Judith is a Sydney theatre worker who was ‘born in a trunk’. With a lifelong passion for all performing arts, she has turned her hand to many jobs in film, TV and live theatre. Ranging from earning pocket money for trimming the back legs off tables, so they sat flat on raked stages to owning her own touring theatre company. A lighting designer by trade, Judith experiences performances with a technical eye and an understanding of the jobbing actor and the theatrical bedrock which supports them.
Timely doesn’t really do justice to the prescience of FIERCE. It’s almost impossible to watch the show, from Red Line productions playing at the Old Fitz, without that gut punch of ‘this is happening’. A woman is a woman is a woman after all and there is a female centre to the story. But this is hardly a narrative play, it is shaped to weave and duck and fly high above the mere telling of her fierceness.
Suzie Flack is an AFL star but has a real, unexplained, issue about joining a woman’s team. Never known for missing a chance, the powers that be eventually put her in a men’s team. No gender norming for Suzie: even the same dressing room as the men, with an initial shush on swearing, for her. Familiarity breeds the contempt of these men and whether the bad behaviour that quickly appears is worse or normal we don’t know. And then there’s the WAGs. Continue reading FIERCE. RED LINE PRODUCTIONS AT OLD FITZ THEATRE→
NOLI ME TANGERE is a new Australian musical based on the novel, of the same name, by iconic Filipino nationalist and hero Dr. José Rizal, that inspired a nation during the tail end of the Spanish colonial period of the Philippines. ‘The Noli’ (as it is called in the Philippines) was the “first major artistic expression of Asian defiance to European colonialism” and is now widely known as the great novel of the Philippines.
As we are at Riverside Theatres quite often and have been watching how many people pick up the flyer for the show to discuss it with curiosity and interest we wanted to bring our readers some insights into a new grand musical. The Guide had the chance to put some questions to Miguel Castro who plays Ibarra and Susana Downes, playing Maria Clara. Continue reading NOLI ME TANGERE – INTERVIEW WITH ‘IBARRA’ AND ‘MARIA CLARA’→
As they watch for us to enter there’s an electricity between the two figures eagerly waiting in the sand by the swings as the sea swells quietly in the background. Jess and Joe are ready. They have rehearsed their presentation, have worked hard on what they will show us and “in this moment” they will share a beautiful, soul-soothing story to lift the spirits of anyone who is there. JESS AND JOE FOREVER by Zoe Cooper is a sand gem of a production which shines and glimmers in the tuck of the basement at Belvoir Street Theatre.
Jess and Joe have a burning desire to tell their story. Of how they met at approximately 9 ¾ and where their tween love takes them. She has an au pair and a holiday home in Italy, he is a bit of a battler on his Dad’s farm. She is a bit tubby and he is physically shy, too. He is practical and she poetic; she chats and he reacts. For our benefit they will act out how they met, became friends, and the individual tales that happened away from each other that made their time together so important. Continue reading JESS AND JOE FOREVER – SOUL SOOTHING THEATRE→
1985 won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival this year and what an emotional, realistic and moving film it is. Schedule a dinner after you see the film because there are discussions to be had, judgments to confront and, sadly, lost people and times to remember. Shot with great heart and a political will to “connect with those who are still experiencing any type of discrimination or resistance in 2018” according to filmmaker, Yen Tan, 1985 deals with religion, coming out, truth to self and the early catastrophe of HIV.
We meet Adrian. It’s 1985 and he is home for Christmas from New York. Small town, Bible-Belt home. Over the few days he is there, Adrian will have none of the conversations which would make for manipulatively dramatic watching. Rather, much is unsaid. Though, much is understood but little is spoken between he and his peacemaker Mom, head of family carapaced Dad and a little brother who needs a particular kind of reassurance from him. A tragedy has propelled him there and Adrian is a boy lost. His reconnection with a close female friend, Carly, from his school days gives him some release from the fearful times in which he lives. Continue reading 1985. TIMES PAST RESONATE WITH CONTEMPORARY RELEVANCE→
RABBIT HOLE by David Lindsay-Abaire, is a delicate and intimate work. For Exit Game Productions, Christie Koppe directs this 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama.
RABBIT HOLE which tells the heart-breaking story of Becca and Howie Corbett who have everything a family could want, until a life-shattering accident turns their world upside down and leaves the couple drifting perilously apart. RABBIT HOLE charts their bittersweet search for comfort in the darkest of places and for a path that will lead them back into the light of day.
RABBIT HOLE from Exit Game Productions plays at Chippen Street Theatre April 18-27. Tickets here.
