OMEGA ENSEMBLE : RAVEL IMPRESSIONS @ CITY RECITAL HALL

Above : Catalin Ungureanu – violinist for the Arensky Piano Trio No 1 in D minor and  the Ravel String Quartet in F major

‘Ravel Impressions’ at City Recital Hall was the final concert from Omega Ensemble in its 2017 Virtuoso Series and for all concert series in the year. Whilst celebrating the trio and quartet genres from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, Omega Ensemble presented an entertainment which was consistently stylish and elevated. Once more their programme allowed a demonstration of the talented virtuosi at Omega’s disposal. The chamber music skill on display soared with constant class into the artistic stratosphere.

The first half of the concert juxtaposed a Russian piano trio from the late Romantic period with a more well-known clarinet trio written by Mozart in 1786. The concert’s second half consisted of a joyous reunion of a piano trio by Gabriel Fauré and the famous string quartet by his pupil Maurice Ravel. This concert also paid homage to teacher-composers, as both Arensky and Fauré were prolific music educators of their time at the St Petersburg and Paris Conservatories respectively. Continue reading OMEGA ENSEMBLE : RAVEL IMPRESSIONS @ CITY RECITAL HALL

UTS BACKSTAGE : LILLIAN HELLMAN’S ‘THE CHILDREN’S HOUR’

For its final main season production of the year, UTS Backstage revisited an old classic, American Jewish playwright Lillian Hellman’s THE CHILDREN’S HOUR.

Hellman’s play premiered in the 1930s and was radical for its time in its depiction of a lesbian relationship.

The setting is a country town boarding school. Two female school teachers, Karen Wright and Martha Dobie, have formed a close relationship, building the school’s reputation and importance in the local community. Their feelings turn/transform into more than friendship.

Their relationship is exposed by Mary Tilford, an enormously bratty schoolgirl who ‘dobs’ them into her grandmother, Amelia Tilford, who then ‘rings the alarm’ in the community. The 1930s weren’t exactly a great time in regards to enlightened thinking around the whole issue of same sex relationships! Continue reading UTS BACKSTAGE : LILLIAN HELLMAN’S ‘THE CHILDREN’S HOUR’

AUSTRALIA DAY COMMITTEE FORMED BY PLAYWRIGHT JONATHAN BIGGINS

Photos by Chris Lundie

AUSTRALIA DAY playing at the New Theatre is a lot of fun.  That could be it.  That could be all I need to write.  “Go and see it. It’s a good comedy!”

Ah but …. I love an “Ah but” moment in the theatre.  Jonathan Biggins doesn’t write in one dimension, he’s not a single noun kind of scribbler.  Few national treasures are and AUSTRALIA DAY is a whole mess of naming words.  All of which add up theatrical storytelling of the finest, most entertaining, kind.

We meet the Australia Day Committee of the small fictional town of Coriole, including a mayor with aspirations to be on the ticket for the House of Reps.  Cushy job in Canberra would be nice and Bryan Harrigan is a man with an eye for the main chance.  As is Helen.  She’s a member of The Green Party and pretty green.  Robert is the chair and often umpire. Maree is the CWA rep and Wally is a leftover from the days when men ruled empires and could say and do as they liked.  At their first meeting for next year’s events, there are concerns in committee about how the changing population of Coriole is affecting the traditional way of celebrating a national day.  Enter Chester.

Chester is the school rep by default  on the committee.  He’s a teacher and from an Asian background.  That means Chinese to Maree and Wally, it’s a tough room!  Lap Nguyen gives us such a fun character here.  Self-deprecating, amused beyond belief at the rest of this committee, not above baiting their prejudices and guilelessly positive.  Chester is beautifully written of course. Continue reading AUSTRALIA DAY COMMITTEE FORMED BY PLAYWRIGHT JONATHAN BIGGINS

CHRYSALIS: MIDNIGHT FEAST THEATRE COMPANY

Jes Vandrempt, Mark Inwood, Georgia Cooper All photographs by Prudence Upton

Type in ‘inspirational’.  Right click.  Pull down synonyms.  Stimulating Stirring Rousing Moving.  Well … that’s bullshit.  These artists exhibit no desire for that kind of spurious platitudinous response.  These are performers whose work has an urgency to be respected for their message, the artistry of their thematic expression and the craft with which it is created.

I have been to see CHRYSALIS.

It’s Midnight Feast Theatre Company and the cast combines the talents of professional actors with high support need individuals. And it’s a bloody revelation.

It is blood, after all, that humanity has in common.  It pulses through all of us indiscriminately, be that puncture or transfusion.  The overarching symbolic cohesion of this production is in the use of red wool to bind us all together. Written by Stephen Sewell, Emily Dash and Warwick Allsopp (Emily and Warwick also perform) and with sterling direction from Kylie Harris, CHRYSALIS combines vignettes, songs and storytelling in a medical setting with a beating heart of verite  theatre.

 “A protest inspired by true events in the lives of ensemble members with significant disabilities who feel they have been mistreated and ignored by doctors and institutions.”  

Glenn (Glenn Turnbull) is not just the central figure whose wheelchair is upstage for the whole production.  Glenn is one of us.  He watches … not just his cast mates and their performance though.  His acuity as an observer is tuned further out than that. He watches us watching.   The program notes indicate that in the devising of CHRYSALIS, he was keen to explore how he is often ignored.  That is not the case here.   Glenn is an arresting presence and his words, spoken as voice over to close the show, make one want to know more of this young man.  An argument over a beer about his choice of footy team might be a good start.

Glenn’s impact is also due to the excellent performances of the cast around him.  Paul Mulgrew does a terrific job as the doctor.  Paul has power and expression in his voice as he has the doctor’s clinical indifference just right.  Yet he mitigates the dispassion with explaining about the doctor’s 14-hour shift.  Jude Bowler as the Paramedic has a much tougher gig, though, because she has the most obnoxious and repellent of the dialogue.  It’s teeth grinding stuff, made worse because it is based on the lived experience of some of this ensemble.  She’s really good at being shitty.    Warwick Allsopp and Mark Defy in support are equally institutionally negligent and dismissive.

One of the true delights of this production is Sarah Armstrong.  She, like most of the cast play several roles but her Nurse Isabella in these early scenes is such a lovely creation.  Her vivid expressions and complete engagement in the role are stellar.  And the way Sarah shows Isabella’s outrage at the other nurses’ behaviour is clear and present acting of the best kind.  She lights up the stage every time she appears.

As does Georgia Cooper.  Georgia arrives on stage after a beautifully elucidated meditative music piece (Kylie Harris, Jes Vandrempt, Nick Lewis) performed with Tibetan bowls, stark white lighting and costumes, supported by a soundscape gently under to add to the aural beauty.    Georgia shimmers and not just because of her sparkly costume.  It is the spark and fire of her storytelling that really gets you.  Comic lines delivered with a sense of infectious fun hypnotise us into travelling to a new destination with her.  A place of perspective.

That is a rich place for a singer of style and passion.  Nina Salece is a star from her “Where is Love?” song to the way she directly engages with the audience during the big numbers.  She is absolutely charming and has a killer smile.  There is  some recorded music in the show but there are also live music makers Frankie Bouchier and Rob Gist, (Composer Robin Gist) to keep the work flowing.

