Forty four years on and THE DAY OF THE JACKAL is still as taut, tense and terrific as it was when released in cinemas in 1973.

Helmed by master craftsman Fred Zinnemann this original adaptation of Frederick Forsyth’s best selling book is 143 minutes of precise methodical planning, suspenseful in a cool, measured way that reflects the cold calculating calm of the assassin code named The Jackal.

In a precision piece of police procedural, the movie painstakingly maps the trajectory of the hiring of the hitman to the cat and mouse chase and capture.



As careers go, working in the hospitality industry does have a lot of appeal, if you are fond of people and people watching. Take, for instance, working in a cafe or a pub. You have your regulars who you can chat with, you can watch how people are with each other, It certainly beats working in an office, say being an accountant, and crunching figures all day.

The main characters in English playwright Jim Cartwright’s beautifully written play TWO are a married couple who are the publicans of a suburban pub. It’s a job that they love. Cartwright simply calls them Landlord and Land Lady.                          Continue reading JIM CARTWRIGHT’S EVERGREEN ‘TWO’ @ ENSEMBLE THEATRE


Director Moira Blumenthal and producer Shalom, who have previously worked together on the plays My Name Is Ashur Lev and Coming to See Aunt Sophie. have announced that they will be presenting the World Premiere of Victor Gordon’s controversial new play YOU WILL NOT PLAY WAGNER at the Eternity Playhouse during the month of May.

The play’s subject matter is controversial. Ever since the Holocaust, performing works by the composer Richard Wagner has been taboo in Israel. Set in contemporary Tel Aviv, a young Israeli causes a storm by selecting to perform Wagner in the finals of an international competition for conductors.

His selection pushes the competition to the brink and sets Israeli society on edge. Should the politics of Wagner’s music interfere with the quality of his art? To what extent do we honour the memory of the Holocaust, its survivors and their descendants, without stifling the next generation? 

Moira Blumenthal will direct and the play will star Annie Annie Byron, Tim McGarry, Kate Skinner and Benedict Wall.

Sydney Arts Guide has one double pass to give away to the performance of YOU WILL NOT PLAY WAGNER at the Eternity Playhouse on Sunday 4th May at 8 pm. Email, The winner will be advised by email with the tickets to be collected from the Box Office.

Featured image – Cast members Annie Byron and Benedict Wall.




Director of Music for the Balmain Sinfonia, Gary Stavrou was awarded an OAM in the 2017 Australia Day awards. The orchestra’s first concert illustrated yet again the calibre of his service to the Sydney music scene. The orchestra performed admirably under his baton in a diverse and artistically challenging programme which featured a broad historic swoop of music from Mozart to Mahler.

Exciting as always was the procuring of a local soloist of high standard to collaborate with Stavrou and the orchestra. This time, much awarded soprano Zoe Drummond  demonstrated how effective the choice of a vocalist can be as a soloist in an orchestral concert. As in past concerts, the Balmain Sinfonia did rise to the occasion as a very sympathetic accompanist for the tonal colour of a vocal soloist.

The concert opened with an arrangement of Debussy’s Petite Suite originally composed for piano four hands in 1889. Each of the four movements was realised and performed with admirable clarity and appropriate sense of character. Continue reading BALMAIN SINFONIA IMPRESSES WITH ITS FIRST CONCERT FOR 2017


Chatswood Musical Society’s Australian premiere of the Broadway  hit, IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU, music by Barbara Anselmi and lyrics by Brian Hargrove, is 90 minutes of non-stop hilarity. With his production of the show,  Director James Worner has been able to spread the joy he felt when he saw the play on Broadway.

This is a roller coaster musical farce featuring nervous grooms, overbearing mums, unexpected guests, and the odd blushing bride.

The bride is Jewish. The groom is Catholic. Their mothers are gale force matriarchs. The audience related to, and many times laughed at, the familiar fears, expectations and tensions that come with family celebrations. As old relatives staggered about, young friends weaved in and out of the melee seeking reassurance. When the bride’s ex-boyfriend crashed the party, it was up to the sister of the bride to turn things around to enable the happy ending. Continue reading IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU : AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE OF A BROADWAY HIT MUSICAL


THE BOOK OF EVERYTHING is the English translation of a Dutch children’s novel by Guus Kuijer. It was adapted for the stage by the Australian playwright Richard Tulloch and first performed in 2010.

This production by Castle Hill Players is an engaging insight into the world of young Thomas as we look at the adults’ moral codes through the imagination of a nine year old boy.

