HAND TO GOD – A SHORT PREVIEW AND THEATRE DISCOVERY
I attended the Alex theatre to cover the media official meet & greet reception for a new play titled 'Hand to God'. The meeting provided the opportunity to meet with theatre owners and the play's actors. Included was a short excerpt from the play by the actors so we could appreciate the style and innovation in this performance. Insight about the direction which this theatre is taking, was provided by the owner at this function. His intent, to bring to Melbourne a 'back street Broadway' style small audience theatre, which will deliver plays both innovative and new from up and coming artists.
The ALEX THEATRE located in St Kilda, having just undergone a face lift, is about to introduce to Melbourne in approximately 3 weeks, this comedy play 'Hand to God'. It's style seems to me to fit the vision! Gary Abrahams, the show’s director, spent two years researching this Broadway production, aiming for a high quality outcome for this very funny story. The actual timing of this performance was altered to ensure the best Australian actors could be engaged to perform it. Although puppets are used, this is not a show for children. According to the director, it is definitely suited to those who leave their morals at home and enjoy big fast moving raunchy comedy. From what I could see, I agree with these comments as the comedy is leaning towards the dark side. The story is set in the basement of a renovated church, located in the town of Cypress, Texas USA. I had the impression that the renovation done to the basement of the church was by the church auxiliary group some time back and conflict exists between them and the puppetry group who are permitted to utilise the basement. To add to this, it appears that the puppetry director (played by Alison Whyte) has just lost her husband and is being pursued by willing suitors from this group and the church. Within this group the director’s son has an out of control puppet named Tyrone, who I can only assume, creates a lot of mischief with its own ideas.
The performance is expected to have a duration of 1.5 hrs plus an interval break. This privately funded establishment includes bar and beautiful lounge facilities. The media launch offered a short portion of this play only and having viewed this, I can reccomend a look at Hand to God, if you enjoy good inovative plays at interesting venues.
Grease, the rebellious youth in search of fun, happiness and attention. The renowned musical from Chicago returns to Australia in a revived presentation and charm. The talented team from Brisbane Academy of Musical Theatre make a colorful show with hundreds of performers on stage. The musical is based on youth subculture common in 40s – 60s America, it goes through social issues such as teenage pregnancy, gang violence, teenage rebellious behavior, search for place in life and in the workplace. The characters of the musical start off as teenage high school students full of youthful spirit and desire to do and show all the things that would seem silly or wrong as they grow up and stop by the end of the musical. The show presents a range of famous scenes and songs that finish with standing ovations and cheers of the audience. The stage is fully filled by the mass ensemble who make a joyful and well-coordinated display which has a wow effect at the start of the play. The decorations and light effects create a perfect ambience, suitable for teenage parties. Overall the expertise in musical talent and professionalism of the cast is clear and apparent. The dance choreography is at a suitable level for teenage parties but is well complimented with professional guest characters at important events. The musical is a great Australian revive of a famous musical, and it deserves interest and attention from all age groups. The attendance of the show would be a pleasure for anyone interested in modern pop and rock culture.
WONDERLAND THEATRE (AKA TIVOLI THEATER OF PANTOMIME): RED RIDING HOOD) NEW website review: Anastasia Thomas photography: Glen Wilson
“BIG BAD WOLF was in the woods again but sparkler this time” 17.01.18
We are all familiar with the story of Red Riding Hood. It’s a classic novel by Charles Perrault written in multiple interpretations but the only one plot doesn’t change - THE BIG BAD WOLF eats them all. What if we apply a modern interpretation of this story with the trendy grandma, showcasing Zumba or Red Riding Hood character trying to catch a signal of Wi-Fi in the forest? It seems unreal and humorous. The words of “Twitter” or “Amazon shopping” seem remotely related to the story. This school holidays Red Riding Hood has been introduced in Wonderland Theatre, based in Elwood, as a modern Pantomime. Funny lyrics of songs, dancing, engaging kids and parents, and the most important a BAD wolf with a fancy sparkling outfit,” Big Teeth”, a sense of humour who took the audience on a journey. Grandma, as a central character, truly made the adult viewers laugh. It was amusing to observe children sincerely believe that the Wolf was funny “Evil” until he actually “spits the grandma out”. Edgy expressions of “Muffins to be sugar and taste free” gave the dialogues multiple colors. The story twist was orientated for children yet parents wishing to gain a mini mind break during the school holidays. The actors invited kids on the stage and it built a strong foundation not just for a monologue production rather than a dialogue where all participants were a part of the plan. The final punch of live piano supported the whole performance on vibrancy. It was merely cute. Lots of new productions to come soon inWonderland Theatre! Need a short mental break and laugh, or maybe experience something different yet classic? Come to Phoenix Theatre for more. Find events schedule on: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Phoenix-Theatre/1364957263553181?rf=908464682626408
Review by Anastasia Thomas 22.01.17
WICKED NEW website review by Veronika Chekmareva
Years go by and the novelty of Wicked proves itself to be an indestructible part of our society. And the Young Australian Broadway Chorus holds the mark very high as the first Youth production ever to perform in Australia. Starting with their incredibly powerful and strong vocal and acting performances, and finishing with the incredible work of the wardrobe, decoration, light, and of course the all youth orchestra, and many more people involved in the one of a kind production BRC was lucky to witness. A special mention to the unforgettable performance of Elphaba, who is just 19 and performed all the evening sessions of the run of the musical. The wonderful and talented youth truly set the bar high for the older generations, as Wicked once again took a new face in the performance of the Chorus. An absolutely compelling performance, with the youngest member starting from 10 years of age , gets all the five stars.
