All posts by Ken Coleman

Began professional career as dancer/singer with J.C.Williamson’s as part of an Arts Council- sponsored country tour with “The Sentimental Bloke,” followed by shows such as “Camelot,” and “The Boys From Syracuse.” Joined the Garnett H. Carroll circuit, performing at Sydney’s iconic Tivoli Theatre, in “The Windmill Revue,” and “Fade Out, Fade In.” After a stint in the RAN, embarked on the Sitmar (Now P. & O. Cruises) Passenger Liner T.S.S “Fairstar,” working as Stage Manager for their Theatre on the Sea, and then was promoted to Cruise Director. Disembarked ship in 1983 and formed a double club act with the late Chris Shaw, (Female Impersonator), performing in all the clubs throughout NSW. Did a season at Sydney’s “Olde Bull ‘N’ Bush” Theatre Restaurant in William Street. After retiring from full-time employment, performed in musical theatre with “The Lugar Brae Players” situated in Bondi. Last performed with Ashfield Musical Society, playing “Senator Wingwoah” in “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” Member of The Genesian Theatre Company, and currently teaches Line Dancing at the Eastern Suburbs Legion Club in Waverley.

THIS BITTER EARTH @ THE NEW

Production photography by Bob Seary

Firstly, let me quote from the NewTheatre’s own website, which describes the play accurately: 

 “Being a 20-something queer is hard. Being a 20-something queer living in Sydney is… something else.

“Dating apps, capitalist nightmares, a rental market we’re not invited to and a semi-constant state of existential terror – look, we’ve only got 12 years until climate catastrophe; might as well flail around in a spin class and buy a reusable straw.

“An unstitched patchwork of queer lives in queer times, THIS BITTER EARTH  looks at how we fight, bitch, love, confront despair and try to connect, all through the mess and the muck and the might of everyday queer existence. Continue reading THIS BITTER EARTH @ THE NEW

BIN LADEN : THE ONE MAN SHOW

Before we even enter the theatre, we are asked, as an audience, to do so with an open mind and a willingness to listen. I was happy to do both.

We were greeted by the actor himself and were drawn to him by his easy-going, genial personality. We warmed to him even before he had actually done anything onstage.

After a few short questions thrown to the audience, mostly about politics, and to which the audience readily reacted, the debate had already begun and would continue on after the show for those who wished to stay.

Even though no one could look less like Osama Bin Laden than fair-haired, rosy-cheeked Englishman Sam Redway, he convinces us that he has got into the mind of a man we have all come to know as the world’s worst terrorist simply by his superb acting skills and the fervour of his interpretation. And he does it without the use of makeup, and just the minimal use of costumes and props. Continue reading BIN LADEN : THE ONE MAN SHOW

INTO THE WOODS @ THE CONCOURSE

Jordan and Laura Vassallo took a brave step in choosing to produce and present this very difficult Sondheim classic for the inaugural show of their new company Bloom Creative Productions directed by Jordan. If they had any trepidations about their choice they needn’t have worried. In a lesser director’s hands this show may not have succeeded, but instead it was indeed a triumph.

THE CAST

The highly professional cast included:

Wayne Scott Kermond – The Narrator and Mysterious Man; Laura Murphy – The Witch; Nat Jobe –The Baker; Katie McKee – The Baker’s Wife; Elisa Colla – Cinderella; Matthew Predny – Jack; Daniella Mirels – Little Red; Siobhan Clifford – Rapunzel and Cinderella’s Mother; Haydan Hawkins – Cinderella’s Prince and The Wolf; Joshua Firman – Rapunzel’s Prince; Michele Lansdown – Jack’s Mother; Prudence Holloway- Cinderella’s Stepmother; Georgia Burley – Lucinda; Megan Stack – Florinda and Granny; Cameron Boxall – The Steward; Brittanie Shipway – Witch Voice ‘Cover’; Steph Edmonds – Lucinda and Steward ‘Cover’.

THE STORY

Taken from the tales of The Brothers Grimm, the story follows The Baker and his Wife, who wish to have a child. Cinderella, who wishes to go to The King’s Festival, and Jack, who wishes his cow would produce some milk. (Lots of wishing going on here, it seems.) The Baker and his Wife meet up with the neighbourhood witch, (every neighbourhood’s got one apparently) who reveals to them that she has placed a curse on their family, so the two set off “Into the Woods” to reverse the curse. There’s flesh-eating wolves, little girls in red capes, randy princes, grannies and giants, all with their own particular agendas. (All good kiddie fairytale stuff). Things don’t go to plan, but in the second act everything comes together like a well-baked Christmas pudding, and like all good fairy tales, it all ends happily.

