Tag Archives: Bertolt Brecht

THIS WORLD – AUSTRALIA’S JAZZ SUPER GROUP @ FOUNDRY 616

 

Foundry 616, with its dark red walls, atmospheric jazz photos on the walls and the lights turned low, was the scene for a passionate performance from THIS WORLD, a band comprised of four of Australia’s finest jazz musicians. Presented by SIMA (Sydney Improvised Music Association), the band comprises Mike Nock on piano, Julien Wilson on sax, Jonathan Zwartz on bass and Hamish Stuart on drums.

The first set opened with an attention grabbing chord from Mike Nock on one of his own compositions before the band settled into some smooth combinations and innovative solos, neatly brought together with Hamish Stuart’s brush work.

The first set was made up of four songs, one composition from each of the four band members. This egalitarian approach also allowed the individual members to display their individual approaches to music. It also provided some genuinely interesting variations in styles. Julien Wilson’s song was titled LTD, which stands for “lock down town.” It’s a concept that has recently been prominent in our lives for a significant amount of time.

Their latest album is ANOTHER DANCE and two other tracks, HEADLAND by Hamish Stuart and WINTER by Jonathon Swartz, also featured in the first set. These songs featured some atypical melodies and rhythms held together by seemingly effortless bass and drums. This is serious, high quality improvised music.

The music in their second set was more approachable and started with the quaintly named and rollicking OLD’S COOL. The title of the second song of the set, AND IN THE NIGHT COMES RAIN, is taken from a Bertolt Brecht poem, HALF IN MY SLEEP. Jonathan Zwartz almost apologetically read the poem. The beautiful poem added to the richness of the evening’s entertainment.

RIVERSIDE, written by Julien Wilson, was a highlight of the night. Written after a Sunday morning walk in Harlem and inspired by a gospel choir with feelings evoking Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin this small four piece band produced a big sound, powerful and redolent of Harlem and its music. The band returned to slower and gentler song, THIS WORLD, and finished well with an encore, THE DREAM.

Foundry 616 has again provided a venue for high quality jazz. THIS WORLD’s next gig is in Melbourne and their albums are available from Lionsharerecords.


Puntila / Matti @ Kings Cross Theatre

Production photos by Rupert Reid.

“It is easier to rob by setting up a bank than by holding up a clerk.” – Bertolt Brecht

This quote by German Modernist playwright Brecht is the opening description on MK Alpha’s page for Puntila/Matti, and perhaps the most apt and appropriate way to explain this show.

Set the audience up for an enjoyable, mindless night out in Sydney’s Kings Cross theatrical hub only to be immediately knocked down and disappointed. This show is not intended to be watched nor enjoyed like a regular performance.

Fourth-walls are broken, audience members personally called out, asked to perform on stage with the actors, coerced into very uncomfortable situations, and left unsure as to whether they are correctly following along. It’s a surprise if no one walks out during the show.

Puntila/Matti is an adaptation by Doppelgangster of Brecht’s play Mr Puntila and his Man Matti. Presented by MK-Alpha and Kings Cross Theatre, Puntila/Matti has been conceptualised by Tobias Manderson-Galvin, directing and performing alongside Grace Lauer and Antoniette Barbouttis.

The trio each have their own moments to bond with the audience but it is perhaps Manderson-Galvin that is trying to make the audience feel the least comfortable. Sitting next to, interrogating, and even kissing members of the audience, leaves an uneasy feeling throughout the entire show.

In Brecht’s eyes, this show would probably pass as using his famous styles and techniques common to his work. But would he enjoy it? For a play that was originally written in 1940 and first performed in 1948 probably not. However, this show is being performed in 2017 and is subverting the modern viewer. This is not a play designed to be enjoyed by all. It is experimental and aggressive, whilst maintaining a certain wit and comedic approach that will not be palatable to everyone.

Whether intentional or not, the fact that Puntila/Matti is being performed in Kings Cross is incredibly clever. An area once infamous for crime, drugs, and scandal, is slowly gentrifying. The environment is shifting from a once bustling nightlife hub to an expensive, high-rise area. The intersection between rich and poor is becoming more apparent in the suburb, particularly on the main strip. Puntila is an aristocratic land-owner and Matti is his servant. Theatre is more commonly enjoyed by those who can afford it, with Puntila/Matti attempting to shake all of us out of this bubble.

This is anti-theatre with a devilish comedic twist.

Puntila/Matti is on at The Kings Cross Theatre (inside The Kings Cross Hotel) from 25th September – 14th October on Monday – Saturday at 7:30pm. The show is approx 90 minutes with no interval.

Please note: Strong Language, Nudity, Loud Noises, Smoke. Over 18 is advised.

NT LIVE PRESENTS THREE PENNY OPERA

opening of the show with the Balladeer

kThis latest offering as part of the NT Live wonderful season is dark, disturbing and compelling.

The social comment and context is extremely important. Directed by Rufus Norris and adapted by Simon Stephens much is made of the savage despair of Brecht and Weill’s era and the ‘skint people ‘.

THREE PENNY OPERA tells the tale of how Macheath brings down the Peachum’s wrath on his head by marrying their daughter Polly before going on the run through London’s dismal brothels, with his former lover and one time collaborator Chief Inspector “Tiger” Brown in hot pursuit. Continue reading NT LIVE PRESENTS THREE PENNY OPERA

BIJOU – A CABARET OF SECRETS AND SEDUCTION @ DEPOT THEATRE MARRICKVILLE

Bijou 3 snap (1)

A grotesque and entertaining French cabaret is the latest production at The Depot Theatre. Chrissie Shaw’s Bijou is a faded character from early twentieth century Paris. She was a sought after beauty, a collector of jewelry, a singer, a dancer, a great hostess and a seedy operator when times were hard.

Her dramatic entrance in a glorious costume tells the audience we are in the presence of a great performer, although slightly tarnished by years of alcohol assisted depravity. She has wandered into a bar and cajoles the piano player into playing songs to her liking, and plays up to the audience to extract coins and drinks from them. Continue reading BIJOU – A CABARET OF SECRETS AND SEDUCTION @ DEPOT THEATRE MARRICKVILLE