photography credited: @SashaIwanick at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE PENINSULA SUMMER FESTIVAL: GYPSY MAGIC NEW website review by Jasna Duronjic
@GypsyMagic on January 7 with @SarahBedak vocals @NedadRadic drums & guitar @DavidCarr guitar Stefan Nocevski trumpet Nathan Gatt double bass
Even as a child I used to like to listen Gypsy music. There is something magical and special about this folk music and accompanied by compassionate dancing. The way the artists do the tongue-clacking, hand-clapping or simply clicking of wooden spoons and other methods to blend into the music's rythm and movements is very impressive. Lolo Lovina’s performance was a superb treat. The programme was entertaining and excellent in variety of choices and performance. I loved beautiful singing of traditional pieces with clarity of notes, diction, sensitivity and excellent expression. The music creates an unbelievable feeling inside the listeners' soul only one who experienced it can tell.. I wish I could understand that language but even without that its overall beauty and sincerity brought me to the tears of joy. I felt that the whole concert was entertaining, slick and very well delivered and polished to the perfection.
THE PENINSULA SUMMER FESTIVAL: CYRENS NEW website review by Benjamin Newall
CYRENS - The Swingin' Songbook of Cy Coleman The Peninsula Summer Music Festival. Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove, RedHill South Monday 8th Jan 2018
I imagine it could have been a mixed night for Julia Fredersdorff, founder and Artistic Director of the Peninsula Summer Music Festival. On one hand it was her final night leading the company that she had brought to life in 2008 while living in Paris, on the other, the performance, played to audiences sitting on rugs on the grass was a sell-out. Clearly the festival was a success. There is no other explanation for why people would travel to Melbourne’s outer south-east on a chilly Monday night in January. Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove, The winery where the event was held, appeared to have sold out not only the grass seating but the restaurant and Piazza café as well. Not bad for a Monday night. Frendersdorff and co-visionary Jennifer Kerr had only four objectives: To enrich the cultural and social life of the region offering affordable and accessible fine music. To engage our community with artists of renown in unique Mornington Peninsula places. To attract visitors to the region by partnering with the local business and tourism sectors. To inspire and educate young musicians of the Mornington Peninsula. Making the most of the usually good weather and high-visitation to the Peninsula each January, the Festival features Australian musicians who live overseas playing in the world’s leading ensembles and who return home at Christmas, while showcasing Australia-born, Australian-based or Australian-trained artists. Through this model, it presents world-class performances locally on the Mornington Peninsula. On this, the final night of the 2018 Festival the featured musicians were The Cyrens: Amanda Harrison (Wicked), Chelsea Renton-Gibb (Chicago) and Melissa Langton (The Fabulous Singlettes) and they were paying tribute to the work of composer Cy Coleman. Coleman was a gifted musician and composer who combined the rigour of classical music with the more free-wheeling jazz music of his time. Composer of mega-hit musicals like Sweet Charity, Barnum and City of Angels, Coleman wrote hit after hit for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey and Tony Bennett, and gave the world unforgettable standards such as The Best Is Yet To Come, Witchcraft and Big Spender. In 1980, Coleman served as producer and composer for the circus-themed Barnum, which co-starred Jim Dale and Glenn Close. Later in the decade, he collaborated on Welcome to the Club (1988) with A. E. Hotchner, and City of Angels (1989) with David Zippel. Several of the songs were familiar though it took a while to recognise some due to the unfamiliar arrangements by Mark Jones who devised the show. Others in the audience did not seem to have the same difficulty and appeared to have enjoyed the show immensely. Rhythm of Life and Don't F**k Around With Your Mother-In-Law, were definitely crowd favourites.
SO FRENCHY SO CHIC NEW website review and photos: Stuart Buchana model: Annie Maguire
Sunday the 14th of January began as a showery and cold morning. By the time we had made the easy trip out to the Werribee Park Mansion, the rain and clouds had gone and it had turned into a beautiful day. Warm with a light breeze.
Werribee park is well known for its lush lawns, and gardens and it did not disappoint. The crowds were large, but very friendly and not overpowering.
Everyone except me seemed to have remembered to bring a basket of bread, cheese and summer fruits. They had also brought a blanket to rest on and just soak up the atmosphere.
For children, there were a number of activities. The face painting was very popular as well as life size chess, walking through the gardens and wondering at the water.
For older 'girls', there was makeup, hair plaiting/braiding, and flowers for the hair.
There were plenty of food and drink stalls. So much choice!! Some of the prices appeared a little high, but the quality of all the food looked wonderful.
The music was diverse and kept the crowds involved and enjoying the day.
The whole day was filled with fun and laughter
It was a wonderful family day with lots of activities for children. I hope I can go back next year - but please remind me to take my picnic things!!!
I would particularly like to thank my trooper and model Annie. Despite illness she managed to keep fronting up for pictures and helping us to find some of the best things available on the day.
LEGENDS IN CONCERT NEW website review by Carolyn Newall
Legends in Concert The Palms at Crown January 17th 2018
From the first electrifying musical note it was clear that this was to be no ordinary tribute show. It is also no surprise that it is the first returning show featured in Crown’s premier Australian Open season.
Coming directly from Las Vegas, the 2018 show is a combination of intense energy, slick production values and mind bogglingly realistic characterisations. The ‘Legends’ portrayed this year are Tom Jones, Freddie Mercury, Whitney Houston, Cher, Lionel Richie and Dolly Parton along with returning favourites Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley. Seriously there are moments when you would swear you were watching and listening to the originals.
Legends in Concert made its Las Vegas debut in 1983 for an initial six-week run but was so successful that it has become the longest-running production in Las Vegas history. Along with the flagship show at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel, Legends in Concert travels the globe continuously, playing on cruise ships, in theatres, casinos and various entertainment venues.
