Sydney Festival: Past Years

MAGGOT AT THE SYDNEY FRINGE FESTIVAL

MAGGOT is funny, silly, full of energy and definitely worth catching.

Performers Angela Fouhy, Elle Wootton and Freya Finch are playing characters that were ostensibly  the international pop sensation The Baby Girls. They explain they are moving away from pop and into art, possibly to talk about the stock market but possibly to talk about themselves. MAGGOT is part comedy sketch show, part musical cabaret and part circus. The artists’ clowning background shows in their dance routines, fight scenes and being lost in the desert but surreal dialogue and eclectic music choices has the audience laughing, cheering and clapping. It is such a fun show that the audience eagerly participates when requested. Continue reading MAGGOT AT THE SYDNEY FRINGE FESTIVAL

SYDNEY FESTIVAL 2018 : HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FREE EVENTS

It is a convention  of the Sydney Festival, in conjunction with the traditional paid for performances, to stage a number of free events.

Fortunately some of the big events such as Opera In The Park and Symphony Under The Stars have been with the Festival since its inception  and have remained. The latter, however, has a new home, no longer in the Domain but in The Crescent at Parramatta Park. One need not worry as Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with fireworks was still performed.

The Meriton Festival Village was present yet again in Hyde Park. However this year it had transformed into a Sideshow Alley.

Across the city, at Carriageworks in Newtown, German artist Katharina Grosse draped the entire front atrium in tie-dyed fabric in an immersive work entitled THE HORSE TROTTED ANOTHER COUPLE OF METRES. THEN IT STOPPED.

Aboriginal history was not forgotten with a performance entitled At Nawi Cove, Barangaroo. The performance commemorates the 4000 or so fish plundered by the early colonists thereby depriving the local Aboriginals of a vital part of their staple diet.

Let’s hope next year’s Festival, both paid for and free, is even bigger and better.

Pics by Ben Apfelbaum.

WILD BORE: WHAT ARE WE GAME TO SAY?

WILD BORE
Production images: Tim Grey

WILD BORE playing as part of The Sydney Festival at Carriageworks has some very clever design and tech.

Beginning with 3 superbly sewn pants.  My favourite was the plaid, checked ones.  Were those straight lines in the black fabric green?  It certainly looked like that.   Anyway.  All three pair were sewn so that the artists had ease of use and yet the audience was able to get the full picture, especially for the opening ‘Full Moon Rising’ sequence.  The trousers were cut to enable moon rising without impeding the full-dress requirement for later in the show.  I was eyeing off the very nice leather jacket as well. Continue reading WILD BORE: WHAT ARE WE GAME TO SAY?

NAUTILUS IS A TEN: HOW WILL YOU SCORE?

Production Images: Jamie Williams

It is simply not going to pass with the editor if this is a one-sentence review.  Like …

You really should see Trygve Wakenshaw’s NAUTILUS playing as part of the Sydney festival because it is hilarious, clever, artful and probably the funniest thing you will see all year.
Continue reading NAUTILUS IS A TEN: HOW WILL YOU SCORE?

MY URRWAI : GOING HER WAY @ BELVOIR STREET THEATRE

Photos by  David Charles Collins.

Mime, dance, song and stand-up comedy make up MY URRWAI a soulful, mostly sunny sixty minute solo show by Torres Strait Islander dynamo, Ghenoa Gela.

In wordless depiction that becomes clear by repetition and the inclusion of simple English, we learn Ghenoa’s place in her family’s hierarchy. Fourth child, second daughter.

A Torres Island family living in Rockhampton, Ghenoa’s parents are determined to keep their culture alive and impress a strict regime of daily dance practice. Perceived as a chore between chores and school and prayers, it becomes a passion.

