SHANGHAI MIMI. LUSH PRODUCTION AT RIVERSIDE PARRAMATTA FOR THE SYDNEY FESTIVAL

SHANGHAI MIMI.
Images credit: Prudence Upton

Sure to be one of the big hits of the Sydney Festival, SHANGHAI MIMI is a lush, well- conceptualised production.  It has terrific attention to detail in the creation of the space and artists of considerable skill and charisma.  If I wasn’t the best audience for the work, it’s apparent that the show has wide appeal and the power to draw a diverse viewership.  The cast introduces themselves at one stage and they are certainly from all over.  And I think the lady of Asian descent who was sobbing with recognition as we left the auditorium, would take me to task for my lack of appreciation.  What this lady understood was the importance of this work in reclamation of a period of time and the presentation of it to a new audience. Continue reading SHANGHAI MIMI. LUSH PRODUCTION AT RIVERSIDE PARRAMATTA FOR THE SYDNEY FESTIVAL

FREE SOLO. BREATHTAKING SCENERY AND A DARING SOLO CLIMBER. PREVIEW GIVEAWAY

FREE SOLO : © 2018 National Geographic

FREE SOLO has a trailer that makes people gasp out loud.

It is a stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of world-renowned rock climber, Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world’s most famous rock, the 3,200-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, without a rope. Continue reading FREE SOLO. BREATHTAKING SCENERY AND A DARING SOLO CLIMBER. PREVIEW GIVEAWAY

DUNGEONS AND DRAG KWEENS – SEE YOU IN HELL. GIVEAWAY

This image: Athena, Asuma and Jenna – Photo by Teresa Pham Featured image: Cleo, Miriam and Sabrina – Photo by Teresa Pham

DUNGEONS AND DRAG KWEENS – SEE YOU IN HELL regards itself as ” The Gayest and Nerdiest show in Sydney!”

Join the comedy Kweens as they navigate their way through the camp and mythical city of Xan’moxie. This month they’re working nine to five and learning the real definition of hot seating as they go to hell … corporate style!

DUNGEONS AND DRAG KWEENS is completely improvised and no prior knowledge of Dungeons and Dragons is required! Continue reading DUNGEONS AND DRAG KWEENS – SEE YOU IN HELL. GIVEAWAY

PIGALLE – FUNK ME IT’S A GREAT NIGHT

Images Credit: Prudence Upton

With garbage cans and fruit crates, mirror balls galore and a popping neon sign, PIGALLE, playing at the Spiegeltent for the Sydney Festival, is a magnificent seat boppin’ reminder of why disco lives.  Heartbeats pound in rhythm with the bliss of remembering and re-living.  It was always going to be a crowd pleaser with this talent line-up but what we are treated to is a memorable night of variety, excellence and smart direction that leaves you wanting more as you tumble out with ‘Disco Inferno’ firmly earwormed.

As the crowd excitably buzzes waiting for the show to start, there’s a terrific music mix to begin that physical electricity that beloved music pulses in the veins.  The cast appear as ‘Street Life’ struts and frets upon the catwalk stage and feet begin the unstoppable tap.  Costumed with a period flair that keeps on coming,  these artists thrill with sexy poses and sashayed peacockery.   Continue reading PIGALLE – FUNK ME IT’S A GREAT NIGHT

MOVE BABY MOVE @ CEMENT FONDU

Amrita Hepi’s video installation “The Pace” at the Paddington gallery Cement Fondu showcases the human body in its inspirational gift to move, play and dance. This video installation cheekily, metaphorically says “break out of any customary ruts into insouciant and authentic embodiment of skipping through your life.” Pick up the skipping rope of your creativity and have some fun at the expense of staid and stuck-up conformity.

“Funk Lessons”, the now classic 1983 video by artist Adrian Piper, screening in parallel with the Amrita Hepi video at the same show, is all about dropping any notion of iconography and joyously diving into your own body’s lust to move. Forget about performing and just be your quirky freedom in motion, no matter what the doyens of dance may try to tell you. Pick-up some rudimentary tips from Piper’s suggestions about how to get going and join the happy community of blissful movers. Far from blissing out, here its all about the bliss of feeling present, grounded and free. Oh, and you can’t do it wrong because here no one cares to compare you to anyone else, so long as you are true to yourself and also stay connected in the field of shared awareness with your funky cohorts.

The feature I love about Piper’s work is that she gives you permission to put on some head phones, kindly provided in the gallery, and move to your heart’s content. What is more subversive than expressing your own dance? That’s the theme of Piper’s other two videos, “Adrian Moves to Berlin” (2007) and “Please God” (1991) that form part of this show. Step out of the social straitjacket of expectations and hierarchy, ditch the well-groomed structures of estrangement and desperation, and dance.

Also featured in this show are the exquisite artefacts of the Yirran Miigaydhu weavers. These beautiful works incarnate the artists’ circle as a meeting place to share culture and stories. Delicate, handsome and vibrant.

Amrita Hepi, Adrian Piper and the Yirran Miigaydhu weavers are at Cement Fondu, 39 Gosbell St Paddington, until 24 February 2019.

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY : IT’S GOBSMACKINGLY GOOD FUN

This show is based on Roald Dahl’s 1964 children’s show. The book has been written by playwright David Greig, with original score by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman

This show had a long history dating back to its premiere on the 25th July, 2013 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, the West End of London. The production, directed by Sam Mendes ran continuously till the 7th January, 2017.

A reworked production opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on the 23 April, 2017 with a new director Jack O’Brien, choreography by Josh Bergasse and a new set designer Mark Thomson. The production closed on 15th November 2017 after 305 performances.

