this illness on and its symptoms appear to be spreading among the girls. There is talk of witchcraft in the town and the Reverend John Hale arrives with the Malleus Maleficarum to root out evil. Continue reading The Crucible @ Bella Vista Farm

Leaves @ King Street

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Newtown’s King Street Theatre is currently presenting a world premiere production of local playwright Steve McGrath’s new work, LEAVES. A co-production by Theatre Excentrique and Emu Productions directed by Markus Weber, the play is full of dark humour and is brought to life by three fine performances.

The show opens and we see film of three friends on their long hike to the remote site which then leads to their live appearance on stage. Their emergence  is heralded with a clever soundscape including kookaburras guffawing. Weber’s marvelous set design includes a bush track with leaves, tree stumps and panels at the back acting as a projection screen. Continue reading Leaves @ King Street

Company @ Star Of The Sea

A perplexed Robert and his three girlfriends
A perplexed Robert and his three girlfriends

Manly Musical Society’s final production for the year is a revival of Stephen Sondheim’s COMPANY. This is one of the best productions of this timeless award winning musical comedy that I have seen.

Christie Wykes directs with a fresh new vision that is valid and intriguing. This essential Sondheim musical, features one brilliant show-stopping number after another, and is now gracing the stage in Sydney for a limited season.

From his 35th birthday party celebrations, we follow eternal bachelor Robert, as he tries to de-single himself, as a single man unable to commit, as compared to and seen beside the lives of his friends … four married couples. Robert investigates the importance of marriage, as he observes each and every flaw in his friends’ marriages.

Continue reading Company @ Star Of The Sea

Switzerland

Sarah Peirse and Eamon Farren in Joanna Murray-Smith's SWITZERLAND. Pic Brett Boardman
Sarah Peirse and Eamon Farren in Joanna Murray-Smith’s SWITZERLAND. Pic Brett Boardmanis

I have just come home from seeing Switzerland. Joanne Murray Smith’s play is is as exotic, breath-taking and at times frosty as the great European  tourist destination.

This latest work is a bold, inspired flight of the imagination. A  great fan of American mystery writer Patricia Highsmith’s work, Murray-Smith has written a play in  her style and included her as the central character.

A masterful choice, as Highsmith makes for a great dramatic character. She was a very cantankerous, eccentric even bizarre woman who you can’t help but be drawn to. Continue reading Switzerland

The Glass Menagerie at Belvoir

Rose Riley and  Harry Greenwood in THE GLASS MENAGERIE. Pic Brett Boardman
Rose Riley and Harry Greenwood in THE GLASS MENAGERIE. Pic Brett Boardman

For any student with a passion for drama, be it for the stage or for the screen, Tennessee Williams’ THE GLASS MENAGERIE makes for highly recommended viewing.

Great drama is about deep connection and this is what one gets with this play Williams wrote in the key of sorrow as he looks back on his life growing up in his struggling Southern family.

First performed in Chicago in 1944, THE GLASS MENAGERIE is the play that established Williams brilliant career.

Continue reading The Glass Menagerie at Belvoir

Sondheim on Sondheim

SOS_Dean Vince, Debora Krizak, Blake Erickson, Rob Johnson, Phillip Lowe (pic Michael Francis)
Dean Vince, Debora Krizak, Blake Erickson, Rob Johnson and Phillip Lowe. Pic Michael Francis

One of the best shows on in town at the moment is wonderful Squabbalogic’s SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM currently running at the Reginald at the Seymour Centre. A dazzling celebration of some of Sondheim’s work. If you are a Sondheim or musical theatre fan this is for you. The cast has scintillating talent.

Theatre legend Stephen Sondheim is now 84 and this is the Australian premiere of this show which was originally devised by James Lapine in 2010.

Segments of Sondheim talking about his life are interspersed with songs from some of his shows.

Continue reading Sondheim on Sondheim

Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES

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Guy Edmunds delivers a brilliant comic performance in WITCHES. Pics Brett Boardman

Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES is the much loved childrens’ classic book, which tells a twisted yet endearing fairy tale, all about defeating a coven of evil witches.

Dahl’s story was originally adapted for the stage by David Woods and has since been reimagined by Lucas Jervies.

The current Stables production showcases a clever one man tour-de-force performance by Guy Edmonds (A Moody Christmas) as the master storyteller.

Continue reading Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES

OPERA AUSTRALIA: DON GIOVANNI

Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Don Giovanni. Pic Lisa Tomasetti
Teddy Tahu-Rhodes as Don Giovanni. Pic Lisa Tomasetti

Musically this new version of Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’ is superb and thrilling with spectacularly brilliant performances from the wonderful orchestra under Maestro Jonathan Darlington (featuring the fortepiano played by Siro Battaglin for the recitative) and the glorious cast led by the great Teddy Tahu-Rhodes.