Like most adolescent girls, she dreams of breaking away from her small town and making a bid for some kind of stardom in the big city. Away from her family and roots, she embraces independence but also grapples with identity – racial, sexual, and cultural. Continue reading MY URRWAI : GOING HER WAY @ BELVOIR STREET THEATRE

SEA SICK: THOUGHT PROVOKING AND INFORMATIVE

SEA SICK.   A solitary woman stands within a chalk drawn circle on a sparsely set stage. The stage contains a chalkboard, chalk, a shell and a table. On the table sits a glass of water and a jug containing clear liquid, piquing the audience’s curiosity as to their purpose. The performer begins her one woman, non-fiction play by introducing herself through personal anecdotes, sharing snippets of her early family life and career, which led her to travel the world researching for her novel. Continue reading SEA SICK: THOUGHT PROVOKING AND INFORMATIVE

BARBER SHOP CHRONICLES: UNIVERSAL MASCULINITY

BARBER SHOP CHRONICLES.  Stunning, vibrant, dazzling, electric, sublime and sensational barely begin to describe this wonderful experience of drama and music. Continue reading BARBER SHOP CHRONICLES: UNIVERSAL MASCULINITY

BACKBONE: RIVERSIDE THEATRES PARRAMATTA

Adelaide-based Gravity & Other Myths is directed by Darcy Grant and stuns in their new show BACKBONE at Riverside Theatres Parramatta, a mesmerizing blend of physical theatre/circus /acrobatics . It is a virtuoso performance of rigorous discipline , super-elite physical acrobatics . The company has been previously nominated for Helpmann awards. Continue reading BACKBONE: RIVERSIDE THEATRES PARRAMATTA

THE BACKSTORIES: MOYA DODD IN FOCUS

BACKSTORIES: Moya Dodd
Images courtesy Fairfax

THE BACKSTORIES  is a rare glimpse behind the public persona of one of the most influential Australians in women’s football, Moya Dodd, as she shares the experiences that have shaped her life. Originally commissioned and presented by Adelaide Festival, THE BACKSTORIES comes to Carriageworks for three performances in February. Friday 2 February 8pm and Saturday 3 February 2pm, 8pm Continue reading THE BACKSTORIES: MOYA DODD IN FOCUS

WORLD WITHOUT US:TIME MEASURED BY DECAY

This image: of THE HORSE TROTTED ANOTHER COUPLE OF METRES, THEN IT STOPPED by Nic Tenwiggenhorn Banner Photo of THE WORLD WITHOUT US BY Mirjam Devriendt

WORLD WITHOUT US

Greetings to the inhabitants of the universe from the third planet Earth of the star Sun.
Greetings to you, whoever you are; we have good will towards you and bring peace across space.
Friends of space, how are you all? Have you eaten yet? Come visit us if you have time.
Greetings to all peoples of the universe. God give you peace always.

Continue reading WORLD WITHOUT US:TIME MEASURED BY DECAY

MY NAME IS JIMI: A GIFT OF CULTURE

MY NAME IS JIMI
Photos: Daniel Boud

By chance, my companion to the show last night was friend and Indigenous educator, Natalie.  Larrakia woman, Saltwater woman.  Which was handy because myself, 6 generations here, and the British woman and the Nigerian woman in front of us needed some help during the pop quiz!    Yep, there’s a few audience tests in MY NAME IS JIMI! House lights up and a chance to enjoy the reactions of the people near me.  It’s just part of a gift from the Bani Family to me and I accept with open heart and joy in the receiving.  After experiencing this brilliant theatrical event how could I not?  Continue reading MY NAME IS JIMI: A GIFT OF CULTURE

MODEL CITIZENS: CIRCUS OZ UNDER THE BIG TOP PARRAMATTA

MODEL CITIZENS: The latest wonderful production from Circus Oz, the first production for the company by new artistic director Rob Tannion and celebrating 40 marvellous years, started the 2018 Sydney Festival with a bang. Continue reading MODEL CITIZENS: CIRCUS OZ UNDER THE BIG TOP PARRAMATTA

ALICE IN WONDERLAND: CURIOUSER AND WONDERFULLER

“Alice is Awesome” said Alice.  “Alice, you’re awesome” said I to Alice.