Nic Gell, Heath Ramsey,Glenn Turnbull Photo: Prudence Upton

Speaking of killers, T Man (that’s Tarantula to the uninitiated) is played by Heath Ramsay and he is just cracker as he eyes off the crowd looking for his next meal.  It is the gruesome and the gothic interpreted with glee.  Heath’s work is the first part of a really interesting sequence where insects struggle for torturous supremacy over Glenn who has been left … just left.  Each of the ensemble here work so well together.

With Robert Mockler as a commanding Lord of the Flies, the tension is palpable.  Frankie Bouchier as Cockroach, Nick Gell as Fang, Mark Inwood as Rotten, Paul Mulgrew as Clifton, Odile Le Clezio as Bop, Nick Lewis as Gus, Jes Vandrempt as Stinker are a formidable group.  With their unified, characterful movement and techie headgear, the group create a great fear in the audience about what they will do to Glenn. “Eat humans”, is the chilling cry and an eerie green light predominates as fly buzz on the soundtrack makes it all pretty yucky.  Again, I would point out that this is lived experience for these performers.  No wonder their work is so passionate.

Jude Bowler, Glenn Turnbull Photo: Prudence Upton

Passion is all around in the next sequence when sex and disability are referenced.  Here the audience is inspired into clapping along to ‘Devil Gate Drive’ leading into some wizarding fun with straws and a cleaner with a broom to get Glenn’s discarded clothes off the floor.  Nick Lewis is a dab hand with a broom, we saw him before the show where he was intent on his work and completely in character.  Now we see him kick it into high gear with ‘You’re the Voice’.  Pump it up man!!!  He has some serious moves; his dancing is awesome and he is soon joined by the rest of the cast for a thrilling and emotional section.  A real high point but there is more to come.

The last few scenes of the production belong to Emily Dash as Amara, Erica Halvorsen as Glenn’s Guardian Angel and Emily Marks as Caterpillar/Butterfly.  Drawings are displayed, there is an interpretive dance expressing the sheer love of movement to music and a monologue delivered with an unparalleled emotional intensity as the themes and the red wool are drawn together.  The world needs “… the beauty you create.”

Type ‘beauty’.  Type ‘theatre of relevance and power’.  Type ‘performances of skill and belief’.   Right click.  Pull down synonyms. There is only one … Midnight Feast Theatre Company’s production of CHRYSALIS.

For more information about CHRYSALIS or Midnight Feast Theatre Company visit

https://www.midnightfeast.com.au/

MURIEL’S WEDDING THE MUSICAL : OPENING TONIGHT!

After much anticipation, MURIEL’S WEDDING THE MUSICAL is finally arriving! A joint co-production by the Sydney Theatre Company and Global Creatures, the show is opening tonight at the Roslyn Packer Theatre.

A stage musical adaptation, brought to the present day by writer PJ Hogan, the show is being directed by Simon Phillips and features original music by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall, along with the original beloved Abba numbers. The show is exclusively playing Sydney.          Continue reading MURIEL’S WEDDING THE MUSICAL : OPENING TONIGHT!

HEATHERS THE MUSICAL @ THE FACTORY THEATRE Marrickville

 

 

HEATHERS THE MUSICAL provides multiple insights into the bullying, assaults, intimidation, violence and gun ownership of American senior high school students at Westerberg High. Beautiful misfit loner Veronica Sawyer, is wonderfully played with great gusto by Julia Hyde, when she finally succeeds in joining the school’s elite and cliquey trio of beautiful young women, THE HEATHERS.

Veronica falls deeply in lust for Jason Dean (J.D.), played by Stuart Prime, the very dark, mysterious and dangerously sexy new bad boy at the school. Julia Sophie Liela is undeniably menacing as the elegant Queen Bitch, Heather Chandler.

Unremittingly entertaining musical with biting lyrics plus murder and mayhem galore, and is based on the cult 1988 Hollywood movie HEATHERS starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater.

Directors Kyle Stephens and Liviu Monsted have wisely cast three very brightly voiced women as the Three Heathers. Thought-provoking teenage revenge musical contains frequent confronting adult themes and easily blends its enthralling young-adult drama with caustic sharp humour.

We finally meet the mean girls, these three bitches, Heather Duke, Heather McNamara and led by Heather Chandler. They are HEATHER I and II and III fully displayed in all their glory, hunting down all the nerds who are their easy prey, in the school jungle.

Mood enhancing lighting choices, and the intimate staging and brilliant set design were all exceptional. The realistic-looking dynamite bomb with timer, plus the explosion pyrotechnics helped make the evening extremely memorable. The young ensemble cast perfectly delivered Laurence O’Keefe’s and Kevin Murphy’s lyrics, with never-ending enthusiasm and intensity, making for an awe-inspiring great night out.

This is a bargain night out, as tickets are only $30 each, concession $25, plus booking fees.

Beautifully staged in an intimate theatre space, and with a superb young cast, this enthusiastic HEATHERS was magnificent and a very entertaining night out.          Continue reading HEATHERS THE MUSICAL @ THE FACTORY THEATRE Marrickville

VIOLENT EXTREMISM and OTHER ADULT PARTY GAMES @ The Depot Theatre

 

Fascinating savage slice of political and social commentary via comedy, with generous surreal dialogue, provides violence bordering on farce. Exhilarating murder-thriller romp, satirical comedy equally filled with both wit and wisdom, and delivers unexpected twist after twist, and absolutely packed with riveting humour. Fascinating and intriguing theatrical experience, often profound and beautifully fluent acting, the story unfolds with great wit and superlative comic timing.

Two reality television stars, the husband and the wife,  together they are the perfect married team when on television.   However they are both actors reading their lines and faking it. Their televised married life is not real, every word spoken is written for them.

Robert Kelly (Thomas Pidd) and his wife Tamara Kelly (Eleanor Stankiewicz), attend an informal morning meeting with a twitter-famous neo-nazi teenager. These two reality television stars will do and say almost anything to protect their good name and their television jobs, including manufacturing a terrorist siege, to hide each deliberately accidental murder. Outstanding performances from a strong cast, however NIDA graduate Eleanor Stankiewicz yet again delivered a very memorable role on her journey to be Australia’s next Cate Blanchett.

Suddenly they have to be impulsive, make real-world decisions, and inventively decide when to murder each victim. They cleverly blur the lines of their reality, by altering the crime scene to frame other persons with their compelling forensic evidence. 21st century hypocrisy, and the continuing war on terror, continues to be fuelled by unjustified fear and hatred. This show deliberately provides clever political conversation starters. You and your friends will be talking about this show for many hours.

Continue reading VIOLENT EXTREMISM and OTHER ADULT PARTY GAMES @ The Depot Theatre

CORIOLANUS: ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY

Photos by Helen Maybanks
© RSC

This updated production (it is set now, or perhaps in a possible near future) as directed by Andrew Jackson emphasizes the politics and bloody battles. It is beautifully spoken and a play of contrasts: this is a production where patricians wear dinner jackets, the plebeians wear hoodies and the tribunes are as sleek as TV presenters. Political speeches are contrasted with whirling violent battle scenes .
Jackson’s version of CORIOLANUS opens with a forklift truck shifting bags of corn away from the ordinary denizens of Rome. It is staged with some thrilling lighting effects and some bloody battles and some blistering , tense wordy political scenes in the Forum.

