A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER NEW website review by Alex First at MAPT published with permission of the author
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (The Production Company), as reviewed by Alex First
What a delight. Time just zipped by in this cleverly conceived and executed comedy, which is making its Australian debut.
With book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and music and lyrics by Steven Lutvak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder opened on Broadway in November 2013, going on to win four Tony Awards the following year.
They included Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Direction and Best Costume Design.
The setting is a penitentiary in 1909, where Lord Montague "Monty" D'Ysquith Navarro, Ninth Earl of Highhurst (Chris Ryan), is writing his memoirs on the eve of his possible execution.
He maintains it is the truth and nothing but the truth of what happened to him and what he did, a story that could be called “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”.
We cut to 1907 when Monty arrives home to a shabby flat, having just buried his mother, a lady who washed clothes to try to eke out a living.
He receives a visit from a mysterious woman, Miss Marietta Shingle (Nancye Hayes), who maintains she was his mother’s good friend.
She reveals to a gob smacked Monty that his mum was in fact a member of the aristocratic D’Ysquith family, but that she was cut off when she eloped with a Spanish musician (who has also passed away).
Miss Shingle says while Monty’s mother wanted to spare her son any shame, he is – in fact – ninth in line to become the Earl of Highhurst.
Not surprisingly, Monty writes to the family he doesn’t know he was a part of and is rebuffed, but he persists … and soon enough he comes face to face with a number of the D’Ysquiths.
As the title of musical suggests, Monty hatches a plan to knock off the eight D’Ysquiths ahead of him in the pecking order and before you know it, he is doing just that, in hilarious fashion.
At the same time, he has his eye on two ladies.
One – Sibella Hallward (Alinta Chidzey) – ditched him earlier to marry another man of higher social standing, but she and Monty are still on more than speaking terms.
The other, Phoebe D’Ysquith (Genevieve Kingsford), is the wife (later widow) of a distant cousin.
Hijinks and mayhem abound in this uproarious piece of musical theatre, with no shortage of laugh aloud material. Some of the musical numbers and spoken interchanges are truly delightful.
Mitchell Butel is magnificent playing no less than eight roles as respective D’Ysquiths – both men and women – about to meet their maker. What a treat! He has a wow of a time, as do we watching.
With a glint in his eye, Chris Ryan has a grand time of it too, as his character literally getting away with murder in the most ridiculous of circumstances.
Using video technology, the staging to capture the Victorian theatre atmosphere is delightful (the set designer is Christina Smith), so too Dana Jolly’s choreography and Isaac Lummis’ costumes.
To give you some idea, Mitchell Butel has more than 16 costume, wig and makeup changes (a number in under 30 seconds), plus a dedicated backstage team of three to help him with his lightning transformations.
That is not to overlook the musical direction by Kellie Dickerson and the incomparable direction of The Production Company’s founding director Roger Hodgman.
Two hours five minutes (excluding interval) in duration, the 11-strong cast do a wonderful job bringing to life a tall tale, indeed, that brought with it intense viewing pleasure.
I loved every moment of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which is on at The Playhouse at Arts Centre Melbourne until 18th November, 2018.
ASTROMAN NEW website review by Alex First at MAPT published with permission of the author
Astroman, at Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne, as reviewed by Alex First
A feel good, knockabout Aussie comedy with dramatic undertones, Astroman really comes into its own in the second act.
Set in 1984, it centres around a smart, video game-loving 13-year-old indigenous kid, Jiembra Djalu (Kamil Ellis).
He and his footy playing twin, Sonny (Calen Tassone), their 16-year-old sister Natalie (Tahlee Fereday) and mother Michelle (Elaine Crombie) – who won’t stand for any backchat and is determined to bring them up correctly – have moved to Victoria’s biggest regional city, Geelong.
They were forced to do so after an incident involving Jiembra in Townsville.
His dad, an engineer, has remained up north for work.
A good kid at heart, let’s just say Jiembra doesn’t always speak the truth or do the right thing.
He has a bit of a mischievous and rebellious streak.
Jiembra and his brother are frequently picked on and bullied by a local lad, Mick Jones (Nicholas Denton), who is not afraid of throwing a punch.
That lands Jones in hot water with Greek widower Mr Pavlis (Tony Nikolakopoulos), who owns and runs the local video game parlour, which the boys regularly frequent.
Mr Pavlis is a kind-hearted man who has his own issues.
After an episode involving Jones, the brothers and a stolen bicycle, Mr Pavlis finds himself driving the twins home.
Next thing you know, Jimebra is spending an increasing amount of time at the video arcade, now fixing the machines as well as playing them.
Mr Pavlis becomes a mentor to Jiembra, whose high school teacher also recognises his above average abilities.
It becomes a question of how to keep Jiembra on the straight and narrow and capitalise upon his innate strengths.
Astroman is a grounded coming of age tale set in a time before political correctness, which unfolds with a lot of love and laughter.
The first act establishes who’s who and what they are up to, while the second gives us closure, focusing upon Jiembra realising – or at least putting himself in the position to realise – his full potential.
It is the deft writing (think of the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding with a decidedly Australian flavour) – including the smart one liners – by Albert Belz and larger than life characters that are the making of Astroman.
All the latter are well realised.
I was particularly taken by Tony Nikolakopoulos, who displays vulnerability and strength in his portrayal of the Astrocade (as the games parlour is known) proprietor.
His was the most nuanced performance ... and with it we gained real insight into his suffering.
Elaine Crombie’s pragmatic, tough love portrayal as the mother – displayed with humorous interchanges and no-nonsense instructions – also strikes a chord.
Incidentally, Crombie also plays a second outrageous role as a video game competitor.
Kamil Ellis’ live wire showing as the play’s centrepiece is nothing to be sneezed at either.
His feisty sister may not be asked to do as much, but this is one show pony who won’t be silenced when she is called into action. Tahlee Fereday excels.
Whilst I felt not quite enough happened in the first act (I thought it needed a bit of a wriggle on), I had no such concerns about the back half.
As earlier alluded to, amongst much mirth, mucking up and merriment, pain doesn’t lie far beneath the surface ... and the playwright has done a fine job straddling both sides of the divide, while gravitating towards the former.
The staging, too, aids the cause admirably in recreating the era simply but effectively. The set and costume designer is Jonathon Oxlade.
A few video machines, a fridge, old armchair and other bits and bobs, including a prominently displayed AFL Cats’ poster of the time, do the trick.
The piece was very well received by an appreciative audience the night I attended … with good reason.
Directed by Sarah Goodes, Astroman is playing at Fairfax Studio at Arts Centre Melbourne until 8th December, 2018.
* I saw the second preview performance of the play.
TESSELAAR TULIP FESTIVAL NEW website photos and short reviews: Erkin Kalayci and Tony Collins
COOK AND CO CONCERT NEW MAP 3: BOHEMIA website review: Leanne and Mike Vallance
Mike and Leanne Vallance
Map 3: Bohemia Flockhart Hall, 7:30pm, October 18, 2018
In front of a small, boutique audience we were treated to a quality of performance that would be difficult to surpass.
Janis Cook (pianist extraordinaire) welcomed us in a most relaxed way which immediately had you engaged with her – so much so that you felt like a friend. Janis opened the evening’s performance with Suite for Piano Op. 98, Mvt 1 to set the mood for a journey through middle EuropeBohemian music. As Janis indicated, most people currently picture bohemia as relating to the Czech Republic but in times gone by the breadth of this music style far exceeded this misconception.
Janis’ talent and skill on the piano quickly confirmed why she has, in the past, appeared as a soloist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and other renowned orchestras; and why she has successfully completed tours of Japan, Europe and Russia. To watch her fingers fly and caress the piano keys was truly mesmerizing. Janis’ opening piece was fun, flirty and joyful before becoming peaceful and calming and then rising to the intensity of beautiful notes.
For the following bracket of Moravian Folk Music, Janis was joined on stage by Soprano Rada Tochalna. Rada’s voice filled the auditorium with the most glorious tones as she sang for us wonderful folk poetry pieces. Rada has appeared in numerous operatic roles in both local and international productions, including the Ukraine. She is a regular soloist with the Melbourne Classic Orchestra and multiple other orchestras and companies. Her emotion, at times even playful, when presenting the pieces to the audience took them on a journey to where gypsies, and a particular way of life, existed.
Next on stage was the superb violinist Markiyan Melnychenko who has been described as an artist of patrician sensibility and spectacular technique. He has won multiple prizes internationally and has participated in international violin competitions in more than eight countries around the world. In particular, he was selected to perform in a quartet at the inauguration of Barack Obama. Having seen many solo violin performances in the past, Markiyan’s skill and passion were most obvious and will be remembered. He was in total command of his instrument and he appeared to make it follow his every whim. It was truly amazing to be in the presence of such an outstanding musician.
As a slight contrast from the musical nature of the performance, we were treated to a narration of Rusalka’s Story presented by the stellar Julie Nihill. Julie’s career has included numerous plays, voice over work, feature films, mini-series and television dramas. Julie’s skill at captivating her audience simply through the character of her voice brought the sad story to life of Rusalka, a water sprite who allowed herself to be manipulated by the spell weaving of a cruel witch, leaving her cursed for all eternity.
The second half of the evening was an exhilarating extension to the first half where a number of pieces involving Janis, Rada and Markiyan kept the audience both intrigued and spellbound as the journey continued through Bohemian Europe as told through the power of music and song.
The privilege of bearing witness to such high reaching talent and passion for what Janis, Rada and Markiyan chose to share with us, and the journey we were taken on over a two hour performance, we can only sit in awe and applaud. We would strongly recommend that people consider choosing to attend performances of this nature that Janis Cook so successfully brings to Melbourne.