Set in Amsterdam in 1951 Brayden Sim brings to the main character, Thomas Klopper, a charming innocence as he comes to understand a little better the relationships of the people around him. Continue reading CASTLE HILL PLAYERS PRESENT ‘THE BOOK OF EVERYTHING’ @ PAVILION THEATRE

Ellie, Abbie & Ellie’s Dead Aunt @ Depot Theatre Marrickville


It was a pleasure to experience this delicious and entertaining new play featuring six well-drawn, strong characters played by a good all-female cast.

Monica Zanetti’s play delivers a touching lesbian romantic comedy, blended with LGBT political history, and is an important message piece about respecting sexual minorities. It also touches on the inaction of police and  their reluctance to investigate LGBT murders.

Ellie’s mother has provided a litany of lies to protect Ellie from the whole truth about her lesbian Aunt Amber’s sudden death.  Ellie, the goody goody School Captain has fallen in love with Abbie a girl from her history class. Ellie, in fact, is getting the ‘ghostly’ counsel of her deceased Aunt to navigate the intricacies of her first lesbian affair. Continue reading Ellie, Abbie & Ellie’s Dead Aunt @ Depot Theatre Marrickville


BLACK BIRDS is a gutsy, entertaining performance piece about race, skin colour and hair, devised and performed by Emele Ugavule and Ayeesha Ash. The work blends music, movement, spoken word and stories from real life.

Ugavule and Ash share their stories of how they were ostracised & bullied as children and feared, shunned, mistreated and misunderstood as they moved into adulthood. Some of the worst treatment they experienced was from people who thought they were being liberal and inclusive but were, in fact, still focusing on these women’s difference and were not interacting with them as individuals. Continue reading BLACK BIRDS : PERFORMANCE ART WITH PLENTY TO SAY


Established in 2013 by Richard Gill AO, Rachael Beesley, Nicole Van Bruggen and Benjamin Bayl, the Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra (ARCO) has adopted a thematic approach to its repertoire. This was exemplified by its recent concert Italian Romance at the City Recital Hall  which featured works by Beethoven, Hugo Woolf and Mendelssohn.

In the first half of the program the Orchestra was a smaller ensemble and stood. Beethoven’s Corialanus Overure was a particular choice as an example of Romantic Music. The work is not based on the Shakespeare play but on the equally gruesome story of a Roman General. The piece was played with precision and wonderful rhythm by the Orchestra. It was very much a  ‘Sturm and Drang’ experience.

Beethoven’s Romance for Violin and Orchestra No 2  featured Rachel Beesley as the soloist. Beesley played with tenderness and warmth, and created a wonderful dialogue with the woodwind section.

The next work which the Orchestra played was Beethoven’s 12 Contradances for Orchestra. Most of the Contradances were just 32 bars in length and the Orchestra glided through each dance to create a seamless whole. The joyful music was however made more poignant with Gill reading out extracts from a letter which Beethoven wrote to his brother about his impending deafness.

The Orchestra’s performance of The Italian Serenade by Hugo Woolf featured a delightful conversation between the violin and cello.

The Orchestra reconvened after interval with a larger ensemble and delivered an impressive performance of Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony. The remarkable, glorious wall of sound that this Orchestra achieved was in spite of the fact that it was about half the size of a full Orchestra.

The success of  this pleasing concert can also be attributed to the concert’s guest conductor Benjamin Bayl. His relaxed yet disciplined conducting brought out the best in the Orchestra.

ARCO performed its concert Italian Romance at the City Recital Hall, Angel Place on Saturday 25th March.



“Markus Weber and Michael Summ’s version of The Jungle Book is a beautifully-written musical derived from Rudyard Kipling’s famed writings.” Suzy Wrong, Suzy Goes See, April 2014

“With great songs and a meaningful story, excellent production, acting, lighting and sound – the Jungle Book can appeal to both children and adults.” Linda Moon, Weekend Notes, January 2016

JUNGLE BOOK – THE MUSICAL is back at King Street Theatre for the school holidays.

Based on the beloved stories by Rudyard Kipling, Artistic Director/Intendant of KING STREET THEATRE, Markus Weber and Michael Summ’s production of Jungle Book – The Musical will delight audiences once again during the Easter School holidays.           Continue reading JUNGLE BOOK, THE MUSICAL RETURNS TO KING STREET THEATRE



Sydney’s premier poetry night, “Word In Hand”, is set to host one of the greatest voices of our time on April 4th with the Windham-Campbell prize winning, Yankunytjatjara/Kokatha poet, Ali Cobby Eckermann.

