Oct 13

FILM – Russian Film Festival – Preview – Marion – 7 – 9 Nov

PRESTIGIOUS RUSSIAN FILM FESTIVAL RESURRECTS FOR ITS 11TH YEAR IN AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

Russian Resurrection, the largest and most distinguished film festival outside of Russia, will launch its 2014 season around the country on October 30, and for the first time in New Zealand. Already in its 11th year, the festival showcases the best of Russia’s film industry and pays homage to the finest in Russian film culture.  This year the festival will celebrate the 90th anniversary of Mosfilm - Russia’s inaugural film studio – with an exhibition of 6 retrospective films and 14 brand new films.

Amongst the vast selection of esteemed films that will feature at Russian Resurrection are Test, winner of 2014’s Kinotavr Film Festival’s Best Film; Stalingrad, a compelling film on the epic battle between Russian and German forces during WWII; and Dersu Uzala winner of the 1976 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

In an atmosphere of excitement, festivity and Russian hospitality, Russian Resurrection enhances and invigorates the relationships between Russia, Australia, and now New Zealand. It is this jubilant atmosphere, mixed with the rich culture attached to the brilliant Russian film industry that makes attendance to this event a must.

“I am proud and honoured to show the world what the Russian film industry has to offer.  With over 65,000 people having attended the event since we started in 2003, it seems Australians really do appreciate what the Russian film industry has to offer.  I can’t wait for them to see what we have in store for them this year,” said Russian Resurrection Film Festival’s Managing Director, Nicholas Maksymow.

Russian Resurrection was first established in 2003 to support the growing Russian Film Industry, and to showcase the talent of Russian filmmakers and actors on a global scale. Since its inception, Russian Resurrection has had more than 65,000 people attend the festival, and will now showcase, for the first time, in New Zealand.

 FILM   Russian Film Festival   Preview   Marion   7   9 Nov

Oct 12

THEATRE – Between Two Waves – Bakehouse – 4.5K

DSC 0824 300x198 THEATRE – Between Two Waves – Bakehouse – 4.5K

Ellen Steele and Matt Crook

By Peter Maddern

Daniel Wells (Matt Crook) is an up and coming academic in the vexed area of climate change. He has passion for his chosen work and his research causes him to stress about the future. Indeed, when the play opens, Daniel is staring into space scared and bewildered as he recounts the content of his recurring nightmares that seem to have a connection with the world’s existence.

Notwithstanding his focus, Daniel enjoys the company of Fiona (Ellen Steele), a secretary to the Government Department that Daniel gets a job with. Fiona is a modern woman, loud both verbally and sartorially, the sort who sees the world through her own goals. Another of her type is Grenelle (Elena Carapetis) who happens into Daniel’s world as the insurance assessor for the flood damage he claims has come from recent storms. Her aggression is directed at those who look to her to resolve their problems whilst disowning any responsibility for anything she actually does.

The play then takes us through a sometimes confusing interlocking of stories of Daniel and each of these ladies and his best mate from the Uni, Jimmy (James Edwards) as the past and the future play themselves out in a tussle, as Daniel describes it, ‘between beliefs and opportunity’. When Fiona, now his wife, gets pregnant, Daniel and she wrestle with whether having the child is the right thing.

DSC 0936 300x198 THEATRE – Between Two Waves – Bakehouse – 4.5K

James Edwards and Matt Crook

While Matt Crook’s apparent age may belie the academic with the ’49 peer reviewed research papers’ he is portraying, everything else about his performance is masterful. No matter what levity he may bring to his conversations, Crook’s internalisation of a stress and worry borne of his research is scarily real; from the kick-off he looks haggard, wretched and strained. As the production reaches its conclusion, it becomes increasingly clear why he is like this. On stage almost throughout the play’s 110 minutes, Crook again shows why he is as good as any of his generation. One can only hope yet bigger opportunities soon await him.

Both the girls capture their characters excellently; a bombast and confidence that only papers over the frailty of their lives and emotions, while Edwards is serviceable as the academic only too keen to hide in his tower while telling everyone else what they should do.

