Some Of Two Parts is Mark Isaacs on piano and  Loretta Palmeiro with soprano saxophone  and on Sunday they will thrill with  MAGICAL MUSICAL JOURNEYS IN A BOHO BAR.

Built on a jazz-meets-contemporary-classical bedrock and with folkloric elements, Two Parts mimic and play, complement and contradict, create and evolve in real-time composition. Musical qualities of the Iberian Peninsula such as flamenco and fado are also visited. What results can be brash, delicate, passionate or furious. But this is just the beginning… Continue reading QUICKIE GIVEAWAY TO ‘MAGICAL MUSICAL JOURNEYS IN A BOHO BAR’


A most exciting and captivating concert showcasing some ravishing, passionate playing. There was intense rapport between the Ensemble who concentrated intensely and were in fine form.

First we heard Felix Mendelssohn’s String Quintet No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 87 . Violinist Anna Da Silva Chen led the quintet which was violinist Arena Nakamura, violists Amanda Verner and Neil Thompson, and cellist Howard Penny, guesting courtesy of the Australian National Academy of Music.

The first movement opened briskly and skittishly with scurries and flurries , becoming slightly slower and more sedate before jumping back to the brisk tone. The dynamic second movement was full of circular whirling interlocking melodies, with slinky slipping and sliding strings .The third movement was poignant, sombre and richly layered , wish some spiky sections contrasted with passionately explosive quiveringly anxious ones. The pulsating final movement was driven and relentless with brisk flurries .Each of the quintet had their own individual ‘voice’ but were a magnificently unified whole taking us to the tornado like conclusion.

David Bruce’s Gumboots was delightful and featured clarinettist Georgina Oakes. Celebrating “the rejuvenating power of dance , Bruce, in his program note, insists that the work is not ‘about’ the gumboot dancers of South Africa – the dance tradition, rooted in the horrendous conditions imposed upon black gold miners – but it is definitely inspired by them. It was in two contrasting halves, the first pulsating , rich limpid and fluid, the strings shimmering and throbbing in accompaniment, the second a series of five vibrant, fast bubbly dances full of emphatic, infectious rhythms as if scattering puddles while splashing in the rain .There was a bluesy/jazz feel and hints of Gershwin. For the first half Oakes used a bass clarinet at times .

After interval we heard a passionate heartfelt performance of Schubert ‘s String Quintet in C major, D. 956, the “Cello Quintet” in a fine, focused performance. Chen, Nakamura, Thompson and Penny were joined by Paul Stender who added his rich tones to the combination.The throbbing first movement was richly lyrical yet also emphatic and had a somewhat angry atmosphere, yet it ended in earnest, thoughtful discussion. The compelling second movement was slower lyrical and more reflective. It was turbulent and achingly Romantic – a heated yet courteous group discussion that built in ominous intensity. The third movement had a spiky dynamic beginning , the main melody line stated taken and embroidered upon. There was a buoyant start to the fourth movement, led by Chen, some of which was Hungarian inspired. It included scurrying and flourishes and leading to the conclusion it was almost as if the quintet were tripping over themselves .

A most bewitching performance.

Running time approx. 2 hours 20 minutes including interval
The Omega Ensemble in Momentum played at the City Recital Hall on 13 November 2018.


For more about Omega Ensemble : Momentum, visit {Website:10}


This is not the first time Judy Davis and Colin Friels have had an encounter with August Strindberg. In 1983 at the Old Nimrod Theatre (now the Stables Theatre) they performed together in Miss Julie. By all accounts it was a scintillating production. In 1984 they were married.

In the Director’s Note in the program, Davis states that Strindberg broke away from his idol Ibsen by refusing to put social issues into his plays and indeed THE DANCE OF DEATH has no overt political issues. However, there is a commonality between Ibsen and Strindberg and indeed with Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, where there is an oppressive sense of entrapment.No doubt the gloomy and harsh winters in those northern countries contribute to the claustrophobia that inhabits works by these playwrights.

Brian Thomson’s set literally traps the performers by creating a moat encircling the stage backed up by dark hued walls and occasionally a  lit window that looks like a prison grate. Needless to say this moat is actually a symbol of the ocean surrounding the island upon which the protagonists live in isolation and bitterness.

Colin Friels plays Edgar, a military captain in charge of a garrison on the island, but whose career has stalled. Alice says that she thinks he doesn’t value anything but rifles. She says he doesn’t believe in rules, that he lives outside the rules. That he sinks his claws into people like a vampire and ‘sucks the blood out of you’.