With thanks to EXIT GAME PRODUCTIONS Sydney Arts Guide has a double pass giveaway for either Thu April 18 or Fri April 19.
To be in the running, email (email@example.com)
with RABBIT_HOLE as the subject AND the performance you wish to attend.
Competition closes Midnight on Friday March 22, 2019 when the winner will be drawn. Only the winners will be notified and the pass will be available at the Box Office on the night.
This is the provocative question at the heart of Jane e Thompson’s play FIERCE which tracks the career of Suzie Flack, an extraordinarily talented Australian Rules Football player who achieves her lifelong dream of being drafted to play alongside her male counterparts in the AFL. This raw but imaginative play explores the impact of this success on Flack and on her family, her relationships, her team and the sport as a whole.
The Guide had the opportunity to ask some questions of Lauren Richardson who plays Suzie.
SAG: So were you fierce before you started work on the role? Is that drew you into the project or have you had to learn fierceness in some way?
LAUREN: I don’t think I would have described myself as Fierce before starting this role. I don’t think women are encouraged socially or culturally to take up space, stand their ground, or be heard fully without apology.
So it has definitely been a learning process. Finding the character’s physicality really helped, the ease with which she takes up space. And training and getting physically really fit and strong makes you feel like a bad ass too so that helps.
SAG: I gather it’s been a very physically demanding rehearsal period with boxing and AFL included, what new skills have you been working on?
LAUREN: Yes, boxing has been the main one as we see Suzie boxing in the play, so I thought I better work out what I’m doing. I’ve got a brilliant coach and to my own surprise I’ve fallen completely in love with it. Who knows maybe next I’ll be getting in the ring?
We also train together as a cast at Spectrum Fitness who sponsor us and absolutely flog us in our sessions. It’s been great bonding for us because nothing builds camaraderie quicker that sweating it up and suffering through a tough session. Then the boys and I usually go for a kick before rehearsals.
SAG: Your character must be extremely emotionally resilient too, where does that strength in her come from?
LAUREN: The biggest influence in Suzie’s life is her Dad. He was once an accomplished footballer himself so footy is in her blood and it was her Dad that first taught her to kick out in the backyard at 3 years old. So Suzie’s love of the game is one of the ways her connection with her Father manifests.
But her single mindedness to achieve her dream, has meant her life is all about training and playing and not much else. So the way she interacts with others and the world more broadly beyond football has definitely been compromised. Despite everything she goes through she never gives up fighting and that trait most definitely comes from her Dad.
SAG: The Old Fitz is a pretty intimate venue if male aggression is disconcerting should the front rows be avoided? How full on is it?
LAUREN: Front row is great! Up close to all the action. The lovely thing about the play is there’s wonderful contrast, so there are scenes that are physically dynamic, violent or fast. But then also more quiet, intimate, still moments so the audience will get the chance to breathe.
SAG: Do you think there will be a gendered take-away in the audiences or are you expecting some kind of solidarity of response?
LAUREN: Not really, I feel like the play prompts questions for the audience and I feel like there will be a multitude of responses to it.
But however they feel, we want the audience to experience some of the passion and thrill you get at the footy so I hope we manage to excite them. We very much intend to!
That sounds like front rows and a beer for me. Best wishes for a successful season and I am really looking forward to the show.
It’s a bit like the heyday of the drive-in. Moonlight Cinemas gives you the freedom to eat and drink and relax in a seat of your choice or the comfy bean bag sofas you can hire. But the biggest advantage is being able to check in with your companion about the plot details.
Very useful for a film such as DESTROYER which has a time structure that requires constant attention from the audience to site the narrative as the threads weave together toward the slow burn climax.
The narrative eddies around the plodding, broken character of Erin Bell who staggers into frame with hangover and rumple, having slept in her car. A banger is dead and Erin knows how and why … and who killed him. A past is catching up with her as she hangs on by a liquid filament to her job as an LA Detective with a violent backstory, including an undercover operation that brings her to standing over a dead and dumped body. Continue reading DESTROYER AT MOONLIGHT CINEMA. LIKE THE DRIVE-IN ONLY BETTER.→
Sugary Rum Productions is about to present the Australian Premiere of JESS AND JOE FOREVER as part of 25a at Belvoir Downstairs.
Meet Jess and Joe. They want to tell you their story. Joe is Norfolk born and bred and wears wellies. Jess holidays there with her au pair and likes to sneak Spam behind the bus stop. This is a story of growing up, fitting in (or not), boys, girls, secrets, and maybe even love, but most of all, it’s about friendship. Spanning several summer holidays, Jess and Joe Forever is an unusual coming of age tale that explores what it means to belong somewhere, if you can really belong anywhere.