As an award winning writer and survivor of The Stolen Generations, Cobby Eckermann uses her own experiences to weave powerful and provoking poetry that often shines a light directly on issues Australia continues to try to ignore.

When asked why she writes by Poetry International Rotterdam, Cobby Eckermann said: “I guess I write for both my families, and for my ongoing healing that I need in my life. Mostly though for the Aboriginal audience. It is my biggest thrill when they attend any forum to hear my words. I have been amazed at the reaction from the wider Australian and international audiences to my poetry, which encourages me to keep writing too . . . Poetry has also been the tool to assist my adopted family to understand some of the change that occurred deep within myself. I often say “poetry saves lives”.”

Poet and activist Candy Royalle, who will also be hosting the night, wrote about Cobby Eckermann’s work for The Guardian saying: “Poetry has the potential to pierce through the intellectual and aim straight for the heart. It can move people in ways other crafts can’t. So it is with Ali Cobby Eckermann’s work.”

This April, Word In Hand promises to be a night full of passion, power and pride, and with Ali Cobby Eckermann well on her way to international superstardom, this may be the last chance to catch her in such an intimate setting.

This awe inspiring event at Glebe’s Friend In Hand Hotel will also feature a performance by Sydney superstar Nancy J Dennis whose impressive resume includes: Truth (2012), alongside Cate Blanchett; 2:22 (2008) opposite Michiel Huisman; and the role of Foxy Baker in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.

As always, Word In Hand offers the audience more than just a night of inspiring and thought provoking entertainment – it gives them the chance to be involved too, with open mic, games and prizes up for grabs.


Word in Hand with Ali Cobby Eckermann will take place on April 4 between 7 pm and 10 pm at the Friend In Hand Hotel, Glebe.

For more about Word In Hand – April Edition, visit
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Dark and at times somewhat disturbing . POLINA marks the directorial debut of renowned French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj and his wife, filmmaker Valérie Müller.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


How appropriate that an outfit called Icon Books should publish Charlotte Rampling’s WHO I AM.

Rampling is an undeniable icon of film and popular culture, and her book, co authored by Christophe Bataille, is sure to achieve iconic cache.

The first thing to say about WHO I AM is what it is not.

In the first paragraph, Rampling says, with a laugh, One thing it definitely can’t be is a biography. I’ve tried telling my life story. It doesn’t work…..I don’t open up. Continue reading CHARLOTTE RAMPLING’S MEMOIR REVEALS WHO SHE IS, SORT OF…


Remember when the ownership of a Holden or a Ford was tribal? The same kind of one car nation or the other raises its quaint and parochial head in the Swedish episodic comedy, A MAN CALLED OVE.

Curmudgeon sexagenarian Ove is a Saab man through and through, with unmitigated disdain for Volvo drivers, although that at least is better than Audi, – “four zeros on the grille and one behind the wheel” is his disparaging default.

Recently widowed, Ove is the quintessential angry old man next door, the self appointed and opinionated neighbourhood watchman, with strict principles and a short fuse, who spends his days enforcing block association rules that only he cares about, and visiting his wife’s grave.

When suddenly retrenched, Ove decides that life is finally not worth living. He decides to commit suicide, but after a series of attempts, it appears that life is not ready to give up on Ove. Continue reading A MAN CALLED OVE


A matriarch with a Messiah complex, Anne Hamilton-Byrne was a glamorous yoga teacher whose charismatic aura amassed a cult following and spawned a surrogate family of illegally sourced children, under the auspices of The Santiniketan Park Association.

Rosie Jones’ documentary, THE FAMILY, is an investigation into the cult and the dogged detective work of policeman, Lex De Man, longest serving member of Operation Forest, which sought to prosecute Hamilton-Byrne.

Altogether 28 children spent time under the strict regime of Anne, self proclaimed reincarnation of Jesus Christ, and The Aunties, Anne’s apostles, disciples in strict and restrictive discipline; a core group of 14 believed they were Anne and her husband Bill’s biological children and bore the Hamilton-Byrne name. Continue reading THE FAMILY : A NEW DOCUMENTARY BY ROSIE JONES


If you think the Sydney lock out laws are Draconian, consider the Queensland State Government’s Alcohol Management Plan affecting the town of Doomadgee – a first offence penalty for possessing a full strength alcoholic beverage is a fine of $44,175 or incarceration if unable to pay.

