OUR CHRISTMAS GIFT NEW website review by Marina Sklyar
What a great way to celebrate the end of 2018 with such a marvelous concert. The tickets were kindly given away to Bohemian Rhapsody Club and Magazine through Make Difference PR . The concert tool place at the Plenary, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre which on its own is one of the best concert halls in Melbourne. Such concerts are an exciting way to view and celebrate the wonderful season of the year.
Every year our entertainment industry always gives back with an amazing Christmas concert, to people who have been volunteering for people in need, This performance is also a wonderful opportunity for families and children to go out together and spend a good time together. There were so many children present at the concert whose eyes sparkled from joy and in anticipation of the spirit of Christmas. Our Melbourne choir with the leading singers, together with The Melbourne orchestra bring such a positive energy and holiday spirit and more to that: for many people a purpose of live for. Through the music we receive that gorgeous energy of holiness that makes all of us feel complete, balance and safe like in the hands of god.
What an outstanding concert which unites us all... no more to add - just attend next year and experience for your self please
PERPETUAL FRUSTRATION MACHINE NEW website review by Max Davine
Perpetural Frustration Machine At Theatre Works Max Davine
Theatreworks is known for its exploration of art in theatre. Sometimes, they absolutely hit the nail on the head. Others, you’re sitting there wondering when this intro will turn into a coherent story for two hours. It was with an immense sigh of relief to see Perpetual Frustration Machine hit its stride only a few short minutes into its one-hour run. What follows is a display of physical prowess, control and strength that delivers its message while never dropping the ball on the entertainment factor; the performers are four masterful dancers, the choreography displays years of experience and hours innumerable spent rehearsing and the audience is led to gasp, cringe and simply stare in awe at this immersive piece of performance art. Zebastian Hunter has an impressive list of circus credits to his name, including the inimitable Cirque du Soleil, and that’s obvious here. The choreography looks raw and at times dangerous. There is a finesse that goes into creating such an unpolished look that only trained dancers would truly understand, but to the audience at Theatreworks it was simply one of the very few performances actually worthy of the oft-overused term “edgy”. In a departure from most performance art pieces, this one is subtle only in the sense that masturbating in the middle of Times Square might be called discreet. As Seth Scheuner emerges from the back of the stage dressed as an angel – his wings fashioned of crutches – or as Debra Batton chases a hundred dollar note that’s at the end of a fishing pole lashed to her own back, we see that Hunter intends his message to be read loud and clear. Special mention must also to Stephanie Benson, her one-upmanship on the dance pieces with Scheuner makes for utterly mesmerising viewing, especially their respective hoops performances. The latter two also make it through the majority of the play uttering nary a single word. The same cannot be said for Batton and Adam O’Connor-McMahon, and while both are extraordinarily talented and highly skilled dancers and circus performers, actors they are not, and one wonders if it was necessary to have them speak, given the visceral impact of the imagery alone. Most definitely worth a trip, even if it is to St. Kilda.
AUSTRALIAN BALLET SCHOOL SUMMER SEASON 2018 NEW La Sylphide & Other Works website review by Susan Reynolds
Australian Ballet School Summer Season 2018
Review by Susan Reynolds
“Waltz from Birthday Celebration” Mark Annear: Choreographer Level 4 ballet dancers. The classical graceful dancers greet the audience in a beautiful spectacle. A sea of uniform white tulle is visually appreciated as we absorb the individual skills of every dancer. This ballet was originally created for the Australian Ballet’s 40th Anniversary Gala.
“Wolfgang Dance” Simon Dow: Choreographer Level 4 ballet dancers The dancers’ joyful shuffles accompany the eccentric white Mozart era wigs and brown tights. The Orchestral music for the performance is from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. The dance performance is enjoyable in its uniqueness quirkiness and whimsical nature. Music is K.525 Movement 1. Allegro. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.
“Heart Strings” Margaret Wilson: Choreographer Level 6 ballet dancers There are beautiful feminine flowing tutus in some of these dances where there’s a concentration on the Psychological implications of the Choreography. The presentation appears to be concerning aspects of acceptance and rejection. Person to person male to male then a violent punch sends one male down in the dance. An interesting approach illuminating the power of conveying concepts in terms of a story in dance.
Exploring the annoyances and challenges of human interaction and in reading the inspirations it particular adolescence. Danced by experienced Level 6 dance students this offers an opportunity for the dancers to embrace and realise their own emerging creative inclinations.