Mike and Leanne Vallance
photos: Peter Morris
MISS TOURISM 2018 NEW website review: Anthony Wayne
Twenty one beautiful young women from across the country came together for their chance to shine at the national finals of Miss Tourism Australia. Held last Sunday 21st October at The Trust Melbourne - a charming heritage building that made for the perfect setting for this grand occasion. The Miss Tourism Australia pageant is a platform to promote Australian tourism, trade and cultural exchange. The contest is open to women between the ages of 17 and 26, welcoming people from all cultural backgrounds, and isn’t just for experienced models. Newly crowned Miss Tourism Australia winner - Sandie Callahan from Newcastle says this was her first time ever competing in a pageant. Sandie will now head to Shanghai China in December this year to represent Australia at the international finals. 1st Runner up crowned as Miss Tourism Queen - Charlie Wookey will also travel to China later this year to compete. The judging panel who had the difficult task of choosing these two winners included - Miss Tourism Australia director Deborah Miller, entrepreneur and star of The Real Housewives Melbourne - Pettifleur Berenger, star of reality TV show Love Island - Jaxon Human, Miss Tourism Australia Queen 2017 - Simone Smith, celebrity dentist Dr Dee, and Elizabeth Zhu from sponsor Ever Australia. Deborah Miller took us through what the judges were looking for - someone who has the confidence, poise, intelligence, and stamina to compete and represent Australia on an international level. Contestants were judged over three rounds - and were first given the chance to individually introduce themselves to the judges and audience. It was through hearing their introductions, we learned that these impressive women are not only beautiful but are passionate advocates with many studying at university in Law, Media, Journalism and Tourism. In the second round, contestants took to the runway in their stunning evening wear, gracefully walking across the room, and then finally a third round where contestants were put on the spot with the question and answer section. There was also a chance for contestants to showcase the gorgeous range of ugg boots from Ever Ugg Australia, and entertained with a very polished and professional runway parade. All contestants looked absolutely stunning with hair and makeup provided by the team at ArtistHD Makeup. The level of the contestants competing was extremely high and winner Sandie says that it was meeting all the other girls that was the highlight of her experience. “Although we’re competing against each other, backstage we worked as a team - helping each other with zips, clips, dresses, hair, makeup & nerves!” Sandie adds when asked what message says wants to send out that “we need to stick together - build each other up, not tear each other down! Especially with social media becoming so much more central in our lives we need to spread more positivity. Not just among young women but young men too. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not capable of achieving something, prove them wrong!” Guests attending had the opportunity to take photos against the beautiful silk flower wall backdrop from Full de Bloom. Other celebrity guests in attendance included Teddy Briggs (Love Island), and Nelly Yoa.
FFASHION FRIDAYS NEW website review: Sasha Plancke photography: Anna Starikova and Peter Morris
Meilleur Events and Jacksons Lounge Bar presented Meilleur's Ffashion Fridays' Meilleur's Ffashion Fridays on Friday 19 October evening. photography: Anna Starikova at Anna Starikova and Peter Morris at Peter Morris Photography review: Sasha Plancke http://bohemianrhapsodyclub.weebly.com/travelling.html Bohemian Rhapsody Club and Magazine is expressing its special thanks to the event management and organisers (and personally to Sonalika Pradhan) for the invite and the opportunity to cover it and to Peter, Sasha and Anna for their superb work.
review: Sasha Plancke Friday night - the 19th of October was lit up by another event hosted by Meilleur Events - Ffasion Fridays @ Jacksons Lounge Bar in Toorak. Sonalika - the organizer and a ”driving wheel” of the show, did an amazing job by hosting and supporting young talented designers and fashion lovers.
The opening of the fashion parade was presented by young footwear designers – the duet of brother and sister - Priscilla and Promise with Cillaco.shoes. Their bold and daring collection with high-heeled stilettos was mainly targeting a young audience. The designers shared their idea of daring and beautiful heels. In my opinion – great for going out but not suitable for everyday wear. Priscilla and Promise are working on the men’s line. I can’t wait to see it in 2019.
Another young and promising fashion clothing designer I would like to focus on is Rose Maria presenting her “Rosemaria” brand. Beautiful young girl from Japanese-Brazilian background has made a clear point on quality, combining comfort with affordability for her customers. Interesting combination of everyday wear was artistically married with evening glam.
Dressing for the day at the office, the outfits are easily wearable for going out after work as well as to the beach party. Having a busy life and juggling a few things at once – the transformation and combination of those styles is a winning option for any woman. Meilleur Events’ MD Sonalika has delivered another unforgettable experience by hosting the glamorous party with a fashion show, dance, and music.
Incidentally, the attendees have even had a chance to walk a runway (That was an amusing moment!). Meilleur Events - Ffasion Fridays were supporting the charity “The Global Women's’ project” and made a pleasant budding imprint leaving us impatiently wait for another one.
photos: Anna Starikova
Peter Morris' photos:
NINE THE MUSICAL ON CHAPEL OFF CHAPEL NEW website review and photos: Natasha Lukin
BE ITALIAN, BE GENTLE, SENTIMENTAL
That is the line from one of the musical ‘NINE’s beautiful songs that has all the chances to become a popular song by itself.
NINE, the musical enjoyed a long history of success, including being staged in New York, where its original Broadway production opened in 1982 and won five Tony Awards – including Best Musical and Best Score. It also won the 2003 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. Then a film adaptation was released in 2009.
In Melbourne, it was first performed 32 years ago, then for one night only in 2016 and now NINE has been opening for a season at the Chapel off Chapel in Prahran.
One has to be very bold and courageous to bring it back to Melbourne against a background the NINE’s huge success internationally. But – they did it!
The StageArt brought it to life with such a vigour, passion and a sense of fun that one cannot resist just to fully enjoy it all: enchanting music, fantastic choreography and vibrant energy of the performers.
Nine, the musical is based on Federico Fellini’s semi-autobiographical film 8½, and set in 1960s Venice. The plot follows the Italian film director Guido Contini’s romantic entanglements as he is living through his midlife crisis and begins to realise it. All that has been happening at the worst possible time when he has been torn between his relationships with three women: his wife, his sexually demanding mistress and the other woman considered been his ‘muse’. In his professional life Guido recently released three unsuccessful productions. Now he desperately needs an idea for a new film that would a comeback to his formal glory. Through his vulnerability Guido was able to show that he is still emotionally a child of nine – who must grow up if he is to have a chance at recapturing his creative powers, his career, and his wife.
Anthony Scundi is playing the leading role of Guido. He is an actor who has it all: the looks, the voice and expressive choreographic talent. The whole ensemble of female characters have been on the same wave as Anthony and performed their roles beautifully. Speaking of any performance we have to emphasise that its success significantly depends on a creative team. And - while speaking of a musical, of course, we cannot talk about it without mentioning music itself and its composer.
Maury Yeston was a creator of the NINE’s music. He is a composer, lyricist, author and teacher, and moves easily between the worlds of theatre, film, and academia, writing concert music, Broadway shows, and holding teaching posts as a respected musicologist. Besides Nine, he also authored music for Titanic – which also won Tony Awards for best musical and best score.
Nathan Firmin is a musical director for this current production. The success of this current performance shall be also attributed to Michael Ralph. He is one of Australia’s rising young choreographers who are sought after for his dynamic, unique style and fresh take on Musical Theatre story telling.
Michael Ralph, a choreographer of this performance is one of Australia’s rising young choreographers who are sought after for his dynamic, unique style and fresh take on Musical Theatre story telling.
The opening night on 12 October 2018 has been an event not to be missed. The musical will be played on stage at the Chapel off Chapel till the 3rd of November.
ELLA'S MUSIC CLUB: ONE TRICK PONY NEW website review: Olga Tolkacheva photos: Andrew Parsons
Last Sunday I was fortunate to review the show 'One Trick Pony' at Ella's music club.
The show was a tribute to late 1970's Paul Simon songbook of the same name, featuring Simon Starr's all-star band and special guest vocalists Rebecca Barnard, Troy McMillin, Janine Maunder & Paul Williamson.
The musicians captured the sound of Paul Simon from 1975 to 1980 perfectly, one can feel that they all share a deep love of this period of Simon’s career, of his unique marriage of evocative poetry mixed with funk and jazz. Each song tells an emotional story and the audience is encouraged to sing along famous lyrics. Well set up in a spacious MEMO Music Hall, the show was a sell-out, not the least because of the popularity of Ella's music club.
Ella, a classical pianist herself, started organizing music events on behalf of the Jewish Museum of Australia. This was the start of Ella's music club. Her interests in Jazz and popular music, as well as knowledge of classical music, allowed her to create unforgettable shows for a variety of gatherings.
As Ella's connections in the music world and Melbourne venues expanded, she was able to produce boutique shows on her own. Carefully selecting renowned Australian and international musicians, Ella has hosted a variety of spectacles mostly in an intimate setting for a few hundred viewers. Gifted with an impeccable taste and organizational talent she was able to grow the business into a notable feature with the thousands of devoted followers. Just recently, Ella's music club celebrated 10 years, proudly supporting local talents, and can present an impressive list of performers in various genres and events at Globe Cafe, The Rising Sun Hotel, Marquee Bar and Chapel Off Chapel, as well as participation in Stonnington Jazz Festivals and many other productions.