The Guide had the chance to speak with director Shaun Rennie as his cast and crew head into bump-in and production week.
SAG: Very excited to see this play … so it’s country boy meets city girl? How does this story unfold?
SHAUN: Why I love this play is because it sets up binaries. It sets up storytelling tropes that we all know: boy meets girl; country kid meets city kid; rich kid-poor kid. Jess and Joe both meet each over a series of summers in Norfolk where Jess is on her holidays and Joe lives there full time. So they develop this friendship over the course of their ‘tweens’, their adolescence essentially.
Eishan Ensemble defies neat labels. Variously described as Persian Chamber Jazz and Middle Eastern Jazz Fusion, Eishan is a vehicle for the original music of acclaimed Iranian-Australian multi-instrumentalist and composer, Hamed Sadeghi.
After a successful debut album release late last year, Eishan emerge in 2019 with new material, blurring the lines that define genre even further, to create something that is stand alone.
Hamlet is dead. What next? APPROPRIATION, written by Paul Gilchrist, tells the imagined story of Fortinbras, a rash hothead who learns from his politically gifted wife when to wield a sword and when to weave a story. Raw, poetic and darkly funny, the performance is a surgical assault on how we use stories to establish power and gain prestige.
Fledgling Theatre Company are an international theatre company that explore raw and visceral new writing through a distinctly physical approach to theatre making. They are dedicated to creating theatre that excites and challenges audiences, utilising stage combat skills coupled with dynamic movement sequences to create confronting imagery. Since their inception in 2014, FTC have produced six new works including a UK tour, a critically acclaimed Edinburgh run, as well as residencies in London and Sydney. Continue reading APPROPRIATION FROM FLEDGLING THEATRE COMPANY. GIVEAWAY.→
In SWIMMING WITH MEN Rob Brydon stars alongside a talented British cast in a comedy that tips its (swimming) cap at beloved British comedies such as The Full Monty and Calendar Girls.
Inspired by the Dylan Williams 2010 documentary, Men Who Swim, SWIMMING WITH MEN tells the story of a man (Brydon) who is suffering a mid-life crisis and eventually finds new meaning to his life as part of an all-male, middle-aged, amateur synchronised swimming team. Together they make a bid to compete at the unofficial Male Sync-Swimming World Championships, and no doubt a shot at personal redemption along the way. Continue reading SWIMMING WITH MEN. GIVEAWAY TO THE FUN, MALE-SYNCED COMEDY.→
Internationally acclaimed Australian violinist, director and concertmaster Madeleine Easton, founded Bach Akademie Australia, an Australian ensemble to bring the great musical tradition of Europe to Sydney.
The music of J.S. Bach will come alive in Sydney at two very special performances. Bach Akademie Australia and their newly formed choir will perform two of Bach’s greatest Cantatas and the rarely performed Ascension.
Bach Cantata BWV 12 'Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen'
Bach Cantata BWV 20 'O Ewigkeit, du Donnorwort'
Bach Ascension Oratorio BWV 11 'Lobet Gott'
Soloists: Amy Moore (Soprano), Tobias Cole (Alto), Richard Butler (Tenor), David Greco (Bass)
Sydney International Piano Competition (‘The Sydney’) has announced the return of 2016 finalist Oxana Shevchenko for two exclusive recitals in Melbourne and Sydney this April.
Shevchenko is internationally recognised as a pianist of outstanding artistry, sensibility and versatility, and is equally in demand both as a soloist and as a chamber musician.
In 2016 Shevchenko was one of the top six finalists at The Sydney and also won the prize for the best Piano Quintet. She is also a previous winner of the top prize at the Scottish International Piano Competition, International Premio Franz Liszt Competition and the Chappel Piano Competition.
In Sydney, Shevchenko will join with the Tinalley String Quartet to perform Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet in G minor Op.57 before performing solo works including Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, and Tchaikovsky’s 18 Pieces Op.72 No.5 Méditation and Dumka Op.59.
Born in Kazakhstan, Shevchenko gave her first performance as a soloist with the Kazakh State Symphony Orchestra at age of nine and made her Western debut in Vilnius with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra. Shevchenko has since performed with orchestras worldwide, including the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne and the Norrlands Operan Symphony Orchestra.
A keen chamber musician, in collaboration with French/German cellist Christoph Croisé, Shevchenko won the First Prize at the Salieri-Zinetti International Chamber Music Competition in Verona-Mantova in 2016.