Imagine that imposition to the beer swilling burgers of Sydney. The weekend paralytic would be apoplectic, yet this appalling apartheid prohibition is levelled at the indigenous inhabitants, further pathetic paternalism by a white society.

Back in 1930, white Christian missionaries thrashed indigenous culture out of the locals, now there is a concentrated effort to claw it back. Out of a population of a thousand, there were fourteen suicides in twelve months, due partly to alcohol and drugs which is part of the problem of dissociation that prevails in these communities. Continue reading ZACH’S CEREMONY : A NEW FILM BY AARON PETERSEN


British playwright Evan Placey’s CONSENSUAL, the current play at the New Theatre, is a confronting, highly charged drama. A play written for, and about, some of the challenges that face young people today, it is one of the best of its kind that I have seen.

Johann Walraven’s sensitive, finely honed production serves the piece well.

The play is set in the classroom of a co-educational high school. Most of the classes we ‘sit in on’ are sex education classes, so yes, as you can imagine the classes are amusing and raucous.

The centrepiece of the set design is a large chalkboard filled with all sorts of adolescent student graffiti. Scattered around the stage are a number of student desks.   Continue reading CONSENSUAL : WHEN THE PAST COMES BACK TO HAUNT DIANE


YOUNG VISIONARIES is a celebration of local creatives, fashion, arts, technology and social good.

All are welcome to attend an evening of inspirational short talks, music and mingling to end the week with a bang!

The evening will feature stories of awesome creators who are using technology to push the boundaries of creative expression or to influence change across multiple disciplines like tech, fashion, the arts and science.

Presenters include-

Ollie Henderson : on culture as an expression of the political.

Sulange Cunin : on founding Cube Rider, a STEM program taking students on real space mission and more…

Mix and mingle and with some awesome young visionaries making a difference in their industry, get inspired and unwind with drinks on the good folk at Alpha Box & Dice and Sofi Spritz.

There will be live music and Rollie will be giving away a pair of shoes from their latest winter range to one lucky winner – be in it to win it!

Friday 7th April between 6 and 9 pm at WeWork Pyrmont, 100 Harris Street, Pyrmont.

For more about Young Visionaries, visit
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THE UNKNOWN DANCER IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD was part of the Breaking the Mould event series at The Japan Foundation, Sydney. The series brings emerging, boundary-pushing work from Japan’s art and contemporary theatre scenes to Australia.

This was an astonishingly bravura performance that blended ballet, Butoh , theatre and contemporary dance. The performance was poignant, funny and thought provoking, and a performance which gets us to look at the selfishness of modern society as well as meanings of life and existence and the painfulness of death .

Yamamoto is one of Japan’s hottest theatre makers. His solo theatre project Docu(nt)ment has been established since 2012 and his blending of projected text, movement, photography and moody lighting has won him fans and awards across Asia.

It is unclear who the ‘Unknown Dancer’ really is – perhaps he is the person next to you. Or even the one in the mirror. Who knows?

We discover life in a Japanese suburb on the fringe of a major city, a somewhat unsavoury suburb called Nagai. The entire “non-community” of a city precinct is shown as both intimately knowable yet anonymous. In the daytime the neighbourhood throngs with people who treat each other indifferently; at night, it morphs into a dangerous zone, festering with crime.

The densely crowded urban atmosphere that THE UNKNOWN DANCER IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD creates – with its overload of technological information , use of projections , the recreation of Japanese morning TV, and the use of Twitter is very contemporary . Simultaneously the show also examines Japan’s complex culture and modes of expression.

Wataru Kitao , the solo performer, is amazing. He morphs from being a gorilla at the zoo to numerous other characters – train attendants, ‘Train Boy ‘( a train itself – sort of think Starlight Express), an innocent school girl trampled to death , a the girl’s mother, a TV presenter, a prostitute, her pimp and their unborn child, a lovesick teenage boy, an old grandfather with a boisterous young child … and many more all wonderfully and clearly delineated. Conversations are carried on using both spoken speech and ‘text messages ’ as translated on the back screen.

Kitao is incredibly energetic and charismatic , with his long hair dyed at the ends .He is sinuous with incredible elevation for his jumps. Martial arts like moves are included but ballet is used as a base (Yamamoto favours a wide fourth position and lots of demi plie at times ,and also some use of demi pointe – but it is fractured restructured and reworked Kitao’s jumps and turns are sensational).