Stark grey metallic grille shutters rise and fall throughout the whole play as scene dividers. They are coolly neutral and suggest a life completely different to that of Coriolanus’. To indicate Rome and the forum there is a statue of a rearing horse, Volumnia’s palace is graced by a refined statue of Venus. The public marketplace is indicated by steel seating and podiums that rise from the floor. Interior scenes have curtains to soften the lines.

To summarize the complicated plot : Caius Martius forces open the gates of the city and joins the leader of the Roman army, Cominius, to defeat Tullus Aufidius, commander of the Volscian army. In recognition of his great deeds, Caius Martius is renamed “Coriolanus” . Yet the common people turn against him for his arrogant attitude, and he ends up seeking refuge in exile with his old foe Tullus Aufidius, who was previously defeated, but not killed.Together they plan to attack Rome, but at the last minute Volumnia makes Coriolanus repent his treachery, and a peace treaty is speedily worked out between Rome and the Volscians. Tullus Aufidius kills Coriolanus for his duplicity.

Sope Dirisu as Coriolanus is distinctly ‘other’ from the outset.He is portrayed as a valiant ,worthy warrior General of the army leading to many victories , but proud and arrogant , unsympathetic as well as being a real Mummy’s Boy .He regards himself as above the common people , who he despises and is awkward when running for office ( uncomfortably wearing the cloak of humility and white cap) as consul or indeed with any dealings with ordinary men and women.

Volumnia , Coriolanus’ mother is played very strongly by Haydn Gwynne . Tough and manipulative , fiercely intelligent she is elegant , proud and aristocratic, and advises her son carefully as she cannot rule in her own right .The famous pleading for Rome scene is intense and gripping, tightly performed.

Coriolanus’ wife Virgilia , tall cool and patrician , overly dominated and intimidated by Volumnia , was elegantly played by Hannah Morrish.

Menenius, genial, complacent and urbanely avuncular, is terrifically played by Paul Jesson , seemingly unaware that there is festering revolt beneath the surface mask of everyday life in Rome but revealing himself to be very brave in a crisis and a sharp negotiator.
Aufudius leader of the Volscians is brilliantly portrayed by James Corrigan . His scheming Aufidius, shows that it is possible to combine the art of a master swordsman and gracious formal diplomacy. When Coriolanus appears at his house in Antium he is stunned and disbelieving then thrilled . Is he in fact double crossing Coriolanus ?There Is also much hinting at a possible ‘bromance’ developing between Aufidius and Coriolanus and the murder of Coriolanus is quite shocking .

Cominius , who we first meet as commander of the Roman army is excellently portrayed by Charles Aitken.The two tribunes Brutus and Sicinius here portrayed by women Jackie Morrison and Martina Laird are strongly presented. The first half in particular seethes with tension and rage in the forum scenes.

A cold ,sharp brutal and violent production excitingly staged with a terrific cast .

Running time – allow 3 & ½ hours including interval. Includes short behind the scenes ‘making of ‘ documentaries and interviews during interval.

Screenings of the Royal Shakespeare’s Coriolanus are at selected cinemas 18-19 November 2017 and at Riverside Parramatta 25-26 November 2017

https://riversideparramatta.com.au/show/coriolanus-3/

ANGELS INSPIRATIONAL ALBUM: LAUNCH PARTY

ANGELS, the original studio cast recording released from Broadway Records, celebrates the Australian album launch with an exclusive event at Northern Beaches Christian School in their performance space known as “Manhattan City,” on Nov. 28 at 7:30 p.m.

The event will be opened by Hon. Anthony Roberts MP, Minister of Planning & Housing and Special Minister of State, and will feature live performances from “ANGELS” by album creators with top Australian musicians and worship leaders from C3 Church Global.

The inspirational songs from this original musical are brought to life by a star-studded cast of Tony nominated and award-winning Broadway performers including two-time Tony Award-nominee Laura Osnes, Tony Award-nominee Robert Cuccioli, Tony Award-nominee Josh Young and Alan H. Green.

Featuring music by Ken Lai, and book and lyrics by Ken Lai and Marcus Cheong, the album was recorded at Downtown Music Studios & Smash Studios in New York; The Grove Studios in Somersby, Australia; and Ramrod Studios & 301 Studios in Sydney, Australia. This recording features new musical arrangements from David Holmes and album producer Rich Fowler.

Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017 at 7:30 PM and entry is complimentary with registrations at contact@seraangels.com

For more about “Angels” Australian Launch Party, visit http://www.seraangels.com
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CARNIVAL OF LOST SOULS: A WORLD CREATED

Photos: Brig Bee

THE CARNIVAL OF LOST SOULS is playing at the Seymour Centre.  The show is a genre bender for sure… part circus, part love story, part interpretive dance, part musical etc.  And that’s always interesting.  However, what sets this show above many others is the detail of its theatricality.  Written by Graham Coupland with Terence O’Connell as Artistic Director, it is stunningly conceived and faithful in every bodily expression, every costume, every choice of each performer.  Every face and body in character and faithful to the ethos.   I simply loved the cohesion of the world they create and really enjoyed giving myself over to it.

There are some formidable talents in the cast: Aurora Kurth, Anthony Craig, Simon P Storey, Mimi Le Noire, Richard Vegas, Circus Trick Tease, This Side Up, and Hannah Trott.  Yet the lack of showiness was perhaps my favourite aspect.  The tropes of circus were missing … no fail first to show how hard it is, no extreme posing to elicit applause and none of the padding that drove me away from a certain French-Canadian troupe.  Instead we have acts well integrated, with a narrative arc that is not skewed to fit the artist’s’ signature skills.

It’s all there and it’s all quality.  There is strongman, chairs, magic, balances, silks, contortion, high art tumbling, aerial hoop and so forth but there is so much more.  For example, the enchanting singing of well written and orchestrated, story rich songs (music by Platonic) which serve as respite from the pulsing, dynamic, propelling score and improvisational live electric guitar.  As a side note, it wasn’t too loud either … well moderated by an operator who still has his or her hearing!

There’s a sexy fan dance in Yvette Lee’s choreography sure to raise your temperature and a surly prestidigitator who is out to keep the lovers apart in true Gothic style.

The show is meticulously of a period.  It is Victorian Gothic with enough Grand Guignol to transport you to Pigalle.  The costumes are to die for.  Clockwork Butterfly has injected a steampunk influence to make corsets and long skirts and braces and cut-sleeve shirts easy to move in.  But no jarringly modern noisy Velcro or other anachronistic elements.  Feathers and lace and brocade in rich colours matched by the simple but effectively used lighting rig.

There is a huge range of colours available to lighting designers in modern fixtures but designer Jason Bovaird has keep a pure palette of moss green, Reckitts crown blue,  open white and bloodletting red. And they don’t need a whole heap of smoke either.  Very subtle use.

I really enjoyed THE CARNIVAL OF LOST SOULS.  And I can highly recommend it.   I just can.

THE CARNIVAL OF LOST SOULS is playing at the Seymour Centre as part of their Spring Tour until Saturday.  For more information visit:

https://www.carnivaloflostsouls.com/

NATIONAL LIVE MUSIC AWARDS: PARTIES ANNOUNCED

First lineups revealed for national

NLMAs Parties! 

The National Live Music Awards are thrilled to announce the first lineups for all eight events happening around the country on Thursday, 7th December 2017.

Free tickets to all events – bar the invite-only Melbourne gala – are available now through Oztix at NLMAs.com.au/tickets. Guests who forget to RSVP will be required to donate $5 to Support Act on the day for entry. Coin donations will be encouraged at all events, with every cent going to the great charity.