In the nearest future, Ella is going to take a short break to look for new and exciting performers. In fact, there is only one performance scheduled for this Saturday, cabaret-style show 'KISS ME HONEY HONEY' at The Rising Sun Hotel, featuring highly entertaining Aurora Mackrill. You can get your last minute tickets here, but hurry, they are selling fast: https://www.ellasmusicclub.com/maya
Future Destiny Fidel has lived a life most of us would not wish upon our worst enemies. Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the civil war made an orphan of him at age 13. Surviving on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, until his camp was found by soldiers returning from their recent slaughter of the nearby village. He fled to Tanzania with nothing but the clothes on his back and was forced to beg for food while escaping the police until he could make his way to a UN refugee camp. Eventually, he was accepted to come to Australia and he finally had a chance to rebuild his life and deal with the trauma that had shaped his entire world until then. Thankfully for us, Fidel found solace in the theatre, joining dance groups and acting workshops. All these experiences, the pain, suffering, and loss, all made their way into Fidel’s first full-length play Prize Fighter; the end result? A thing of beauty. While not completely autobiographical, the play follows the same major beats as its playwright’s life. Following a young Congolese boy named Isa as he attempts to follow his dreams and honour the memory of his family in Australia while dealing with the crippling trauma, he experienced in his motherland. I do mean trauma, Prize Fighter does not shy away from anything, it shows you how it is, how it was, and expects you to not look away. Whether it be the rape of his sister, murder of his father, or the cackling reminisce of splitting a child’s head open on a tree; nothing is held back. Combined with the visceral boxing elements (the entire play takes place inside a boxing ring), makes Prize Fighter at times difficult to watch. It never feels forced, however, not a single blow or curse feels unearned. Instead, the performance transports the audience into this world of violence and while you may want to turn away to avoid seeing the fate of an innocent child, some part of you knows that this is a person’s life, and you feel responsible to see it out. Prize Fighter also deals with the aspect of violence that many other tales leave out. The aftermath. There are no shortcuts to recovery and while blood begets blood, death, always leaves its mark. Going from innocent youth to child soldier, to refugee, all the way to prize-fighter, is not an easy journey, and each transition leaves a scar on the young man's mind. While the production is limited by its small budget and limited cast, it more than makes up for any lack of production value by the sheer depth of message and the scope of what it attempts, and largely succeeds in achieving. This story has layers upon layers, whether it’s because it was based on real events and therefore the actions of characters are based on true reactions from real people, or just because Fidel is a fantastic writer that knows how to express emotions without ever showing them is up for debate. What is not up for debate is the level of thought that has been put into the details of this performance. Whether it be the use of rubber and tyres surrounding the stage, to represent the battle for rubber resources that has plagued the Congo for years; or the black sand that pours from the ceiling slowly covering the boxing ring to show the Congo’s supply of Coltan and how its discovery and mining has funded the civil war for years and one of the main reasons peace is so hard to reach in the region. Even the boxing setting, is thought out. Fidel has never boxed before, but he uses the ring to show the inescapable fight that Isa faces. No matter where he goes, or what he does, he is still in the ring and the fight never ends. Prize Fighter is a wonderful example of art imitating life and doing a brilliant job of it. While to some viewers, it may come across as over the top with its depictions of death and of violence, to the attentive viewer, willing to see what is really happening and how it shapes those around it, every punch has a purpose and the play would not be the same without it. This is not a performance to take young children to. Those who have also experienced the horror of emotional loss as it is shown here may find this a difficult watch. For most people though, living our quiet lives in safety and security, this is a wake-up call. A reminder of what the rest of the world is really like and why each and every one of us has a responsibility to make it a better place. Prize Fighter is equal parts, slap in the face and call to action. If you don’t leave the theatre with a tear in your eye and a desire to give to charity, then you didn’t really watch it.
NGV: POLLY BORLAND POLYVERSE NEW website review by Susan Reynolds
Polyverse works by Polly Borland at the NGV
Review by Susan Reynolds
Polly Borland began her career in portrait and editorial photography after attending technical school in Preston. She conveyed to me that she had used a closet as a dark room in the school in those early days; not exactly ideal but that didn’t hinder her in the least. She felt in those early days that she wanted to be an artist. Photography was her chosen field at college having admitted that she’d never felt her drawing or painting was her forte.
What did really ignite Polly’s passion in the world was people and trying to achieve that intrinsic quality in her images every portrait Photographer strives for, the shot that encapsulates something unique about that person. Polly’s body of work includes admirable captures, a veritable who’s who from the world of the entertainment and other famous people.
In this exhibition there are images of the Queen, Nick Cave and Gwendoline Christie included. Otherwise her work departs from recognizing the individual to a phantasmagorical look at subjects where imagination and creativity create the extraordinary. Polly explained to me how the work “Bunny” came to be. “A friend was playing Father Christmas and I covered his face in the white beard” The creative spark that led to this piece came simply to the artist and she explained her creative inspirations come to fruition mostly without any major angst.
Polly did say “the weirder the better”. No statement is more vivid than in her Man Babies series subject matter (not included in this exhibition) and subsequent book “The Babies” published in 2001 that catapulted her further into the limelight. She felt not everyone knew about the man baby series but not long after she had been commissioned to do the Queen’s portrait; one of six photographers for the Queens Jubilee year (Seen in the collection) to do so. The resulting photographic image was entrusted to a prisoner to be made into a tapestry. The Prisoners are from Her Majesty’s Prison Service, this piece done by Mr. Mulligan.
There’s a variety of ideas and expression early in the exhibition space that is somewhat chronological. Viewing the works we travel from the creative theatrical to the recent photographed forms, imagery that contains real people morphed with soft shapes warping the real bodies within. Visual challenges are there as our eyes traverse the bulbous shapes where there lies an “obscuring and messing with human-ness” Polly said “Art I like Takes me to a place I’d not been to before”. From the exhibition space there is this interesting explanation “The nebulous forms in morph suggest the evocative shapes of a Rorschach test, which psychoanalysts use to create associative images”
Polly is forthright and speaks frankly, when I inquired about was there any reason behind the colour choices of the Smudge series. The netting material used encapsulate the bodies along with the stuffing they are encumbered have limited hues. Polly explained the pieces were originally restricted to the availability of fabrics for the project. Nothing pretentious in her answer it was just honestly spoken. I especially liked the black Smudge 2010 untitled XXXII artwork which I discussed with Polly ...the participant in the piece stated to her they felt like elephant man in the creative process.
Polly gives a cheeky grin at the end of the promo film viewable online this suggests to me an artist who is very much at home in this gallery space at the NGV. Accomplished in her career and exploring art which is greeted with inquisitiveness and wonder. Polly looks at the real world through the eyes of an artist who authentically contributes art imbued with its own uniqueness.
MADIBA THE MUSICAL NEW website review by Michelle Schembri-Lipscombe
Madiba the Musical The atmosphere was electric tonight as guests arrived to have a first glimpse of Madiba the Musical. The theatre was buzzing with excitement whilst the guests waited to see this new, exciting show... and they were not disappointed. The show offered a great snapshot of the life of Nelson Mandela and the battle through Apartheid in South Africa. The show spanned over a period of more than 50 years and provided a couple of side stories to heighten the issues and bring the message home. There was a love story, racial hatred, internal conflicts, family strength all portraying the will to never give up. The narrator of the show provided a background explanation of scenes and situations while providing a modern, fun, cheeky addition to the show. The narrator was super talented, funny and a welcome break to the darkness of the story. The vocals of the cast were amazing! Not a bad note in the place, the vocalists were strong, passionate and beautifully executed. The songs were unique to the show and not familiar but that didn’t matter. The singing and dancing were all synchronised beautifully with the use of great props and stage work. The backdrops used throughout the show were quite conservative. The highlight of the scenery was the brilliant execution of the jail scenes. Through the use of lights and elevated platforms these scenes were clever, descriptive and easily recognised. You don’t need to know anything about Nelson Mandela to enjoy this musical! Not only was the show extremely entertaining, it provided an easy to consume, educational, snapshot into history. What a great way to get peoples interest and raise awareness of such an important mark in history. Taking their bows to a standing ovation, the tears in the audience did not go a miss. What an snacking. Iggy yo experience - one filled with guests of all colours and race, all mortified by the racial occurances and rejoicing in the triumph of equality and One Man, One Vote. I would definitely recommend Madiba the Musical for anyone who is interested in taking a trip through time, wanting to be mesmerised by some amazing vocals and those who just want a great night out.
RAP RAP RAPPIN' ON HEAVEN'S DOOR NEW MELBOURNE FRINGE FESTIVAL website review by Michelle Schembri-Lipscombe
Rap, Rap Rappin on Heavens Door
Improvisation, comedy, Rap and a bit of music! The show consists of improvisation duo, Cristina "Rhyme" Spizzica, and Jeremy "Zone" Hughes, joined by Shane Henry controlling the music and adding some great side comments to the show.
Every show is different! Completely unique due to the concept of the show... with no script, the duo act and rap a one hour improvised story based on one word provided by an audience member.
For us, the word was tangelo.... which quickly lead to Tangelo Jello. The show developed into a story about two businesses - one that produces Jello and the other custard - a to and fro story, some quirky characters and a laugh along the way. Two business owners, their employees and a fun little skit of 2 kids at a fair... with all the characters performed by the impro duo. Then there was Shane - his quick witt, rescue addlib’s and cheeky sound effects added something a bit special to the show.
The show was enjoyable and a good laugh. I think the show would be awesome as a theatre run show through Melbournes schools... what a great skill for kids to see and learn. The duo perform in Melbourne on a weekly basis, so if you’re looking for a fun night out... grab a drink, watch the show and enjoy the ride!
THE GRUFFALO LIVE NEW website review by Oksana Newton
FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT AT ITS FINEST This adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s book is fun from start to finish.
Children and the young at heart will enjoy every minute of this funny and heartwarming play, which has a smidge of sophisticated but light humour to keep the adults entertained as well. My son aged six adored every moment.
I the Gruffalo Live and watching my son laugh with unabashed glee. Be quick, this kind of family fun is rare in our iPad world.
SHORT REVIEW “Tell me Papa, where it’s written what I am meant to be?”. This is a crucial question of “After Hero” performance, presented at Malthouse theatre. The collaboration of two authors with different upbringing, cultural background and life experiences blended with the imagination of the theatre makers’ team produces a fascinating 3 part Act performance on Mythology, History and Contemporary. The Act about the search for the modern type of Hero. Who could it be? Searching and failing to find one? But what if living and moving through every day life while making specific, personal, necessary choices makes everyone a Hero? What if simply by being in a good place and being Yourself makes one a Hero? Play writers Jessica Bellamy and Jean Tong with the Director Daniel Lammin's team brings all your acuteness to a completely different level towards the end of the 90 minutes of their storytelling. Brilliantly done!
FULL SIZE REVIEW “Tell me Papa, where it’s written what I'm meant to be? What am I meant to be as a woman, as a man, as a human, as a society?” This is a crucial question in “After Hero's” performance, presented in the Malthouse Theatre. It is directed by Green Room nominated director Daniel Lemmon and is the result of the collaboration of Monash University’s Centre with Malthouse theatre.