There’s also a modern dance with imaginative spectacles such as a body in splayed pose on the floor as a final vision. In another Robotic dance there are shoulder-jerking rhythmic dancers seem to want to exert domination over front position. They are jostling in somewhat comedic fashion whilst being fascinating for the audience. This is very exciting something of which I have never seen in a ballet.
Talented skillful male dancers show a brilliant strength both in their solo movements then also in a group dance.
“La Sylphides” Level 6 ballet dancers
Choreographed after August Bournoville from the 1832 Ballet. Folk songs in Herman Lovenskiold’s Score The basis of the story is that James is to be married to Effy but is mesmerized and distracted by a sylph (An imaginary spirit of the air). His friend called Gurn reminds him he is to be married to Effy. But he is captivated by the Sylph’s beauty. The witch old Madge then predicts Effy is to marry Gurn.
James resists the Sylph at first but then becomes more captivated by Sylph’s ethereal beauty. Effy marries Gurn because she is disenchanted with James. James embraces the Sylph her wings fall off and she dies. James collapses Madge exults over his lifeless body. The evil has triumphed the witch is satisfied. This ballet is so stunning in its spectacle of dancers in period dress. The Scottish theme scenic background looks impressive with authentic appearance in the period features. The huge fireplace provides the perfect spectacle for the Sylph to retreat to when she needs to magically disappear.
Thanks to the Australian Ballet School Summer Season of Dance.
In order to enjoy such performances as an audience we appreciate the orchestra and all the contributing artistry. Thanks to the dedicated individuals associated and the wonderful talented dancers.
Director Lisa Pavane General Manager Sandra Ball
ZELMAN SYMPHONY: END GAMES NEW website review and photos: Natasha Lukin
ZELMAN SYMPHONY: END GAMES
The final concert of the year 2018 by the Zelman Symphony Orchestra on 1 December 2018 at the Camberwell Grammar School Performing Arts Centre was a total success. That was actually expected with the exquisite choice of the program and with a soloist, a popular soprano Miriam Gordon-Stewart.
Her performance was a centrepiece of the concert. She was singing Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss. This beautiful music and Miriam’s wonderful talent charmed the public.
Rick Prakhoff, a Principal Conductor of the Orchestra and since recently its Artistic Director has decided on the program that included absolute classics.
The concert began with Haydn’s last symphony – No. 104 in D Major. Interestingly, that this symphony has the title ‘London’ although it is not known how this nickname came into being. Haydn focused on his London Symphony with a great level of austerity and grandeur and it was a great success when performed for the first time in 1795 in London.
The Symphony was followed by Miriam’s performance. All Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss deal with the subject of death, which make Miriam to ponder upon human’s mortality. She said she felt a great appreciation of beauty – in nature and in music, and found a lot of depth in it. Miriam herself admitted that these songs were some of her favourites – not only to sing but to reflect. That is why Miriam coms back to those songs time and time again.
After the interval the Orchestra the public enjoyed another musical favourite of many music lovers – Symphony No. 4 by Johannes Brahms. That was his last symphony and undoubtedly, the most popular one until now.
At that final performance of the year, the 79 musicians, comprising the orchestra have played their instruments with high their professionalism and finely attuned cooperative sound effects. Of course, the leading role in it belonged to their conductor. He is a versatile musician himself who has been known in his past as a concert classic guitarist who also tried himself as operatic baritone.
He year 2019 promises to be an exciting one with the new Concert Series that will include the following programs: Sibelius and Edgar on March16; Mozart’s Clarinet on May 18 and Stradivarius Magic in November 30.
Tickets are on sale now and can be booked via website: zelmansymphony.org.au or on the phone: 03 8899 7445.