Between Two Waves is essentially a battle between the two worlds of those who see life in a context and those born to milk what they can get out of it in pursuit of short term fulfilment, set against the current cause celebre climate change. But, to be sure it is not a cause play though Daniel’s extended summary of the climate change mantra near the end perhaps goes too far (but fortunately Crook rushes through it so quickly there is no risk of audience members getting to their feet in worship and praise.) As it turns its attention to the merits of bringing the next generation forward into it, the power if not the originality of Between Two Waves all gets amplified.

Using just one staging and judicious and most effective use of video, director Corey McMahon, (a fellow Flinders alum with Crook and Steele) keeps the story flowing and eventually allows the mysteries of the stories to both untwine and resolve themselves. But without Crook’s tour de force, all this good work may well have come undone. His is a compelling performance.

Kryztoff Rating   4.5K

Sep 05

THEATRE: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – On The Fly – Bakehouse Theatre

On The Fly have chosen to use the well-loved (and conveniently out of copyright) characters from Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories as the basis for their latest improvisational offering. The five performances of the run are all structured around a different plot, so that each show is guaranteed to be unique.

On an appropriately adaptable yet well-adorned stage (the lamppost was particularly delightful), Wednesday night’s show opened with Holmes (Paul Gordon) and Watson (Eugene Suleau) witnessing the death of an unidentified woman. Back at 221b, as Mrs Hudson (Helen Keene) busied herself dusting the house, the men discussed the fact that Detective Lestrade (Aaron Broomhall) had gone missing. A seemingly unrelated (yeah, right!) case appeared in the form of a young lady, Miss Pearson (Maddy Gibbons), who pleaded with them to investigate the ill health of a friend, Lord Harris (Noah Tavor), who had started to have fits of falling. Unsurprisingly James Moriarty (Jarrad Parker) was tied up in this somehow, and Holmes’ old flame Irene Adler (Claire Bottrall) also had a part to play. In an hour and a half, the performers needed to bring all these pieces together in a coherent and entertaining story, all made up “on the fly”.

The fun of improvisation lies in the audience’s ability to appreciate the spontaneousness of the action, the way random information has been included and the quick thinking of the performers in being able to bring this all together in a coherent and fun performance. While this show is un-scripted theatre rather than Theatre Sports, with the characters and overarching storyline pre-planned to give the show a structure, some input from audience members was still sort beforehand to provide ideas for such things as locations, objects and weapons. Unfortunately, there was no information provided to the audience about which segments and details were made up entirely by the performers and which were based on these audience suggestions. It is possible that if you were one of the audience members who provided them, you may have recognised when one or two of your responses were included, but the rest of us were completely in the dark. Without this information, the joy of witnessing these suggestions being woven into the action was sadly lost.

While it’s understandable that the actual dialogue may not be polished in such a piece, what should be solid to compensate is the overall environment created for the action to take place in and the characterisations of the players. Each performer should have immersed themselves far enough into the mind of their character that they could react to any situation as their temporary alter-ego would. As a grounding for this, they should have developed an understanding of the behaviours and language of the time period in which the action is set. Unfortunately, this was not accomplished for the most part.

As Holmes, Gordon was amiable and seemed to be contributing some good ideas, however his dialogue was too stilted for him to be believable as the quick thinking, great master detective. A stand out performance was given by Suleau (maybe not surprising as he appears to be the most experienced member of the cast), who had a strong stage presence, a definite and appropriate character, and was often the one keeping the action moving with some funny lines thrown in to boot. Parker’s portrayal of Moriarty, while consistent, borrowed rather too much from that seen in the television series Sherlock and while Bottrall looked the part as Irene, with a divine hair-do, her strong Australian accent was rather jarring. Gibbons showed some promise as Miss Pearson, though the glint from an anachronistic extra piecing in her ear was very distracting.

Improvisation can be a tricky art to master, and by its nature cannot be held to the same expectations as ordinary theatre, however this is not an excuse for standards to drop. The performer never knows what they will have to work with and must be adaptable to a plethora of possibilities. This means that greater effort should be put into honing the aspects of a show that can be controlled, so that these elements will support those that are more open to failure. While further experience will no doubt help to improve the confidence, spontaneous thinking and other skills of the performers involved, a stronger focus on the overarching production would make this series of shows more enjoyable for a wider audience.