Full lineups and set times will be revealed over the coming weeks. RSVP to the Facebook events at https://www.facebook.com/nlmas17/events/, or sign up to the mailing list at NLMAs.com.au to enjoy up-to-the-minute news.

All performances are LIVE sets unless otherwise mentioned.

.Canberra – Smith’s Alternative (Free!)

The Ansah Brothers /Betty Alto/ Glitoris (DJ SET)
…and more to be announced!

Sydney – Leadbelly (Free!)

Happy Axe (ACT based nominee Emma Kelly)/ Ani Lou (Tasmanian Nominee)/ Maddy Jane (Tasmanian Nominee)
Sarah Belkner
Plus a very special Keynote from Lindy Morrison
…and more to be announced!

Plus a live stream from Melbourne – Grace Darling Hotel hosted by Home and Hosed’s Dom Alessio, the night will feature live performances from Charm of Finches, Yeo and Party Dozen, the incredible new project featuring nominee Kirsty Tickle with Jonathan Boulet. Plus the night will feature a very special live tribute to The Peep Tempel, in collaboration with Girls Rock! Melbourne.

To see the 2017 nominees visit:

http://www.nlmas.com.au/nominees/

A few fun facts about the 2017 National Live Music Awards:

Gender Balance: A whopping 63% of the artists nominated in the national categories, and 51% in the State/Territory Categories, are either female or are a group led by a female vocalist.

Strong Indigenous representation, with nominated artists including Electric Fields, Kardajala Kirridarra, Dan Sultan, The Lonely Boys, Tjupi Band, Eleanor Dixon, Yirrmal, William Barton and A.B. Original.

Gang of Youths lead the nominees with 6 nominations.

Julia Jacklin, Amy Shark, Camp Cope sit right behind with 5 nominations.

All Our Exes Live in Texas, Stella Donnelly and the St Jerome’s Laneway Festival all have 4 nominations

To find out more :  https://www.facebook.com/NLMAs17/

MONTY PYTHON’S ‘SPAMALOT’ @ BANKSTOWN ARTS CENTRE

For a fun-filled night of silliness, cross-dressing and belly laughs you can’t go past Bankstown Theatre Company’s production of MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT.

The show’s original 2005 production was a Broadway hit, winner of three Tony Awards, including a Tony for Best Musical.

Billed as, ‘A new musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail,’ MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT is a sassy, irreverent parody of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

King Arthur has been given a quest (by God) to search for the Holy Grail, a quest that is fraught with hitches, treating the audience to a smorgasbord of classic Python sketches including: I’m not dead yet, the killer rabbit, the Black Knight and the Insulting Frenchman.

Fear not, Lords and Ladies! There is no need to be well-versed in the 1975 film to enjoy the almost two hours of singing, dancing, gags and outrageous situations. Continue reading MONTY PYTHON’S ‘SPAMALOT’ @ BANKSTOWN ARTS CENTRE

COMMON GOOD AT MAAS: PART OF 2018 SYDNEY DESIGN FESTIVAL

COMMON GOOD
Design exhibition exclusive to Powerhouse Museum
The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) will open a major contemporary design exhibition on 2 March 2018 to celebrate the 20th SYDNEY DESIGN FESTIVAL  Curated by and exclusive to the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, COMMON GOOD explores design trends in Australia and neighbouring regions and the positive design-lead responses to social, ethical and environmental challenges.
 
“Design practice is constantly evolving, reacting to the challenges of its time. With COMMON GOOD we examine the place of ground-breaking designers from our region in shaping solutions for our future society,” said MAAS Director and CEO, Dolla Merrillees.
 
MAAS is pleased to be working with a new generation of socially-engaged designers from Australia and Asia, to both display and acquire works through this exhibition.”
 
“The Asia-Pacific is our creative commons. This exhibition is an opportunity to broaden our lens to explore the work and practices of a new generation of designers who are boldly taking action to affect positive change and influence long-term sustainability in our region,” said exhibition curator, Keinton Butler.
 
COMMON GOOD  surveys contemporary design practices from Australia and the Asia-Pacific. Designers from a range of disciplines and countries are profiled, including leading international designers and architects NendoStudio SwineBijoy JainJo NagasakaKwangho Lee and WOHA, as well as globally recognised local designers Ken WongLucy McRae and Henry Wilson.
 
The exhibition is framed by five themes that address increasingly complex challenges including housing affordability, waste management, population pressures and technological obsessions. 
 
Life Cycles explores emerging sustainable design practices in a reference library of design materials, including those made from industrial and agricultural waste. Award-winning Japanese designers AMAM demonstrate how algae and agar bio-materials can be used in packaging that could ultimately replace non-biodegradable plastics. The Life Cycles resource library will be made available during and beyond the exhibition, contributing to the education of emerging designers. 
AMAM research shell waste in Ishinomak
 Return to Craft profiles contemporary designers preserving cultural heritage through collaborative projects with artisans, craftspeople and manufacturers. Crafts such as woodworking, enamelware, ceramics and weaving are being given new relevance when worked by technologically driven designers. For instance, South Korean designer Kwangho Lee is reviving the ancient practice of Ott-chil high-gloss lacquering in projects such as the New Armor stool. Such projects bring fresh attention to otherwise forgotten traditions and can contribute to the survival of centuries-old crafts.
Kwangho Lee
 Connected Experiences demonstrate the ability of technology to generate social awareness and influence personal behaviour. In an exclusive commission for MAAS called Watermelon Sugar Wellness Lab, graphic designer and visual artist Pamm Hong invites you into an immersive installation where your online behaviour is transformed into a personalized virtual organism, providing a health check on your digital engagement habits.
 
Community Engagement explores projects that address social integration and poverty in the face of rapid urbanisation as well as international development initiatives and fully integrated, collaborative design concepts.
 
Design Fictions considers the role of the designer in shaping our future. Through their speculative and critical design projects, designers are questioning and debating the possible social implications of our scientific and technological developments, through carefully staged fictional scenarios. The Rare Earthenware project by Unknown Fields is the result of an expedition to Inner Mongolia, in which toxic mud was taken from a radioactive rare earth tailings lake and used to craft a set of ceramic vessels into the shape of highly valuable and recognisable Ming dynasty porcelain vases. Each vessel is sized in relation to the amount of waste created in the production of three items of technology: a smartphone, a laptop and an electric car battery cell. Such projects shape our patterns of excessive consumption and waste into powerful statements.

 

Unknown Fields
Picture: Toby Smith
COMMON GOOD opens as part of the Sydney Design Festival, an annual celebration of design with over 100 events at venues across Sydney from 2 – 11 March 2018.
For more infomation about COMMON GOOD or the 2018 SYDNEY DESIGN FESTIVAL visit

Live at Lunch – Ravel and Faure

Live at Lunch
RAVEL STRING QUARTET, RAVEL & FAURÉ DEUX PAVANNES
THE CONCOURSE NOVEMBER 2017

To round off the 2017 series of Live at Lunch concerts we were treated to a most elegant and inspiring concert, with a majorly French feel , featuring artistic director Jane Rutter the renowned flautist and the tremendous Acacia Quartet led by Lisa Stewart. Founded in 2010, Acacia Quartet has quickly won great respect for their versatile and inventive programs which often couple established repertoire with the unorthodox. In 2013 Acacia was nominated for both an ARIA Award and an APRA-AMCOS Art Music Award.