The show is lavish and makes the very most of multi-media, lighting and staging but it is the quality of the performances that make it outstanding. From the main characters through to the musicians, the back-up singers and the dancers every performance is high calibre. Indeed the dancers blew me away. The same troupe for all the performers they had a huge number of dances to learn and I never saw a wane in energy or a flaw in choreography. They were sensational.
While I was impressed by all the performers, beginning with David Lawrence’s highly energetic opening as Lionel Richie, the standouts for me were Australian John Blunt as the voice of Freddie Mercury and the stage presence of Damian Brantley as Michael Jackson.
Blunt, frontman for the Brisbane band Killer Queen and the only performer to come out unscathed from ITV’s docudrama, The Great Pretender: Freddie Mercury Revealed, is perfect. As a raving Queen fan this was always going to be the performance I most wanted to be great and I was not disappointed. My only disappointment was that the performers didn’t come out after the show for photos. Apparently, they will on other nights. The cast gave an excellent rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody.
Brantley has been working on perfecting his Michael Jackson for many years and has the mannerisms and moves as well as the voice down pat. His really was a standout performance.
It was my first time at The Palms at Melbourne’s Crown Casino and the venue did not disappoint. Acoustics were really good and the seating at booths and tables was reminiscent of those cabaret scenes from old movies. It made for an even more comfortable experience. Though I would suggest a few more seating options in the foyer before the show. The natural audience of Legends are not as fit as they once were.
Legends in Concert is a really good night out; fabulous music which leaves you feeling energised and optimistic. What more can you ask for?
SAND SCULPTING FRANKSTON: ALADDIN AND ARABIAN TALE NEW website review: Bryanna Reynolds photography: Brett Styles
REVIEW: Sand Sculpting Frankston By Bryanna Reynolds
The Sand Sculpting Exhibition on the Frankston waterfront is one opportunity you don't want to miss out on seeing! Within a 40 minute drive of Melbourne’s CBD you can find your way down to a new world of magical discovery.
From the moment you step into the exhibition you are surrounded by beautiful pieces of artwork in the form of sand sculptures. It truly needs to be seen to be believed.
The sculptures took over 5000 hours to carve by a team of 20 people over a period of 30 days, simply amazing! So have some wishes ready for when it comes the magical genie.
The festival combines a sense of magical feelings through its theme of Aladdin and the Arabian Nights. If you are a fan of Aladdin and the wonderful adventures he takes with his forty thieves then every laneway nook and cranny you walk past will have you bewildered.
If the tales of Aladdin aren't for you then have no fear as you will be able to pick up on the tales of Sinbad the Sailor as well as Alibaba.
There are an assortment of laneways and paths to make your way through so make sure to meander through the exhibition.
If you get tired of walking there are interactive opportunities for big kids and little kids to have a go at sand sculpting or get a face painting.
It is perfect for taking pictures and there are ever present opportunities for social media. So make sure to take along a camera and have your phone handy to snap a pic. You definitely won’t regret it. Needless to say the organisers of the festival have included many instagram worthy opportunities.
The Festival runs from December 2017 - April 2018 so make sure to organise a group of friends and family to check it out whilst its in Melbourne.
I would recommend this festival for anyone who likes spending time with friends and family in a fun atmosphere where you can let loose your imagination. Tickets are on sale through the website sandsculpting.com.au, make sure to book before sold out. Every year the festival gets better and better and I can honestly say that having seen the festival the last two years.
THE GREATEST LOVE OF ALL - WHITNEY HOUSTON SHOW website review by Carolyn Newall
The Greatest Love of All: The Whitney Houston Show Athenaeum Theatre, 11th to 27thJan. 2018 There are good reasons why Belinda Davids won the BBC ONE’s Even Better than the Real Thing, an award which showcases the best musical tribute acts in the UK. She may not actually be better than Whitney Houston but it would have been hard for them to find someone who is as close to being equal.
Davids makes no attempt to impersonate Houston, rather she chooses to present her as she was “at the top of her game.” That Davids is uniquely qualified to do this is without question. Not only does she share the same remarkable vocal range but also she has been a fan of Houston since she began singing in her early teens in South Africa.
The Greatest Love of All: The Whitney Houston Show is in its fifth year of touring, including performances in the US, Canada, UK, Europe, South Africa, Asia, UAE, New Zealand and Australia. That it can still fill houses in return seasons owes much to Davids’ talent and ability to channel Houston while remaining herself.
There were moments during Didn’t We Almost Have It All and the shows title song that I was aware of the differences between Davids and Houston. What exactly those differences are I am not completely sure. Perhaps a softness and pleading quality to the originals that I did not pick up this time, though it is difficult to remember whether I am comparing a recording to a live performance which is always tricky.
I have to say that I found the dancers to be very distracting. Not quite in sync and too obvious when dressed in white, they were a little jarring. Perhaps it was the style of the dances that was so very different from the spontaneous and enthusiastic dancing of the audience.
For those who love the music of Whitney Houston this concert will be a treat not to be missed. The two hour show includes all of Houston’s greatest hits including I Will Always Love You, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, How Will I Know, One Moment in Time, I Have Nothing, Run to You, Didn’t We Almost Have It All, Greatest Love of All, I’m Every Woman, Queen of the Night, Exhale (Shoop Shoop) and more.