Aug 25

THEATRE – The Last Continent – Bakehouse from Sept 19

Unseen A3 poster high res 212x300 THEATRE   The Last Continent   Bakehouse from Sept 19The Last Continent”

 

Adapted for the Stage and Directed by Pamela Munt

 

“Dead is only for once, but running away is forever”

“Discworld is a world and a mirror of worlds, but this play does not mirror Australia. No, it’s about somewhere entirely different which just happens to be, here and there, a bit Australian…still..no worries, right?” – Footnote.

The Last Continent is under construction using all the left over bits and pieces from other continents. Basically it is being held together with spit. If this is not a big enough problem, there is also something going on with the space/time continuum. Probably something to do with those pesky wizards at the Unseen University.

The Last Continent needs a hero. Preferably one who can eat a pie floater even when he is sober. Yep it’s our old friend Rincewind, the inept wizard who can’t even spell wizard, but he’s the only hero left. Still…No worries, right?

Here is what some of the reviewers said about our 2009 production:-

  • “Thanks to Munt’s magical script, The Last Continent is a rib-tickling satire and a tongue-in-jowl spoof on Australia that’s fabulously funny and well worth seeing more than once.”   -   Stephen Davenport – Australian Stage Online.
  • “…..the overall feel is something like a cross between Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Harry Potter….Following a Tolkien-esque hero’s journey….. a great night out”  – Samantha Bond – Independent Weekly
    • “….very sound laughs and  good solid performances…..The opening night audience enjoyed themselves noisily” – Ewart Shaw – The Advertiser

    • “..There is never a dull moment…..Cultural icons, in deviant and hilarious reconfigurations, appear at irregular intervals, from Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, to the invention of Vegemite, nothing is sacred…. (you) will not want to miss this production” – Barry Lenny – Glam Adelaide

WHEN:                  September 19 to October 4, 2014. (Wed to Sat) at 8pm

WHERE:               Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas Street, Adelaide

TICKETS:             Adults $20/Conc $18/ Groups (10+) $16,/Fringe Benefits $16/Preview all tix $15/ (Companion Card accepted)

BOOKINGS:          www.bakehousetheatre.com  or at the door on the night (subject to availability) NO phone bookings.

Aug 13

THEATRE – The Very Cranky Bear – 4K

By Julia Cudsi

Who hasn’t read Nick Bland’s delightfully simple children’s story ‘The Very Cranky Bear’? Set in the Jingle Jangle Jungle in the middle of a rainstorm, it follows the story of four mismatched friends – Lion, Moose, Zebra and Sheep – who try to shelter in a cave that, unfortunately for the hapless foursome, also houses the titular very cranky bear.

The Patch Theatre version of ‘The Very Cranky Bear’ ably adapts the short, sweet story about thoughtfulness, sharing, altruism and kindness to the stage in a musical setting.

Despite having only three actors to play all five characters (much to the bemusement of Little Miss Five), the vast array of costumes, musical instruments and simple but sparkly set designs meant that this show had everything necessary to amuse and tantalise young children – which is probably why nearly all shows at the Norwood Odeon theatre have sold out.

Possibly a little scary for very young children, this is nonetheless a heartwarming tale which adapts nicely to a 50 minute stage show – just long enough to keep the littlies entertained and sitting still.

Kryztoff Rating  4K

Aug 08

Grease: The Musical

Grease most certainly is the word! The iconic stage musical graced the Adelaide Festival Centre at the opening night of Grease: The Musical.

Produced by John Frost, the show is at once an homage to the brilliance of the original musical and a celebration of Australian talent. Featuring Australian legends Bert Newton, John Paul Young, and Todd McKenny, this slightly more ‘down under’ version of Grease blended the best that the nation has to offer with the rocking music and feel of 50′s America.

Starring Rob Mills as the ever-slick Danny Zuko and relative newcomer Gretel Scarlett as Sandy, the musical follows a long history of Grease productions- with the musical first appearing in Melbourne in 1972. Mills, who many might recognise from his stint in the first series of Australian idol, perfectly captured the swagger and vulnerable charm of Danny. Scarlett added a level of strength and determination to the character of Sandy, but nevertheless rocked out in that iconic black satin jumpsuit.

