COLD PURSUIT- A PULSE POUNDING REVENGE THRILLER. GIVEAWAY.

COLD PURSUIT is a pulse-pounding revenge thriller with a unique look that will excite film-goers the world over.  It stars  Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, John Doman, Emmy Rossum and Tom Bateman and is set against the breathtaking backdrop of snow country Colorado.

Welcome to Kehoe, it’s -10 degrees and counting at this glitzy ski resort in the Rocky Mountains. The local police aren’t used to much action until the son of unassuming town snowplow driver, Nels Coxman (Liam Neeson), is murdered at the order of Viking (Tom Bateman), a flamboyant drug lord. Fueled by rage and armed with heavy machinery, Nels sets out to dismantle the cartel one man at a time, but his understanding of murder comes mainly from what he read in a crime novel. As the bodies pile up, his actions ignite a turf war between Viking and his long-standing rival White Bull (Tom Jackson), a soulful Native-American mafia boss, that will quickly escalate and turn the small town’s bright white slopes blood-red. Continue reading COLD PURSUIT- A PULSE POUNDING REVENGE THRILLER. GIVEAWAY.

COUNTING & CRACKING: A CRACKER BY ANY ACCOUNT

It’s three hours and thirty minutes long but who’s counting, as COUNTING & CRACKING delivers exhilarating theatre at cracking pace.

Length cannot wither this production, a co-show between Belvoir and Co-Curious, nor custom stale it’s infinite variety of drama, tragedy, comedy, political intrigue and cultural identity.

Spanning a half century of upheaval, relocation and reunion, COUNTING & CRACKING looks at how the big political picture impacts upon the lives of people, and how easily populist policy can degenerate into genocide, and the creation of refugees.

COUNTING & CRACKING bubbles from the turmoil that beset Sri Lanka when populist National politics set Sinhalese against Tamil, dividing a country, with a quotient finding themselves in Australia.

Mathematical allusion is manifest in S. Shackthidharan’s superb and epic script with a central character being both mathematician and politician: “ One is one. Two is one plus one is two. If one always has a unit answering to every unit of the other, then we pronounce both sides equal.”

The quality of equality is core to COUNTING & CRACKING, exhibited and espoused by an exhilarating international ensemble displaying thrilling synchronicity, with so called minor characters emanating the same detail and minutiae as that of what would be considered traditional leads. Indeed, peerless performances abound, without exception, in this robust and international cast.

There’s a high octane energy propelling this production, a cavalcade of colour and movement, emotion and intellect, a precise and precious pageant of a play, sometimes fuelled by fear and frenzy, but mostly fed by humour and hope.

COUNTING & CRACKING is an astonishing amalgamation of realism and the magic of pure theatricality with live music – the actors are accompanied by two musicians in a succession of percussion which adds timbre and texture to this elixir of joy – and traditional dance.

Sydney Town Hall has been transformed into a grand theatrical space by set and costume designer, Dale Ferguson, in which a sprawling saga of people and democracy displaced unfolds in a most spectacular way.

Like his production of Sami in Paradise last year, Eamon Flack’s direction is an object lesson in the organisation of nuanced chaos and the comedy of compassion and community – a universe of exuberance.

Enthralling, exciting, playful and thought provoking, COUNTING & CRACKING is a must see theatrical event.

CRACKING & COUNTING PLAYS TILL 2 FEBRUARY 2019 at
SYDNEY TOWN HALL

THE CHAT. QUESTIONING THE SYSTEM

Photo Credit: Prudence Upton

THE CHAT.  As the audience enters the theatre space we are directed to our seats by the performers, a mix of ex-offenders and actors, who chat amongst us till the sound of a shredding machine signifies the start of the show. Les Wiggins has breached parole and a paper copy of his criminal history is shredded as he is to be given an opportunity to show who he truly is and gain his freedom.

In this devised work led by theatre maker and former parole officer, J R Brennan, with writer-performer David Woods, performer Ashley Dye and input from former prisoners, questions around the justice system are raised. Who and how are decisions made around  which offenders should be given parole, what happens if it goes wrong, how does a newly released inmate survive and go on to live a productive life and what supports are needed, are some of the areas considered. Continue reading THE CHAT. QUESTIONING THE SYSTEM

IN THE HEIGHTS. DANCIN’ SINGIN’ CELEBRATIN’

Production images: Clare Hawley

Not so such much a runaway hit as a stay-in-the-neighbourhood hit, IN THE HEIGHTS as directed by Luke Joslin brings a Washington Heights alive in a vibrant, energetic production with the closeness of community at its heart.  No mean feat on a stage as wide as the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House.   We love our House and audiences always have a sense of occasion in the iconic building but this was beyond expectations.  A night to bring the whole audience to their feet after a show that vibrates the barrio with brio onstage and brass behind.