It’s an intriguing title so The Guide reached out to the co-creators of DELTA SIERRA JULIET to get more of an idea about the production. We had the chance to send through some questions to Jackson Used who with Darcy Green (also directing) and Elliot Vella created the show when it first appeared as part of the NIDA Directors’ and Designers’ Graduating Productions.
SAG: The name of the play is obviously a call sign, what’s going here? JACKSON: Delta Sierra Juliet refers to the callsign of the Cessna 182L light aircraft that Frederick Valentich was flying when he disappeared in 1978. We found a transcript of the conversation between Valentich and the Melbourne Air Traffic Control Tower right at the beginning of our creative process, which is genuinely spooky. Delta Sierra Juliet felt obscure and mysterious, almost like you were reading code. Continue reading DELTA SIERRA JULIET EXPLAINED. INTERVIEW WITH ONE OF THE CO-CREATORS→
When you march, walk, amble, whatever … in the parade it is a long evening. The group I was with was called at 5pm and our float left the marshalling area at 10.03pm. So here’s how it goes when 12,5000 diverse and joyous participants get glammed and ready.
PROJECT BESTFRIENDSHIP is a meta-theatre exploration of what it’s like not to have a grant. The brainchild and nurtured silliness of three indie theatre stalwarts, Ang Collins, Charles O’Grady and Eliza Oliver, the production sprang from a meeting of theatrical minds and has found itself, rather bewildered and blinking, on the stage at The Joan. Determinedly allusive, it is winning and whimsical and strikes a perfect whinge and whine balance.
Riverside’s National Theatre of Parramatta (NTofP) will present George Brant’s powerful psychological thriller, GROUNDED.
Engaging, fast paced and emotionally charged, GROUNDED follows the story of a female pilot who matches her male colleagues flight for flight, drink for drink, and drives down the freeway blasting AC/DC. The pilot’s world takes a drastic turn when she is forced to stop flying and become a drone operator. The vastness of flying military jets over deserts and being at one with the blue has now been replaced with drones. Death delivered by remote control. A virtual battlefield. Continue reading GROUNDED. NATIONAL THEATRE OF PARRAMATTA GIVEAWAY→
HOTEL MUMBAI: the true story of the devastating terrorist attack on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in 2008.
The terrifying assault brings together the guests and staff of the luxurious hotel including wealthy new parents David and Zahra (Armie Hammer and Nazanin Boniadi), Russian businessman Vasili (Jason Issacs) and newly promoted waiter Arjun (Dev Patel) in a desperate fight for survival. This story celebrates humanity, compassion, courage, resilience and the unwavering desire to survive.
DELTA SIERRA JULIET, an original production which is based on true events surrounding the mysterious 1978 disappearance of Frederick Valentich. The show features the use of headphones to create an intimate atmosphere for the audience.
A new Australian work, dealing with loss, grief and our obsession with the unknown. it was initially presented as part of the Director’s and Designer’s Graduating Productions at the National Institute of Dramatic Art. The team for this revival is built of alumni and current students of the NIDA.
To celebrate the revival of this extraterrestrial production Sydney Arts Guide has 2 double pass giveaways for the evening of your choice.
To be in the running, email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with DELTA_SIERRA_JULIET as the subject AND the performance you wish to attend.
Competition closes Midnight on Sunday March 3, 2019 when the winners will be drawn. Only the winners will be notified and the passes will be available at the Box Office on the night.
This image: Michael Shafar. Featured image: Ange Lavoipierre
The 15th annual Sydney Comedy Festival has announced its 2019 program.
Across four big weeks from 22nd April to 19th May, the Festival will welcome performers from all corners of the globe including Joe Lycett (UK), David O’Doherty (IRE), Daniel Sloss (SCO), Melanie Bracewell (NZ), Ron Funches (USA), Storm Xu (CHN), Dusty Rich (RSA), Jinx Yeo (SGP), Kanan Gill (IND), Ongals (KOR), Takashi Wakasugi (JPN), Ivan Aristeguieta (VEN) and Gillian English (CAN).
Crowd favourites taking to the Festival stages include Arj Barker (USA), Jay Pharoah (USA), Lauren Pattison (UK), Des Bishop (US/IRE), Paul Foot (UK), Ross Noble (UK), Craig Hill (SCO), Dave Hughes, Akmal, Effie, Felicity Ward, Fiona O’Loughlin, Joel Creasey, Christian Hull, Becky Lucas, Jimeoin, Matt Okine and Tommy Little .
Not just for the big names, this year’s FRESH program features 12 emerging comedians including Michael Shafar, Ibis and Ange Lavoipierre. For the bargain ticket price of $15, festival-goers can see some of the best new voices in the comedy scene.