The Acacia members were in orchestral black while Rutter was dramatic in a red and black outfit.

First up we heard an enchanting version of the lush, lyrical and seductive Pavane by Faure ( arr George Pikler) with Rutter on her favourite golden flute . A pavane is a Renaissance dance that’s generally described as a formal processional walk accompanied by a stately melody. The performance was full of elegant floating grace .
The main section of the concert was devoted to Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major in four movements as performed by the Acacia Quartet.

Ravel dedicated his work to Faure and it leans towards neo-Classicism . It was written in 1903 when he was 28. The quartet played magnificently , intently and with a great sense of being a unified whole .The first movement was passionate and questioning , volcanically ebbing and flowing. Rippling sections were contrasted with sharp spiky ones and it had a soft shimmering finish (note the use of pizzicato too.)

The second movement dashed off to a boisterous exuberant start and included dizzying scurrying violins. A passionate lamenting segment was contrasted with a stinging one. The third movement was fluid and intense and the final movement was fast and emphatic, full of dynamic intensity and was bubbling and flowing in parts. The finale is challenging because of its constantly shifting tonal changes and the Quartet handled this brilliantly.

Pessard’s Andalouse and Bolero followed taking us to Spain (the Andalouse , elegant and courtly with dominating swirling , bubbling flute ) and then the vibrant Bolero a bit more French ( no , NOT Ravel’s) with its darting shimmering flute and bubbling strings.
Before the final piece the Mayor of Willoughby Gail Giles Gidney was introduced and Rutter announced the most exciting season of seven concerts for 2018 .

The concert concluded with the heartfelt, delicate and flowing Pavane pour Une Infante Defunte by Ravel (1899). It is a meditation on grief and loss and a way of life that has disappeared. As we left for lunch we could buy CDs and brochures for the 2018 season were handed out – the box office was extremely busy!

Live at Lunch RAVEL STRING QUARTET, RAVEL & FAURÉ DEUX PAVANNES was at the Concourse for one performance only 15 November 2017 .  For more information visit:  http://theconcourse.com.au/live-lunch-2017-2/

 

THE JEWISH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL IS ON NOW: Giveway double passes

Images from My Mother’s Lost Children and Rebel in the Rye

From Australian documentaries The Last Goldfish and My Mother’s Lost Childrento intimate Yiddish drama Menashefascinating biopic Rebel in the Rye, and award-winning hits In Between and Keep the Changethe JEWISH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL is back for another year of outstanding Jewish cinema from all over the world.

With 65 films from 26 countries, the Festival builds on a 28 year long history of bringing the best of Jewish cinema to Australia, presenting 38 features and 23 documentaries to audiences in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra. The Festival will also screen films by the inaugural recipients of the JIFF Short Film FundDream House and Still Alive.

“I am thrilled with the incredible creativity and diverse storytelling of our films in the line-up this year. With the first commercial release Yiddish language film in over 50 years, and fantastic events including a live jazz night and a collaboration with Sydney Writer’s Festival, we’re extremely proud to present our 2017 program,” said Jewish International Film Festival Artistic Director, Eddie Tamir.

Highlights of the 2017 program include: moving drama In Between, following three Palestinian women living in Tel Aviv balancing traditional and modern culture, and winner of the Best Feature at Tribeca 2017, Keep the Change, a charming romantic comedy about the blossoming relationship between two people at a support group.

Not to be missed is Bombshell: the Hedy Lamarr Story, narrated by Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds) and featuring interviews with Mel Brooks (The Producers) and Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show), the eye-opening showbiz documentary shines a light on Hollywood queen Hedy Lamarr.

The Festival is also a great chance to catch poignant screwball rom-com The Wedding Plan, and Ben-Gurion, Epiloguea rare, recently unearthed 1968 interview with Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, with director Yariv Mozer taking part in an audience Q&A post-screening.

Showcasing the best of local Jewish filmmaking, the Festival will screen The Last Goldfish, an autobiographical documentary by Sydney’s Su Goldfish as she searches for her lost family, from Australia to Trinidad and WWII Germany. Rich with archival images, the film echoes through all those touched by forced migration. Goldfish will also engage in audience Q&As after screenings.

The Festival will also screen two films from Melbourne filmmaker Danny Ben-Moshe: My Mother’s Lost Childrenan uplifting documentary following Ben-Moshe’s own family, when two children, stolen from them, reappear after 40 years; and Shalom Bollywood: the Untold Story of Indian Cinemaa fascinating look into the overlooked influence of Jewish women in Bollywood – the first dance, kiss, talkie and colour film. Ben-Moshe will take part in an audience Q&A for both films.

Closing the Festival will be The Rebel in the Rye, starring Kevin Spacey (American Beauty) and Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: Days of Future Past). A fascinating biopic on the infamously-reclusive author JD Salinger, the film covers everything from Salinger’s Jewish upbringing and his WWII service, to the completion of his iconic novel The Catcher in the Rye.

JIFF has generously offered 3 double passes to a film of your choice.  To enter email editor.sydneyartsguide@gmail.com using JIFF COMP as the subject by 5pm Friday 17th November.  Only winners will be notified.

For more information about the JEWISH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL which is now playing at  Event Cinemas, Bondi Junction and the  Hayden Orpheum, Cremorne  visit : 

http://www.jiff.com.au/

https://www.facebook.com/JewishIFF

SILENT NIGHT: TIME TO GET THE XMAS LIGHTS OUT

Silent is not the word to use for the first act of SILENT NIGHT from Darlinghurst Theatre.  Some witty single adjective encompassing laugh out loud, occasional hysterical giggle or cringing gasps of recognition might give some inkling of what’s in store for an audience.  It has some really funny moments and some excellent jokes, even a few well executed sight gags.  It’s light and fun and aimed intelligently at those of us who think Christmas is just a titch over-commercialised.  The second act however is a different beast. A seven headed beast which sits uneasily in the Christmas setting.

The audience are welcomed into the theatre with a definite Yule feel.  Carols on the audio track and flashing lights of the festive season kind.  We meet Bill, head of the Lickfold clan.  He is some kind of leftover from a media driven near-apocalyptic era and his hobby is keeping his family safe in the event of an earth ending … um … event.  He is very supportive of wife Anne who has again entered the Australian Regional Christmas Exercise/Experiment/Excuse to show off …. Something involving Christmas displays and competition with the Dickshine family across the road.  Acronymic and suggestive puns repeated often here.  The Dickshines have a son who pitches in for ARCE but the third member of the Lickfold clan is a surly, emo goth who is only 33 when he wants to be.

In the first act as we get to know this pitiful excuse for a family, there are lots of fun moments.   Written by Mary Rachel Brown, SILENT NIGHT is at its best when the witty, quick and character based jokes fly, when the excesses ring with uncomfortable truths and when the absurd detail of Lickfold experience is fully expressed.

Unfortunately, the second act, though it has its high points, does grind along a little as the ideas of redemption and the possibilities of starting over are explored.  One is left however with an overall enjoyment in the time spent with this crazy family.

As Bill, Richard Sydenham, is put upon and seems completely oblivious to the fact that he is incapable of getting a win.  Not an ARCE win but a family win.  He is suitably frenetic in places but does have a lot of listening to do later on and handles this well.  His command of the physical comedy, the rushing and getting nowhere type of thing, is highly engaging.