The show is playing at the Athenaeum until January 27th before heading of on tour around Australia and New Zealand during February.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND LIVE ON STAGE website review by Sam Bell
In 1865 Lewis Carrol published a book about a young girl falling down a rabbit hole and experiencing a chaotic adventure the likes of which the world had never seen. In the years following, the tale has taken on many forms as it is told through nearly every lens imaginable; from comic strips, books and graphic novels, to music, television, cinema and even video games. It is on the stage though, that Rapidfire International brings their telling to life. Not through song and dance, as many Disney fans may expect, and not through outrageous prop reliance as many may think necessary, but rather through a thorough exploration of Lewis Carrols language and literary prose.
The absurdity of the plot and lack of any semblance of literary structure makes for an anarchic performance, with one scene seeming to bleed into the next with no real sense of consistency. That is not to say that the plays disjunction in any way minimizes the wonder of the performance, or the awesome power of it’s tale. Quite the opposite in fact, the topsy-turvy nature of the show only highlights the skills of it’s performers and of it’s director as they keep us in the loop through what should by all rights be an unintelligible performance. There are some issues with the plays pacing, as some scenes are extended beyond suitability in order to delve into the lyrical fancy of the source material, while others are brushed over almost incidentally.
The performers do their best, from Georgina Walker’s somewhat unbalanced Alice, to Karen Crone’s emotional mad hatter; the performers all gives their all in what must be demanding roles. The stand out of the show has to be Simon Burvill-Homes’s zealous Queen of hearts, rarely has the line “off with their heads!” been shouted with such upbeat perkiness. The exuberance and cheer, prevalent throughout all the performances were not always met with assent though as some of the more impassioned scenes had a tendency to come across as almost condescending in their sickly sweet tones. Combined with the use of puppets throughout the play, it did gives the show a far more child centric nature than was perhaps necessary given the vocabulary used.
Alice in Wonderland is a romp through one of histories most ludicrous tales. While it is based of a somewhat dark story, the fantastical attitude it is told with and the sheer dedication to the poetry and farcical nature of it’s source material make it safe for the whole family. Ironically, it is the youngest viewers that are likely to understand the play best; without having to appreciate the lyrical tone to the script, they understand that sometimes caterpillars can be grumpy, playing cards can be scary, and sometimes you just get lost in a dream. In many ways, Alice in wonderland is the perfect choice for families with younger children, as not only is the plot self-explanatory to the active imagination of youth, but the vibrant colours and exuberant performances are reminiscent of most child centric entertainment. With a one hour runtime to boot, the plays breakneck pace is liable to keep even the most easily distracted of children in their seats for the duration.
To sum it up, Alice is Wonderland is a somewhat middling performance, unlikely to be to the tastes of the more critical viewers, but perfectly acceptable for the younger audience. It is not a show I would take a date to, or see with an adult group. I would however recommend it to families with young children, looking for an activity to do with the kids, or even as an introduction to theatre.
review by Max Lyons
Theatre Review: Alice in Wonderland – Live on Stage By Maxwell Lyons
Alice(’s Adventures) in Wonderland is one of those universal stories that has captivated audiences worldwide in some form or another, whether it be the original 1865 literary classic by Lewis Carroll, the childishly morbid animated movie from Walt Disney productions, or the more recent 2010 live-action adaptation starring Johnny Depp (and its questionably ‘necessary’ sequel). It is one of those tales that seems timeless, and so is told time and time again through adaptation upon adaptation. So here we are, 153-years since its inception, with another retelling of Alice’s Wonderland adventures, this time “live on stage”.
Adapted and directed by Penny Farrow, Alice in Wonderland: Live on Stage showcases a theatrical retelling of the story of Alice and her journey down the rabbit hole to Wonderland. Coming straight from its success in New York, the show presents a condensed one-hour production with no intervals. More akin to recent adaptations, the show is intended for children and families, but is said to be enjoyable for all – I disagree, but we’ll get to that soon enough. Furthermore, an interesting point to note is also Farrow’s gender-bender-esk twist on the classic story and its portrayal, casting a male lead as the Queen of Hearts and female actors for the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, Tweedle Dee, and Tweedle Dum.
I must commend the cast of the show for their efforts. With only eight members in total, it was certainly an impressive feat for them to display such diversity in portraying all the characters that made up both the shows key players and the supporting accompaniments. Notable performances were those of Simon Burville-Holmes as the vociferous Queen of Hearts, and Karen Crone as the lovably absurd Mad Hatter. Though unfortunately, compared to the impeccable performances of these two seasoned veterans the inexperienced nature of the remaining cast members was rather apparent. Not to say they were bad performances, just that they seemed rather contrived and lacked authenticity.
Set design was minimal – a static backdrop, a table and some stools, and a mushroom-head-shaped table cover for select scenes. It was enough to carry the story, but nothing to rave about. Props were of a similar minimal nature, but again, they were effective enough. In terms of costume design, they were all quite lavish and rather fitting of the historical era and general conception of Wonderland attire. Though as a whole everything was rather drab. It lacked any form of vibrancy or wonder, and detracted from the bizarrely romantic ambiance that was Wonderland.
Now let’s talk about the actual story. True to the novel, the show embodies an alluringly niche genre of literary, and theatrical, nonsense, doing everything in its power to break away from the traditional narrative structure and logical sequencing of events. The plot is perplexing at best with but a fine line of thread connecting the scenes and characters to one another, the dialogue is an intertwine of irrational thoughts placing greater emphasis on syntactical word-play than actual definition, and the characters themselves are both boisterous and timid in an unpredictably capricious nature. Beyond being illogical, it didn’t know what it wanted to be. Comedy? Tragedy? Melodrama? There were elements of all, yet it culminated to none.