The show was conceived, and has music and lyrics, by Lin-Manuel Miranda with the book by Quiara Alegría Hudes and Joslin directed the show at Hayes Theatre last year.  This production has many cast in common and shares musical direction from Lucy Bermingham and choreography from Amy Campbell.  It was a bona-fide hit then.  And will be now. Continue reading IN THE HEIGHTS. DANCIN’ SINGIN’ CELEBRATIN’

BELIEVER – PART OF QUEER SCREEN’S MARDI GRAS FF

Dan Reynolds and Savannah Skyler in Believer (2018)

Outrage.  I was prepared to be outraged by this film … seeing LDS and LGBTQ in the same sentence enough to cause fear and a presentment of horrors.   Yes, there is plenty to be outraged by here if that’s what you need, but a calm analysis will give a much more reflective, intellectual response.  For BELIEVER is not just about us but about our allies and the choice they can make to walk beside us.

The film follows Dan Reynolds, front man of band ‘Imagine Dragons’, a Mormon on a different kind of mission.  With his consciousness raised by life events he sets out to ally with LGBTQ people by making this documentary about his journey and specifically by producing a music festival called LOVELOUD, in Utah in 2018.  His focus is the alarming rate of suicide in the Mormon community and the responsibility of the church, his church, toward LGBTQ youth. Continue reading BELIEVER – PART OF QUEER SCREEN’S MARDI GRAS FF

SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL 2019 SUBMISSIONS CLOSING SOON

Sam Neill & Hugo Weaving
Sydney Film Festival 2016 Opening Night
The State Theatre, Market St, Sydney
Wednesday 8th June, 2016
Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016

Filmmakers across Australia and around the world have just weeks to finalise their submissions for the 66th Sydney Film Festival (5 – 16 June 2019).

Each year, the Sydney Film Festival presents a diverse slate of films from Australia and around the world. In 2018, over 330 films from 66 countries were screened to an audience of 170,000.

Don’t miss your chance to be part of the 2019 Sydney Film Festival. Entries are open to features, documentaries and short films (under 40 minutes). Get to it!

Submissions for the Festival are being accepted through FilmFestivalLife. Closing dates are: 31 January 2019 for international productions, 28 February 2019 for Australian productions, Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films, and Documentary Australia Foundation Award.

The 2019 season will mark the 49th year of the Festival’s Australian short film competition, making it the oldest short film competition in Australia. Since 1970, the competition has served as a launch pad for emerging Australian film talent, spring-boarding countless directors, producers and actors towards international success.

Past winners include film luminaries from across Australia’s creative landscape, such as directors Gillian Armstrong, Jane Campion, George Miller, Phillip Noyce, Rolf de Heer and Alex Proyas; cinematographers like Don McAlpine and Dean Semler; and actors such as Bryan Brown and David Wenham.  

STORM BOY: A VIEW FROM THE PELI-CAM

Geoffrey Rush is Storm Boy in a new screen version of STORM BOY.
Well, actually, he’s Storm Boy all grown up, who recounts to his grand-daughter, Maddy, how he got the name, Storm Boy, over half a century ago.

It’s a neat choice in Justin Monjo’s script to bring Colin Thiele’s novella, which was set sixty years ago, into a contemporary perspective.

A pity that some other choices prompt the question, “Why remake a classic Australian film?”

The politics are pretty clear, as we tackle the balance between the environment and the economy, and grapple with the still contentious issues of land rights. It is right, fitting and proper that the arts, crafts and sciences of film making continue the conversation of conservation and cultural sensibilities.

The trump card in director Shawn Seet’s suite is the peli-cam.
Thesps of the stature of Geoffrey Rush play second fiddle to the avian antics of the assembled pelicans in this production, Mr. Percival, of course, principal player. There were two aspects of the pelicans in STORM BOY that are of
paramount importance: to create the majority of the pelican performances in camera with real birds, and to establish a tangible connection between these real pelicans and the actor, Finn Little, playing Storm Boy.

Producers have had the prescience of procuring Paul Mander to train the pelicans and process the bonding between actor and avian. The results are first class, with Mr Percival, Mr. Ponder and Mr. Proud top flight performances.

The other feather in the cap of this production of STORM BOY is the location. Point a camera in any direction of the Coorong and you scope a breathtaking beauty.

Trevor Jamieson plays Fingerbone Bill, the character portrayed in the original film by David Gulpilil, and Gulpilil makes a cameo as Fingerbone’s father.

It would be nice to see STORM BOY storm the box office this Summer, like a blockbuster super hero movie. No capes, cowls or masks for this role model , rather raw courage, persistence and an open heart.