Sir David McVicar’s direction is deft and assured. This is a bleak, dark production, with quite a cold ‘feel’ .There is a swooping black curtain hiding most of the set when we enter. The huge set resembles a bombed/ruined palace with rubble, and there are pieces of marble everywhere.     

Continue reading OPERA AUSTRALIA: DON GIOVANNI

MUSIC

Tom Stokes, Kate Skinner and Anthony Gee in MUSIC. Pic Kurt Sneddon
Sarah (Kate Skinner) and Gavin (Tom Stokes) try to reach out to a disorientated Adam (Anthony Gee) in Jane Bodie’s new dramatic work, MUSIC. Pic by Kurt Sneddon

My experience over many years of quickly skimming a writer’s program notes in the theatre foyer before heading into a show is that generally they are written in a very dry, bland manner.

This accounts for the reason why I was completely blown away by Jane Bodie’s writer’s note for her new play MUSIC currently playing at Kings Cross’s Stables theatre.

Continue reading MUSIC

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

Lynden Jones delivers a strong performance as the brilliant Southern lawyer Atticus Finch in the classic, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Pic Bob Seary
Lynden Jones delivers a strong performance as the brilliant Southern lawyer Atticus Finch in the classic, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Pic Bob Seary

Faced with the inevitable comparisons any audience would make with the classic 1962 film in which Gregory Peck so deservedly won the best male actor Academy Award, any playwright, director and actor involved with presenting a production of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD would have to be brave indeed.

Director Annette Rowlison, and the entire cast and the creative team have stepped up to the plate and come up with a revival that is well worth seeing.

Continue reading TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

THE WINTER’S TALE

Pic Michele Mossop
Otis Pavlovic as Prince Mamillius and Myles Pollard as Leontes in THE WINTER’S TALE. Pic Michele Mossop

This can be called one of Shakespeare’s ‘problem plays’ as it is full of both intense psychological drama yet also is lyrical, rustic and has a romantic happy ending. In some ways it is almost in effect two separate plays, with massive shifts in mood and tone. There is lots of doubling of roles by the excellent cast and fine ensemble work.

It is all seen through the imagination of young Prince Mamillius (Otis Pavlovic or Rory Potter) who controls and manipulates everything. Mamillius acts as lynchpin, questioner and observer throughout. The ’nursery’ /fairytale set as designed by Stephen Curtis was light and airy with bunk bed with ladder, a cradle ,small child size stools, a wonderful mobile…

Continue reading THE WINTER’S TALE

TRACKS

Robyn Davidson and Mia Wasikowska at the Australian premiere of TRACKS
Robyn Davidson and Mia Wasikowska at the Australian premiere of TRACKS

The marvelous Mia Wasikowska is carving out quite a remarkable career overseas but back on home turf that career seems to magnify. Distinguishing herself as a director for her segment in TIM WINTON’S THE TURNING, just released on DVD through Madman, she now stars in the long gestating screen adaptation of TRACKS (M), playing the indefatigable Robyn Davidson who dropped into Alice Springs, 1975, with the idea of crossing the desert, a two and half thousand kilometres odyssey west from the dead heart to the Indian ocean.

Robyn is happiest without humans, holing up with Diggity, her loyal canine companion, but she knows she needs transport and funds. The former comes in the shape of four wild camels that she earns through months of backbreaking labour first with a hard Austrian émigré and camel breeder, Kurt Posel portrayed by Rainer Bock, then with the Afghani camel farmer Sallay Mahomet played by John Flaus.

Continue reading TRACKS

PROOF

Matilda Ridgway (Catherine) and Adriano Cappelletta (Hal) in David Auburn's  Pulitzer Prize winning PROOF at the Ensemble Theatre
How many levels of proof are required?!- Matilda Ridgway (Catherine) and Adriano Cappelletta (Hal) in David Auburn’s engrossing play, PROOF. Pic Clare Hawley

David Auburn’s PROOF takes us into a young woman’s world as she reaches a significant milestone in her life, turning a quarter of a century. Joining Catherine (Matilda Ridgway) in her birthday celebrations is her estranged stocks analyst sister, Claire (Catherine McGraffin), who travels from New York, Catherine is based in Chicago, and a new beau, Hal (Adriano Cappelletta). Absent is her irascible, brilliant Mathematic professor father, Robert (Michael Ross), who recently passed away after a long battle with mental illness.

Continue reading PROOF