THE PRODUCTION

Most musicals will usually have, perhaps two, four, six leads and the rest of the cast comprise the ensemble. In this piece there is no ensemble as such, but is replaced by the entire cast, thereby moving the action along by each member continuing the storyline.

Space doesn’t permit me to single out each performer, and it would be unfair to do so. Suffice to say that every actor was equal in vocal capacity as well as acting ability, and all gave a high-energy knock-out performance. Each performer complemented the other, and the overall blend was as close to perfect as both a director and an audience could wish for. Strong harmonies from the duets to the quintets.

Presenting the show in concert style allowed both musicians and performers to immerse the audience in the brilliant music of Stephen Sondheim.

THE ORCHESTRA

Musically directed by Peter Hayward, the fourteen-piece orchestra complemented the singers throughout, giving them all the support necessary for such a difficult piece.  It undoubtedly gave the singers confidence in having the backing of such a fine ensemble.

THE SET

Being a concert performance, there was no need for elaborate sets, so Designer Neil Shotter’s imaginative giant willow tree at the rear of the stage with branches hanging down at the front certainly gave the impression that we were, indeed, ‘into the woods.’

COSTUMES AND CHOREOGRAPHY

Audrey Currie’s idea of blending formal wear with character costumes worked quite well, and Cameron Boxall’s choreo kept the entire cast moving at a cracking pace.

Lighting Designer Sean Clarke and Sound Designer and Operator David Grigg met their various challenges with professional capability.

THE TECHNICAL CREW

Always too numerous to mention, but of course essential to the running of any professional show. Under the capable direction of Stage Manager Jonothan Page, all the crew, (well over thirty), obviously worked together as a coherent team to pull this piece together. Bouquets to all those not mentioned.

THE AUDIENCE

This was a thoroughly professional production in every single aspect, and the many members of the audience who gave it a very enthusiastic standing ovation after the final curtain, (well, blackout), obviously agreed.

THE REVIEWER

A magic, blissful, highly enjoyable night of superb theatre.

INTO THE WOODS had a far too brief season at the Concourse, Chatswood playing between the 21st and 23rd March 2019.

 

ROMEO AND JULIET IMPROVISED: POST HASTE PLAYERS

The Post-Haste Players‘ ROMEO AND JULIET IMPROVISED is  not Shakespeare as you know it. It may not even be Shakespeare ‘as you like it’, but the capacity audience at the Factory Theatre on Wednesday night 16 May certainly did like it.

Part of the Annual Sydney Comedy Festival, held at various venues around the metropolitan area, this Company has built up a huge following of ‘improv’ devotees. The company was established in 2011 by Michael Gregory and Oliver Burton, who share directing
credits, and who now act with the permanent cast, comprising Marco Mustac, Linette Voller, Lisa Ricketts and Bryce Halliday, who also provided appropriate musical accompaniment throughout the  play. Featured also was veteran ‘improv’ performer Ian Campbell. Those of you who ever attended a live Mike Walsh Midday Show will remember him for his role in “warming up” the audience to get them in the mood for the show. Continue reading ROMEO AND JULIET IMPROVISED: POST HASTE PLAYERS

WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA PRESENTS LAST NIGHT OF THE PROMS @ THE CONCOURSE CHATSWOOD

Willoughby Symphony Concert and Launch 21.8.2016 (21 of 117) (1)The BBC Proms is the world’s largest classical music festival, an eight-week extravaganza of orchestras, conductors and soloists from home and abroad performing daily at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The event that caps off the festival, the “Last Night of the Proms,” is a lighter concert featuring popular classics and British patriotic music. The mood is celebratory: the audience joins in the festivities by waving flags and singing along!

The Willoughby Symphony Orchestra’s ever-popular “Last Night of the Proms” returned this year with a special event that was bigger and better than ever before! We were promised a “spine-tingling performance that would have our hearts thumping and our spirits soaring,” and everyone on stage delivered on that promise in spades.

Dr Nicholas Milton helmed the show which featured well-known classics including The Dambusters March and Jerusalem, both standards which are a feature of this memorable event. From the moment he walked on to the stage, he had the audience in the palm of his hand, and he was given a rousing welcome.  Continue reading WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA PRESENTS LAST NIGHT OF THE PROMS @ THE CONCOURSE CHATSWOOD

THE POST-HASTE HISTORIES @ KING CROSS THEATRE

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From the creators of Bard to the Bone, last seen at a sold-out run at the Old Fitz Theatre, comes the next epic addition to the improvised Shakespeare canon, 

“Improv,” or improvisation if you like, is a unique type of performing. It has a definite set of rules or principles which are used in the execution of the genre, and lends itself to comedy, which is the case in the production  POST-HASTE HISTORIES.