ALICE IN WONDERLAND is intergenerational theatre crafted with care and performed with joy.   It is an offering received with the love of immersion and the thrill of total involvement in a world of imagination.   And wonderfullest of all, it’s home-grown. Continue reading ALICE IN WONDERLAND: CURIOUSER AND WONDERFULLER

SYDNEY FESTIVAL FAVOURITE: SYMPHONY UNDER THE STARS

Photos: Jamie Williams

Always a favourite night out during the SYDNEY FESTIVAL, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra is heading to Parramatta Park for SYMPHONY UNDER THE STARS on January 20th 2018.

It’s the perfect evening for families and friends to pack a hamper, grab a blanket, and settle back in a Sydney summer dusk to enjoy beautiful music. Continue reading SYDNEY FESTIVAL FAVOURITE: SYMPHONY UNDER THE STARS

SYDNEY FESTIVAL 2018. Dairies out …go!

Featured image: AquaSonic (Photo by Per Victor)  https://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/2018/aquasonic

SYDNEY FESTIVAL 2018 Director Wesley Enoch is infectious.  Infected by the love of ideas, performance and ‘better angels’.  Enoch says of next year’s festival, “Artists are here creating more and more ways of celebrating our better angels and questioning the things that are holding us back.” Continue reading SYDNEY FESTIVAL 2018. Dairies out …go!

THE BEACH : A MUCH LOVED SYDNEY FESTIVAL EVENT

Perhaps the most visited and popular event of the recently completed Sydney Festival was THE BEACH. There were no rips, you could not drown nor suffer a sunburn if you attended.

THE BEACH, in fact, was a white coloured ‘pool’ of 1.1 million recyclable polyethylene balls that ebbed and rose up against a sixty metre wide shoreline with no sand to shake out of a towel or out oif your shoes. To complete the theme deck chairs with redundant umbrellas lined the shoreline so that parents, in addition to lifeguards, could watch their children  cavorting in this plastic ocean.

What was striking was the multicultural nature of the event with women in saris or burqas plunging without inhibition into the  monochromatic balls. The queues to enter were very long and routinely by 3 pm one could no longer gain entrance.

THE BEACH was designed by Snarkitecture, a New York based art and architecture practice. This free happening took place from the 7th to the 29th January at the Cutaway, Barangaroo Reserve.

All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).

NICOLE LIZEE WITH THE AUSTRALIAN ART ORCHESTRA @ RECITAL HALL

 The Sydney Festival promises quality collaboration and a celebration of cutting-edge creativity. Nicole Lizée’s innovative program of manipulated image and music fulfils this promise several times over.

The Australian Art Orchestra (AAO) , which started under the leadership of Paul Grabowsky, is seen here obviously thrilled to work on stage with the award winning composer. In the two works it plays in, the orchestra boldy realises Lizee’s reworkings of sound and scenic fragments from popular TV, film and karaoke film clips.

For an event which champions the Canadian turntablist and composer’s clever manipulation of elements, the title is also tweaked from Steven Soderbergh’s popular 1989 comedy, Sex, Lies and Videotape to describe Lizee’s twentieth century influences.

During the opening Lynch’s Etudes, on a screen above the stage we see small excerpts from the TV and film classics of David Lynch. These are reworked through savage reiteration, visual scratching and dragging. Time and vocal pitch in scenes from Wild At Heart, Mulholland Drive and Twin Peaks are also warped heavily. Continue reading NICOLE LIZEE WITH THE AUSTRALIAN ART ORCHESTRA @ RECITAL HALL

THE SEASON @ THE DRAMA THEATRE, SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

Very early on in THE SEASON, daughter Lou thinks out loud that she might take herself diving to get a fresh fish dinner. It makes sense; 3 generations of Duncans are gathered on this small island in the Bass Strait for the annual Muttonbird harvest. But the whole family around the rickety table is suddenly still then turn slowly to look at her. There’s a pause until unexpectedly, the Duncans, and us, burst into gales of laughter at Lou’s expense. We the audience don’t know Lou, we just met her but we have been enveloped by this family and we think whatever is going on is hilarious too.

In a nutshell, or more appropriately a nest, that is the brilliance of THE SEASON. We love these people. And we love them from the beginning.