To its further discredit, amongst all this madness there seemed to be little to sustain the audience’s emotion. Everyone had a seemingly singular role to play and there was nothing to connect to, feel for, or empathise with. Should I have felt sorry for Alice having to put up with the irrationality of her new surroundings, or contemptuous at the queen blindingly throwing beheadings to all who oppose her wishes, or suspenseful for the potential execution of the woman on trial at the end? In the end I wasn’t sure and so just did not care! I was not interested, I was not entertained, and I did not enjoy it, and that ultimately sums up my experience of the show.
Alice in Wonderland: Live on Stage is a wildly nonsensical show that fails to capture the magic of what made the original story so widely popular. On paper it may be true to the source material, but in performance it lacked substance and entertainment value. It may be intended for a younger, more childlike audience, but that should not be a limiting factor for its general viewership, and on that front, I would not recommend it. Not to children. Not to families. Not to adults. And DEFINITELY NOT to the lovers of Carroll’s acclaimed literary masterpiece.
The show is being marketed with the quote “The most HILARIOUS madcap FUN” (Broadway World), but to this end I would have to disagree on all fronts. I found it to be neither funny nor fun, and in terms of madcap – defined as amusingly eccentric – well, eccentric it may be, but amusing it is most certainly not.
review by Dina Gavrilova
Alice in Wonderland
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland… One of the most iconic pieces of writing across the globe. No matter in which part of the world you grew up, it is still a benchmark for finding ‘right’ type of people. Who knows how many adaptations for stage, movies or cartoons it has withstood during its 150 years of existence. Some of them we remember forever as they determine our perception and force us to go back and reevaluate things again and again.
However, all the above is not applicable to the current performance at the Athenaeum Theatre. That would’ve come as a surprise if any kid could be inspired and thrilled by this performance. The program promises ‘a handful of brilliant actors and puppeteers’ whereas only two in fact. Two actors Simon Burvill-Holmes and Karen Crone who performed so genuinely that literally saved the show. As to the puppets, their necessity as such should be questioned in the first place as well as their aesthetic appeal.
There are many more things to argue in regards the show given its positioning but I’ll mention the only one. If you decided to introduce children to the theatre and picked this show, don’t be surprised later on if they refuse to see anything else. Unfortunately, it doesn’t keep magic alive throughout the performance.
The National Gallery of Victoria presents more and more diverse and alluring exhibitions of classical art: The House of Dior, Hokusai, Van Gogh and The Seasons etc. In these terms, Triennial stands apart as exhibits contemporary art. Uniting more than 100 artists from 32 countries, it establishes new global-relevant standards of quality confirming again the title of Victoria as the most creative state.
A lot could’ve been written discussing curatorial decisions regarding selection of art works, their compatibility etc. However, I’m sure that it is more valuable to actually visit this exhibition (especially since it’s free admission) and make up your own mind as the experience is definitely worth it.
But as to be fair I will outline a few highlights from the Triennial. To start from the very beginning, Eternity-Buddha in Nirvana should be mentioned. Enormous Buddha with Greco-Roman and Renaissance sculptures on the top makes an indelible impression. And even though you’ll have to hustle among those taking photos, you’d better stop and have a look as the attempt of Chinese artist Xu Zhen to establish a conversation between East and West deserves to be digested properly. Yes, the idea is not a brand new one. However, the implementation is intriguing: Western sculptures forming the pediment of the temple and the Buddha as the pedestal tells a lot about the correlations between Western and Eastern cultures.
Once you’re lucky enough to go through the crowd, there is an installation not far from the entrance made by Pae White. This hall tied with acrylic threads unimaginably questions your sense of space and reality. It would seem, what such a thin thread can do? And it turns out – a lot, blurring the borders and walls of this labyrinth, leaving up to an audience to figure out what is what.
The next point on the exhibition map I’d designate Moving creates Vortices and Vortices create Movement by TeamLab. Going into that hall, one should be really careful as despite the ephemerality of tools the effect is absolutely tangible. If you ever been tortured by a question like ‘why Van Gogh’s stars are depicted that way and not another’ or ‘what feels a person sucked into a black hole’, then this hall is created for you! Dizziness because of irreality and butterflies in the stomach are provided.
And one more project which should be mentioned (without detracting merits of others). It is called Draped marble by Analia Saban. It is four marble ‘rugs’ hanging on wooden trestle. The idea is as simple as brilliant. Totally atypical choice of material breaks all the possible expectations and delivers a deep aesthetic pleasure from destruction and creation at the same time.
All in all, if you haven’t seen Triennial so far – hurry up! It is an absolute must-see exhibition especially for those who have at least an embryo of interest in contemporary arts.
AN INTERVIEW AHEAD OF SO FRENCHY SO CHIC website run by Bryanna Reynolds
INTERVIEW: One on One with FÉFÉ...
In the lead up to ‘So Frenchy So Chic’ Bryanna Reynolds had a talk with long time SFSC favourite, the Nigerian-born, French rapper FÉFÉ. He will take to the stage with a brand new repertoire of chic Afro-influenced beats. Performing tracks from his 2017 album Mauve. Féfé will leave his audiences moving with his rhythmic repertoire and signature style, joy and je ne sais quoi.
B: How did you first get into music. What inspired you? F: I use to be a good mathematician and student then little by little... I started studying music for fun.
B: Where did you grow up? F: At the age of seven I went to live in England for one year and I also went to Nigeria for a month and I think the trip from when I was seven years old really opened my eyes. I grew up in the French ghetto and travelling taught me there was more to the world than my ghetto.
B: Do you have a favourite genre of music? F: It is very difficult to choose and say there is one genre of music that I prefer. You’re going to love some artist’s. I love art and music in general. I can love classic songs for the vibe it gives me at one moment and then love a rock song. I honestly try but my favourite music would be black music, jazz, soul, rock and anything that has rhythm and moves.