The cooperation of the two authors Jessica Bellamy and Jean Tong of different upbringings, cultural backgrounds and life experiences blended with the imagination of the theatre-makers’ team produces a fascinating 3 part Act performance on Mythology, History, and Contemporary. The Act of a search for a modern type of Hero. Who could it be?
The first part is quite complex. It explores a traditional stereotypical male hero, who is physically developed in mythology. There is a search for the meaning of the word ‘hero’, in order to understand the entire concept of the image. This part would get all your wits and imagination to the highest alert level to follow the concept. During the second and third parts, the audience travels with the actors to a New World. A New World of migrating and settling in a new land as well as the New World mentality. Are the traditional images, stereotypes, beliefs still relevant to us? What do we, humans, believe in?
Are we moving to a New World of multiple worlds or some kind of neutrality: it doesn’t matter whether you are male/female, black/white, religious/non-believer, feminist/anti-feminist. Who are our heroes these days?
Searching and failing to find a modern type hero? But what if living and moving through everyday life while making specific, personal, necessary Choices makes everyone a Hero? What if, by simply being in a good place and being you, makes YOU a Hero? Could we possibly change our mentality as humans and simply accept everyone as we are?
TWINK ASCENDING NEW MELBOURNE FRINGE FESTIVAL website review by: Anthony Wayne
TWINK ASCENDING MELBOURNE FRINGE FESTIVAL review by: Anthony Wayne
Shown as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, the audience is first taken through the dazzling Emerald City – a pop-up arts precinct transforming the space at the historic Meat Market. As we are ushered in to a back room to take our seats for the show, we are hit with our first encounter of the ‘twink’ - Andy Johnston – writer and performer. There he lies curled up in a ball in the foetal position covering his face. He lies on what appears to be a black sci-fi dance floor. He wears nude coloured barely-there briefs, his muscular body glimmering under the spot light. It’s a visual leaving the audience intrigued as to the journey that we are about to embark upon. Looking around the room as it begins to fill - the audience consists of 80% male as could be expected given the title and subject of the show. In the opening moments of the show a sci-fi audio recording commands the twink to wake up. He is reborn into this modern world and given the mission to unravel what it means to be a gay man today. Through a variety of experimental performance techniques, Johnston takes us on an exploration of the modern queer world – from dating apps, body image, relationships and sex. It feels like quite a personal space, as the twink interacts with the audience, giving us a cheeky wink and smile whilst reading out common catch phrases and comments a gay man might come across on online dating apps. The twink goes through a number of experiences as he moves through his mission – including agonising over a pair of shorts and wanting them to make him the most attractive man in the universe, through to a scene where he is alone feeling empty from the use of social apps, and longing to find a greater connection. Stand out moments was his rendition of the song ‘Creep’ and also enjoyable was his scene in heels as a drag artist. Andy Johnston rapidly transitions between each scene and although the journey was intriguing, it was also at times confusing with themes only looked at on the surface level, and no strong connection being made between them. It is clear that Andy is very comfortable in front of an audience as he takes the reins in his solo performance. His fluid movement of his body and his impressive vocal range captures your full attention throughout the show. Overall Andy delivers a distinctive and enjoyable piece, leaving a lasting impression.
KOO KOO THE BIRD GIRL NEW website review by Susan Reynolds
The Koo Koo Bird Girl By Sarah Houbolt 10/10
Review by Susan Reynolds
Sarah Houbolt is a performer and excellent ambassador for the disability community. Sarah is an excellent example of perseverance in achieving goals in life. She’s as humble and gracious as she is inspirational and accomplished. Sarah has Hallermann Streiff Syndrome, her unique appearance is similar to Minnie Woolsey, the Koo Koo Bird Girl from the 1932 film “The Freaks”. The term today has taken on a more insulting vibe earlier in the use of the word it meant anyone who was slightly different in any way.
Sarah has a background in the Para-Olympics, performed in swimming events and decided to alter the course of her life looking for a new challenge. Sarah has Degree qualifications in Social Work, Sociology and Politics. She said this has assisted her in understanding human behavior. To complete her qualifications she also performed and honed various performance skills.
The Timeline 2006 : Sarah Houbolt was introduced to the idea of the Koo Koo Bird Girl from friend Lil Crump. For Sarah this was the first mention in her life about the Koo Koo Bird Girl …the seed was planted! People commented on her likeness to this person.
2009 : Sarah moved to New Zealand performed at the Auckland Fringe Festival, did children’s performances, film, circus, TV and Burlesque.
2011 : Sarah saw “The freaks” 1930’s film and wondered why she had never seen it!
2013 : Inspired by the film Sarah started researching sideshows. She began to understand the History and Social Significance of this era and became frustrated that there was very little information about Minnie Woolsey from the film.
2015 : Sarah went to the Adelaide fringe festival and developed a 5 minute segment involving cabaret featuring the Koo Koo bird inspired piece and included the bed of nails performance . Wonderfully Sarah’s friend who introduced her to the Koo Koo Bird Girl back in 2006 then made the Costume for her performances. Sarah joined the Space Cowboy and Lizard Man at the Adelaide fringe. “I did 60 shows” she recalled “but they did more!” Sarah found out how important natural born freaks were! They were critical to Sarah’s personal discovery and in the broader sense historically regarding the important place of freaks in performing arts. Sarah states she feels more human when she is playing Minnie.
New Zealand Choreographer Kelly Nash Sarah employed to help her create moods in her performance. This is well appreciated by the audience with Sarah considering complex subject matter in the narration, sad elements of the life and times of the freaks as well aspects of Minnie’s cheekiness. Movements in the performance suggested the operations the freaks were subjected to; Sarah wearing an operation gown. Sombre moods, gentle whimsical dance moves and dynamic circus type routines interestingly change the pace of the show. I personally loved Sarah’s gracefulness and artistic use of her body in the soft feather routines and her beautifully rhythmic gestures.
In the show she speaks of the residual effects of the discrimination the disabled face. There were laws against being seen in public if you were deemed different to the norm I the 1930’s. The film “the Freaks” was banned for over 30 years, it was controversial in its time. Importantly Sarah states there is no discrimination in what she does as she choses to do this type of performing.
Sarah feels we have to be respectful both of what these people were doing as performers in the broader community. She mentioned the significance of the “Ugly Laws” in the 1930’s sterilization of disabled women and the institutionalization of people that extended into the 80’s and 90’s (not too long ago).
In order to be diverse in the stage and screen consideration of people of all types of people for roles should be the norm. Sarah said her community needs this to be stronger and we need it as a society to grow into a world with more consideration of equality of opportunity. “It is complex subject matter” says Sarah. “I am doing this as much for my community the disability community as I am the general public.” I wish Sarah all the best in her future shows.
CULTURAL RENEGADES MELBOURNE FRINGE FESTIVAL website review by Michelle Lipscombe
Cultural Renegades From the minute the MC started speaking, we knew we were in for an awesome night! He spoke from the soul, talking about inclusiveness, life and love. His passion for life was clear, his voice leading you into a trance, wanting to hear and see all that was to come. The crew consisted of performers from Perth to Malaysia, of all different cultures brought together by their love of hip-hop and dance. And dance they did! The night displayed hip-hop at its finest - showing love and respect for women, inclusiveness and loving one another regardless or color, race & religion. Hip-hop was used as the tool to bring together those who may be seen as worlds apart. As the night started the crowd that gathered were informed that the night would be fluid with dancing filling all the spaces of the venue.... and it did! On the dance floor, on the stage, on the bar and even the wall! The night started with small groups of dancers, slowly introducing more performers and increased with up to 10 performers at a time. One after another dancers seemed to appear from no where... from behind the bar, through the crowd and from closed doors. The venue was pumping and the dancing was lit. Reminiscent of the clubs in the 90’s, the crowd were clapping and in awe of the awesome dancing on display. The atmosphere was electric and the crowd were dragged into the aura of the night - fun, energetic and full on party mode! As the night came to a close everyone was invited to join the dance floor whilst the rnb vibe continued. It was great to see the performers hang around for s dance and a chat with their newly made fans. The only negative of the show.... they were only in Melbourne for 2 nights - definitely need more of this in Melbourne, we would have definitely gone again!!! Michelle Schembri-Lipscombe Bloom Entertainment
FUCKBOYS THE MUSICAL MELBOURNE FRINGE FESTIVAL website review by : Michelle Lipscombe
Fuck Boys the Musical Now this is a fun night out! A perfect mix of laughs, love and a good dating reality check!The show aims to ‘educate’ its audience on how to recognise, deflect and move on from the men they describe as ‘Fuck Boys’. The show starts with an introduction of the cast and a scientific and simple definition of the phrase ‘Fuck Boy’. As you hear the whispers of agreement and giggles in the audience you know it is going to be an entertaining and reflective night! The story steers you through the lives of 4 friends, dealing with men at all different stages of their lives... one is excited to be with her new boyfriend, another broken hearted, one heading off for a one night stand and the other just wanting to love life for everything it throws her way. The night is a mixture of conversations with the audience, bursts of song and relaying the story of each friend and their experiences with past relationships, there hopes for the future and regrets from the past. The majority of the show is based in a bar, at a weekly karaoke night, a regular hang out for the girls. The cast of 8 (4 girls, 3 guys and a keys player) m, successfully kept the audience engaged in both story and song. With the theme of the night based on hurtful men and 90% of the audience filled with women, the show could easily have been a total male bagging session BUT it was great to see that 2 of the 3 male characters in the show were NOT ‘fuck boys’ but genuine, nice guys, treating the girls well and looking for real connections. Each character gets the opportunity to tell ‘their story, creating an interesting contrast of the pain they suffer when they’re alone to how they express themselves when they are out in public. Inner pain expressed in an ‘I don’t care’ attitude, stubbornness as a front for insecurities and the constant battle of finding out who you are as opposed to who people want you to be. With a great mix of laughter and thoughtful messages, you knew the cast hit the spot when you could see some tears in the audience towards the end of the night. All in all a great night out, highly recommended show with a fun theme.