Pamela Rabe plays Alice, his wife of twenty five years, who is embittered by the fact that their marriage thwarted a promising acting career.

Edgar describes his wife as ‘a despot with the soul of a slave’. He abuses Jenny for yawning in his wife’s presence.They constantly fight and the menace of violence hangs in the air fueled by Edgar’s alcoholism.

Into this maelstrom of acrid emotions strays Toby Schmitz as Alice’s cousin, Kurt, who promises some sort of escape for, on the one hand, Alice and on the other hand, Edgar. The more Kurt tries to mediate and bring peace to this warring couple, the more he is dragged into their vortex, an emotional wasteland. He also has to tarry with the sexual interest which Alice bestows on him. Kurt constantly refers to the uncomfortable feeling he gets being in their home.  

Colin Friels is wonderful as Edgar. He can play drunken rage and a violent temper but can then slip effortlessly into an almost endearing vulnerability due to his failing health.

Pamela Rabe also brilliantly displays both a visceral hatred and scorn towards her husband tempered with concern for his well being.

Toby Schmitz  as Kurt must portray an almost gradual descent into a kind of delirium and madness and he does so with ease.

Mention must also be made of Giorgia Avery who does well in the role of Jenny the put upon maid of Edgar and Alice.  

Davis as director has wrung dynamic yet nuanced performances from her cast. We watch as this trio of misery continue to play cruel tricks on each other. The cruellest trick of all as far as Kurt is concerned is that Edgar and Alice love to be in almost mortal combat with each other – the dance of death of the title.

Amidst all this loathing and despair Davis has found some moments of humour perhaps aided by the masterful translation of this play by May-Brit Akerholt. There is a scene between Alice and Kurt where Alice exclaims ‘but I am an actress’ drawing laughs from the audience.

As the play unfolded, with some of the scenes, with the characters displaying their vitriol, one didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry!

To heighten the tension of this play fight coordinator Nigel Poulton choreographed a thrilling sword fight between Edgar and Kurt.

Paul Charlier’s edgy, atmospheric, immersive soundscape was a great highlight of this production…so many sounds incorporated in the mix from instrumental to jolts of thunder to gunshots in the night and more.

Costume designer Judy Tanner clothes the cast in what appears to be authentic nineteenth century costumes. Pamela Rabe goes from wearing a dowdy housewife dress to a vampy, shapely vivid red gown. Colin Friels has a similar range of costume from dishevelled, ragged clothes to a smart and colourful military uniform complete with high boots, sword and scabbard. Toby Schmitz makes an impressive entrance in white tie and tails which he sheds to a blowsy shirt and pants.

To match the emotional storm in the interior of this play lighting designer Matthew Scott complements this with lightning bolts symbolising the raging tempest enveloping the island.

There’s no slow dancing in this production. This was raw, confrontational drama performed at a high pitch by the cast. THE DANCE OF DEATH is playing at the Belvoir street theatre, 25 Belvoir Street, Surry Hills until 23 December 2018.





Charming Japanese film about a family of charlatans, SHOPLIFTERS pilfers the heartstrings perpetrating a blind eye to the larceny of these light fingered larrikins.

The opening scene sees mischievous patriarch Osamu joined by a young boy, Shota, nimbly nicking merchandise from a grocery store, using a well rehearsed heist methodology.

On a happy high celebrating their successful sting, the pair spy an infant alone on a balcony in the freezing cold and decide to take the baby home with them.

Adding kidnapping to shoplifting doesn’t seem to faze them, especially when the napping kid appears to have been neglected and abused. The boys get home and the females of the family figure it’s not kidnapping if the parents don’t ask for a ransom.

The kid has been abused and emotionally abandoned, so the family of light-fingers abandon caution to the wind and unofficially adopt a new daughter into their rag tag tribe.

This family are fringe dwellers of Japanese society, eking out a pittance with menial jobs, topping up with petty larceny. But they are rich in love and that sense of commitment inundates the film.

SHOPLIFTERS is about making do, muddling through and basic binding of human relationships. It’s picture of cosy cohabitation that has its foundations in a shared complicity of doings not completely lawful.

It’s a study of cohesiveness in the face of economic slippery slide, of the precariousness of casual labour and the true meaning of family unfettered by mere biology.