B: Can you tell me about your upcoming performance and what the audience will take away from the performance. F: Usually when I come to this show I don't have any ideas about how it will be because there are going to be different people. I always go there with a free mind. What I would like the audience to go back with would be good vibes. That's what I love about life, is feeling the moment and letting it take over.
B: Do you have any goals for the future, is there something you want to achieve through your music? F: Yeah of course, when I was twenty years old I wanted to change the world and I still want to do that with my music. I want to open their minds, I want them to evolve. I am trying to be a part of that movement.
photos from So Frenchy So Chic - year 2016 by Arastou Mirshahi
ABBA SHOW website review and photography by Carolyn Newall
There are two kinds of tribute show. One is often uncomfortable the other is pure fun.
In one kind, the performers take it very seriously and want us to suspend disbelief and imagine that we are seeing the original. These can be problematic as every little inconsistency is noted and jars.
The better kind is a salute to the original. The cast know that we know that they are not who they are pretending to be. Everyone knows so inconsistencies don’t matter so much. If accents are geographically hard to pin down and movements are not exactly as remembered it doesn’t matter. Actually, it can add to the fun. The cast are released to play with the material and offer the audience an evening of entertainment delight.
The ABBA Show, currently playing at the Athenaeum in Melbourne is definitely the second kind. Bohemian Rhapsody were fortunate to get tickets for the performance and it was the most fun I have had in a while.
Were there elements of the show that were less than perfect? Yes. Did Hannah Pocock and Jenna Ball appear even more intensely mobile than I remember Agnetha and Frida being? Yes also. But it didn’t matter. When conservative looking senior citizens suddenly stand independently and rock to the music with total abandon you know that the performers are doing something right. The show made me happy and entertainment doesn’t always achieve that.
Even more delightful was seeing these same seniors rocking along beside their grown children. It reminded me of just how successful ABBA have been at appealing to successive generations.
The secret of course is the music and it was certainly the star of the show. I had forgotten how many of the songs I actually knew and could remember the words to. Mamma Mia, Dancing Queen, Fernando, Knowing Me Knowing You, Ring Ring and The Winner Takes It All were among the many. However, very fittingly the show ended with the song that summed up the entire experience, the iconic 1977 hit, Thank You for the Music.
As the lyrics point out, the music brings joy and that is something we all need more of.
Hannah Pocock and Jenna Ball are joined by Cameron Charters as Björn and Brent McMullen as Benny and a really good band. Together they offer a high energy, two-hour concert experience complete with detailed replica costumes and a photo gallery of the original band in their heyday.
If you get the chance to see this show, take it. It will make you happy.
Myself and the friend who accompanied me were singing Thank you for the Music in our heads for a long time after.
Carolyn Newall For Bohemian Rhapsody.
THE TUDOR CHORISTERS website review by Bryanna Reynolds
REVIEW: The Tudor Choristers By Bryanna Reynolds
Bohemian Rhapsody Club were lucky enough to attend a magnificent performance by ‘The Tudor Choristers’ at Our Lady of Victories Basilica in Camberwell, Melbourne.
The group is comprised of a range of choir singers who believe in the notion of unaccompanied music hailing from Melbourne, Australia.
When it comes to this time festive time of the year sometimes we lose track of what is really important. What the Tudor Choristers remind you of, is that it is important to spend time with others and simply romance in the notion of good old music and engagement.
The notion of the performance was to celebrate not only Christmas carols but also traditional music, so that all were included. For someone who isn't very religious it was a beautiful tradition to be a part of.
The choir allowed and urged us to sing along to popular tunes and it was truly breathtaking. I haven't been to the carols in a very long time and this performance reminded me of my childhood.
The voices of the choir filled the beautiful location and illuminated off of the interior walls. It was very reminiscent of Italy and really had a feel about it that you must simply be a part of if you get the chance.
Imagine a christmas carol evening just like out of the movies with everyone simply coming together, leaving their troubles behind and enjoying the very moment of a christmas song.
I can't wait to see what The Tudor Choristers get up to next and I for one will be following their journey. If you ever get the chance to experience one of their performances, i highly recommend it, take along some friends and family and make an evening of it.
MORE TELEMANN CONCERT website review by Nina Tunaley
MORE TELEMANN CONCERT - ****
That was a beautiful concert on the 10th December in the St Johns Southgate.The Melbourne Musicians under the direction of Frank Pam performed three Mannheim symphonies by Johann Stamitz and a number of Telemannpieces which are seldom heard at large concert performances. Tania De Jong started the concert with her beautiful soprano performing Ombra mai fu from Xerxes by George Frideric Handel. It was a very pleasant experience which I would recommend to anyone who needed some down time without much fuss. All performers were highly capable and professional in this ensemble and it was not hindered by being too large, as the audience became involved with the players and humorous interjections – I myself, not being musically gifted, had no idea that an opera piece was written about the death of a canary! How did I know this; as the story was sung by a fine Soprano in the German language? Frank had carefully provided an English translation of the piece which he had done himself! You do not get that type of service at a performance very often. Frank in the introduction to the performance mentioned that the second piece they were going to play involved a trumpet. As we were in a small auditorium I thought that this would be over powering. Wrong; I became introduced to a piccolo trumpet with a very fine player Mark Fitzpatrick. The sounds from this instrument were really magic, well done! I did enjoy this afternoon concert and suggest you log on to their website at www.melbournemusicians.com and catch a session or two.