BABY BI BI BI MELBOURNE FRINGE FESTIVAL website review by Nadia Pleshkova
The Melbourne Fringe festival is on and it’s time to be playful again. This is the time to fully satisfy your personal taste buds. One can choose from any genres to experience cabaret, circus, comedy, dance, live or visual art,kids activities, etc at a ridiculously small price. Perfect time to get your children involved in art while they are on school holiday. Also the festival opens up the opportunity to discover numerous funky independent venues Melbourne is filled with. The Butterfly club, for instance, is a cosy, welcoming, multi-floored site, hidden in one of the small lanes of CBD’s heart. It is decorated with unexpectedly marvellous eclectics that feeds your eye with souvenirs from around the world, glued to every inch of the walls. It makes great cocktails and currently hosts a brilliant show: a Cabaret “Baby Bi Bi Bi”. This is definitely a show not to be missed. Why? Firstly, It is superbly written and performed by three young and multitalented female singers/performers. Their names to remember for good: Erin Pattison, Samantha Andrew and Annabel Larcombe. Secondly, the show is delivered with such energy and humour on topic of bio sexuality and love that an hour of it flies so fast you want more. Thirdly, it is perfectly impeccable, flawless and interactive. Well done ladies. Melbournians are never less into art like before. The City of Melbourne, for instance, supports major and emerging art groups and organisations through special grant programs. The various Artist Development programs are also being introduced to support the diversity of talents thus helping built sustainable careers. All we, the audience, are left with, is to go out there to enjoy and to absorbe the happiest art vibes ever.
SPRING BOLLYWOOD MUSIC FESTIVAL FEATURING BOHEMIA AND DJ PAROMA website includes the press conference notes and the event BTS photos main show photography: Anna Starikova
September 26 at 0600pm the press conference took place ahead of upcoming 27 September 0930pm show Spring Bollywood Music Fest Feat Bohemia & DJ Paroma / BOHEMIA FT DJ PAROMA SPRING BOLLYWOOD MUSIC FEST at Key Club Melbourne BTS photography: Natasha Marchev My personal experience meeting with two Indian and international celebrities was unforgettable. The arrival of the VIP guests was a bit late was thee energy that filled up the room was so strong ad sensational. #Bohemia andDJ PAROMA in their international tour publically announced the #DualArrangement . The show was organised to support the upcoming dual venture of two famous people. The questions that were asked were prepare before hand ask each media member has an opportunity to ask something that was close to the specific media outlet. My two questions related to the most memorable and most interesting experience both talents had on their journey. I found the answer by Bohemia to be very intelligent and very deep, the word "initiation" was spoken out , the initiation of the higher level of performance and the responsibility that came with that. I was also very pleased to hear Bohemian Rhapsody Club and Magazine and Bohemia Rap rang the bell and shook the artist. He hugged and kissed me and I am sure I will not be washing for the next month or so after this experience... It was intense indeed! The press conference guests were served dinner which was especially amazing on that night : very finely cooked and tasted delicious. The conference finished quite late a 1000pm and for the time t head home with some beautiful gifts of the pleasure of connection left in all our hearts. Thank you Kavita Chabra and @Molina for organising such a fantastic encounter for all of us. I am looking forward for the photos - the result from yesterday's concert. and thanking Curry king Brunswick on Sydney road for looking after all of us so well.
SPRING FASHION CONTEST TO SUPPORT MINUS 18 CHARITY website review: Olga Kirk photos: Anna Starikova
Spring Fashion –Fundraiser for Minus 18. Organizer- Anthony Wayne - Mr Diamond Australia 2018 An exciting opportunity for any aspiring models over aged 18. An inclusive event where all genders, heights, sizes, ethnicities were encouraged to apply. It was a bright spring theme with 8 runway contestants who brought the audience to the colorful spring fashion show. The winner received a prize package including sash, trophy, and a place into the national finals of Miss/Mr Diamond Australia. The High-end luxury raffle prize was donated by Buxton Mentone. Thanks also must be given Tesselaar Tulip Festival for the donation of a prize in the raffle.
The contest allowed contestants the opportunity to express themselves and practice on the runway. It was a chance to showcase their runway skills, fashion style, personality, and stage presence.
Contestants were required to provide their own spring outfit – “think colors and florals” – optional fascinators for the females. They were so colorful and creative! They showed us their unique personality through fascinating fashion, their own crafts and handmade outfits.
None of them had prior modeling or runway experience but they were confident, brave and enjoyed themselves and the event. All proceeds from tickets sales were donated to the Minus18 to continue to support LGBTIQ+ youth across Australia. The experienced judging panel for the Spring Fashion runway- Natasha Marchev, Daniela Herrera, Vicki Popovski, Alexander O. Montgomery. Making a special trip from Sydney was Analieze Bella Newton - Miss Diamond Australia 2018. Thanks to Anthony Wayne, who organized such a colorful and bright event that I will remember for a long time.
BTS photos: Natasha Marchev
ALICE IN PANTOLAND website review: Olga Kirk photography: Glen Wilson
Written and Directed by Clinton Barker and Alta Truden. Adapted from works by Lewis Carrol.
We were eager for a holiday experience to meet with friends at the Wonderland Theatre which brought us the all-time favorite classic with a fresh new twist, Alice in Pantoland!
Curious Alice embarked on a journey that once again seemed as much fun for the audience as it was for the cast. Alice is a natural charming girl who is very welcoming and loves too share a cup of tea with her to all girls and boys!
We were a bit late for the show. And that joke we remember is written for us: “Next time we will sit on our watch to be on time!”
Our favorite character was the Turtle, he sang and played guitar like a professional Hollywood Star!
We met all our other favorite iconic characters along the way plus had a chance to boo at the vicious Queen of Hearts. We actually loved Quin’s outfit even if she was ready to “Head everyone off” the kids liked her very much!
She was very impressive, funny and not frightening at all.
As usual, there was fantastic costumes, decorations, music, and singing, sense of humor, kid’s dancing on stage and received sweets for their participation. They were also happy to be in photos after the performance – all of these things made this event the most desirable and amazing day out!
We are big fans of Wonderland Theatre, and can’t wait for the next hero. Hurray! Aladdin is coming in April 2019!
NARDIA AND HER BAND ARE BACK AT PARS CAT website review : Marina Skliar photography: Stan
Thank you for giving me an opportunity to write a review, I absolutely loved Nardias performance.
I was absolutely thrilled to be in the audience and have an opportunity to write a review one of the coolest musicians Nadia Rose and Band.
Nadia is a confident, strong, talented women who leads her band into the night of the Jazz & Blues music.
She is not just a beautiful performer, she is also a song writer, and bands manager.
Marketing professional by day, musician by night, and a song writer. She performed some of her own songs, for which she gets an inspiration from just looking at the night stars, one of my favourites BE A U TI FU L LIFE, or whether it’s just taking a bus in middle of USA, or a painful break up, or just having a miss fortune in the kitchen . Nadia sings her soul into those songs, the music is composed together with her band.
The band played in such a harmony, all Nadia has to do is node her head and each player knows what is expected of him. Nadia is like a hovering mother overseeing her boys.
If you are Jazz and Blues fan, Nadia’s performance is an absolute to do list. In front of us we are seeing a raising star.
Nardia Brancatisano - vocals Mat Robb - Guitar Angus Gray - Piano Harry Cooper - Saxophone Scott Mealy - Upright Bass Mark Aird - Drums
Review written by Marina Skliar
JURASSIC CREATURES AT ST KILDA TRIANGLE website review and selected photos by Susan Reynolds
Jurassic Creatures is a great place for dinosaur enthusiasts and has themed exciting activities surrounding the main displays of 30 animatronic dinosaurs with moving parts. Dinosaurs are in their allocated areas inside and out side the circus tents. They have accompanying dinosaur noises to add to the effect.
There’s games such as toss the ball into the dinosaurs mouth and win a toy: 2 balls $5 many people have won prizes walking around with their trophies. Other activities are no extra charge: Taking a plaster coated dinosaur egg or two to crack open for the budding paleontologist boys and girls for example. This is really a hit! Pardon the pun.
Then there is puzzle making fun and another option tracing our favourite dinosaur on a light box. Photo opportunity spot is pretty cool nestle yourself inside a dinosaur egg whilst a professional photographer is on hand to capture that. Sand art is interesting peeling off areas of a sticky pic then adorning the dinosaur with sand in bright crazy colours.
Displays of spiders in cases mounted inside one of the several big top tents delights those furry friend appreciators. There are dinosaur bones and artifacts and several jumping castles. Many of us have a dinosaur enthusiast child, as I did and this is really a great place for the holidays. Themed dinosaur named takeaway food and hot dogs look huge in the hands of the small kids really enjoying them. There is a shop where you can buy a range of toys on your way out.
The event is all set amongst alongside the iconic Palais Theatre, Luna Park and beauty of the St.Kilda foreshore. Plenty of parking and a fun day out.
review: Olga Kirk
Jurassic Creatures is back in Melbourne, located in St Kilda and houses over 30 dinosaurs that will captivate young and old alike. Children are able to explore a prehistoric world full of life like moving dinosaurs and be amazed and thrilled as the greatest creatures ever to walk the earth return before their eyes and come alive. Apart from this amazing animatronics show, children can become a Paleontologist for the day. Children are provided with their expert digger outfit, and chip away at their very own fossil. Plus there are many more dinosaur activities to take part in including dinosaur sand painting, dinosaur 3D Jig-saw Land, fossil displays, dinosaur inflatable activity lands, dinosaur eggs to have photos in, walking dinosaurs and so much more. Kids also have a chance to enjoy 3 jumping castles which are a huge attraction both for younger 2-5 years old kids and older 6-10 years old, a good way to finish off the end of the day after learning all about the Dinosaurs. We loved it so much and definitely will come again next year!
photography: Red Robn Photography by Danielle Lopes
NICA COMPANY 18 A circus variety show Hosted by the one and only Jan Van De Stool with surprise guest, Queenie Van De Zandt
Some of Australia’s hottest emerging contemporary circus artists are delivering breathtaking show of physical endurance and gravity defying stunts when the National Circus Centre 18 performers showcase the culmination of three years of elite training with dazzling roue Cyr, hula hoops, adagio, swinging trapeze, unicycle, handstands and aerial rope skills on display.