LET THERE BE ROCK NEW website review by Bryanna Reynods
REVIEW: Let There Be Rock By Bryanna Reynolds I was lucky enough to attend an ACDC rock inspired live performance by some extraordinary musicians and singers at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda, Australia. The group comprised of an assortment of funky singers who transported you to another time and day with their voices and musical accompaniment. The Satellite Lounge is the perfect location to visit and see the range of tribute bands they have playing weekly. It really reminds you how important it is to cherish music from older era’s and listen to them with friends and family. The energy of the performance nodded directly to motown and the vibe was electric! The band allowed and urged people to get up and boogie on the dance floor at the front of the venue. If you knew the words you were also welcomed to sing a long, which was a lot of fun. The best part was you could count on hearing your favourite motown songs and trust me you wouldn't be disappointed. The voices of the band filled the venue and everyone there was getting into the groove. I can't wait to see what The Satellite Lounge have coming up next. They are the perfect venue for an older age group to first drop by and have some dinner followed by a relaxed boogie to the music. If you ever get a chance to experience one of the performances at The Satellite Lounge I highly recommend it, take along some friends and family and make an evening of it. Natasha
A VERY KRANSKY CHRISTMAS TOUR NEW website review by Bryanna Reynolds
REVIEW: A Very Kransky Christmas By Bryanna Reynolds I was lucky enough to attend a performance of ‘A Very Kransky Christmas’ at the iconic performance venue Alex Theatre in St Kilda, Melbourne. The melancholy of the christmas tunes performed by the Kransky Sisters were mesmerizing and really added another viewpoint of listening to your favourite tunes. When I say mesmerizing I am talking about the essence of one of the sisters playing a sword to the eerie vibes of the music. Imagine a Tim Burton esque vibe mixed with the hilarious comedy of the Australian trio and you have yourself a christmas extravaganza that can't be missed in 2018. The story throughout the show is the lead up to Christmas in the Kransky Sisters home town of Esk in QLD, Australia. The sister’s tell tales of their childhood that are both cringeworthy and comedic then intertwined with top 40 hits and christmas tunes. The Kransky Sisters also get the audience involved with men dressing up as the trio on stage and everyone getting out their car keys and jingling along to christmas tunes. And as they advertised it is one of the kookiest shows you will ever attend in celebration of christmas. If you get the chance to see the Kransky Sisters live in concert, it is an experience you simply don't want to miss.
NGV: ESCHER X nendo NEW website review and photos by Roslynne Garwood-Webb
Escher X Nendo Between Two Worlds monochromatic 2 Dec - 7 April 2019
Art Lovers are in for an ethereal visual treat this summer, as the National Gallery of Victoria open the doors on the much awaited Escher X Nendo Exhibit.
We were promised something very special by Tony Allwood, NGV Director “Escher x Nendo / Between two Worlds marks an important step forward in our conception of the museum experience”.
I am very pleased to say that something special indeed, we did receive. This project transforms the museum into a truly contemporary, imaginative and creatively democratic space. You will be surrounded by delicate, intricate, monochromatic hues with the occasional splash of colour and feel yourself lost in the puzzling non sensical world that Escher loved to create, whilst being subtly brought back to earth by Nendo’s “!” moments of which he says we are surrounded by but never stop for long enough to take in.
Some of the 23 works by Escher, that were generously loaned to the NGV by the Gemeentenmuseoum Den Haag, The Hague, Netherlands, are :
Day and Night 1939 Woodcut printed in grey and black inks Ascending and Descending March 1960 - Lithograph Drawing Hands January 1948 lithograph Hand with Reflecting Sphere 1935 (self portrait in spherical mirror) January 1935 Lithograph.
MELBOURNE CHAMBER CHOIR: SOLOMON BY HANDEL NEW website review and photos: Natasha Lukin
SOLOMON BY HANDEL
Now it is a time of the year when Handel is inseparable part of Christmas celebration. Apart of his most famous Oratorio “Messiah” his other less known but with the same beauty and power is his creation “Solomon”.
Melbourne Chamber Choir and Temple Beth Israel presented that piece to the public on Sunday, the 25th of November.
The choice of the premises, the Temple Beth Israel synagogue in St. Kilda has been perfect to represent the story, on which oratorio is based.
The ‘Solomon’ celebrates the famous Biblical Temple at Jerusalem in poetry. It has also celebrated love with music, which reflects the meaning of the Song of Solomon. That is justice, two mothers arguing about who owns the baby, and that spiced up with a touch of humour. Then another, distinguished character, the Queen of Sheba enriched the story line. She was epitomised with exotic fragrances and glittering gems.
David Ian Kram, the conductor, believes that “Solomon” might appeal to both, Jews and Christians, and resonate with their Biblical roots.
This oratorio has not been heard often but perhaps this beautiful performance will signify a “Solomon’ revival. Judging by enthusiast reaction by the public that is a realistic assumption.
NICA NEW Qu’est-ce Que C’est? [What Are They Doing... Here?] A comedy slapstick mystery from acclaimed French Director Charlotte Saliou website review by Oksana Newton
This reviewer’s introduction to the world of circus performance art was a joy to behold. Qu’est-ce Que C’est (What are they doing...here) is a comedic farce in the tradition of Chaplainesque slapstick, melded with performance art.