Like any Australian production, this performance of Grease had big shoes to fill. Grease is arguably the most famous musical ever created, with a cult following only increased by the outrageously energetic 70′s film. However, the production held it’s own musically, with the big band and stellar vocal gymnastics of the cast adding punch and flair to songs already ingrained in the minds of an enthusiastic audience. The cast’s amazing energy recreated the classic 70′s film, evoking an era of malted shakes and letterman jackets, whilst displaying the obvious shine of homegrown talent.

Lucy Maunder as stole the show as a sassy, smart-talking Rizzo, whose voice and attitude was a stand out in the performance.

Todd McKenny as ‘Teen Angel’ drew laughs, cheers, and even screams from the crowd, and Bert Newton as Vince Fontaine gave the performance the slightly off-beat and kooky edge the film brought to cinema screens over forty years ago.

The accents of the cast grated slightly, and opening night nerves may have contributed to dance moves which were not entirely executed sharply. Nevertheless, the band had the whole crowd on their feet and the phenomenal staging and costuming more than made up for any shortcomings.

The performance ended with a well-earned standing ovation for this production of such an iconic musical.

Jul 30

THEATRE – The Importance of Being Earnest – Playhouse – 4K

Nancye Hayes photo by Shane Reid 194x300 THEATRE – The Importance of Being Earnest – Playhouse   4K

Fresh from the peach fight – Nancye Hayes as Lady Bracknell – image by Shane Reid

By Peter Maddern

Perhaps Oscar Wilde’s most famous play burst onto the Playhouse stage last night in a sumptuous display of period self-indulgence and deception. With few attempts to be anything other than true to the original material, director Geordie Brookman has assembled a star cast who revel in the opportunity for farce.

None more so than Nancye Hayes as the sergeant of arms for the fun police, Lady Bracknell. After 10 minutes or so of a mish-mash of whites, blacks and teal, Bracknell arrives on stage as if fresh from of a massive peach fight. It reminds one immediately of our Dame Edna sans the gladis and maybe her persona was based on this, at times, terrifying Victorian matron.  From there the various deceptions of wayward city brothers and the sick Bunberry grow and grow while the ladies of Algie and Jack’s affections get caught up in it all in equal measure.

While Nathan O’Keefe’s dandy Algernon Moncrieff dominates the first act, increasingly it is Yalin Ozucelik’s Jack who takes control with his own somewhat shameless double life of trusted guardian and playboy, a lost man looking for an identity that it seems Lady Bracknell is hell bent on denying  him in the name of her society’s  mores.

The girls, Anna Steen as Gwendolen and Lucy Fry as Cecily, are just a delight, the former with a somewhat ridiculous pout and the other with such sweet innocence it’s worrying.

Yalin Ozucelik Nathan OKeefe Anna Steen photo by Shane Reid 300x189 THEATRE – The Importance of Being Earnest – Playhouse   4K

Yalin Ozucelik, Nathan O’Keefe, Anna Steen (photo by Shane Reid)

But as good as the cast is the highlight remains the material. Wilde lets rip whenever he can at the upper classes of the Victorian age he both cherishes and despises in equal measure. Sometimes it seems the end can only arrive once he has exhausted all the witty material he can muster and when it does arrives it comes with the sort of contrivance that would make even Gilbert and Sullivan winch.

The staging, contained within a magnificent rolling teak wooden curtain rod, bursts out not only with colour and texture but in a shape that subtly gets us anchored in the times.

The Importance of Being Earnest is simply great fun with all the cast in fine form in a production that will have you laughing all the way home – all very witty Wilde.  What a pity he isn’t around today.

Jul 19

GUITAR FESTIVAL – Pepe Romero and Yamandu Costa – 4.5K

10340166 666396830075465 7602581529100756555 n 300x199 GUITAR FESTIVAL – Pepe Romero and Yamandu Costa – 4.5KBy Peter Maddern

While last night’s concert in the Festival Theatre may have been billed as mostly about maestro Pepe Romero, patrons are likely to also long remember the opening three pieces played solo by Brazilian Yamundu Costa; the first with an almost ferocious and unsettling verve, the second with such deft pulses of fallow and frenzy before his American Lullaby brought us all back to ground.