Curated by NICA’s Head of Circus, James Brown, each of Company 18’s acts has a different feel, from dark and moody to the pure ridiculous and funny. Amongst the performer line up is “hair hanger” Zoë Marshall, who stuns audiences whilst suspended from the roof by her dreadlocks!!!; former ballet dancer Elanor Nunn, who combines her love for dance and circus with a hula hoop; martial artist Zion Martyn, who performs partner acrobatics and risley foot juggling with his fiancé Poppy Fairbairn; charming and shiny Jesse Howard, who put the audience in hypnoses with his juggling; funny Ciara Thorburn, who was so quirky and creative with making people laughing; Samuel Whelan and Emily Chilvers are made audience “wowing” and heart attacking with their rope tricks and hand balancing.
“The students performing in Company 18 have benefited from a new NICA initiative, which engages industry professionals in one-on-one artistic consultation sessions. François Eloi Lavignac (Australian Ballet), Hayden Spencer (Cirque du Soleil), Carita Spencer, Tim Rutty (Gravity Dolls) and Helene Embling are amongst the artistic consultants who have worked with the students this year. The initiative is aimed at inspiring truly unique, creative and sophisticated ideas, acts and routines, whilst also offering our graduates an opportunity to network with world-class artists. Industry professionals are identified for their specific range of skills and then paired with students that would most benefit from their skillset,” said Brown.
Company 18 is hosted by Jan van de Stool, Australia’s favorite Dutch/Australian musical therapist who combines impressive clear vocals and cheeky comedy to add to the evening’s whimsical variety atmosphere. Thanks a lot from the warm audience for such unbelievable performance and breathtaking moments.
SPIN is an unusual dance party, created, directed and performed by Anna Seymour in collaboration with Bec Reid, dancers, Deaf Hosts and DJ Callum Padgham.
It is presented by Melbourne Fringe and Darebin Arts Speakeasy at the Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre. Why is it an unusual experience? There are learning experiences and eye openers for people who are not familiar with the issues that deaf people face.
Firstly, it was hosted by deaf people and translated from AUSLAN to spoken English, and not the other way around, as we are accustomed to. So one can really feel what is it to be on the “other side’, to understand that it is to be disadvantaged in any way – not to be included in communication or physical activity. However – there is no barrier if one is willing to try and this performance shows this perfectly.
Secondly, not only can deaf dancers dance, move to the beat and perform an astonishingly complicated dance routine, they can lead the crown to move and participate in a choreographed way.
This is a very physical performance that needs audience participation. So please wear gym clothes, sneakers or comfortable and flexible footwear without heels – you will be jumping, spinning and working out the sweat.
The deaf people cannot hear the music but they can feel the vibrations of the bass and percussion instruments. They guide themselves by other people movements and other people facial expressions. Most of the communication is non-verbal anyway; we just forget about it and rely too much on spoken words.
The audience fully participated in this dance routine, People who are normally to shy to dance in the normal parties: men who might think it is unmanly behaviour, older people who might think that it is only for the young – they all lost their inhibitions, were all dancing and enjoying the freedom of movement and personal expression.
In the dancing crowd, we cannot distinguish between people who are able to hear and who are not – we are all equal.
For the people who are able to hear this performance opened up possibility not just listen to the music, but really feel it in the body.
This is the third profound moment that is so very precious to me – we are all able to train ourselves to open up different sensory channels, to really feel the world around us and us in this world.
Anna Seymour is an acclaimed Melbourne-based contemporary dance artist. She was born Deaf, but it didn’t stop her from becoming a dancer, choreographer teacher and theatre producer. She regularly collaborates with artists from different disciplines for creative projects.
Today is the last performance – please be quick to buy the tickets. Darebin Arts Speakeasy is presenting really interesting and innovative work.
The Story of the Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons returns to Sydney as a musical The musical is about the true story about one of the best-selling rock-and-roll band the Frankie Valli & Four Seasons. Since its inception back in 1960s the band has sold almost 100 Million records worldwide. Majority of people have heard their songs at some point of their lives. The success of the group at some points in time rivaled the success of such classics as The Beatles and Rolling stones. Whole generations we obsessed with their talents. The Jersey Boys premiered in San Diego, California in 2004 and have been awarded countless awards since then including Drama Desk “Outstanding Musical”, Tony Award “Best Musical” and Grammy Award “Best Busical”. The exceptional success of the show inspired film adaptation in 2014 film directed by Clint Eastwood. The show covers the whole story of the famous band starting from the time where the initial members of the group formed The four Lovers with some of their hit songs such as “You’re The apple of my Eye”, “Cry For Me” and “Sherry”. From the starting sets Bernard Angel as Frankie Valli shows the Four Seasons trademark falsetto in the chorus, Cameron Macdonald with baritone vocals playing Tonny Devito lead. The bass vocals of Glaston Toft as Nick Massi nicely compliment the two lead singers by adding additional range to the music and Bob Gaudio as Thomas Mcguane contributed with timely backing vocals. The Second and Third Acts revolve around the striking success of the hit band, debt to Italian Mafia, collapse and rebirth as Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons. Overall the musical is a good show that would be interesting for the Four Seasons enthusiasts and anyone interested in the rock-and-roll music of the 1960s.
MISS RUSSIA AND MISS NATIONAL NZ AND AU 2018 website photography: Hari Menon
MISS RUSSIA Winner of Miss National AU 2018 Aleez Atem! 1st Runner up Miss National AU Tabasom Asadi 2nd runner up Miss National AU: Kylie Simmonds!
Winner of Miss Russia AU 2018 Anastasia Rudenko! 1st runner up Miss Russia AU Gulnara Khederlarian. 2nd runner up Miss Russia AU Nadia Ritcher!
Thank you our judges: Elina Doronkina, Claudia Fortaleza, Raymond Bartholomeusz, Neekita Naidu. Thank you all the team: directors, photographers, makeup artists, hairstylists & volunteers. I’d like to thank all the supporters and sponsors: • Red Carpet Ball Entrainment • Nature Sibirica • Franck Provost Paris • Fashion designer Lena Kasparian • Silky Flora (headpieces provided by them) Thank you Elena Kornienko • BB Designer Jewellers • Thank you to Zoran Janakievski for his sponsorship for this event.
• The Marie-France Group • Innovate Enterprises Diamond Car Wash at Belmore, thanks Ahmad Alaei • Kennedy's Pharmacy at Botany Thank you Vitalii • Boomerang Patisserie, thank you Svetlana for your sweet little gifts & food provided. • Anti-Stress Clinic
• Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport • Sahara Republic Restaurant • Russian Nights • Gentle Flowers thanks to Alena Manoli • Events By Style (who decorated the venue) • Encore Event Technologies
• TV RusTalk • Ray Barttholomeusz Photography • Unification (Edinenie) • Russian Speakers in Australia • SBS Radio • Horizon (Gorizont) • StarCentral magazine • Bohemian Rhapsody Magazine
REVIEW OF ‘TOMFOOLERY’ – The Words and Music of TOM LEHRER. September 13, 2018 at The Gasworks Main Theatre 21 Graham St. Albert Park The well attended venue was buzzing with anticipation as the doors opened to the latest version of this wonderful and witty musical, which was originally launched in London in 1980. Interestingly, we were treated to nearly half of Lehrer’s list of songs, which included his top five! As the first song was ‘Be Prepared”, the audience took an immediate liking to the four very talented performers who set a very high standard in interpreting Lehrer’s satirical and controversial topics that were far ranging from politics to human behaviour. I (along with the audience), especially lapped up the dark cynical humour in songs like ‘We Will All Go Together When We Go’ and ‘Poisoning Pigeons In The Park’. Having heard Tom Lehrer sing these songs, it was a delight to see and hear the artists having such fun. The use of the dressed skeleton, also wearing dark framed glasses, was very effective in complimenting some of the songs like ‘I Hold Your Hand In Mine’. Having performed in The Pirates of Penzance at high school, one of my favourite songs from the show was ‘The Elements’, performed brilliantly by Sean Weatherly. The versatility of the artists was amazing – implementing not just the piano but a ukulele, recorder, accordion and a mini violin. Additionally, the transition between songs was extremely smooth and thoroughly professional. Although it is said that Lehrer’s songs may be dated, this show presented songs that still have a relevance and completeness in addressing today’s values and human behaviour. Although now 90, the old mathematician Lehrer would have approved the show that lasted about one hour. It is a show well worth seeing more than once to get the full value and juice of the witty lyrics – not to mention the fabulous singing and acting. Full marks to all the performers (especially Susan-Ann Walker) and all the production crew plus the sponsors and Gasworks. I was honoured and privileged to have attended ‘Tomfoolery’ and found it funny and uplifting! Sylvester Kroyherr – Bohemian Rhapsody Club. (14.9.2018) photo: Sylvester Kroyherr
THE MELBOURNE MUSICIANS website review Olga Kirk photos: Daniel Cui
Two By Two: Bach and Vivaldi Double Concertos
with Miki Tsunoda and Anne Harvey-Nagl - violin
JS Bach - Overture in A minor - Double Concerto in D minor Vivaldi - Double Concerto in A minor Op.3/8 - Concerto for 2 Violins & Cello Op.3/11 - Concerto ripieno in C - Sinfonia in G - Concerto in E minor - Concerto in A major Two outstanding violinists returning from Europe to play Bach’s much-loved Double Concerto and sparkling concertos by Antonio Vivaldi. Miki and Anne- Are active and passionate Chamber Musicians that played in style and got a lot of applause from the audience. The acoustic sound was wonderful and brilliant soloists played together perfectly!. Stunning classical works are always modern and found a response in the hearts of the people. The sound of violins was pure, professional, and just brilliant! The balance of the orchestra and soloists was very professional. It felt that the conductor Frank Pam lead all the musicians and knew exactly how to get the perfect sound out of the Concertos
Thanks a lot for the emotions and the beauty of music that you gave to the enthusiastic and grateful audience!