The ensemble leads us on a merry chase in the search for “Linda,” blending comedy, mystery, circus and acting into a delight which can only be described as a tour de force.
The students performance grew in confidence with every laugh from the audience and it was a delight watching them bloom in front of my eyes.
Although designed for a discerning mature audience, my six year old son delighted in the genre of slapstick, add this to the physicality of circus performance (unicycles juggling, balancing) and my little boy was in heaven. It’s a great way to introduce your child into the appreciation of performance art. It was our first time at NICA, it won’t be our last.
photos: Aaron Walker
COLOR RUN TOUR - HERO TOUR MELBOURNE NEW website review: Roslynne Garwood-Webb photos: BRC Ambassador Amit Singh
Colour Run Sunday 25th November 2018
Where else on the planet can you find people dressed in brightly coloured tutus, unicorn horns, super hero capes and ski glasses with go pro attached early on a Sunday morning in the heart of Melbourne ? ??
The Color Run is where, and at 7:10 am on Sunday morning my family and I joined approximately 11,000 other Melbournians all dressed in white, ready to participate in the happiest 5 klm fun run on the planet !
Colour Run ran their first ever fundraising event to promote healthiness and happiness in 2011. Since then, the Color Run Team annually visits 200 cites and 40 countries all around the world. With only two rules, 1) wear white at the start and 2) finish plastered with colour, the Color Run is less about running your perfect time , and more about celebrating your uniqueness, your health and your happiness.
After your early arrival, there are numerous free activities set up by major sponsors at the event which you can enjoy while you wait to commence the race and the Color Run after party is AWESOME ! After a dance warm up , the first group of runners descends on the Flemington circuit. My family and I had a ball running and walking leisurely through the 5 colour stations which are set out along the course. Towards the end just when you think it cant get anymore fun, you arrive at a giant foam pit where you can go crazy throwing foam and dancing in a huge pit of gorgeous bubbles !
On completion of your event you will be presented with your very own Unicorn Color run Medal. You are then invite to centre stage where with bags of colourful chalk in hand, on the count of three, everybody throws the chalk in the air and you become part of one of the most awesome rainbows you will ever see !
I thoroughly recommend this event to anyone looking for that perfect event to share with your friends or family. Im sure its something my children will remember forever, as something really cool they did with their parents, and its probably the only time they will ever see their dad in a tutu !!
My only advice is to book early as soon as tickets are released ( usually in January/Feb) as the price increases the closer it gets to the the event. Your registration also includes a runners pack which is T-shirt, bandana, tattoos, badge and your registration number for your shirt.
photos: Ros Garwood-Webb
LET THERE BE ROCK NEW website interview run by Bryanna Reynolds
Interview: James Morley By Bryanna Reynolds
Palais Theatre November 30th 2018 CONCERT: Let There Be Rock
I was lucky enough to have a chat with James Morley (The Angels) about his road to success and his upcoming performance at the Palais Theatre. It was clear that James was a jokester from the beginning, when asked to tell me a little bit about himself he explained he liked “long walks on the beach”.
I knew our chat was off to a fantastic start at that point. Now onto the serious part. James has been playing music ever since he was a kid. Subsequently it was whilst James was on tour that he got picked up for the band The Angels, and there began his row with success. Along the journey James has been lucky enough to meet some of his very own heroes he worshipped growing up whilst touring the world which he describes as “being kinda cool”. James is a mad ACDC fan so it is quite fitting the show at the Palais Theatre pays tribute to one of his favourite bands. It was in 1978 that he first heard the band and has worshipped them ever since. He credits them as being one of his influencers from when he was a kid and has even got to meet them a couple of times and hang out. Leaving high school in year nine, James jumped right into the life of being on the road at the age of 16 and describes it as being second nature to him. James explains that whilst realising his chosen career path isn't the norm he wouldn't have it any other way and enjoys his rockstar life.
The highlight of the upcoming performance for James is being on stage with a forty piece orchestra because he knows that there is going to be something special that will come out of it. “It will certainly be a career highlight” says James in relation to performing in front of 1000 people. James shares that it will definitely be a rock show but adding the orchestra on top of the rock background will allow for a wider set audience to enjoy music in a different atmosphere. “You don't need to go to a sweaty bar with drunk punters” its the best part of performing in St Kilda is that people don't need to worry about that. While James admits he learnt everything the hard way, he believes that it is worth it.
