Tag Archives: Mark Thompson


BRAN NUE DAE has had a major revival on its 30th birthday , co-produced by Opera Conference and the Sydney Festival.

Jimmy Chi’s musical lovingly directed by Andrew Ross takes us on a road trip through 1960’s Western Australia , with music by Kuckles,the country-reggae-soul band.

It is bright, full of warmth and joy, exuberant and yet also has a dark underlay,  raising many social issues that are still around today regarding the treatment of Indigenous peoples. Continue reading SYDNEY FESTIVAL : BRAN NUE DAE


This is the next best thing to actually attending an Evening with Paul Keating. As Jonathon Biggins says in the program, “I like to think of this show as the first three dimensional autobiography written by someone else.”

Through the show there is the use of a slide show with pics of his early life and then notable politicians and events in his life. This adds intimacy to the evening.

I found the show both very informative and highly entertaining. There are just so many stories, it is almost overwhelming with Biggins  talking in a rapid fire fashion. At one time he says to the audience, “come on people, keep up. There’s  going to be a test at the end”.

Did you know that Paul Keating is an avid Tom Jones fan and that they shared a bit of a friendship?! This  is one of the times that Biggins bursts into song singing ‘Why, why Delilah”.  I enjoyed the times when, during the show,  he burst into song. It lightened up the evening.

As did the many witticisms, some of which were Keating gems, others Biggins’ own rapier like wit. Keating had a healthy ego such as his remark, ‘this was the greatest achievement of my career. Then again why narrow it down.” As against Biggins own witty remark, ‘She’s a NIDA graduate. There goes another HECS debt that won’t be paid back.”

There’s a lot of did you know’s through the show. I knew that Keating is a big classical music fan. His parents soundproofed his room so that they didn’t have to heart the music blaring. He was also a rock music fan and a bit of a rock entrepreneur, trying to get bands good contracts before he changed direction and started to get involved in politics.

Biggins covers so much territory. Keating is a big Jack Lang fan and the great Labor man generously gave him his time. Lang told him, “You will never be a leader unless you have a host of enemies.”

There  are plenty of references to Keating’s economic reforms, some of which went over my head, and I am sure others in the audience.

Other Keating quotes. “I’ve always been drawn to beautiful things”, which accounts for Keating’s love of  beautiful suits and watches.

“I went off giving State Funerals.  When I gave one to Kerry Packer, it took the gloss off it.

We learn of Keating’s fondness for political colleagues Bill Hayden, Lionel Bowen and Bill Kelty, who was instrumental in getting our current superannuation laws. And Keating was a good hater. “Being a fan of Andrew  Peacock is like being thrashed with raw tofu.” And  Reg Withers, “I am not a proctologist, but I know an arsehole when I see one.”

There are reference to Keating’s view on indigenous issues and his famous speech  in Redfern. And there’s reference to Bob Hawke reneging on his handover of power deal with Keating. It’s all there in this show!

The show has been well directed by Aarne Neeme with stage design of Keating’s apartment by Mark Thompson, lighting by Verity Hampson and sound and video design by David Bergman.

So much to take in! Go and see the show for yourself and take away your own favourite memories.  THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PAUL is playing the Everest Theatre at the Seymour Centre until Saturday August 3, 2019. Mondays to Saturdays at 7.30pm and there are also matinees on Saturdays at 2pm.















From Wollongong to Wyong, from Port Macquarie to Penrith and Parramatta, Jonathon Biggins has been touring his wildly acclaimed play throughout New South Wales.

Wherever Biggins takes this show he performs nearly always to deserved full houses. Paul Keating is unique in that he has had two shows written about him that are highly entertaining ie that is Keating The Musical and now The Gospel According To Paul.

I must declare my bias in that I am a huge fan of Paul Keating. I used to watch question time in Parliament to witness Keating’s  wit and viciousness. In this regard I am similar to President Suharto who although he was a dictator would obtain tapes of Paul Keating performing during Question Time and as a result relations with Indonesia  became warmer. Continue reading THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PAUL @ THE PLAYHOUSE


Douglas Hansell as C.S.Lewis and Henri Szeps as Sigmund Freud in FREUD’S LAST SESSION

Andy Warhol famously pushed the envelope and his audience’s attention way too far when he made his 1963 film SLEEP which mercilessly showed a man sleeping for five hours not stop. Perhaps Warhol’s goal was to make the most boring movie ever made?! God only knows……

When the film MY DINNER WITH ANDRE was released in 1981 it sounded like co-creators Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn were trying to compete in the boredom stakes with the original Campbell Soup man. The film, with a running time of just under two hours, screened a dinner between the two thespians at a sophisticated New York restaurant, from entrée to port…

Amazingly the film, directed by legendary French film auteur Louise Malle, turned out to be far from uninteresting and went on to achieve cult status. Whole worlds seemed to open up as the two men put everything on the table,- their life experiences, how they perceived them, and saw one another’s. The trysts between them added that extra element, it was exhilarating watching the two very different personalities sparring,- Andre the dreamer, the visionary…..Wallace,- staid, pragmatic, urbane.

Mark St Germain’s FREUD ‘S LAST SESSION offers a very similar experience. The play documents a (fictional) meeting that takes place between Sigmund Freud and Professor C.S. Lewis at the legendary psychoanalyst’s home. Likewise, the two men put everything on the table,- their views on sex, love, God, the meaning of life… their clashes are passionate, intense, fiery…

St Germain raises the stakes by having the meeting between two of the greatest minds of the Twentieth Century take place on the day that England enters the Second World War.

Adam Cook’s production serves St Germain’s play well. Henri Szeps and Douglas Hansell are convincing in their portrayals of these two iconic figures. Mark Thomson’s set and costume design and Gavan Swift’s lighting design create the world of the late nineteen thirties well.

The examined life is worth living, especially when seen through the eyes of two of the world’s liveliest minds.

A co-production by Strange Duck Productions and Liberman Partnership, FREUD’S LAST SESSION is currently playing Sydney’s Theatre Royal.