Marrickville’s Factory Theatre will once again act as the Festival’s hub, bustling with activity each night with performances across multiple stages, special events, food trucks, and plenty of bars.
Special events this year include The Majesty of Tap – a tribute show by rock legends You Am I, late night comedy sets in Late ‘n’ Live, a healthy dose of satire in The Chaser’s War on the Election and Best of the Fest, a surprise line-up of local and international stars each night.
Kicking off the Festival in grand style will be the spectacular Gala events at the Sydney Opera House, Enmore Theatre, Riverside Theatres and The Concourse. With a dazzling line-up of the funniest international and local stars, the Gala is the perfect taste of what’s on offer throughout the Festival.
RHYTHM SEQUENCE is the first career survey of Australian artist Gemma Smith. The exhibition traces the development of Smith’s practice since 2003 and its experimentation with the language of painting. It celebrates Smith’s reworking of abstract codes and styles, as well as her testing of colour, form and painterly gestures.
RHYTHM SEQUENCE features more than 50 paintings and sculptures drawn from collections across Australia. Many of the works are being exhibited for the first time since their original exhibition. Included are a collection of Smith’s earliest paintings depicting crystalline forms and geometric compositions on chessboards; sculptural ‘boulders’ and ‘adaptables’ where colours are reconfigured and interact; as well as hard edge and gestural works that explore the blocking, translucency and opacity of paints. The exhibition also includes Smith’s most recent works in which colour is barely perceptible.
The exhibition comprises an arrangement of small boards and large canvases which together reflect the physicality and intimacy of the artist’s studio work. Rather than reflect a chronology, the exhibition is sequenced to emphasise Smith’s playful engagement with ideas of juxtaposition and disjunction, and her enduring interest in the act of painting itself.
UNSW Galleries presents RHYTHM SEQUENCE - Gemma Smith. 15 March–1 June,2019.
Opening Event: 6–8pm Friday 15 March. Exhibition to be opened by celebrated Australian writer, curator and broadcaster Julie Ewington.
Artist in Conversation: Saturday 16 March 3pm. Learn more about this exhibition in a conversation between the artist and Julie Ewington.
Entry is free. See more about RHYTHM SEQUENCE here.
Steve Kilbey presents Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, together with pianist Amanda Kramer on 3rd March 2019 at Foundry616.
Steve Kilbey is Australian contemporary music royalty. A prolific artist who has written, performed and produced 21 solo albums, as well as 30 with rock legends The Church. He frequently collaborates with notable artists worldwide and has over a dozen albums with these creative partners, in addition to the aforementioned bodies of work. His artistic oeuvre spans more than 45 years, and reaches outside the world of music, flowing in a cellular formation through his poetic lyrics into his psychedelic art paintings and far beyond. Steve has published three books (with a new one in the works), written 750 songs, conjured lyrics of biblical proportions, poured out plenteous poetry and imagined and realized hundreds of original paintings. Continue reading STEVE KILBEY AND AMANDA KRAMER AT FOUNDRY616→
CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY is very theatrically presented.A theatricality that is informed by the bible-thump of proselyting and the leftover shame of “unholy, impure practices”.You can hurl the boy out of the Mormons but that eager-to-please-ness is still there in the performance and it takes a bit of a leap of faith to enjoy StevenFales extraordinary story.
Born into a Mormon family and a junior true believer, as witnessed by his own 7 year old voice singing on the audio track as the show begins,Fales enters with the smile and false laugh that has been styled by his experiences in rote delivery.His story takes his audience through his upbringing, his youth mission to Portugal, a seriously in-denial hopeful marriage and a coming out that is far from typical.All with an honesty and truthful text that gives the audience insights into what, how and why.
It’s an energetic performance from Fales, directed by Jack Hofsiss, who uses the whole stage with a dynamism related to the place in the story.He also changes clothes occasionally and has well timed moments of stillness and direct address. Though the show has quite a bit of discussion around sex practices, the humour and humanity is available to the female audience equally with the many men who nod with recognition.Fales doesn’t spare the detail … no more “Mormon modesty”, nor does he skip over his failings and hopes.And those of the church, family and those around him are expressed with insight and big hits of pathos as we learn what the church, his family and those around him mean in his life.
He can present it all with a flash and a smile and a very nice low baritone, perfect for show tunes, but the swagger of the performance blusters a bit much and it requires effort from the watcher to get to the emotional content, until the final sequences where Fales does lose the persona and the work reaches out successfully.
CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY is a polished show, bordering on slick, which gives a human and genuine story a place to be at home with its gay family.It continues at Giant Dwarf until March 9.
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