WICKED - THE MUSICAL SYDNEY website review by Ivan Lubkov
Wicked – The Untold story of the Witches of Oz The story of the Land of Oz which has been shown and told to people around the world for more than hundred years returns in a grand production from the Manly Musical Society. The magical land has allowed countless stories and legends to reach children’s books, TV shows, Hollywood films and specifically Broadway theatrical performances. One such production is Wicked, the untold story of the Witches of oz. The show has been a great success and has reached the top 3 Broadway musical shows ranked by revenue. The only performance that surpasses Wicked is the Lion King. Manly Musical Society has taken up the task of producing great musicals in Australia and beyond. The quality of the music and theatricalfinesse of the teamconfidently matches the top Broadway performances. The production might receive less attention in advertisements but it is clearly is on par with the US counterparts when it comes to the professional show and entertainment. Elphaba, the Wicket witch of the East has been a character that has symbolized evil and oppression in the first stories of Oz. She has been the target of hatred and acts of chevalier adventurers aiming to defeat her. The story of Wicket is a prequel to the first series of tales about Dorothy and the Wizard Oz. The plot of the musical uncovers the true intentions and history of the rebellious character Elphaba who was wrongfully portrayed as evil in the magic land. In essence the story is about a vigilante who stands by her ideas and wishes to show the society all the wrongdoings and oppressions in her land. The Manly Musical Society has presented a fascinating work. Anyone interested in musicals should definitely save the schedule of the shows produced by the team. The quality of the performance is something to be cherished and admired.
YOTHU YINDI ANF THE TREATY PROJECT website review by Max Davine
Yothu Yindi and The Treaty Project At Croxton Band Room Max Davine
Just going to throw it out there: digeridoos rock. Check out Goanna’s “Solid Rock”, if you don’t think so. How well the haunting gravel of the didge compliments the electric guitar. Yothu Yindi were more than just a band. They were a cultural movement, way ahead of their time. While Midnight Oil were still establishing themselves, Yothu Yindi were a group formed of genuine Indigenous Australians (largely of the Yolngu Nation) and a few balanda (Non-Indigenous Australians), from a band formerly known as The Swamp Jockeys. Their most famous song, “Treaty”, is still largely played today, and its Filthy Lucre remix has lost none of its dance club appeal since it peaked at No. 11 back in 1991. They brought the world a unique combination of electronic and traditional instruments, from keyboards to clapsticks, and brought the powerful, haunting sounds of the great, red land to the mainstream. While Ross Edwards and Stephen Leek had created classical music amongst that vein, nobody had, nor has anyone since, given the unique and indescribably beautiful Indigenous Australian musical culture such a vast and accessible platform. Sadly, frontman Manadwuy Yunupingu passed away in 2013, aged only 56. Yothu Yindi and the Treaty Project was formed with the help of producer Gavin Campbell, whose Razor Recordings have released the new remix pack, as well as producing some originals in celebration of the original band, to mark the 25th anniversary of “Treaty”, and brought their unique, revolutionary sound to the Croxton Band Room on November 19th. It was an event to remember, as it demonstrated more than anything the timeless quality of the band, and the universal appeal of their message and sounds. What greater message of reconciliation and friendship is there, after all, than a band formed of both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous musicians, creating culture and celebration together, sharing a stage, bringing black and white to their venues and combining the ethereal power of tradition with the raw energy of contemporary dance. Yothu Yindi are as relevant today as they ever were, and that they have been around for so long is testament to their originality, their courage, and their artisanship. Yothu Yindi and the Treaty Project are a new beginning for that original vision, catapulting these landmark recordings into a new generation.
NICA - PLEASE HOLD website review: Bryanna Reynolds
REVIEW: Please Hold By Bryanna Reynolds
“A refreshing take on performance art involving everyday sounds of Melbourne”
Bohemian Rhapsody were lucky enough to attend the National Institute of Circus Arts to preview the showcase performance of the third year students.
The moment you entered through the doors of NICA the students were on stage practicing. You could say it was a very relaxed production and it felt like you could easily connect with them (the students) during the performance. Once everyone was seated the students continued to practice and then it became apparent that this was actually all a part of the performance.
Before we knew it Katherine Martin was walking through the crowd and interviewing people. This theme of interviewing continued through the first segment where she then proceeded to walk through her classmates and ask them questions about what they were doing and how they got to be so talented. It was a refreshing take on performance art and it really settled the audience into the show.
Just like any performance there were times of laughter, fear, excitement and death defying moments. At one stage a large number of students were suspended on ropes from the roof surrounding Ella Bartilomo. I remember Ela from her previous performance and she has most definitely upped her game of performance and death defying stunts that leave you on the edge of your seat.
I would like to make note that this performance was more tame than other performance I have seen at NICA and it was very calming in a way and aesthetically pleasing. It is obvious the director Kate Champion is always coming up with new ways to bring out the best in terms of performance art with the students of NICA. Director Kate Champion describes the show as being a depiciton of the outside world that awaits the students.
Elements of comedy are present and there is a hilarious stunt with audio from a centrelink recording and the students waiting on hold. It's the quirky little touches that Kate and the students have involved in the performance that really make it special and unique to their own experiences whilst studying.
I would definitely recommend seeing a NICA performance and seeing the talented work being produced at the early stage of the students careers. There are sure to be some big names coming out of NICA and into the performance world internationally.
Please Hold is playing at the National Institute Of Circus Arts (NICA) from the 29th November to the 9th of December so make sure to get your tickets before they sell out.
MISTERMAN website review by Dina Gavrilova
Nearly 20 years ago Enda Walsh wrote the play called ‘Misterman’ and now it’s been staged here in Melbourne by FizzWack Theatre and directed by Kris Weber.
