I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Groucho Marx on stage. Award-winning actor Frank Ferrante plays Groucho, and reprises his acclaimed portrayal of the comic genius.
Ferrante, accompanied by his onstage pianist, shares vivid anecdotes and dances his way through each of Groucho’s hilarious songs, that included “Hooray For Captain Spalding,”, “Lydia, the Tattooed Lady” and “Doctor Hackenbush”.
In THE MERCHANT OF VENICE Antonio, a Venetian merchant, has a friend Bassanio, who is desperately in need of money to court Portia, a wealthy heiress who lives in the city of Belmont. Bassanio asks Antonio for a loan in order to travel in style to Portia’s estate. Antonio agrees, but is unable to make the loan himself because his own money is all invested in a number of trade ships that are still at sea. Antonio suggests that Bassanio secure the loan from one of the city’s moneylenders and name Antonio as the loan’s guarantor.
So, in Venice, Antonio and Bassanio approach Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, for a loan. Shylock nurses a long-standing grudge against Antonio, who has made a habit of berating him and other Jews for their usury, which is the practice of loaning money at exorbitant rates of interest, and who undermines their business by offering interest-free loans. Although Antonio refuses to apologize for his behaviour, Shylock acts agreeably and offers to lend Bassanio three thousand ducats with no interest. Shylock adds, however, that should the loan go unpaid, he will be entitled to a pound of Antonio’s own flesh. Despite Bassanio’s warnings, Antonio agrees.Continue reading BARD ON THE BEACH PRESENTS THE MERCHANT OF VENICE @ THE GREEK THEATRE MARRICKVILLE→
The Musician Project Orchestra is back in June to present some of the most electrifying music for large orchestra. Returning to the podium to lead the ensemble for his second time is the masterly Fabian Russell, who directed the transcendent Musician Project performance of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony last year.
The orchestra are also excited to welcome home the young Australian cellist Jack Bailey, who returns from studies in the United Kingdom to feature in Sergei Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante, one of the most impassioned and rarely-performed works in the cello repertoire.
The concert concludes with the most extravagant of Richard Strauss’ tone poems, Ein Heldenleben. An orchestral tour-de-force of heroism, love, conflict and triumph, ultimately fading into peaceful fulfilment.
Given the choice, would you save your family and yourself from persecution or condemn others to certain death?
BLONDE POISON is a remarkable one-woman play about beauty, treachery and the high price of survival, starring Best Actress Nominee at the 2015 Sydney Theatre Awards, Belinda Giblin. Back by popular demand for a strictly limited season, see one of Australia’s leading actresses like you’ve never seen her before at the Studio theatre, Sydney Opera House from 28 April. Tickets are on sale from 22 February. Continue reading BLONDE POISON @ STUDIO THEATRE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE→
Part of Australia’s Silent Film Festival at the State Library of NSW it was standing room only for the Australian premiere of the restored SHERLOCK HOLMES starring William Gillette. Our accompanist was the accomplished Mauro Colombis.
This film was long considered regrettably lost until the magical discovery and identification of a complete duplicate negative in the vaults of La Cinematheque Francaise last year. Great news! It has been a major ‘missing link’ in the history of Sherlock Holmes on screen. Produced at Essenay Studios in 1916 ( so , the middle of World War 1), Gillette at the time was regarded as the foremost interpreter of Holmes on stage, having played him approximately 1, 300 times since his 1899 debut. Gillette was a forerunner of some of our other favourite Holmes for example Rathbone, Barrymore, Brett and now Cumberbatch. Continue reading AUSTRALIA’S SILENT FILM FESTIVAL: WILLIAM GILLETTE AS SHERLOCK HOMES→
“We fight. We win. We burn your land. We fight. We win. We carry on.”
When you see their wretched Union Jack flag, you know that BRITANNIA WAVES THE RULES embodies all the brutal reality of a soldier’s life. We follow disenfranchised, hot-blooded Carl Jackson’s dramatic journey, from his need to escape from Blackpool, England to becoming fully trained and ultimately sent as a sniper to the killing-fields on the front-line in Afghanistan.
Director Volker Schlondorff dedicates his film version of DIPLOMACY, adapted from the French playwright Cyril Gély’s 2011 successful stage show, to the late American diplomat, Richard Holbrook. Holbrook was the man who, together with Swedish diplomat, Carl Bildt, brokered the peace in Bosnia with the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords.
DIPLOMACY is predominantly a two hander set on the evening of August 25th, 1944. The Allies have entered Paris, and shortly before dawn the German military governor of the city is preparing to dynamite the capital’s famous monuments and bridges on Hitler’s orders. Enter the Swedish Consul-General, Raoul Nordling.
Niels Arestrup plays the loyal Third Reich governor, with André Dussollier as the man who must convince him not to destroy a city.
Full of patriotism and passion, this is a tour-de-force by both lead actors, who originated the roles on stage, with parry and thrust argument about what constitutes duty, national pride, the spoils of war, and the art of negotiation.
Theatre people are much more superstitious than film people and Bette Davis began her career as a dancer and actor on the Broadway stage. It wasn’t until she headed to Hollywood in her early 20’s that she took the path to become the film actor we know from her one hundred movies.
The QUEEN BETTE we see at The Old 505 Theatre during Mardi Gras is definitely that brittle, elusive star at the apogee of her power but the rituals meant to attract good luck are still part of her makeup. Particularly rainy nights as a sign of a good show to come. The heavens opened tonight just before we arrived at the venue but there could have been a blizzard or sandstorm because this show, with this kind of performance, has no need of luck. Continue reading Queen Bette @ The Old 505→
Short and Sweet Sydney continues its 2014 annual festival, full of fresh talent this week, with another TEN Top 80 short plays, with a number of absolutely stand-out performances.
ABEL C. MANN, PROCESSED OFFSHORE- apparently ‘acting is a mugs game’ as seen during the re-enactment of the landing of the first fleet, which suddenly becomes “no longer possible” as “we are stopping the boats”, including the actor’s boat.
FLIGHT is a new short play by Alex Broun, our prolific and internationally produced home-grown playwright. Enhanced by an outstanding background soundscape, this is a one woman tour-de-force, as a hard-edged CEO ‘loses’ it.
Sondheim and musical theatre fans rejoice! And stampede now to the box office to catch this more than splendid production.
This is the first in a series of HD productions, WEST END THEATRE SERIES, direct from London, brought to us by Cinema Live and Digital theatre. Following a sold out run at the Mernier Chocolate Factory, this was filmed at the Harold Pinter Theatre during the production’s final performances. Continue reading MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG→