Prepare your senses for intoxication! If Las Vegas was a pie (stick with me this metaphor is worth it) the Gazzillionare and his assistant Penny Pibbets have brought a slice to the rooftop of Crown Casino Melbourne…..but the thing about any pie is there’s always a point at which overindulgence will lead to nausea yet, inexplicably, we will always permit ourselves just a little bit more. It’s the best way I can place you to consider what it’s like to be in the Spiegel tent at the mercy of some of the boldest, bravest cirque actors in the world. The Gazzillionare made ‘Borat’ seem tame (I’m not even kidding) and his assistant Penny was simultaneously the sweetest offsider and dirtiest comedian, ever on hand to take things – not that ‘one step too far’ – but a freaking mile!! The ‘Gazillionare’ systematically attacked every minority group in the audience with wicket wit, vulgarity and offensive “ohmygoddidhereallyjustsaythat” racism. But you should know that it is actually a compliment to Australian audiences that the show is even touring here. In a brief Q&A with the production team post-show I asked what other countries were on the tour schedule. This was after a kindly German photographer had just pointed out that the crew we were speaking to would have been arrested if they told the same jokes in Germany! “You guys are it” was the response. “Aussies are progressive”. What the Gazzillionare was acknowledging was our ability to laugh at ourselves and not take life too seriously. I think the fact that Absinthe is here right off the back of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is advantageous timing. There have been a lot of discussions in the media of late regarding ‘joke censorship’ thereby limiting artist’s creative expression. My advice to anyone attending Absinthe is to leave your sensitivities at the door, have an open mind and enjoy an outrageous night out! The skills in Absinthe will challenge you to consider what the human body is truly capable of. With performers from Ukraine, USA, Sweden, Russia, Germany and Poland, the cast is a collective of some of the best Cirque performers in the world. The hand balance (Michal Nowosadako & Zbignew Sobierajski- Poland) defied belief. The complexities of this routine were executed with precision, seamless transitions and a combination of strength and grace that must be seen to be believed. From balance to burlesque, high wire to horizontal bars – this show really has it all. And if you’ve never seen a stripper remove items of clothing using fire before – what rock have you been hiding under? Just kidding, who would possibly think to do that?? Angie Sylvia from Sweden is an edgy striptease artist (and let’s assume just a little bit nuts) – because that’s what she did! Anything more would be a ‘spoiler alert’ so if this has sparked your curiosities – you’d best go and see it for yourself! This show is rated 15+ and tours for a strictly limited season but I do believe it would be more appropriate to rate this as an 18+ performance – seriously, don’t take your children!!— at Crown Melbourne.
ALEX AND NILUSHA CONCERT NEW review by Irina Ivanova
The hall was full of captivating mystery. The opulence of the Melbourne Recital Centre, with its muted lighting and soulful atmosphere created a dream like sensation.
The musicians were very welcoming of their visitors and thanking them for coming to share the experience with them. Alex and Nilusha had their new album out “Tales to Tell” and they are both extremely proud of it. I guess what makes anyone proud and happy is that their message is being expressed clearly and heard and enjoyed by others. This album sounds fantastic and is a profoundly felt-through story of someone’s life – or everyone’s life…
Who did not have broken wings or broken heart? Chilean born Alex Pertout has for decades being recognised as one of Australia's leading percussionists and with credits on hundreds of albums and soundtracks he is undeniably one of Australia's most recorded musicians. Alex has also attained credits with television orchestras, in countless live performances, in the theatre, as a recording artist and record producer as well as a respected educator.
Sri Lankan born Nilusha Dassenaike has a unique vocal style that incorporates a delicate balance between her eastern and western musical influences with silk like sounds with rhythmic improvisation. Nilusha has vast performance and studio recording experience ranging from jazz to popular styles.
Their music is abundant with vivid emotional and lyrical content, mesmerising percussion rhythm and masterful performances by special guests which are invited by the artists to enrich the performance.The faces in the chamber were peaceful and happy, waiting for something exciting to happen. And it did…
The story flowed strongly and gracefully through the minds and souls of the participants. People were tuning in willingly and gratefully into the rhythm and melody of the songs. There’s nothing to hide, and the little promises of life are nearly misheard. Though we’re still falling into the clear water and cheer the new king, knowing his pain and wish for peace. He’ll bring us sapphires and appease wanderlust. And we’ll give him the gift of gifts.