SHOPLIFTERS boasts beautiful intuitive ensemble work that seamlessly capture the mundane joys of the domestic scene, especially the treasures of the table, the making and consuming of meals, the unquiet, ubiquitous noodle slurping and subsequent satiate contentment.

SHOPLIFTERS walked off with the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year and deservedly so. Written and directed by Hirokazu Koreeda, it is one of the surprisingly uplifting films of the year.


Sissy Spacek as “Jewel” and Robert Redford as “Forrest Tucker” in the film THE OLD MAN & THE GUN. Photo by Eric Zachanowich. © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Robert Redford has career highlights playing lovable rogues – think Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting – and in THE OLD MAN AND A GUN he adds a final bow to this trend.

In THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN, Redford plays Forrest Tucker, a sprightly septuagenarian who only ever had one occupation, one he was unusually gifted at and pursued with unabashed joy. It just happened to be bank robbing.

In the early 1980s, after a lifetime of stick ups and prison escapes, Tucker embarked on a final legend-making spree of heists with the “Over-the-Hill Gang,” a trio of elderly bandits who employed smooth charm over aggression to make off with millions.

Tucker never stopped defying age, expectations, or rules – he made his twilight the pinnacle of his life of crime, honing every heist, perfecting the plan, and finding exhilaration in the execution.

THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN is a bit of a misnomer because the bandit never uses a firearm, using suggestion rather than a sawn off, a pleasant personality rather than a pistol, rakish charm over a chamber loaded revolver.

He may have been armed but he was disarming, nice rather than nasty in his larceny, apologetic before making his getaway.

Redford exudes that unruffled calm and charm that Forrest Tucker apparently had.

But, he was a criminal, and so he attracted a nemesis, Detective John Hunt played by Academy Award winner Casey Affleck. Affleck plays the policeman as a diligent but unambitious investigator who is invigorated by Tucker’s style and panache. There’s an admiration that sparks a determination to catch the old felon.

Another Academy Award winner Sissy Spacek plays Tucker’s paramour, Jewel, a woman who takes him for what he is without slavishly falling in with him.

Tucker’s accomplices Teddy, played by Danny Glover and Waller played by Tom Waits give terrific support, with Waller’s Christmas story soliloquy a little gem in asides.

Writer director David Lowery recent credits include A Ghost Story, Pete’s Dragon, and Ain’t Them Bodies Saints continues his run of surprising, character driven stories with THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN.

It’s a gentle, nostalgic film, helped along by a breezy jazz score by Daniel Hart, and a definite homage to it’s retiring star, Robert Redford, who has been making pictures for half a century, and now has stated this will be his last on screen appearance.

As usual, he steals it.


This image: DUST 
Featured image: I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS . Photo:Stephen Henry

Merrigong Theatre Company has just announced their 2019 season and we had the opportunity to speak with Simon Hinton, Artistic Director / CEO.

SAG:        You must be incredibly busy at this particular moment . Thanks for taking the time out to speak with us.
SIMON:   It’s always busy but yes we had a big night last night with the launch. Doing a bit of media this morning and watching our patrons going to the website!

SAG:         How long does it take to put a program like this together, there’s such depth here.
SIMON:    We are almost a quarter of the way towards the program for 2020 now, so we are working up to two years ahead. But the last bit of that program came together, like two weeks ago.

SAG:           And do you have a particular focus in mind when you are putting in a season ?
SIMON:     Not necessarily thematically. We certainly have certain things that we are trying to achieve in terms of the diversity and a balance between work that is challenging and work that is accessible. And a little bit of genre. I wouldn’t say we have a formula but we have some targets. We want to make sure we have some movement based work , some work with music , ensure that we’ve got stories that explore a range of things and that we have different voices on our stage.

What tends to happen is that a theme or thread emerges as we are programming and I feel like this year, Find Your Place is about speaking broadly about how theatre defines us and who we want to be and helps find our place in the world.  But there also were, emerging from the season, a number of shows that seemed to be about people’s journey of finding where they belong.

SAG:       I can see that. I’m a Queenslander, a North Queenslander in fact, and I was pretty excited to see Dancenorth on the program.
SIMON:       It’s something I am really proud of it in the season. As another company based in regional Australia, Merrigong has been really excited to see the rise of Dancenorth to be absolutely world class. And I have to say that what Kyle Page is doing up there is some of the most exciting… well I hate using the term Contemporary Dance because because it puts it in a box and what he’s doing there is more than that. He’s making extraordinary movement based theatre with some incredible dancers.