The concept of the show is that it is built around a word chosen at random from a selection provided by the audience, taken from a dictionary of Shakespeare’s words. The word is written up on a notice board at the back of the stage, and the players have to make up an entire play, using the word as a basis for the plot.

The word chosen on the opening night was “Jerkin,” a sleeveless short jacket made of leather and worn by men around the 16th and 17th century. Shakespeare himself probably wore one or more Jerkins. You can only imagine the ‘one-liners’ which this word conjured up. Continue reading THE POST-HASTE HISTORIES @ KING CROSS THEATRE

BLACKOUT THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS THE LARAMIE PROJECT @ DEPOT THEATRE MARRICKVILLE

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Recounting the tragic events of the Matthew Shepard murder, THE LARAMIE PROJECT tells a story dealing with issues of gay hate crimes, sexuality and the death penalty in rural America.

The senseless and vicious murder took place in Laramie, Wyoming in the States in 1998 and eight members of The Tectonic Theatre Company travelled to Laramie and conducted over two hundred hours of interviews with sixty local residents. From these interviews they crafted this play which expressed their views on the crime, on Laramie society, and on issues around the death penalty in America.

Most actors will tell you that they need a few nights to polish their performance before a season begins. With only one preview night on which to do that, the cast had to really work hard to be ready for opening night. Which is why the entire cast should be congratulated on their very polished performance. Continue reading BLACKOUT THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS THE LARAMIE PROJECT @ DEPOT THEATRE MARRICKVILLE

MATRIARK THEATRE PRESENTS GODFACE @ 107 PROJECTS Inc REDFERN

Above- Jesse Northam with puppet. Featured- Murray Lambert and Sam Flack. Photos by Alinta Haydock-Burton.
Above- Jesse Northam with puppet. Featured- Murray Lambert and Sam Flack. Photos by Alinta Haydock-Burton.

The Holy City of Godface : built by gods, ruled by gods, populated by gods.

Seventy minutes, the length of this play, may not seem like a long time to spend on stage, but for the five cast members of

GODFACE, it must have seemed like an eternity. Not only do they have to play many human characters, they must also bring a myriad of puppet characters to life. The four male actors who work the puppets have to embody several different animals – supplying the voices while controlling their entire body movements. Continue reading MATRIARK THEATRE PRESENTS GODFACE @ 107 PROJECTS Inc REDFERN

BARD ON THE BEACH PRESENTS THE MERCHANT OF VENICE @ THE GREEK THEATRE MARRICKVILLE

 

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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

WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA IN BRILLIANT FORM

 

Resident WSO composer Matthew Hindson whose piece House Music was performed during the concert.
Resident WSO composer Matthew Hindson whose new piece House Music was performed during the concert. Photo by Bex Photography.

Featured photo- internationally acclaimed Australian flautist, Virginia Taylor who performed Hindson’s new work.

The magnificent Willoughby Symphony is one of Australia’s most exceptional orchestral organisations – a professional symphony orchestra of outstanding quality, serving the community of Sydney’s North Shore and beyond. It has  notched up yet another success, with their third concert of the year, BRILLIANCE. On the musical menu was Mozart’s Symphony No.35 in D, K385 (Haffner); Resident Composer Matthew Hindson’s House Music; and Danish Composer Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No.6.

Taking the place of resident Artistic Director and Chief Conductor, Dr Nicholas Milton, was the very versatile Maestro Stephen Mould, a regular guest with the WSO. Stephen is currently Chair of Opera Production and Senior Lecturer in Operatic Studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music whilst also continuing his freelance activities as a conductor and accompanist. Continue reading WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA IN BRILLIANT FORM

THE SILVERBEAT UKULELE GROUP TO PERFORM AT WORLD BUSKER DAY CONCERT

Featured  pic- left to right- Alex Sarno, Jill Rowston, Clare Salon, Diane Churchill.

The humble ukulele, almost obsolete up until now, seems to be making a resurgence onto the entertainment scene all over Sydney. Having had its inception with most cultures throughout the Pacific Islands, its popularity has since spread world-wide.

Although there are many groups sprouting up almost everywhere, one group emerging as one of the leaders of the genre is SILVERBEAT. Based in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, and comprising three females and one male member, their repertoire ranges from folk to country to easy listening popular standards. From Bob Dylan, through to The Springfields  (think Dusty), and on to Credence Clearwater Revival, their four-part harmonies together  with the gentle lilt of their “ukes” will take you on a relaxing journey to many well-known and loved tunes. Continue reading THE SILVERBEAT UKULELE GROUP TO PERFORM AT WORLD BUSKER DAY CONCERT