CAT LOVERS SHOW MELBOURNE 2018 website review by Roslynn Garwood-Webb
The Cat Lovers Show Sat 8th and Sun 9th September 2018 Royal Exhibition0e Building Carlton
This weekend the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton hosted the first inaugural Cat Lovers Show. Brought to you by Event Management International who also bring the Dog Lovers Show to Melbourne each year , I’m suspecting that the organisers did not expect the cat lovers show to be as popular as the dog version, given that the tickets to the event on both days sold out online prior to the event even starting, which meant for lengthy queues at the venue for cat lovers who were hoping on some last minute tickets.
With over 100 Exhibitors and two stages showing specialist cat breeds and providing valuable information in regard to caring for your much loved four legged furry friends, there was something for every cat lover to enjoy !
The Breed Showcase Arena was a small area sectioned off where you could que and meet 10 different cat breeds and their devoted breeder/owners. I finally had my question answered as to the difference between a Burman and a Ragdoll breed by Burman Breeder Paul, who has 15 burmans at home, and was very happy to introduce us to two of them during the show.
One of the main objectives of the show for the organisers was to educate and raise awareness around Cat Rescue and responsible and committed cat ownership. Every year there are an astounding amount of cats who need to need to be ideally re homed due to non committed owners changing their minds or becoming disinterested once their kitten becomes a cat or when another new pet is welcomed into the family. With Rescue Groups such as Ingrids Haven, Pets Haven Foundation, Cat Protection Society of Australia and Penisula Cat Rescue, there were many options for people to consider adopting a rescue cat and providing a new and wonderful life for one of our beautiful furry friends.
I think the organisers of this even will now know that Melbourne has just as many cat lovers as dog lovers and that any future event will be jam packed and well received ! Who knows it may even out grow the venue !! If you plan on attending next years event be sure to book early !
poem to cover the exhibition by Susan Reynolds
Wrote this while I waited [NM: in line with a large Russian family in front].......
Cat extravaganza accompanying paraphernalia the human admirers have amassed! The cat lovers show is a definite blast. Everything for kitties and their slaves, up onstage presenters hoping their beauty behaves. We’re educated how we should look after these pets. this is for those cat people it’s as die hard as it gets. Queues for a hello to special breeds worth a wait, for those deciding what cat will be their perfect mate. Support your local rescue centres they have a stand buy a raffle ticket or give a donation give these poor babies need a hand. Fun for young and all something will appeal from a retail stall. From portrait paintings to buy or have your own nails painted it’s that diverse. Inside this beautiful Exhibition Building this is cat universe
BTS photos: NM
ZELMAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA website review and photos: Natasha Lukin
FROM THE OLD WORLD TO THE NEW
Lovers of music and friends of Zelman Symphony Orchestra spent an enchanting evening at the Eldon Hogan Performing Arts Centre at Xavier College .
The concert held on the 1st September both, started and concluded, with romantic music of Antonin Dvořák. He was the second Czech Romantic composer, after Smetana, to achieve worldwide recognition and success. Dvořák music was melodic and contemporary to his time, but he frequently employed specific rhythms, reminding of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia.
The evening opened with a different piece from Dvořák, because that music was written and dedicated to his time spent in the US and to his impressions of that country.
Understandably, his American 5-movements suite was imbued with a distinct American flavour. The title was American Suite in A Major.
The concert was conducted by Rick Prakhoff, an Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Zelman Symphony. To watch his elegant and smooth hands’ movements where Rick actually did not even need his conductor’s wand, was a show in itself. It seemed the conductor was so much in agreement with Dvořák’s melodies that it felt like Rick Prakhoff himself became a part of that music.
For the contrast, Dvořák was followed by the American composer Samuel Barber. His most popular work was Adagio for Strings, composed in 1936 that was beautifully performed by Zelman Symphony Orcestra.
Then young but already highly acclaimed oboist Thomas Hutchinson played with the Orchestra the last Barber’s composition “Canzonetta for Oboe and Strings”. When Barber was composing this piece he already new his diagnosis and was aware of its prognosis. It felt like the composer put his heart and soul in that piece. The melody alternates constantly between diatonic and chromatic states throughout. The piece concluded with a burst of heartfelt lyricism from the soloist Thomas Hutchinson. That was the Barber’s farewell to the world.
Another Czech composer Martinu was presented by his Oboe Concerto. For the most part his music was positive and joyful. However, when the soloist entered, the music became more melancholic and gentle.
The following piece, composed by Chris Pickering, was called The Straightened Arrow. Originally from the US Chris now found himself based in Melbourne, at Melbourne Conservatorium, where he is writing and scoring music in the contemporary classic medium.
The last piece for the evening brought us back to Dvořák.
The Orchestra played his Symphony No. 8, composed in 1889 when Dvořák and his family moved to live in the Czech countryside. That was where his most famous works were created.
Upcoming Concert by Zelman Symphony will be held on the 1st December, at the Camberwell Grammar School PAC. The program is promising to be an exiting conclusion of the 2018.
It includes Haydn, Richard Strauss an Brahms – how could anyone wish for more?
For enquiry you can visit their website: http://zelmansymphony.org.au
EMIL AND THE DETECTIVES website review and photos by Michelle Schemdri-Lipscombe
Review for Emil and the Detectives: Emil and the Detectives Where do I start? What a great show!!! First and foremost the show lived up to its reputation for captivating stage and lighting. With only a few props, the stage was always alive and engaging. The light show allowed the story to be told with visual clarity. With shades of light and dark and tiny to massive detail the visual effects created with the lighting was amazing! The show consisted of 2 actors. 2 brilliant, talented, engaging actors. What a joy to watch!! the audience were captivated by the performers from the moment it started and we all know that when half of the audience are kids, this is a big task! Nathan O’Keefe displayed a magnificent art in characterisation which was lots of fun to watch. A quick change in wardrobe, posture, voice and there was no mistaking who each character was. Danielle Catanzariti was consistent, innocent and sweet with a bit of spice and an absolute pleasure to watch! She kept the show on track and was the consistent face the stage needed and loved. In a show that demands audience participation from the moment they enter the stage - the audience loved being ’part of’ the show and were made to feel comfortable to play along. The audience were in hysterics throughout the ‘phone’ scene and I think everyone in the audience wanted to be the girl that had that phone under her seat. As the show closed, Danielle invited the audience to stay and help create their own little paper people to represent the township in the next show. The craft tables were packed after the show with kids and adults alike.
FESTIVE SEASON WITH GAUAHAR KHAN AND PRIYA PATEL website review of the press conference on 6 September and BTS photos: Natasha M
The press conference with two celebrities Gauarah and Priya took place on 6 September at 0600pm at Aangan restaurant in Bundoora. Both girls were gorgeous and very easy going, humble too and amazing to communicate with, The place picked up for the conference was sensational, the Indian food was so good and drinks were also offered to the media. I was very lucky and honored to ask one of only 4 questions we were allowed to ask both girls. My first question to Gauarah was
What was the funniest moment of your life GK: I started starring in the Indian version of THE OFFICE serial and each time I read the scrip i can not hold myself from laughing. It is so hard to concentrate and not to laugh as the script is so funny
What was the most magical moment of your life? PP: My first time in acting in my filming career was the most magical moment of my life.
The restaurant was very busy. There were so many media people attending the conference we did not have enough seats and it was pleasant to see the girls are so popular. It finished late and we all went home. The rainy day was warmed up with a great conversation and very well organised event. The main review of the 7 Sep concert is coming up soon as well as the coverage (photos) Please stay tuned and read up...
review of the concert on 7 September review Olga Tolkatceva photos: Prad VT
"Start of the festive season" event, 7th of September 2018.
I was very grateful to be invited to an Indian Banquet dinner and concert at the stunning Ultima functions center. It was a grand event to celebrate a start of a festive season, and it was my chance to learn more about fascinating Indian culture. It was lovely to observe the Indian traditions are being upheld in Australia, second home to many of the guests.
The very first thing that I noticed as a designer was the colourful vibrancy of the evening outfits. All the ladies went to great length and looked amazing wearing the traditional festive dresses and saris. The silks and chiffons were elaborately decorated by embroideries and sparkling ornaments.
It was an evening with a great relaxed atmosphere, people were talking and laughing, meeting old friends and creating new ones. I met quite a few lovely ladies, who were so very hospitable and inclusive, one of them was delightful Hima Himani, a designer for The Glitter and Glow by Hima Himani evening wear.
I also had a very pleasant talk with a stunning Beauty Queen Lucia Hou. She and her successor, Soodeh Jafari, were representing Mrs. Australia Globe beauty pageant, and I can testify that these girls are beautiful inside and out. They are the human rights activists and spoke eloquently about the cause this Multicultural Beauty event supports: Project Karma has a mission to stop the sexual exploitation of children.
The organizers really accomplished the entertainment by bringing two amous Indian celebrity guests: Singer Priya Patel and Bollywood Actress Gauahar Khan. There was an interview with both of them and the guests had a chance to ask questions.
Stunning Gauahar Khan, unbelievably elegant and poised, really commanded the attention of the room. She spoke charismatically about the chances in life and how fortunate she was to have her family and fans support. It was a lesson in gratitude.
After dinner, the dancing part started with the concert of amazing Priya Patel, she was singing Indian songs and it was so nice to see that many beautiful ladies started to dance traditional dances, combined with stunning outfits it was truly a visual feast.
The delicious food was provided by the Tandory flames, Melbourne, and the three-course meal was absolutely outstanding, the best Indian I have ever had. The deep-fried fish in batter was melting in the mouth, the curries were mouthwateringly spicy, without being hot.
There will be more similar events happening, please note it for the future. I wholeheartedly recommend attending. You will be supporting a worthy charity, and you will have a lot of fun along the way. This is such an advantage to live in the Multicultural country like Australia, so we can be immersed in, learn and benefit from all these different and amazing cultures.
