All posts by Carolyn Neumann

Highly qualified in things other then 'the Arts'; Carolyn's life long love of theatre, movies, comedy and music has meant that she has spent much of her life in dark rooms with strangers - sitting upright and paying attention. So now - please sit upright and pay attention...

STARS ON STAGE : A CONVERSATION WITH REG LIVERMORE

 

On a hot Sydney weekend afternoon in November fans of a near-octogenarian queued for the signing of his latest book. Stars on Stage A Conversation with Reg Livermore saw Reg Livermore return to The Independent Theatre to talk about the book and his life with ABC Radio presenter James Valentine. It was at the Independent Theatre that Reg Livermore did theatre training as a schoolboy. The two of them appeared relaxed as they conversed about life stages and the stages on which Reg had appeared in his career from early teens until now. These aspects appear in Stages – Reg Livermore A Memoir (Hardie Grant Books, 2018).

A true legend of Australian Theatre, from serious drama to cabaret and more, Reg Livermore has received more than a dozen major awards. He has been a performer, writer, designer and director and appeared on television. In the last few years, he has received three lifetime achievement awards.

In conversation, Reg reflected on some of the relationships, triumphs and tragedies that have shaped him both as a person and performer. Ensuring that he was speaking directly to the audience, Reg appeared variously energetic, sparkling, reflective, matter-of-fact and opinionated. Clearly he demonstrated that he is a person to be respected and listened to if one is at all interested in Australian theatre of the last 66 years and curious about possible life lessons as well as theatrical ones. He did not shy away from failure, had felt its sting and accepted it as part of life. He accepts failure but owns his triumphs. This may be key to his theatrical longevity. Continue reading STARS ON STAGE : A CONVERSATION WITH REG LIVERMORE

FREUD’S LAST SESSION : WHEN TWO GREAT MINDS MEET

It may seem that going to the Seymour Centre to sit in on an intellectual discussion between two of the 20th Century’s greatest thinkers at the end of a long day at work or study may be too taxing for many. It is a credit to the acting and production skills of the cast and crew of FREUD’S LAST SESSION that audiences’ fascination with the men and the discussion sustains interest for the full 75 minutes of this play.

Nicholas Papademetriou as Freud and Yannick Lawry as C.S. Lewis confront each other and some of the biggest questions of human existence – love, sex, the existence of God, the meaning of life, love and sex. The dialogue is set against the chilling entry of England into World War II as it is being broadcast on the radio.

Continue reading FREUD’S LAST SESSION : WHEN TWO GREAT MINDS MEET

THE HAPPINESS PASSPORT : A DELIGHTFUL REFERENCE BOOK

Whether or not you can afford an overseas holiday, you can still get your Happiness Passport. The Happiness Passport – A world of joyful living in 50 words is a delightful light reference book taking you through dozens of languages and cultures. It arrives amidst the current positive psychology and pursuit of happiness literature.

This global exploration of sayings and inspired illustrations is written by Dr Megan C Hayes, an academic researcher in Psychology, and illustrated by Yelena Brysenkokova, a fine artist and illustrator. The book provides its readers with an ‘internal cwtch’ [Welsh language indicating a warm, safe cuddle or hug]. Continue reading THE HAPPINESS PASSPORT : A DELIGHTFUL REFERENCE BOOK

MARGARET FULTON : QUEEN OF THE DESSERT

Margaret Fulton “livened up the nation and taught them how to cook with a little inspiration and the Margaret Fulton book”. Words of the enjoyable lively musical, Margaret Fulton Queen of the Dessert, ring true to generations of Australian and English housewives. Her story portrayed by a cast of six and a keyboard player is a tale of fame and social struggle as a successful female in a conservative Australian society in the mid to late 20th century. It is not just a fun show, but a sociological reflection of gender issues and roles in Australia.

From the opening set and musical numbers we are led through the pre-Margaret Fulton traditional Anglo-Australian households’ weekly menu. We reflect on the jingoistic times of the America’s Cup win and the 1988 Bicentennial celebrations. Whilst it appears that Australia is celebrating, Manon Gunderson-Briggs as Margaret Fulton is not in a good mood as she faces losing her home and sings about the “living icon blues’. Fortunately for the musical, this mood doesn’t last too long. We are introduced to her bohemian days in Sydney after escaping from Glen Innes. She marries her boyfriend after he returns from the war, has a daughter, escapes from factory work, moves away from Sydney, and returns to the Rocks in Sydney. In the second half of the show we see her through a few more romantic attachments and her ascendency through television and publishing land using her canny Scottish background and top sales work approach. Continue reading MARGARET FULTON : QUEEN OF THE DESSERT

NORTH SHORE THEATRE COMPANY TAKES A LEAP OF FAITH

With NSW in drought comes the timely musical Leap of Faith performed by the North Shore Theatre Company at the Independent Theatre, North Sydney until 14th October 2018. This Tony-nominated musical is based on the 1992 American movie of the same name which starred Steve Martin. The music is by Alan Menken, with lyrics by Glenn Slater and a book by Janus Cercone and Slater.