In the mode of Kath from ‘Kath and Kim’ Amanda Bishop has created a lovely character in Anne.  Without actually making fun of her, Bishop gives us a fiercely protective parent with no ideas of her own. Her over researched and poorly understood excuses for her son’s demeanour and behaviour are grounded in love.  Bishop does a great job of placing the jokes just right and Anne’s enthusiasms and drive are fertile ground for her considerable comedic skills.

As the son Rodney, Aaron Glenane does not have a great deal to do early on but manages to make indolence and aberration watchable.  It is in the second act that his performance really shines when the other cast are struggling somewhat with the more wordy and contemplative text.  His man boy is in his element here and there is a real zest in his later Rodney.

Michael Denkha appears as the unwanted guest in Act Two and his charisma in the role helps lift it but this is a hard to grasp creation despite some good blocking and use of focussed lighting effects by director Glynn Nicholas.  There is such a wealth of skill at play with comedy aspects of the text, Nicholas’ use of pause and freezes and sneaky physical comedy is highly amusing.  And he has taken an equally comic approach toward the end despite the lack of lighter text.

The set design is clever too, we see a TV set house with one wall removed.  The detail outside the doors is very well conceptualised and adds to the absurdity and chaos.  The lighting of the set is simple enough in Act One, but becomes more defining and focussing in Act Two.  The delight though is in the Xmas lighting outside the living space … OTT and even with a clever joke on the roof.  The audio track is excellent, I loved the use of choir and hellish groans and bells and ghostly devils on the interval track.

In fact, there is a great deal to like about SILENT NIGHT.  Whether you are a silent smiler or a raucous reveller this show is a fun slide into the drudgery of real life Christmas.

SILENT NIGHT  is playing at the Eternity Theatre until December 10th .

For more information visit

http://www.darlinghursttheatre.com/whats-on/silent-night

SHERLOCK HOLMES THE AUSTRALIAN CASEBOOK-EDITED BY CHRIS SEQUEIRA

A most enjoyable collection of Australian Sherlockian stories as edited and collected by Christopher Sequiera who is renowned internationally for his Holmes-related writings.

Sequiera’s published work includes poetry, prose, and comic-book scripts, including Pulse of Darkness, Rattlebone: The Pulp-Faced Detective and The Borderlander.
It is a selection from both established and emerging writers (better known names include Meg Keneally, Kerry Greenwood and Lucy Sussex).

Other writers include Kaaron Warren, , L.J.M. Owen, T.S.P. Sweeney, J. Scherpenhuizen, Will Schaefer, Robert Veld, Doug Elliott, Philip Cornell, Raymond Gates, Jason Franks, Narrelle M. Harris and Steve Cameron).

The writers imagine the famous detective duo in Australia in 1890, and visiting various locales in all the States and Territories from the outback desert, bush and city . It is not presented in chronological order per se. Continue reading SHERLOCK HOLMES THE AUSTRALIAN CASEBOOK-EDITED BY CHRIS SEQUEIRA

CHRISTOPHER FOWLER : THE BOOK OF FORGOTTEN AUTHORS

A treasure map that is, in and of itself, a treasure trove, THE BOOK OF FORGOTTEN AUTHORS is a resurrectionist text of literary loot too long buried.

Christopher Fowler has given us a literary atlas which empowers us to become a biblio Indiana Jones, a raider of the lost archive.
THE BOOK OF FORGOTTEN AUTHORS is “99 stories and a dozen essays about the men and women who reached for the moon, and found that it wouldn’t always be there.”

Fowler’s investigations into forgotten authors found that writers can be ubiquitous, influential and massively successful only to disappear within their own lifetimes.  So he has donned his fedora and cracked his whip and become a tome raider, unearthing writers who deservedly need resurrection and restoration into the imaginative landscape.

Romancing the tome, Fowler discovers authors who have inspired astute adaptors like Alfred Hitchcock and Walt Disney, been frightful frauds and fakes, or been too utterly human as to being monstrous and behaving shabbily even when their prose and plotting seems heaven sent. Authors who write like angels and behave like devils.

A Booker Award, you would think, would guarantee posterity, but, alas, prize winning is as ephemeral and inconstant as the wind when it comes to lasting fame.

Most of the authors are novelists, whose own lives would make a great novel. Who would of that that many shared a predilection of being church organists!

Among the profundity of prose princes and princesses, so pleased to see superb dramatists included, to whit, the Peters, Nichols and Barnes. Plays become ephemeral if they fail to enter repertoires. The shock of their experience fades and only the scripts remain.

Reading the scripts of both Nichols and Barnes reignites the shock.
Peter Barnes was one of the great proponents of anti naturalism, a dazzling response to the dreary kitchen sinkism of the fifties. At a time when Monty Python was reconfiguring comedy, Peter Barnes and Peter Nichols started incorporating surrealism, disjunction and Pirandello-esque antics into their works.

Arguably, Barnes masterpiece is The Ruling Class, famously filmed with Peter O’Toole as the mad earl and his identification with Christ. His screen writing credits include the Tony Curtis/George C. Scott starrer, Not With My Wife, You Don’t and Enchanted April, for which he was nominated for an Oscar.

Peter Nichols plays were robust and cinematic – several were filmed- but he didnt go into the theatrical repertoire as much as his less demanding peers and consequently disappeared. Happily, Privates on Parade and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg have had recent revivals, but a full rehabilitation into the theatrical pantheon hasn’t quite happened yet, which is a shame, as theatre needs his angry, daring humanity more than ever.

Forgotten, maybe, but not gone, all these authors are in print somewhere, either in new editions or old ones, in shops and sheds or goodness knows where.

THE BOOK OF FORGOTTEN AUTHORS is a self help book for readers. Purchase it and proceed to have it guide you in perusing the shelves and stacks of second hand bookshops like Elizabeth’s in Newtown and Grand Days in Kings Cross.

THE BOOK OF FORGOTTEN AUTHORS by Christopher Fowler is published by Riverrun

FREE FAMILY FLICKS OVER SUMMER AT DARLING HARBOUR

Little Darlings Night Owls Kid’s Film Festival returns to nest at the Village Green Darling Quarter these summer holidays for 17 nights of free outdoor cinema.

From Friday 5 – Sunday 21 January 2018, expect balmy nights packed with the coolest family-friendly flicks, fantastic short films and live entertainment.

Arrive early and nab yourself a good spot for nightly entertainment curated by singing sensation Lah-Lah from 6pm, followed by kid-friendly short films at6:30pm. Presented with Little Big Shots, Australia’s major children’s short film festival, the program features the best local and international shorts, including films from kid filmmakers.

The main event kicks off from 6:45pm, with a fun-filled program of FREE screenings. From the 2017 remakes of Beauty and the Beast and Pete’s Dragon, to 90’s throwback hit Home Alone, and crowd pleasers The Lego Batman MovieRed Dog; True BlueDespicable Me 3The BFGMoana,Sing, and plenty more, there’s something for every member of the family.

Bigger kids can catch blockbuster favourites from 8:30pm at After-Hours screenings, with ArrivalStar Trek BeyondXXX: Return of Xander Cage,Ghost in the ShellLionZoolander, and plenty of superhero smash hits: Wonder WomanBatman vs Superman, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

“The Night Owls Kids Film Festival is a fantastic opportunity to round up the kids for a night of family-friendly cinema, and even better, it’s totally cost-free. So come along, pack a picnic, and enjoy a great night out under the stars with your nearest and dearest,” said Marketing Manager for Darling Quarter ,Sam Vicars.