For the final The Riddle Song was chosen. It is an ancient folk song originally titled “I gave my love a cherry”. Like for most traditional songs, both the author and the date in which it was written is a riddle in itself. It is a lullaby based on two English folk songs: "Child Ballad no. 1" (also known as "Riddles Wisely Expounded"), and "Child Ballad no. 46." In this lullaby, which was said to be written in the 15th century, a maiden says she is advised to unite with her lover. [http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=18010]
The Riddle Song sounded as an anthem for freedom to make our own choice in life, and how we see that life and what it holds for us.
ANIMAL SAFARI AT THE WATERGARDENS NEW review by Julie Dargan
Join in the festivities at Watergardens this week for something different for the children to enjoy. This is a fantastic idea for all the family to enjoy. I have never been to Watergardens and was surprised at how large the area is. It is a wildlife adventure trip throughout the whole of Watergardens. Zebra, Lion, giraffe and rhinoceros are some of the few animals on animatronic display. Do not forget to look up also to see the monkeys enjoying a swing. The craft village was very popular with the children where they were able to paint themselves their very own animal mask. Best of all it is free and the ladies on hand were very helpful. Be sure to be early as the face masks finish at 2pm every day. Pick up an adventure map and answer a few questions as you wander around to each animal to be in the draw for an overnight slumber safari at Werribee Open Range Zoo (valued at $900). For me it was a great experience with the children. I was able to walk around the whole of Watergardens without any complaints from the children. What a wonderful idea and all FREE, so what is stopping you. Pop on down now.
ATTILLA SAUTOV NEW review by Sylvester Kroyherr
REVIEW OF CONCERT BY VIOLIN VERTUOSO ATTILLA SAUTOV with his SYMPHONIC TRIO ENSEMBLE GIVEN AT the KINGSTON CITY HALL on 29 March 2015. (Presented by the Shalom Association) ARTISTS: Renat Yusupov (cello), Hila Yusupov (piano) and Aaron Barnden (violin).
To start the concert, we were treated to four short pieces by a very young ensemble of 6 violinists who demonstrated great enthusiasm. Noting that Attilla began playing in Tashkent Uzbekistan at the age of 4, his performance to follow left the youngsters absolutely dazzled. With a sense of humour, he was quick to point out, that all the hard practice had paid off, although “the reward for hard work was more hard work”. With his 1812 French violin (sometimes unplugged), Attilla set about mixing a diverse variety of pure classical pieces with modern pop classics (using backing tracks to enhance the blend and rhythm).
The first half of the programme consisted of 12 pieces with classical highlights like ‘Meditation’ from Thais by Massenet (absolutely sublime), to the ‘Flight of the Bumble Bee’ by Rimsky Korsakov (brilliant interpretation by Renat), to the ‘Swan’ by Saint Saens (a sublime rendition by Renat and Hila). In contrast, we were engaged by the soulful ‘Theme from Schindler’s List’ by John Williams.
The technically complex Paganini Variations on the G string (Moses Fantasy) was moving and absolutely spectacular – considering that the whole piece is played on one string only! With the full team in action (including Aaron), the first movement of the Bach Double Concerto with its brilliant interplay, was followed by the spicy and gypsy flavoured ‘Csardas’ by Monti – what an exciting and original arrangement!
The second half exploded into several medleys of Jewish songs, including ‘Tumbalalaika’ and Hava Nagila and much to the delight of the clapping audience. Michael Jackson’s ‘Heal the World and Save the Children’ was rounded with emotion and included 3 key changes to add further variety. A fiery Croatian tune was followed by the dramatic theme from ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean’ and an intense rendition of Mozart’s ‘Turkish Rondo’ – so powerful that Attilla’s violin suffered a broken A string! Undaunted, he changed the string in record time. Attilla’s explosive and technical artistry continued with two additional virtuoso pieces building up to the finishing crescendo of Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons – Storm’ and the Brazilian ‘Tiko Tiko’.