The musical tells the story of ‘Reverend’ Jonas Nightingale, a part-time reverend and a full time con artist, who is travelling with his ministry. When his bus breaks down in the middle of small drought-ridden Sweetwater, a Kansas town, Jonas plans an impromptu revival to take the entire town for a ride within 3 days. Forced to pitch a tent, he invites the townspeople to his revival. However, the sheriff, Marla McGowan, is determined to stop Jonas from taking the people’s money. Yet her son, Jake appears to idolise Jonas. It’s a story about how people respond to being dealt a variety of ill fortune. It’s a story of resilience, inspiration and redemption. Continue reading NORTH SHORE THEATRE COMPANY TAKES A LEAP OF FAITH

MR GORSKI AT THE SYDNEY FRINGE: OFF-BALANCE FUN

With public warning announcements and sirens blaring through St Peters Town Hall the audience of all ages was on edge. Flying in from behind came a body in a red and black suit falling on top of his red suitcase.

It was the dramatic entrance of a well loved festival star, MR GORSKI (Daniel Gorski) in his Sydney Fringe Festival 2018 show. A mime and variety show artist with a lovable endearing persona, the audience is immediately on his side.

Daniel attributes some of his inspiration for performing to his upbringing in an eccentric, Polish artistic family environment that encouraged creativity. Originally from Melbourne, he has performed at a multitude of children’s, folk and fringe festivals throughout Australia and is known for playing Jango in the ABC Kids show ‘Hoopla Doopla’. Continue reading MR GORSKI AT THE SYDNEY FRINGE: OFF-BALANCE FUN

INNER WEST SIDE:THE MUSICAL – RAVE ON!

INNER WEST SIDE:THE MUSICAL in rehearsal

It appears that many of us want an “Inner West state of mind”. This is spectacularly demonstrated in one of the best Raves in town, Inner INNER WEST SIDE:THE MUSICAL. This UltraCult production is currently showing as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival.

Though based in Sydney’s North Shore and Inner West, the story is more universally one of pretence, pretending to be someone you’re not. Andrea (Laura McDonald) a North Shore runaway chases the dream of becoming Newtown ‘cool’, whilst incidentally studying her Arts Degree. Naturally her allowance is cut by her wealthy parents, yet it remains well above any funding the locals may receive which they have to top up by working.

Her privileged background appears to drive her to rise to the top of any group she encounters so she quickly sets her sights on dethroning the incumbent Queen of Rave parties, Monica (Elouise Eftos). Continue reading INNER WEST SIDE:THE MUSICAL – RAVE ON!

IT’S NOT CREEPY IF THEY’RE HOT – A HOTBED OF HILARITY

A large crowd enjoyed the opening night of IT’S NOT CREEPY IF THEY’RE HOT at Bondi Pavilion Theatre as part of the 2018 Sydney Fringe Festival. It proved that Rosie Licence is a strong new playwright. Director Max Baume describes her writing as “brutally honest” and “painfully hilarious”.

IT’S NOT CREEPY IF THEY’RE HOT is the third play written by Rosie Licence. Blending verbatim theatre, slam poetry and new music, we follow twelve friends, who aren’t that great at being friends. A range of contemporary topics are raised including body image, feminism, explicit pics and internet advice. From the early threatening question: “You’re not going to tell him are you?” this 120 minute play in which much is said has a searing message about what is not talked about. Continue reading IT’S NOT CREEPY IF THEY’RE HOT – A HOTBED OF HILARITY

THE GAUNTLET – A SEA OF POLYPHONY

The Gauntlet Image: Amelia Found

A sea of sound washed over and around the audience as it swept up the internal stairs and circled in foyers of the Sydney Opera House on Saturday 1st September. THE GAUNTLET was being performed as part of the Antidote Festival at the Sydney Opera House September 1st and 2nd, 2018.

THE GAUNTLET has been described as an immersive choral experience in which the “lyrics” are formed from interviews with twenty of Sydney’s “interesting citizens” – social, political, cultural and environmental activists – about global, local and personal issues.
It is a tonal, musical, theatrical movement installation of Sydney stories performed by Sydneysiders however temporary that may be. Continue reading THE GAUNTLET – A SEA OF POLYPHONY

BEYOND THE BARRICADE: IN SYDNEY AS PART OF A NATIONAL TOUR

After 19 years of touring UK and Europe, BEYOND THE BARRICADE got a standing ovation from some audience members at their State Theatre concert in Sydney as part of their current six weeks Australian tour.

The audience knew it was not going to be as spectacular as seeing the actual shows as the four singers (including a singer on keyboard) and three other musicians brought familiar tunes in concert mode. As Andy Reiss has explained “We don’t use backing tracks, so every musical note is played and sung live, giving a dynamic feel to the show.” There were times when the singers’ ‘performances’ could have been a bit more ‘dynamic’ too, particularly in the first half. Continue reading BEYOND THE BARRICADE: IN SYDNEY AS PART OF A NATIONAL TOUR

SENSE – EMILY PARSONS-LORD & LAURE PROUVOST AT CEMENT FONDU

This image: Laure Prouvost, Swallow, 2013. Courtesy of Laure Prouvost and LUX, London Featured image:Emily Parsons-Lord, melting gallium performance installation, 2018

For their second exhibition, Cement Fondu Directors Megan Monte and Josephine Skinner have paired Turner Prize Winner Laure Prouvost (in her Australian gallery debut) with Sydney based artist Emily Parsons-Lord, in a playful and seductive multi-media exhibition intersecting human sensuality, nature and technology, SENSE.  In coming weeks this will be enhanced with live music and performance by other artists.

As viewers we are challenged with how we use our senses to perceive and understand our environment. Our impulse to change our environment using technology, science, hypothesis and superstition is revealed. Continue reading SENSE – EMILY PARSONS-LORD & LAURE PROUVOST AT CEMENT FONDU