WHERE: Village Green (North), Darling Quarter, 1-25 Harbour St, Sydney NSW 2000
COST: FREE Public Event
TIME: Festivities kick off each night from 6:00pm

For more information visit : http://darlingquarter.com/nightowls/

THE PRESETS : PRESENTED BY THE WAREHOUSE COLLECTIVE

This beautiful and unique space presents a blank canvas which has never before been used in this capacity, a promising proposition for Division’s production team who will utilise the awe-inspiring industrial nature of the venue.

The Warehouse Collective is extremely proud to present the first in an exciting series of events, featuring an impressive lineup of iconic and cutting-edge electronic acts.

In the space of 3 years Sydney’s Division Agency has firmly established themselves through a variety of successful projects including the Days Like This Festival and the extremely popular Paddington venue, Goodbar. More recently they announced a strategic alliance with TEG Live to present national tours and events. On the 16th of December, the local tastemakers will launch the aptly titled The Warehouse Collective, an enticing new series of large-scale music events with the debut event taking place at Redfern’s The Australian Technology Park at the heritage-listed Exhibition Hall.

The debut event will take place at Redfern’s Australian Technology Park in the heritage-listed Exhibition Hall and will be headlined by legendary Australian duo THE PRESETS , who recently announced ‘Do What You Want’, their first new original in nearly four years. They will be bolstered by a formidable cast of support acts featuring Bag Raiders (live), Kilter, Nyxen and LUCY CLICHE (live).

This beautiful and unique space presents a blank canvas which has never before been used in this capacity, a promising proposition for Division’s production team who will utilise the awe-inspiring industrial nature of the venue into their first-rate production.

Prepare yourself for a warehouse experience on a scale never before seen in Sydney.

December 16th 2017

For more about The Warehouse Project pres. The Presets, visit http://www.divisionagency.com.au/warehouse-collective-pres-presets/
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OFF AGAIN: HATS OFF! IS READY FOR ITS 20TH YEAR

Director and artist, Trevor Ashley, promises a night of fabulousness for the 20th year of Hats Off!

ACON in association with Oz Showbiz Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (OSCEFA) presents HATS OFF!HO20.  20 numbers celebrating 20 fabulous years

On Monday 20 November Hats Off turns 20! So it’s time to celebrate this fabulous milestone. Or in other words it’s time to take our HATS OFF TO HATS OFF.

To celebrate this milestone Hats Off! will be performed on the stage of the Sydney Lyric Theatre on the set of “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical” on Monday 20 November.

The original Hats Off producers Margi de Ferranti and James Lee team up with Hats Off! legend and superstar Trevor Ashley as Director and together they will present a night of sheer fabulousness. A cavalcade of Hats Off! alumni and others will grace the stage with some memorable numbers from the past 20 years performing showstopper tunes.

The star-studded line-up includes Lisa Adam, Trevor Ashley, Rachael Beck, Rhonda Burchmore, Simon Burke, Kirby Burgess, Mitchell Butel, Paul Capsis, Angelique Cassimatis, Minnie Cooper, Michael Cormick, Chloe Dallimore, Peter Eyres, Lesley Hancock, Esther Hannaford and The Cast of Beautiful, Nancye Hayes, Shauna Jensen, Donna Lee, Amy Lehpamer, Genevieve Lemon, Lara Mulcahy, Sylvie Paladino, Shaun Rennie, Phil Scott, Queenie van de Zandt, Ann Wood and Chloe Zuel.

Since it’s humble beginnings at the Footbridge theatre in 1997, Hats Off! has grown into one of Sydney’s LGBTQI premiere events. After the Footbridge got too small Hats Off! moved to the showroom at Star City, then Sydney Theatre, and finally to the Seymour Centre where it has been a popular part of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival for many years. This year Hats Off! is back at The Star at the Lyric Theatre on the set of “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”.   Hats Off! would be nothing without the generous stars that have donated their time to help mitigate the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS.

WHERE: Sydney Lyric Theatre, The Star
WHEN: Monday 20 November
TIME: 7.30pm
PRICES: $49.00 to $69.00

More bookings  visit

http://www.ticketmaster.com.au/Hats-Off-tickets/artist/1097773

 

 

lucky

Sam Shepard said of Harry Dean Stanton, “His face is the story.”
Shepard sure as shit got that right.  Just point the camera and shoot and the Harry Dean visage gives a narrative.

Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja‘s script for LUCKY utilises that face effectively, affectingly and affectionately in the spiritual journey of a 90-year-old atheist known as Lucky and the quirky characters that inhabit his off the map desert town.

Having out lived and out smoked all of his contemporaries, the fiercely independent Lucky finds himself at the precipice of life, thrust into a journey of self exploration, leading towards that which is so often unattainable: enlightenment.

Acclaimed character actor John Carroll Lynch’s directorial debut, LUCKY is at once a love letter to the life and career of Harry Dean Stanton as well as a meditation on mortality, loneliness, spirituality, and human connection.

Lucky is a man of ritual, arising at the same time every morning, doing his callisthenics while simultaneously enjoying a cigarette.
Recreation at home is doing cross word puzzles and watching game shows.  He breakfasts at the same diner every day, gets his smokes from the same grocery store, and walks to the same bar, Elaine’s, to drink bloody Marys.

Much of the action of LUCKY takes place in the bar where he interacts with a variety of regular barflys, the bartender and the publican.  One of his best buddies, Howard, is fretting over the disappearance of his ancient tortoise, Roosevelt, a pet he has had since time immemorial. David Lynch’s performance as the bereft reptile fancier is a beautiful rendition of loss and hope.

David Lynch‘s appearance, other than supplying a virtuoso performance, conjures comparisons that LUCKY has with Lynch’s directorial work, especially the often overlooked and underrated The Straight Story, which, incidentally, featured Harry Dean Stanton.

LUCKY also has a Twin Peaks moment when a fellow barfly played by James Darren accompanies him to a lane way outside Elaine’s where a cosmic light show plies them with mystical wonder.

LUCKY works as a quasi screen biography of Harry Dean Stanton – the desert town location and Mexican music – he gets to sing and play harmonica- are redolent of Paris Texas, Tom Skerrit‘s turn as a fellow veteran recalls their teaming in Alien, and so it goes.

LUCKY is full of zinger lines made all the zingier played deadpan – “One thing worse than awkward silence is small talk”.
The one line from LUCKY that sums up the picture best is “I’m a nothing with everything, isn’t that something?”

We should feel so lucky that we had actors like Harry Dean Stanton gracing our screens making indelible contributions to classic films – The Godfather Part II, Alien, Paris Texas, Repo Man, Pretty in Pink, The Missouri Breaks, the list goes on.

You should be so lucky to ferret out this fine, fine life affirming film.
Funnier than a comedy, laden with special affects rather than special effects, LUCKY lives up to its title and makes one feel lucky to have seen it.

 

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED AT THE JOAN IN 2018

Top Image: Australia’s leading lady of musical theatre Nancye Hayes and number one song-and-dance man Todd McKenney come together in Bosom Buddies. In this new show, they reflect on their stage careers and their lives off stage as well as on! They sing, they dance, they reminisce - about the lows as well as the highs. They tell backstage stories never before told and they show video footage never before seen.