“You want to go through that and have your ups and downs”, because it will make you appreciate it more. Believing in what you do is also a major key component. The show is a world first here in Australia and you should all come down and see it, as it will be travelling around the world for the next 18 months. Make sure to get your tickets for the show and witness the magic unfold on stage.
Let There Be Rock is on 30th of November. Be there! BUY TICKETS
MORAL PANIC NEW website review by Mike and Leanne Vallance
Moral Panic was presented at the Northcote Town Hall Arts by Darebin Arts Speakeasy and Double Water Sign.
It is written by Rachel Perks and directed by Bridget Balodis. It is promoted as an unsettling hallucination, an occult thriller and a very dark comedy. This new performance work comes from the award-winning team behind Ground Control (Next Wave 2016) and Angry Sexx (Melbourne Fringe2014). Its producers suggest they are seeking to ask how do we tear down the monument of masculinity, and what tools can we find in the dirt?
Moral Panic challenges its audience from a number of perspectives. The thrust of the night centres around witchcraft, occult, the underworld, hallucination and long held secrets. Combine these themes with dialogue that at times is blatant Australian slang language and you find yourself unsure of whether you should be laughing or shivering.
Cast members Kai Bradley, Chanella Macri, Eva Seymour and Jennifer Vuletic work hard throughout an 80 minute performance.
Moral Panic was relatively dark and quite lively, although it felt as though it lost its way for a while in the middle before coming back to tie the story together with a very strong finish.
We congratulate all involved in presenting Moral Panic to almost nightly sold out audience
VICTORIA RACING CLUB: MELBOURNE CUP CARNIVAL 2018 NEW website review: Tugba Caglayan
photos: Erkin Kalayci (6 Nov)
photos: Nelly Yoa (the rest of the dates)
We are all accustomed to the ever-changing weather conditions here in Melbourne. This year’s Melbourne Cup proved no less. Due to one of the heaviest rainfalls earlier in the day, some of the officials and volunteers were assigned to keep the entry ways accessible through excess water. General Admission Guests had to cross the heavy, sticky mud to make it to the buses that take them to the show grounds. Many shoes were stained that day, until another set of rain washed the dirt away... The crew was very helpful and friendly, just as usual. We had gone through a couple of issues with our media accreditation cards, but they handled everything skillfully leaving us with smiley faces to enjoy our day on the Cup day. Surely guests seemed to have a great time, albeit the stormy weather. As some were trying to hide beneath many umbrellas, some did not bother and just took in the rain, not letting it steal their joy. All in soaked through dresses and suits, Aussies lived the Cup Day up on wet grass, barefoot, with a glass of champagne.
SOUL CHIC PRESENTS NARDIA AND GEORGA BYRNE NEW website review: Leanne and Mike Vallance
They say “if you enjoy what you do, it shows”….
They also say “if you’re a performer and enjoy yourself on stage, it will transfer to the audience and they will enjoy themselves too”
This certainly proved true in the case of “Soul Chic Presents Nardia and Georga Byrne”.
The 8:30pm session in the Loft at Paris Cat Jazz Club on Saturday 17th November 2018 was a sell-out. Soul Chic is very well regarded as a vibrant and dynamic musical group led by the bewitching vocals of Nardia Branca & Georga Byrne. Soul Chic is a regular performer at Paris Cat featuring shows including the Eva Cassidy experience show, Women of Jazz and Soul which have all been huge sell outs.
This show was effectively Soul Chic raw and exposed as Nardia and Georga separately showcased an array of their original compositions written throughout varying circumstances in their lives.
The first hour saw Nardia presenting her original tunes backed by musicians from her “Nardia Rose Band” featuring Mat Robb on guitar, Angus Gray on Keys, Harry Cooper on Saxophone, Tijon Louis on Bass and Mark Aird on drums. Following a short break Georga performed a selection of her own compositions. Georga was accompanied by Sam Keevers on keys, Steve Rando on Guitar, Rory Brown on Upright Bass, Kieran Rafferty on Drums, with special guests Sophie Anderson on Cello and Laughlan Davidson on Saxophone and backing vocals from Rachael Compte and Ally McNaughton (and, at times, Nardia).
Their performances certainly allowed the girls to shine, both individually, and together. While their styles and music are, at times, quite different from one another, they both have an endless capacity to tell their life stories and experiences through the art of songwriting and stunning musical arrangements. They brought the audience into their lives with a refreshing amount of honesty, humour and humility as they introduced the songs and the history behind them.