We are a co-commissioner of DUST with a number of major festivals through the Major Festival Initiative. And it’s stunning, ground breaking, high caliber work.

THE HUMOURS OF BANDON. Photo: George Carter

SAG:     I notice that the design element is very important in that particular work. Does your season benefit from having multiple, different, places in which to perform?
SIMON:    Yeah it is really important. Across the two venues Illawarra Performing Arts Centre and Wollongong Town Hall we have five different spaces we can program into. Most of the theatre season goes into the two fixed seat theatres in IPAC but then if we need a flat floor area we can bring it into the Town Hall. And there’s a more intimate venue called the Music Lounge.

So that flexibility has become more and more important as contemporary theatre is diversifying artistically in the spaces it needs. It’s very important. To confine everything to a proscenium arch space would be really tricky now to program a diverse interesting season.

SAG:     And the there’s the Spiegeltent Wollongong?
SIMON:    It’s a great thing for the city. For nearly a month the Spiegeltent parks itself near the arts centre and we create a lovely precinct there with outdoor dining. And it’s become a tradition now in its 3rd year.

I think what’s fantastic in our season next year is for the first time not just the centrepiece show is available for our season ticket holders.  The centrepiece show is DELUXE DELUXE  .. a kind of adults only cabaret burlesque circus spectacular and that will be amazing and really built for the tent.

But they can also include Lano and Woodley’s show FLY in their season choices. They are coming in and doing four nights to allow it to be offered to subscribers because most of the stuff in the Spiegeltent comes as a single show. Early next year we’ll announce the rest of the Spiegeltent program, about 30 different shows across the month.

SAG:     It’s a pretty amazing season all round.  A new work THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PAUL about Keating, and a reprise of  BARBARA AND THE CAMP DOGS and a great kids’ program.  I can see I will be beating a path to Woolongong. I’m at the base of the mountains and it’s easier than getting into the city!
SIMON:   That’s happening more and more . Generally people in urban Australia are realising that things are happening in regional Australia . We’re pretty close to Sydney and people come down here for the first time and go I don’t know why I’m traipsing into the city!

You can see the details of the 2019 season for Merrigong Theatre Company at their website or on their social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Lano and Woodley FLY


About the show: When confidence trickster Victor Blake descends on his long suffering sister and brother-in-law after a spell in prison he finds that they have a guest – an attractive and wealthy widow. He sees this as a solution to his financial problems and deploys his charm and trickery to ensnare her. But one scheme founders after another until Victor finds himself in more trouble than he can handle. A fabulous farce from the ever reliable Eric Chappell.

Cast: Beattie, Robert Stewart, Anita Lenzo, Jeff Houston, Gareth Martin, Vanessa Henderson and Scott Brawley.

Tickets: Adults: $25 Concessions: $22 Groups (10+) $20.

Friday, 16 November @ 8pm; Saturday, 17 November @8pm; and Sunday, 18 November @2pm


The Sutherland Memorial School of Arts
25 East Parade, Sutherland, NSW 2232

For more about False Pretences – by Eric Chappell, visit https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=330183
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Celebrating the 40th anniversary of its premiere, Royal Opera House (ROH) Live opens the current season of opera and ballet with a stunning performance by the Royal Ballet of Sir Kenneth Macmillan’s MAYERLING. Superb performances by the huge cast are led by Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb .The fiendishly difficult, almost impossibly acrobatic death defying choreography is dazzlingly danced.

It is a dark and disturbing work, based on the true story of Crown Prince Rudolf (Steven McRae) and his mistress Baroness Mary Vetsera (Sarah Lamb) set against the backdrop of the stuffy yet rigid Austrian-Hungarian royal court in 1889 and the world of fin de siecle  Vienna. There is also political turmoil bubbling underneath.

There are not many major ballet works that feature drug use, skulls and guns, especially to such a degree. And opera is also included in the party scene in Act 2. The staging is labyrinthine, the set designs looming and opulently lavish, the costumes incredibly detailed.  Under the baton of Koen Kessels the ROH Orchestra is in glowing, passionate form. Lizst’s music swirls, ebbs and crashes towards the tumultuous tragic end. Continue reading ROYAL OPERA HOUSE LIVE : THE ROYAL BALLET PRESENTS MAYERLING


An exhibition entitled Star Wars : Identity opens on Friday 16 November 2018 and should prove an irresistible magnet to Star War fans.