The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre’s 2018 Season has just been announced with diversity in abundance across a season of contemporary and classical music, brand new and centuries old theatre, comedy, dance and storytelling.

January: Isaiah Firebrace

The year gets off to an electrifying start when Isaiah Firebrace lights up the stage, opening the season on Sunday 21 January. Firebrace’s blazing success story from small-town NSW to Eurovision – picking up a coveted X Factor win along the way – has captured the hearts of many.

February: Tapestry: Songs of Carole King – Vika Bull & Debra Byrne. This is what Sydney Arts Guide said about the show earlier this year http://www.sydneyartsguide.com.au/tapestry-songs-carole-king-debra-byrne-vika-bull/

 March: Q Theatre  Back to Back – Everything You Ever Wanted & How I Saved The Western Black Rhino

April: Bosom Buddies – Nancye Hayes & Todd McKenney

May: The Orchid & The Crow 

June: Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow then Letters to Lindy 

August: Days Like These 

September: B2M – Mamanta & The Wharf Revue 2018 – Sydney Theatre Company 

October: Julius Caesar – Bell Shakespeare

November: Yellow Yellow Sometimes Blue – Q Theatre

The formidable talents of Vika Bull and Debra Byrne come together in celebration of Carole King’s chartbusting masterpiece, Tapestry, on Saturday 9 February. This album sold 25 million copies world-wide and now two powerhouse artists bring you its mega-hits.  

From Julius Caesar to Lindy Chamberlain, The Joan presents stories with global and national resonance. From Tiwi R’n’B to Carole King’s Tapestry, it’s bringing music that reflects and uplifts generations. And with fresh work, young guns and artistic icons, there’s diversity in abundance across a season of contemporary and classical music, brand new and centuries old theatre; comedy, dance and storytelling at The Joan next year.

Full of treats and treasures, The Joan’s 2018 High Street Subscription Season features some of Australia’s greatest artists. Turning up the star power is new talent Isaiah Firebrace, while showbiz legends Nancye Hayes and Todd McKenney will sparkle in Bosom Buddies. In 2018 the stories traverse legends, rumours, treachery and justice; they’re global, local and personal. And some of them are funny! Western Sydney audiences are known to have a great sense of humour so The Joan puts comedy front and centre with The Wharf Revue, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow, and an unexpectedly hilarious take on a journey through cancer survival in The Orchid & The Crow.

Everybody remembers the story of Lindy Chamberlain. Filled with humour and heartbreak, Letters to Lindy is a stunning work by award-winning playwright Alana Valentine which explores the public’s relationship with one of 20th Century Australia’s most iconic figures.

Once again, The Joan’s High Street Season is a creative treasure trove and the centrepiece of its annual program. From here, laneways lead off to other destinations full of enriching experiences to explore and enjoy, from breath-taking Fine Music at The Summit to maximum fun in The Playground, whereKids & Families can experience some of the best theatre available to Australian audiences, right here on your front doorstep.

The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre is located at 597 High Street, Penrith. Nearby parking and public transport is available.

For more information on The Joan’s 2018 season visit:

http://thejoan.com.au/series/season-2018/

SILLINESS ON STAGE: UTS BACKSTAGE REHEARSING FOR SPAMALOT

 

England 932 A.D. A Kingdom divided. Legend tells of an extraordinary leader who arose from the chaos to unite a troubled kingdom. A man with a vision, who gathered Knights together in a Holy Quest. This man was Arthur, King of the Britons!

UTS Backstage is thrilled to return once again, with its final and largest production of the year – a unique student adaption of the hilarious Tony Award Winning Musical; MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT , adapted from the original 1975 film, Monty Python and The Holy Grail, Spamalot tells the legend of King Arthur, The Lady of the Lake and The Knights of the Round Table and their quest to find the legendary Holy Grail.

First performed at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway in 2005 it was originally directed by the Master of Slickness and Comedy; Mike Nichols. SPAMALOT has been reviewed both positively and negatively by critics, dubbing the musical as ‘Utterly pointless and a money maker to the original troup’ to ‘great fun’. Since its debut in 2005, the musical has won three Tony Awards for Best Musical and has received over 14 Tony Award nominations whilst being performed across the world in Chicago, Australia and West End in London.

SPAMALOT, makes many references to the original 1975 movie; Monty Python and The Holy Grail and other Monty Python films such as The Life of Brian, through references to the ‘Lumberjack Song’, ‘the Ministry of Silly Walks’ and ‘Always look on the Bright side of life’. It is a riotous comedy that is full of misfit knights, killer rabbits, dancing nuns, ferocious Frenchmen and African Swallows.

“SPAMALOT was a chance to direct a show that is incredibly silly and fun, that is not bogged down by any political message or moral lesson”.  director Michael Karagiannakis explains, when asked why he choose to direct this musical.

“It is a unique contemporary approach to comedy, as it strikes the perfect balance between the musical numbers and acting scenes” . He further goes on to explaining why this adaption of SPAMALOT is so unique stating that he has “directed the actors to be more cynical in their performances to suit more modern comic sensibilities, gender swapped characters in every conceivable area!”

“My immensely talented cast and crew have succeeded my expectations and this production has become something that’s bigger than myself or any given person involved. If you’re looking to see a fun show staged by some incredibly talented amateurs, this show is for you!”

UTS Backstage is the resident Theatre Society at the University of Technology of Sydney. Each semester Backstage puts on an array of productions, plays, musicals and trivia/comedy nights – all entirely student run! Though only established in 2011, Backstage has its mark in the Sydney Theatre circles with performances such as the Australian premiere of Sondheim’s The Frogs in 2015, Hairspray’ in 2016 and the more recent successful and sold out performances of 2017’s The Crucible and Blood Wedding.

SPAMALOT will be performed in the NIDA Playhouse Theatre, 215 Anzac Parade, Kensington NSW 2033. The show will run from Wednesday November 22nd, through to Saturday November 25th, with curtains up at 7.30pm.

More information about SPAMALOT visit

https://www.facebook.com/events/717807941753034/?active_tab=about

https://www.facebook.com/UTSBackstage/

REHEARSALS BEGIN ON A NEW PRODUCTION OF MAMMA MIA

Featured image- Performers Stephen Mahy and Sarah Morrison. Pic by Ben Apfelbaum.

Over 60 million people have fallen in love with the story and the music that makes MAMMA MIA the ultimate feel good musical.

A new Australian production- producers Michael Coppel, Louise Withers and Linda Bewick– will be directed by Helpmann Award winner Gary Young, with a creative team that includes Choreographer Tom Hodgson and Musical Supervisor Stephen Amos.

Set on a Greek Island paradise, combined with the story telling magic of Abba’s timeless songs, writer Catherine Johnson’s tale centres around a young bride to be’s quest to discover the identity of her father. This quest brings 3 men from her mother’s past back to the island, they all visited twenty years ago.

Starring in this brand new Australian production as mother of the bride Donna Sheridan is Natalie O’Donnell. Donna’s daughter and bride to be Sophie, is emerging young actress Sarah Morrison. Donna’s loyal friend Rosa is played by  Alicia Gardiner. Sophie’s adoring fiance Sky is played by Stephen Mahy. The prospective fathers’ of the bride are played by Ian Stenlake, Phillip Lowe and Josef Ber.

Featuring 22 of Abba’s greatest hits, MAMMA MIA will open at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre from 11th February, 2018.

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