Now it’s Sydney’s turn with the production opening last night on Friday 11th January  again directed by Jack O’Brien. The production is a replica of the Broadway production with an Australian cast except for the role of Willy Wonka which is played by U.S actor Paul Slade Smith who played Grandpa George in the original Broadway production. Paul Slade Smith gives an outstanding production in the role.  Continue reading CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY : IT’S GOBSMACKINGLY GOOD FUN

LA PASSION DE SIMONE @ CARRIAGEWORKS

The 2019 Sydney Festival has started with a bang and one of the major events is the Australian premiere of La Passion de Simone . Written by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, with a libretto in French by Amin Maaloufit it is presented at Carriageworks by Sydney Chamber Opera in association with The Song Company.

Musically and visually superb, it is a powerful and hypnotic production.Directed by Imara Savage it looks at the life of Simone Weil , who was an intellectual, Marxist and pacifist, philosopher, political activist and mystic whose despair at the course of world events led her to starve herself and pass away in 1943 aged just 34. Weil died of tuberculosis after weakening herself by fasting in sympathy with the starving people of France, having spent the preceding decade travelling through Nazi Germany and revolutionary Spain in an attempt to understand the causes and nature of oppressive régimes.

After involvement in the Spanish Civil War, Weil, a secular Jew, converted to Christianity, fleeing France with her family during World War II and working with the French Resistance from London.

The show is based in the Passion Play tradition with episodes of Weil’s life linked to the Stations of the Cross. One scene includes how she worked for a while in a factory among the oppressed workers then rejected the robotic, virtually forced labour. Continue reading LA PASSION DE SIMONE @ CARRIAGEWORKS

NOSFERATU : A FRACTURED SYMPHONY

Soaring property prices, greedy real estate agents, unscrupulous foreign buyers, biosecurity threats, pretentious environmental concerns, are being played out with nudity, violence, homophobia and horror in 95 minutes in Newtown.

NOSFERATU : A FRACTURED SYMPHONY commands attention through strong acting performances and plot entanglement with one of the most iconic films of the silent era, Murnau’s 1922 film of the same name. It is this link which adds historical and literary depth to a seemingly contemporary story. Continue reading NOSFERATU : A FRACTURED SYMPHONY

DAUGHTER : CONFRONTING THEATRE AT ITS SHARPEST

This Australian premiere production is a  co-production involving Quiptake, Pandemic Theatre and the Theatre Centre, Canada. DAUGHTER, written and performed by Adam Lazarus and directed by Ann-Marie Kerr,   is a collaboration uniting the three organisations’ shared values of complex, challenging and aesthetically driven critical performance to provoke and hold space for civil discourse.

So here we are. In the middle of #metoo and mens whiny #methree, cos they don’t want to miss out. Because really they don’t understand. Adam Lazarus in developing this piece of theatre with his training and background in the ‘buffon king’ and hailed as Toronto’s favourite nasty clown; has taken us down a very ugly nasty road upon which he declares we have all travelled – or indeed travel still. The Bouffon, or clown, the fool of Shakespeare’s Lear, are all a little too blunt and too honest and too real. Too real to be believed. Yet Lazarus takes us on this inane and simple journey of real truths. His truths. Credible and funny and relatable. Then he gives a little slap or a digging in the ribs hard nudge. Too hard and too fast. No that is not “us”, we would never, could never. No don’t do that, don’t say that – we gasp and wince and scrunch our faces in distaste. One man near the front leaves. The two women in front of me whisper and give each other looks, then they too exit.

So yes, the subject matter is intense. Grotesqueries and extraordinary experiences are Adam’s themes of choice. Yet he relay’s them in such a way, teasing his audience along. “You’ve done that? You know exactly what I mean?” Then quickly singling out someone with a deliberate finger point or a look and making it clear we are all in on it. Been there done that. But we haven’t. I haven’t. I can’t even stomach the ideas. Who near me can? I wonder. Fleetingly. Inside I ‘know’ this is theatre but Adam is telling a real story isn’t he. His story. I think. I don’t like it. I don’t like him. Continue reading DAUGHTER : CONFRONTING THEATRE AT ITS SHARPEST

KANARIE – A TENDER, FUNNY FILM FOR QUEER SCREEN’S MARDI GRAS FF

KANARIE is such a sweet film.  Don’t know why that adjective springs to mind when it is about a young man who, under church and state conditioning, struggles with his inner self, his authentic self.  Perhaps it is because of the love in the film.  Or, maybe, it’s the songs and the singing … Boy George to Brahms.  Then again it could be the way that a discreet social agenda never takes centrestage, simply whispering gently to make its point.  Whatever the reason, this is a film which nestles easily into Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival for its uplift, entertainment and joy. Continue reading KANARIE – A TENDER, FUNNY FILM FOR QUEER SCREEN’S MARDI GRAS FF

ROCK BANG – THUMPIN’ GOOD ROCK CIRCUS

ROCK BANG
Photo Credit: Prudence Upton

Last night’s audience certainly loved it.  ROCK BANG is sure to be a huge hit during the Sydney Festival.  Circus pings all the pleasure spots and nothing pleases like Circus Oz who have been leaping flying tumbling innovators for over 40 years.  This time though they have enlisted the high energy of Otto & Astrid from Die Roten Punkte and created a boisterous, rockin show which definitely needs categorising under not-as-we-know-it-circus!

Opening with a thumping rock number live and an aerial ring swing over the front rows, the show hits momentum quickly.  The characters of Otto and Astrid are funny and silly and very, very dark as they share their origin story.  German brother and sister to all intents, let’s just gloss over the Flowers in the Attic-ness, they will tell a sad tale of loss (bus or lion) then success as a punk band.  Kick ass drums and squealing guitar!  And stowaways to Australia in a Circus Oz trunk. Continue reading ROCK BANG – THUMPIN’ GOOD ROCK CIRCUS

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