Inheriting to Samuel Beckett, another renowned Irish play writer, Enda Walsh examines peoples’ boundaries. This time it is an exploration of how dogma can affect human’s mind. Determining the only possible way to exist, it takes the slightest deviation to the side to plunge one into the state of panic. A human who lost everything and everyone loses control over the whole life and therefore tries to find support in faith which he turns into the rigid dogma.
It is evident that the play requires a lot from the cast, especially from the actor as he’s supposed to captivate audience’s attention throughout the whole time alone. And Travis Handcock done this brilliantly! The tension does not weaken even for a moment and mise en scenes with him flouncing about in an agony and running in the loops of mental labyrinth simply shiver the spine.
All in all, this production is such an experience which one won’t forget for a long time as it appeals to every sense and lifts from the bottom of the soul things which one never could’ve expected to find in there.
TELSTRA PERTH FASHION FESTIVAL 2017 NOVEMBER: RESORT AND SWIMWEAR SERIES website review and photos: Manish Bolla
Venue : Perth City Beach Date : 26th November 2017 WA Fashion Council 2017 Swim and Resort Series by WA Designer Runway and Camilla - Rio with Love WA DESIGNER RUNWAY Spectacular runway presented by finest local designers including Morrison, SKYE & Staghorn, SEI Bella Aqua Wear, Ocean Zone, Amore + Sorvete, Kirrikin, House of SKYE and Ambra Madden. Afternoon was set by some spectacular swim and resort wear on a runway over looking city beach front. There is a reason Perth is hub of some amazing swim wear design and ready to wear Resort wear and is definitely a swim wear capital of Australia CAMILLA: From Rio With Love Ever since the release of her first kaftan, designer Camilla Franks’ name has become synonymous with resort wear not just in Australia but across the globe. Bohemian at heart, the brand has pioneered a vibrant aesthetic that is immediately recognisable. Every collection speaks of a journey to a faraway place and the SS17/18 offering, From Rio With Love, is no different, shining with the joyous carnival atmosphere of Brazil’s capital. Infused with Samba soul, the garments flow as if powered by music and dance, with dresses, kaftans, bikinis and accessories embodying an eclectic vibe in a kaleidoscope of colour. Personnel Observations - This year's Swim and Resort run showcased the most vibrant colours as summer approach. Guests and patrons were dressed in most spectacular ready to wear designs with gold and Orange as prominent colors. Not sure if making a statement is an understament. Mens resort were floral and nature prints... There were designs showcased for all shapes and sizes with some local aboriginal influence on prints. Brazilian designer Camilla stole the show with some amazing vibrant designs and prominent bold colours. With samba and drum rolling the runway was truly not to be missed event.
ARTVO EXHIBITION website review by Bryanna Reynolds
REVIEW: Artvo By Bryanna Reynolds
Bohemian Rhapsody Club were lucky enough to get a sneak peek look at Artvo in Docklands, Melbourne. Artvo is an immersive gallery experience where you can insert yourself into life size paintings.
From the moment we entered the doors of Artvo, we were greeted and welcomed into the space with a delicious beverage.
Then we were taken into a practice room where the lovely guides explained the exhibition and showed us how to take photos at each portrait. They even included details like whether to take the picture portrait or landscape which was very handy. After the induction you are free to roam the rooms and coridoor’s.
Each corridor had a different theme to it, including famous classic paintings, underwater themes, jungle themes and wonders of the world which included the Taj Mahal.
And for any aussies who haven't travelled Australia there are some Aussie themed paintings so you can insert yourself into a pic of Uluru or a paper plane over the Sydney Opera House.
One of my favourites was the flying carpet portrait where Egyptian ruins were featured in the background, it really felt like you were in a different time and place.
If you love feeling dizzy and out of this world, there is an out of space room where you can be the king of the world as well as an optical illusion room where things get a little trippy.
One of the crowd pleasers was definetly standing in the palm of King Kong and living out a movie fantasy.
If you have ever wanted to feel like a celebrity there are portraits for paparazzi and you can even insert yourself onto the front page of a magazine.
And don't worry if you get lost along the way, there are tv screens to guide you and teach you how to pose throughout the experience.
If you feel like taking your experience home with you at the end of the experience there is also an opportunity to get your favourite print on an item such as phone related accessories.
This is definitely a family friendly experience that I would recommend taking the whole family along to or a special date for a fun time.
WAITING FOR GODOT website review by Dina Gavrilova
Waiting for Godot by Wits’ End
What is so appealing about postmodern play is the fact that it could be interpreted in many ways. Some may say that it is about wars, revolutions and other historical turning points. Others might argue that the main point in Christian values and searching for God. At last, someone may see him or herself as in a mirror waiting for incomprehensible Godot who will appear and change everything in the unfulfilled life.
Undoubtedly, a director’s genius is in the originality of interpretation, in shifting the angle of perception. Whereas an actor’s genius is in impersonation. An ideal production happens when all these pieces come together: solid literature basement, authentic insight and actors’ skills coupled with genuine passion. If any of the above is missing, there is no room for unimpeachable, unfortunately. A play might be called ‘well, thoroughly made’ but epithet ‘brilliant’ is incongruous.
Regrettably, ‘Waiting for Godot’ is the exact case. It would seem, very experienced actors are involved, even those who’ve done this characters before; tremendous play with great potential; proper costumes, props, set up, space etc. Nevertheless, it was impossible to get rid of the feeling that something’s missing and hence everything’s falling apart. The ‘chemistry’ on the stage was missing… that elusive thing which tightens in a black hole and real world disappears for a while. For the sake of justice, it should be mentioned though that Richard Bligh (Pozzo) and Tom Considine (Lucky) desperately tried to save the performance but it wasn’t enough.
As one of the famous Russian actresses said half of the century ago ‘One should live on the stage rather than act’.