Throughout the work Ei has been talking to his mother on his mobile. But it turns out she passed away several years ago ( or did she ? Is Ei also dead ? has he in fact ever existed ?

The main plot of the show follows the aftermath of a traumatic train accident at Nagai station .There is also mention of a horrific hostage crisis at Nagai library .It is gradually revealed that both events took place years ago yet the narrator can’t forget them. Throughout the performance, characters would consistently be questioned by disembodied voices asking why they should even care about the show’s events.

The work also reflects on the value of life and art – towards the end we are confronted by an ‘ artistic terrorist’ in a direct address to the audience challenging our own passive and superficially neutral observation of the play’s events. The audience was accused of being selfish and of selfishly trying to read hope and despair into what they had just seen. So what are we to make of it and what are society’s hopes for the cold, selfish future?!

Running time 90 minutes. Performed in Japanese with English surtitles.

THE UNKNOWN DANCER IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD played the Eternity Playhouse on the 22nd and 23rd March.





“The Smurfs” (2011) was the first film in the current franchise, and was quickly followed by the very successful “The Smurfs 2” (2013), and both were hybrids skillfully combining a live-action universe with a digitally animated CGI characters.

SMURFS – THE LOST VILLAGE is the latest film in the smurfs franchise, this time is fully digitally animated, and presents a brand new take on the Smurfs, and as experienced at the media screening, yet again SMURFS – THE LOST VILLAGE is a huge hit with very young children and their parents, with magnificent voice talents attached to the cast, and this is a very child-friendly kids fantasy movie for three-to-nine-year-olds.

Continue reading SMURFS – THE LOST VILLAGE (2017)


Can you guess “who done it”? This fun production by Bankstown Theatre Company will have you guessing to the very end. The long running soap-opera The Bold and the Young is in its last day with ratings tumbling and a cast with serious personality issues ranging from an obsession with soup, self-esteem problems to slightly psychopathic tendencies.

The executive producer give this motley mix of actors an ultimatum, either complete one episode overnight or the show will be cut. But shortly after the director is murdered and then in quick succession several of the other cast members meet the same fate. Can these unlikely Sherlock Holmes discover the murderer before the show is literally killed off?!

The cast of 13 actors gives this comedy/mystery by Don Zolidis a life of its own as it pokes fun at the characters in soap operas and the actors portraying these. I defy any audience member to pick the ending with several twists to ensure one’s interest is held to the very last. Continue reading THE BOLD, THE YOUNG AND THE MURDERED @ BANKSTOWN ARTS CENTRE


Above: Mama Alto as Pam and Simon Corfield as Kim. Featured image: Simon Burke as Warren and Lincoln Younes as Lucacz. Photo credit : Brett Boardman.

In this hilarious but incisive play we first meet Warren and Kim. They are a modern gay Sydney couple with, by modern terms, a lot to be happy about. Or are they really?

They have been together for several years, are married on a non-legal level in this country and have a labyrinthine studio in Darlo which affords a view of the Mardi Gras parade from the toilet window. They recently closed an entire hotel with an online petition which was serving a traditional meatball dish named ‘faggots’. Continue reading THE HOMOSEXUALS, OR FAGGOTS @ THE STABLES


This is a dark comedy with many great songs, but it is not a musical – it is a very funny play about an amateur society rehearsing its latest offering. The group is thrown into disarray when an innocent abroad comes to audition for ‘crook fingered jack’. Life imitates art as he makes friends and enemies of them all in a riot of sex, death and theatrical frenzy.

 Friday 7th April 2017 to Saturday 29 April 2017

Star of the Sea Theatre, jncn of Collingwood Street and Iluka Avenue, MANLY
7/4; 8/4 at 7.30. 9/4 at 3pm. 21/4 22/4 at 7.30pm; 23/4 at 3pm. 28/4 29/4 at 7/30pm

For more about a chorus of dispproval                                                            visit
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“Love is the only fire for which there is no insurance.” Edith Piaf

The fans were struggling to move the hot and humid air around The Basement, Sydney’s iconic music venue, and the atmosphere did not cool down for Nikki Nouveau’s sultry performance.

Nikki is a Sydney born Melbourne based singer and cabaret entertainer, who has had a long term fascination with Piaf, and subsequently travelled to Paris many times.

The show’s introductory number was an evocative instrumental piece by Andrew Scott on his piano accordion, conjuring up the feelings of an old French café. Continue reading NIKKI NOUVEAU CHANNELS THE GREAT EDITH PIAF @ THE BASEMENT

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