Perhaps the most revered character is Yoda the Jedi master. He teaches Jedi knights to nurture and channel an inner and outer strength known as the Force. It creates courage, endurance and strategic and tactical wisdom to become a Jedi knight (an exclusive band of warriors)

Yoda at critical times materialises to impart a prophetic wisdom to help the Jedi knights and their followers to fend off what is known as the Dark Side.  

In this exhibition this reverence has spilled over into the treatment of a Yodi figure. The media was called to the Powerhouse Museum to witness the uncrating of Yoda and the reverential treatment with which it was accorded as it was transported to its nearby exhibition case.

Interestingly enough the case is quite large emphasising Yoda’s diminutive stature.

In the earlier films he was played by dwarfs such as Warwick Davis but in more recent times Yoda has been digitised.

Unfortunately he died at the age of 900 in the most recent Star Wars film Return of the Jedi.

But he lives again in this exhibition!


Flugtag is German for flying  day. Sponsor Red Bull’s drinks are supposed to give you wings. The fullest realisation of this is in their air shows which are held round the world. A single engine craft undergoes a time trial whereby it must fly around obstacles which sometimes require amazing aerial stunts. The fastest pilot and plane through the obstacle course is the winner. Red Bull sought permission to hold the event over Sydney harbour but this request was refused. This show has been held in Perth over the Swan river..

Nevertheless we received a consolation prize when Sydney held its first ‘Birdman Rally on the 6th April 2008. Red Bull actually started these rallies in 2000 and they have been held every year since in over 35 cities globally.

Sydney had to wait another ten years to hold Flugtag which  took place on the 10th November 2018. No other city in Australia to date has held a Flugtag. It was held at Mrs Macquarie Chair where a crowd of over 50,000 watched with amusement as aircraft of all shapes and sizes plunged from a six metre platform into Farm Cove, Sydney harbour. The backdrop to this event was Sydney’s spectacular cityscape, including the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.

Sydney’s criteria is different from those in other cities. The wingspan must be not bigger than 8 metres (26 feet) and the weight (not including the pilot) is limited to 180 kilograms (400 lbs). The  contraption must be powered only by muscle and gravity and any battery or engine assistance is strictly prohibited. Because the aircraft will inevitably end up in the water it must be unsinkable and constructed entirely of environmentally friednly materials and must not have any loose parts.

Each team comprises four  people, three to push the craft and one  to ‘pilot’ it.

Teams that enter the competition are judged according to three criteria- distance, creativity and showmanship. Included under showmanship is the requirement for the team to choreograph and perform a short dance prior to take off.

All participants must wear a life jacket and helmet, be able to swim thirty metres without assistance and the pilot must be able to easily escape his or her flying machine. Furthermore one must be able to swim in the costume of one’s choosing.

Team creativity ran to creating crafts such as the Splashed Avo, a dinosaur named Flyrannosaurus, and a barbecued themed craft called The Sore Sage Sizzle.

A  crowd favourite was the Bin Chook comprising of a paper mache Ibis in a wheelie bin.

However the winner was Chip Off The Block which was a seagull and chip themed flying machine. In second place was the Flying Ricciardo, basically a racing car,  and in third place was won by the Red Baron modelled on a World War 1 military aircraft.

This year’s contestants did not ‘fly’ anywhere near the world record which was set in Long Beach, California when a craft flew 258 feet (76.8 metres) in 2015.

One hopes that it won’t take another ten years for Flugtag to land in Sydney again.



WIN a trip to Screenwave International Film Festival on the Coffs Coast, valued at over $1,250!

Prize inclusions:
• 3 nights’ accommodation in an Oceanview Spa Studio at The Observatory Holiday Apartments
• 3 days car hire with Hertz Car Rental
• 6-Film Pass to Screenwave International Film Festival 2019
• $100 shopping spree at Coffs Central Shopping Centre
• Chocolate gift bag from Bellingen’s Deva Cacao on arrival at your apartment

To enter, simply sign up to SWIFF’s e-newsletter. Details here.

Terms and conditions apply. Winners will be selected at random on Monday 19 November, 2018 and notified via e-mail  (Please note: competition ends this Sunday! )

The Screenwave International Film Festival is 10-25 January, 2019 Coffs Harbour Jetty Memorial Hall and Bellingen Memorial Hall.  You can find out more at their website and social media. Facebook, Twitter.

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