TWO IN THE BUSH: A LOVE STORY – PART OF QUEER SCREEN’S MARDI GRAS FF

This image: Sarah Mitchell as Emily and Melissa DuPrey as Rosa

How to bake a successful modern rom com?  Put the girl in hot water, simmer her in a slob of ennui, gradually add the heat of some hot sex and serve with an alternatively romantic ending.  The chef’s secret technique here?  Balance the dominant spice with vanilla for the most palatable of delicious enjoyment.

Emily, you see, has a nasty addiction to cooking show marathons as she is parked unceremoniously on her friend’s sofa, out of luck in love, career and self-esteem.  TWO IN THE BUSH: A LOVE STORY is a fun and entertaining independent feature with clever messaging about love and the forms it can take and a discreetly expressed agenda of acceptance. Continue reading TWO IN THE BUSH: A LOVE STORY – PART OF QUEER SCREEN’S MARDI GRAS FF

ONE CHANCE ONLY TO SEE ‘PAPER DOLL’ AGAIN.

One night only fundraiser for New Ghosts Theatre to attend Fringe World Festival

There is a one night only fundraising performance of PAPER DOLL which played in Sydney, 2017, to rave reviews, including from SAG.   You can see our review here.

A man stands at a woman’s front door, soaking wet and unexpected. She isn’t surprised. He is older. She has grown-up, but he is not ready to admit that she’s no longer the girl, the princess, he left behind. He needs somewhere to stay and she is all he’s got.

The one night showing, supported by Red Line Productions, will assist the rising indie theatre company with their upcoming Perth tour of PAPER DOLL , as part of The Blue Room Theatre’s illustrious Summer Nights Program at Fringe World Festival.

Written by multi-award winning playwright Katy Warner in response to Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, the production is directed by Lucy Clements and features Hayley Pearl (YEN KXT, Abducting Diana New Theatre Sydney, King Lear Seymour Centre, All Saints & Cops LAC) and Martin Ashley Jones (Paper Doll Old Fitz Theatre, Hamlet Laycock Street Theatre & All Saints).

PAPER DOLL [Facebook Event] from New Ghosts Theatre [Facebook] will return to Sydney’s the Old Fitz Theatre [Facebook] on Monday 4th February, 7 pm.

IF/THEN. NSW PREMIERE AND WE HAVE A GIVEAWAY

With unforgettable songs and a deeply moving story by the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning creators of Next to Normal, IF THEN  is a fascinating, ambitious and original new musical with adoring fans worldwide.

Theatre & Company is  bringing this exciting new musical to NSW audiences for the first time.

Elizabeth, a city planner, moves back to New York to restart her life in the city of infinite possibilities. When her carefully designed plans collide with the whims of fate, Elizabeth’s life splits into two parallel paths. If/Then follows both stories, as this modern woman faces the intersection of choice and chance.

IF/THEN from Theatre & Company [Facebook] runs Feb 1-8 at Riverside Theatres, Parramatta.

With thanks to Theatre & Company, Sydney Arts Guide has a double pass giveaway to IF/THEN  for the 8pm performance on Saturday 2nd February, 2019.

To be in the running, email (editorialstaff.sydneyartsguide@gmail.com) 
with IF_THEN as the subject and your full name.

Competition closes Midnight on Thursday January 24, 2019 when the winner will be drawn. Only the winner will be notified and the pass will be available at the box office on the day of performance.

 

THE OTHER SIDE OF 25. PART OF OLD 505’S FRESHWORKS SEASON.

THE OTHER SIDE OF 25 is part of Old 505 Theatre’s FRESHWORKS season.

The new one-and-a-half woman show!  Stand-up comedian Becca Hurd is bringing her new one-woman-show to The Old 505 Theatre in Newtown. Featuring original music and an original story, THE OTHER SIDE OF 25 is hysterical and heartfelt play is written and performed by Becca Hurd.

THE OTHER SIDE OF 25 tells the story of Amory, who, despite her best instincts, reluctantly agrees to become the surrogate for her sister’s baby. But after her sister and brother in-law unexpectedly die in a car crash, Amory finds herself stuck, pregnant and on the other side of 25.

The production team behind THE OTHER SIDE OF 25 almost entirely made up of female-identifying artists, something that was very important to Becca Hurd. “I wanted to tell a female-centric story, that captured the humour and pressure of a woman in her twenties.

More than just a story about surrogacy, THE OTHER SIDE OF 25 examines the expectations placed on young women, exploring pregnancy, family dynamics, and what it means for a young woman to grow up. In an age where the ‘kidult’ is king, the play takes the audience on an uproarious journey through the experiences of a very feisty female.

THE OTHER SIDE OF 25 plays 5-9 February as part of Old 505 Theatre’s FRESHWORKS season.   Tickets here.

SYDNEY REVIEWS Screen + Stage + Performing Arts + Literary Arts + Visual Arts + Cinema + Theatre