NGV: BALDESSIN WHITELY PARALLEL VISIONS website review by Roslynn Garwood-Webb
Baldessin/Whitely Parallel Visions NGV The Ian Potter Centre 31st Aug 2018 - 28 Jan 2019 Review: Roslynne Garwood-Webb 03/09/2018
If you are a lover of art, or even if you are not, One thing you must do this spring/summer in Melbourne, is visit the Baldessin/Whiteley Parallel Visions Exhibit at the NGV ! Featuring over 120 works from Australian artists Brett Whiteley and George Baldessin, guest Curator Emeritus Professor Sasha Grisin, has masterfully captured the similarities of the artists. Both artists were born within a month of each other, both lived abroad in their 20’s and both darlingly pursued figurative styles when Abstract was King. Both also tragically died young at the age of 39, Whiteley of a drug overdose and Baldessin in a car accident at the age of 53.
The works of Melbourne based Baldessin, and Sydney based Whiteley, showcase their shared similarities of style and use of pictorial language and the human figure , to convey and evoke deep human thoughts and ideas. Whiteley;s 22 metre long Magnum Opus, ’The American Dream’ is displayed in it’s correct ‘round’ form for the first time during its homage at the NGV. It is a sight to behold and it has the power to speak as little or as much to you as you like. To stand back and be surrounded by not only beautiful art, but also by a story, is quite something. Whiteley completed this work during his time in New York during the Vietnam War and in it, he captures his initial passion for America, his intense responses to the politics and culture and finally his powerful desire to leave it all behind for something much more peaceful and understated.
Other Whiteley Works include Lipstick (1981), Sacred Baboon (1975) and the haunting Christie Series-10 Rollington Place (1964), depicting the dark world of notorious London murderer John Christie, the Archibald Prize Winning Self Portrait in the Studio (1976) and also Art, Life and the other thing (Winner of the Wynne Prize 1978). The gorilla like projections of George Baldessin’s female faces and voluptuous bodies are shown in many of his works and I feel his prints exemplify a more finite intricate process than Whiteley;s sweeping elaborate lines. Baldessin's early work as a waiter apparently inspired many of his early artworks and sculptures.
The exhibit provides ample opportunity to witness the uses of pear formations within many of his pieces. Not to forget a replica of the bronze pears which are prominently placed outside of the national gallery of Australia in Canberra, which can be seen when entering the exhibit at the NGV. I enjoyed the quirky, circus like nature of many of Baldessin5s etchings, appreciating the complexity of how these were produced. Firstly etched into thin foil then painted with varying degrees of ink and then placed through a press. The exhibition also includes Baldessin’s MM of Rue Street Denis Series(1976) which transposes the Christian figure or Mary Magdalene into the streets of Paris. Displayed Systematically, with Whiteley;s works on white walls and Baldessin;s on black, you can quite easily whittle away a few hours losing yourself within these wonderous pieces. Parallel Visions is a must see for any art lover or the aspiring art novice like myself.
On leaving the gallery you do feel as though you have just witnessed something quite phenomenal that you may never have the opportunity to witness again. The Parallel Visions Exhibition is available at the NGV Ian Potter Building from 31st August 2018-28 January 2019
Brett Whiteley was born in Sydney, in April of 1939. A self taught illustrator and painter he started drawing at a very young age. in 1959 at the age of 20 , he was catapulted out of Sydney when his passion and talent had earned him a scholarship to Italy where he further pursued his art and flourished in the London Art Scene. In 1961 his Untitled Red Painting was purchased by the Tate Gallery earning him the esteem of having been one of the youngest living artists to have a work purchased by the Tate, a record that still stands today. Whiteley;s figurative and Abstract artworks continue to have an ongoing impact in Australia's creative culture and he seems to have blazed a trail that still lights a path for future generations of artists. Some of his art works speak very loudly to their audience and summon a sense of purpose and poignance. This was confirmed by his late wife Wendy sharing that Whiteley ‘believed that a piece of art could shake people out of war and that he very much had a desire to wake people up with his art’.
George Baldessin was born in Italy in 1939 and immigrated to Australia with his family in 1949. He studied painting at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology from 1958-1961. After graduating he gradually lost interest in painting and travelled to London where he furthered his interests and learnt how to print at the Chelsea School of Art and in 1963 prior to returning to Australia, he also attended the Brera Academy in Milan.This would become the form of many of his most famous artworks
review by Susan Reynolds
Baldessin/Whiteley NGV Victoria Federation Square 31/08/18- 28/01/19
George Baldessin 1939-1992 Born Italy but in Australia from 1949
Brett Whiteley 1939-1978 Born Australia lived in England 1960-67
Both Baldessin and Whiteley were born in 1939 same year as WWII began. They both grew up in post war years where questions were being made about validity of the use of power ...governing bodies and the religion hadn’t done a great job. How could the world have gone so wrong with the corrupt power of Nazism. Propelled to find what was honest and true, a relevant truth and individualism became a focus. To this end both these artists amongst many thought about society and their place in it. Existentialism became an important philosophical consideration to visual artists. **Existentialism is a movement in philosophy and literature that emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice. It began in the mid-to-late 19th Century, but reached its peak in mid-20th Century France.**
Melbourne had a stronger tradition for figurative art compared to Sydney in the 1950’s. The Antipodeans Blackman, Arthur Boyd, David Boyd, John Brack, Robert Dickerson, had some influence over George Baldessin in its figurative content. However he departed in essence from these artists in its stylistic risk-taking. The Antipodeans had been worried about the growing interest in abstract art and that it was counterproductive to their work. In Sydney we had Kippel, Olsen, Passmore Rose and Eric Smith all working in more abstract realms.
The driving forces in the overall world of art around the time both men were young and prolific had been abstract expressionism the late 50’s and early 60’s. Expressionism was the forefront in Europe when both men went to work and study there in the 60’s . They had never met but their works made an impact and in retrospect their achievements made a statement in terms of their Australian roots. In this show at the NGV it’s about contrast and compare and it is interesting in the parallels; one is that they both died relatively young Baldessin in his 20’s and Whiteley in his early 50’s. Both were trailblazing Australian artists who studied in Europe and were recognized on the world stage. They were both intrinsically individual expressive and passionately focused.
Brett Whiteley dabbled in abstraction but moved more towards figurative elements. Both men were at one in the figurative phase even though they had different approaches. Whiteley had the amazing line of an expressively emotionally connected artist. He was instinctively aware of the power of a good line. Baldessin had his own approach to distortion for maximum effect displaying themes of contemporary relevance such as cinema. Baldessin displayed themes distorting the female form in a unique way.
Whiteley was the seemingly tortured soul to me who just seemed to be struggling; one might liken him to his favourite artist Van Gogh in this passion. Whiteley explored pictorial elements applicable to contemporary society in the widely publicized story of the Christie Series based on the notorious murders. And his homage is there in stylistic terms to artist Francis Bacon but done with his own vigor and intensity. At first viewing it’s easy to miss points of detail. This is where a guide courtesy of the NGV on hand is invaluable. Our guide on the visit spoke of the work ”Christie and Hectorina McLennan 1964-65” with the tiny appendage depicted Whiteley gives the killer a very inadequate penis; having a shot as his warped manhood. The dislocated lines describe the dissected bodies Christie enacted his murderous rages on. The visceral lines summarized the rampage, distortions and dislocations where we feel Whiteley has tried to embody the essence of the murderous evil which had been committed. Whiteley is masterful at the time he was he was the rock star of the art world. A plethora of works and themes is commendable in his highly personal approach. On some levels you may not relate to him that was in fact me a Fine Art student in my 20’s I must admit I didn’t warm to Whiteley. However I look the works now in my 60th year of life with different eyes. I can say there’s no denying his relevance and superb ability as an artist and the struggle he had for presenting us his own truth
Baldessin was equally as committed as Whiteley and hardworking but a whole lot less demonstrative in his personality than Whiteley. Baldessin had a strongly independent vision. Committed to printmaking and experimentation of materials he enjoyed using tinfoil as a medium for some of his prints. The female figure predominates in his works with their own distinctive traits, wild hair and sometimes bulbously described bodies. One sculptural piece describes a waitress with emphasis on the body parts we take note of as a customer. Baldessin worked as a waiter for some time and imagery crops up in his art relating to this. His beautifully honed pear-shaped sculptural pieces are also attributed to this theme. Where he worked a poached pear dish was served as a speciality. With further connotations we are able to make concerning reference to the female form.
I enjoyed the exhibition very much and it really is a good idea to do a guided tour. The piece de resistance is Whiteley’s American Dream 1969. Documenting his perspectives on America in a highly personal analytical and powerful way. It was Whiteley epic performance ...his Guernica (Pablo Picasso) and I think he did a damn great job of expressing a cornucopia of personal and political themes.
My small personal postscript to this review is I came close to meeting Brett Whiteley when it was organised with Ansett Airlines that he might do some bulkhead designs for aircraft in the 70’s. As far as I know it didn’t come to fruition. I was working at the time as a graphic artist for the company.
WA FASHION EDIT 2018 NEW website photography and review: Manish Bolla
EVENT WA FASHION EDIT 2018 DATE : 2nd August 2018 VENUE : FRIDAY'S STUDIO PERTH This year a collective of young local WA fashion designers and creatives exhibited unique fashion, jewellery and shoe designs in a most unique way. WA Fashion edit was supported by The West Australian WA premier news stand and Media. My observations : Event featured young, emerging and established WA creatives showcasing minimal yet classy pattern of designs which featured on a runway. The designs were eco friendly minimalistic yet sophisticated. Perth A listers enjoyed an array of food wine in a great cozy atmosphere. The stage was set up with beautiful floral designs and that sun-kissed golden light globes. A group of local creatives certainly embraced and showcased the best WA local designers have to offer. Event was all about collaborating and enjoying meeting new and established people within the industry and forming a unity with everyone to create a positive change. Designers were as followed: ILKA One Fell Swoop Wild Horses Mountain and Moon Hunter Store Hickey Hardware Below is a direct message from one of the prominent designer ILKA - Kate I (Kate Wilks) have worked alongside Erin Taylor for almost 10 years and can confidently say that working within a team or in collaboration has helped us strive for what we need/want out of the industry. I love WA, and supporting local independent labels is something we love to do, because without new talent our industry wouldn't continue to thrive.