Costa works his instrument like a vibrating weapon, guttural and frenetic, his head bobbing like a swan’s as his slightly dishevelled appearance, complete with rainbow slippers worn sockless, lets his unique style complete the package.

In contrast, the Spaniard Romero was immaculately presented in a tuxedo, with gold chain, and took to his seven strings as if a surgeon, focused on the precision of his fingers as his nose and his guitar’s neck became barely separated. Whereas the pieces played by Costa with the Adelaide Art Orchestra tended to being fluffy, Pepe Romero cast a spell on his audience with their aid in Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, with the second movement, the Adagio a glorious ten minutes of swoon.

For the road he delivered Francisco Tarrega’s tremolo classic Recuerdos de la Alhambra. It wrapped up a brilliant night of some of the finest guitar playing Adelaide has ever seen.

Kryztoff Rating  4.5K

Jul 18

GUITAR FESTIVAL – Perroy & Pujol Trio – 4K

10340166 666396830075465 7602581529100756555 n 300x199 GUITAR FESTIVAL – Perroy & Pujol Trio – 4KBy Peter Maddern

The Guitar Festival kicked off its opening night entertainment with a concert in two distinct halves. The first belonged to French virtuoso Judicael Perroy. Armed with a borrowed three string romantic guitar, the 40 year old (though looking a decade younger) took us through a master class of his talent with compositions from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, including all five parts of Bach’s BWV 997. The highlight however, as his explosion of black frizzy hair bowed to his fingers made their way up and down the neck like a frenzied spider, was Dubez’s Fantaisie sur des motifs hongrai,s an amalgam of Hungarian folk melodies with some more recognisable than other (especially if one isn’t Hunagrian.)

After the break, the Maximo Pujol Trio from Argentina devoted their hour to the music of Buenos Aires. Pujol looking very much the (Superior Guitar) Professor with light grey hair and darker grey vest was joined by the stunning Eleonora Ferreyra on bandoneon and Daniel Falasca on the double bass. The two highlights came in the middle with his composition put together in this country as a tribute to the Southern Cross and then The Grand Tango at Midnight, for which the trio were joined on stage by two dancers. The female half of this duo wore such dazzling sequins that most in the first few rows would have had cause to be somewhat blinded by their routine in a way this town has not seen since Oroton made their fashion accessories of the same type that in years gone by so ubiquitously adorned the arms of Adelaide’s social set.

Perhaps a strange way to present these two artists, especially as there was no overlap between them, but the night was was nonetheless a great success, much enjoyed by the amply filled Playhouse.

Kryztoff Rating  4K

Jul 10

DANCE – Shadowland – Her Majesty’s –5K

1 300x200 DANCE – Shadowland – Her Majesty’s –5K By Peter Maddern

The magic of dreams and the thrill of youthful exploration combine as the themes for this magnificently engrossing dance romps. The US Pilobolus dance company have been touring the world with this production and it is not hard to quickly understand why it has been such a hit.

A girl wishing for a life beyond being regarded as a child gets propelled into a place where creepy crawlies morph into castles and warriors into elephants. Gigantic hands reach down, some with benevolence, others with a transformative motive as they help guide our ‘dog girl’ on her travels. At times to engage with cannibal chefs, a centaur, her first love or, perhaps in the best movement of the night, a sublime submerging into watery depths.

2 200x300 DANCE – Shadowland – Her Majesty’s –5KThe shadows projected onto the various screens speak of a dogged determination to fully explore the imagination for possibilities. The music that accompanies moves from standard modern dance techno vibes with the obligatory static to melodies reminiscent of the Eagles’ LA sound back to the darkest of the Beatles’ White Album spaced out indulgences.

Molly Gawler as the girl is superb with a physique that seems to straddle the generations of the character she portrays, Krystal Butler makes for a saucy circus ring mistress and Jacob Michael Warren is simply the largest man I have ever seen on a stage.

While some productions can deter a more general audience with the intricacies of the language of dance, Shadowland is as much for the uninitiated as it is for all generations.

One doubts whether there will be a better dance production to come to Adelaide this year. This show is in no others’ shadow.

Kryztoff Rating  5K

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