After the seven cast appear from the shadows upstage reaching towards the spirit of the birds which come each year to these traditional lands, we meet Ben and Stella Duncan. Long married but still lovers, their hopes for this season are tinged with some undefined worry but it won’t stop them from enjoying every moment of having the family together for the birding season. Continue reading THE SEASON @ THE DRAMA THEATRE, SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

SYDNEY FESTIVAL : ANTHROPOLOGIES IMAGINAIRES @ SEYMOUR CENTRE

Above : Performer Gabriel Dharmoo. Featured Image: Gabriel Dharmoo in front of the Anthropologies Imaginaires screen. Photo credit Greg Locke.

This fifty-minute experience from French-Canadian Gabriel Dharmoo is a unique and highly entertaining one. It combines a one-man tour de force performance of singing and sound effect with voluptuous accompanying movements. A subtitled documentary-style commentary on a screen behind the performer matches the vocal gymnastics to language and behaviours of imaginary cultures.

This event could be described as the Umbilical Brothers meet a deceptively satirical SBS. This performance’s subtle start is quite believable and resembles the canon of anthropological films on non-fictional tribes. However, as the show progresses the tongue in cheek comedy around the validity of commenting on a single aspect or practice by an ‘other’ culture becomes increasingly obvious. Continue reading SYDNEY FESTIVAL : ANTHROPOLOGIES IMAGINAIRES @ SEYMOUR CENTRE

SYDNEY CHAMBER OPERA PRESENTS O MENSCH! @ CARRIAGEWORKS

Production photography by Lisa Tomasetti

Sydney Chamber Opera is currently presenting a second offering for the Sydney Festival which familiarises local audiences with the French composer Pascal Dusapin. This time the compelling piece is O MENSCH! (2008) for solo baritone and piano.

This event is part of the About an Hour series during the festival. Its focused romp through the shifting emotional reactions of one character is a dramatised cavalcade of Fredriech Nietzsche’s quite anguished poetic texts. This uninterrupted journey of self-analysis through contemporary music is not for the feint-hearted but very worth the ride.

The torments, doubts, desires and moral fragilities of the mortal illustrated by the single character on stage is given slick direction by Sarah Giles. Giles’ guidance of baritone Mitchell Riley, who is perched delicately on a small landing halfway up a set of stairs leading nowhere masterfully enhances the ebb and flow of the texts. Continue reading SYDNEY CHAMBER OPERA PRESENTS O MENSCH! @ CARRIAGEWORKS

The Kitchen @ The York

Two people cooking a dessert accompanied by twelve drummers is a left field, intriguing premise for a concert. From it, Roysten Abel has fashioned a warm, winning night’s entertainment.

THE KITCHEN is a wordless drama featuring a couple, Mandakini Goswami and Dilip Shankar, cooking payasam, a milk dessert used in feasts and celebrations. Their dessert preparation is accompanied by a spectacular display of drumming by twelve drummers playing copper mizhavu drums.

The couple’s cooking is essentially a slow dance, beautifully choreographed and almost ceremonial in its execution. They gracefully add the ingredients with care and deliberation into two large pots and the subtle aromas drift through the theatre, adding to the sensory experience. There is an interesting interplay between the couple. An apparent conflict is resolved as the payasam is cooking, providing dramatic symmetry. Continue reading The Kitchen @ The York

Long Grass @ The Everest

Scenes from LONG GRASS. Pics by Jamie Williams

LONG GRASS tells the story of living rough in Darwin, and mixes traditional Aboriginal mysticism with the harsher realities of indigenous life. The show touches on many issues facing the Aboriginal community there: unemployment, domestic and alcohol abuse, and it is hard to imagine the story being told would be anything but depressing, but the contrary was true: LONG GRASS was charming and captivating at every turn.

The term ‘long grass’ is applied to the Aboriginals who live on the fringe, homeless yet not without a community of their own. The influx of ‘New Australians’ to the top end receive housing, yet the Aboriginals camp out while the police and social services look the other way. Continue reading Long Grass @ The Everest