Despite the limitations of the City Hall, the group’s spectacular and electrifying artistry was extremely well received, proving that classical, pop and folk can mix well. It can be said that Attilla’s intentions were not simply to entertain but to inspire; creating a feeling that most anything is possible. Although residing now in Queensland, Melbourne awaits you Attilla ASAP!
SYLVESTER KROYHERR (Musician/Architect) 3 April 2015
With an informative pre concert introduction by the Conductor and Artistic Director Mark Shiell, the programme began with the initially delicate and melancholy Overture to Weber’s opera “Oberon” featuring the French horns – this being the theme of the evening, namely “Horn Power”. The driving central themes were energetic and uplifting, interwoven by musically sensitive romantic rhythms.
The second item featured the premiere of “A Song for Gallipoli” by George Dreyfus to commemorate the centenary of the ANZACs and set to music to a WW1 poem by British Charles Sorley who died at the front aged 20. Selena Pettifer’s enchanting and pure voice captured and expressed the sombre disharmony of war. A stunning performance and presence!
Taking absolute control, Roman Ponomariov breezed into Richard Strauss’s Horn Concerto No 1, displaying flawless tonality and smooth delivery. The lively and poetic first movement flowed effortlessly into the mournful and melancholy second movement. With the last movement, Roman took the audience to another level to conclude with skilful flair and excitement much to the delight of everyone, including Mark Shiell, who brought back Roman for a fabulous encore; this being the third movement of the fourth Horn Concerto by Mozart. Loved the little cadenza!
The massive Symphony No1 by Brahms followed the interval with the orchestra generating commanding contrasts between throbbing and energetic themes and mysterious haunting passages.
With some well presented staccato sections from the violins, the first movement finished majestically. In the second movement, the interplay between the strings and woodwinds was well rounded with some sweet passages from the solo violin (namely Mary Johnston). Flowing into a gentle march like rhythm in the third movement, the clarinets and the plucking of the cellos was very effective, finishing the section with bounce and sparkle. As expected, the finale began energetically which eventually built up to Brahms’ so called “most noble melodies” – beautifully handled by the violins. Maintaining energetic momentum, the orchestra finished the symphony with exuberance and style.
Well done to everyone, including all the volunteers!
SYLVESTER KROYHERR (Musician/Architect) / Rachel Sandey 31 March 2015 Very grateful to Sylvester for such a splendid review!!!!
MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FLOWER AND GARDEN SHOW 2015 NEW
Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show 2015 was a colorful symphony of smiles as flowers (you might heard this expression) are the smiles of the earth or should I say we met so many people there with kids who enjoyed themselves on Sunday while selecting plants and flowers for their gardens, having picnic at Royal Melbourne Exhibition and the gardens around it or simply sunbaking. What was amazing? - I would say the unexpected variety of everything about and aorund plants, gardens and flowers: breathtaking landscapig that you would never guess how certain buildings were erected in such a a short period of time, boutique garden compatition, floral design classes, area to play for the kids, show gardens of all kinds, florists, growers, fresh flowers market, sculptures exhibition, garden sculptures, birds houses for sale, seends and fertralisers giveaways, flowers giveaways, floral fashion, street music on every corner of the huge display, art and jewelry related to flowers - all for sale and much much more... and till the next year - dream about the flowers...
Humorous, humble, heart-warming!.. read more: From his very first moments on stage Anthony had his audience engaged and enlightened. His delivery, while obviously fresh at his craft, was offered with a humility that was impossible not to enjoy. Anthony’s show was an anecdotal meander through his 20s. His stories were at times awkward in their honesty, and his audience relished his candour. Anthony frequently nudged the audience to consider social behaviours and how they might respond to similar situations. Anthony is far from an ‘in your face’ style of comedian. His idiosyncrasies showed his nerves at times but this only made him more delightful to watch. Anthony showed a subtlety and restraint in his delivery that an audience may expect of a much more ‘seasoned’ comedian, if he can follow on from ‘unaccept-a-bubble’ with more great writing, audiences will be seeing a lot more of him.