Throughout the show the sell-out audience was certainly treated to a stage full of incredibly talented musicians. While the highlight of the night is clearly the wonderful singing voices of Nardia and Georga, we would be remiss if we did not draw appropriate attention to the calibre of everyone who played a part.
We applaud and thank Nardia and Georga for allowing us to play a small part as a witness to their lives and look forward to new creations from them both as they continue through life.
We would strongly recommend people see a Soul Chic show. To see a group of such talented professionals hold their chosen musical genre in such high esteem, is truly a pleasure to experience.
photos below: Stan Traianedes
event photos : Stan Traianedes
MELBOURNE MUSICIANS DOUBLE TROUBLE NEW website review:: Sylvester Kroyherr
REVIEW OF CONCERT BY THE MELBOURNE MUSICIANS (44thConcert Season)
Given at: St Johns Southgate, Melbourne on 18 November, 2018, titled ‘Double Trouble’. Artistic Director: Frank U. Pam. Guitar Soloists: Slava & Leonard Grigoryan.
The well attended venue was buzzing with excitement welcoming Frank to the stage. After a short introduction, we were treated to two short Viennese pieces from Karl Komzak II called ‘Vindabona March’ and from Joseph Lanner, namely ‘Dorbacher Landler, Op.9’ (a stately slow waltz). The stage was now set for Handel’s ‘Concerto in B flat major for Two Guitars’ (arranged by Eduard Grigoryan). From the outset, the flawless and soulful sound of the brothers captured the audience displaying uncanny unison and quality of sound. Although mostly played as a Harp Concerto, the arrangement by their father Eduard was brilliant to say the least. The colourful interplay with the orchestra bounced along playfully, sometimes appearing as two harps. Interestingly, the tablet music scores were well handled by the brothers, with the foot controllers turning the pages! To a thunderous applause, Slava and Leonard presented three solo pieces before the interval – namely, ‘Suite for Two Guitars’ by William Lawes, ‘None but the Lonely Heart’ by Tchaikovsky and ‘Arioso’ by Bach. Slava and Leonard’s long slender fingers glided effortlessly across their rich sounding guitars much to the absolute enjoyment of everyone.
Following the interval came the bouncy ‘Concerto in G major for Two Guitars RV 532’ by Vivaldi (arranged by G.F. Malipiero). Originally written for two mandolins, the dialogue between the soloists and the orchestra was simply superb, much to the joy and appreciation of the audience. The relatively short Concerto was full of interest and musical colour, ending with well driven brilliance! Two solos were presented by the brothers, one being ‘This Time’ (composed by Leonard) – great technique and artistry, displaying perfect unison and eye contact with each other. As the roar of appreciation subsided, Frank presented Slava and Leonard with bottles of wines named ‘Magic Melody’. The title of the programme, ‘Double Trouble’ could have only meant double enjoyment and world class brilliance with the able assistance of Frank Pam and the Orchestra. The only comparison that comes to mind was ‘The Ultimate Collection’ recorded by Julian Bream and John Williams in 1994.
The next piece presented by the orchestra was Schubert’s ‘15 German Dances Op.33, D780’(arranged by Franz Burkhart). The sweet and lively, though sometimes stately dances were an obvious joy for Frank in the wake of his birthday, along with the flavours of Austria. To finish off the concert, the short ‘Champagne-Galopp Op.8’ by Johann Strauss (Senior) bounced along playfully with a rich string presence. With an invitation for audience participation to sing along, (heralding a long life – ‘bacchus, bacchus, tralla la la la), the fun continued with Johann Strauss (Junior’s) ‘Bacchus – Polka’, much to the tremendous delight of the audience. As an encore, Frank reminded everyone of the 200th anniversary of ‘Silent Night’ – which was first performed on Christmas Eve in Austria in 1818 (words by Joseph Mohr, music by Franz Gruber). A befitting end to the 44th Concert Season!
Congratulations to Frank Pam, the Orchestra and the soloists for a delightful, invigorating and musically world class concert. We look forward to future events in 2019.
SYLVESTER KROYHERR (Musician - Bohemian Rhapsody Club). 21 November 2018.
A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER 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 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 website photos and short reviews: Erkin Kalayci and Tony Collins
COOK AND CO CONCERT 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.
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.
photography :Anna Starikova
FFASHION FRIDAYS 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 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 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 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 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 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!
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 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 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.
WA FASHION EDIT 2018 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.