THEATRE – A View from the Bridge – Playhouse – 4K

By Peter Maddern

Arthur Miller’s classic is an intense study of one man and his battles to both gain control of his world and then meet challenges against it. At the play’s outset, longshoreman Eddie Carbone (Mark Saturno) has his life in and around the docks on an even keel; he has fought the battles against the vicissitudes of employment and money to build his albeit modest home and provide for his wife, Beatrice (Elena Carapetis), and her niece, Catherine (Maiah Stewardson) who has longed lived with them.  Through those challenges he has sustained a strong strain of generosity for his niece and also for new boat arrivals, even when at the expense of personal hardship.

However, change is ever present and Eddie is ill-prepared for it when Catherine, soon 18 years old, starts to explore a career beyond school and life out of home. Even more is the case when relatives of his wife, two Italian illegal immigrants, Marco (Dale March) and Rodolpho (Antoine Jelk) come to stay, the latter quickly forming a relationship with Catherine.

Mark Saturno as the tortured Eddie produces his best performance yet for the State Theatre Company. His brooding mix of anger and dissonance against all he believed to be true is palpable and, as unbecoming as some of his views and antics may be, Saturno still evokes in his audience a wish that Eddie prevails. Elena Carapetis, as Beatrice, is in good form, sustaining in us a better view of a broader world than her husband yet convincingly presenting as often confused and tested by his increasingly parallel universe.  Maiah Stewardson’s Catherine is a joy; youthful exuberance striving to reach the better place Eddie says he wishes for her yet conflicting with a hitherto existence she does not necessarily have to be subservient to. Antoine Jelk’s Rodolpho also meets the challenges of his culture clashes in what too is his best performance for the Company. Bill Allert’s Alfieri the lawyer delivers a strong opening but his appearances seem to lose their steam in the production, especially as the second half progresses.

No critique of A View would be complete without commendation for Victoria Lamb’s set design that with its multiple hanging ropes, pulleys and cuboid frames clearly places the production in some docklands area. Yet it also simultaneously both allows players, especially Alfieri, to be seen to be witnesses to Eddie’s internal turmoil and propagates the sense of order and control that once was and so desperately needs to be restored.

Kate Champion’s direction is assured, perhaps more so than her comments in the program about the work being about ‘the plight of illegal immigrants and issues around domestic patriarchal abuse and the innate survival instincts of its female characters’. Rather, at least in this reviewer’s consideration,   A View speaks, even today, more strongly against the world that Miller endured; an America looking to identify and weed out the ‘reds under the bed’ that elites saw as a threat to the ordered world they believed was theirs to have and sustain after the losses of World War II.

This is a richly rewarding theatrical experience.

Kryztoff Rating    4K

Adelaide Cabaret Festival – Two Worlds – Modern Maori Quartet – 4.5*

As we eagerly await the show, the lights go up to reveal an invisible quartet, which when made visible, is comprised of merely three performers. Finding themselves in a ‘trilemma’ they invite a latecomer from the audience to join them on stage to complete the foursome. Fortunately he happens to be both talented and appropriately dressed (tuxedo-clad) for the occasion. They break the news to him that that they are no longer in the world of the living. They are in a waiting area which they cannot yet leave until, as an ethereal female voice directs them from ‘above’, they put on a spectacular performance together as a quartet.

What ensues is a delightful, funny and heart-warming atmospheric theatrical performance comprised of storytelling, music, and song and dance. MMQ croon and growl their way through ballads, rock and roll, blues, Hakas and traditional Maori songs. These four suave but cheeky lads : Uncle, Bub, Big Bro and Koro gently introduce us to Maori culture, language and history. Subtly political and full of genuineness and integrity, they reveal their distinct personalities and life stories. They come to realise that they cannot leave until they ‘let the truth set them free’ and release their ‘demons’ : their feelings of failure around love, ambition, disconnection from their roots and culture. Basically the things that are holding them back are the things they have not managed to resolve during their lifetimes.

With a twist in the tale and a charming act of inclusion at the end, this is a wonderful performance full of heart, humanity and generosity of spirit. Highly recommended.

The Modern Maori Quartet :James Tito, Matariki Whatarau, Maaka Pohatu and Francis Kora present a modern take on Maori showbands.
They appeared at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in both 2018 and 2019. Hopefully they will return again in 2020.

4.5K

Adelaide Cabaret Festival : iOTA – Slap And Tickle : 4*

Utilising the Variety Show genre but with a back storyline which ties the different acts together, Slap And Tickle is a clever, witty, and very funny show.

We meet Slap the clown (iOTA), Tickle the Gimp (Russell Leonard), and the third element of the show : a multi-piece jazz orchestra who provide sound effects as well as the beautiful music throughout.

Slap is a limelight-hugging, jealous, and somewhat bad-tempered clown who bullies, humiliates, and fails to acknowledge the contributions and talents of Tickle. All the ‘backstage’ activity happens in front of the audience to whom the hard work and dedication of Tickle become obvious. But when Slap’s attention is elsewhere Tickle has his chance to shine.

iOTA brings to life a cast of diverse characters and through these exhibits his great song-writing talents and his theatrical skills. They range across a gamut of styles from Eva Diva the ageing would-be star of the musicals, the Wolfman, and a very tender sequence in a lily pond. The standout for me was his portrayal of Wayno Braino : an angry bogan mind-reader who had the front rows very, very nervous.

Despite being virtually bound and gagged, forced into subservience and near anonymity, Russell Leonard lets us see and feel for the real Tickle who is waiting in the wings. He tempers his impressive size and obvious strength with tenderness and vulnerability. The choreographer of the show, he has the stage to himself as he presents the surprising finale.

As one would expect from a variety-style cabaret show there are moments of silliness, smuttiness and slapstick. It brings to mind the comedy double-acts of the stage , with the ‘star’ and his sidekick. There is also plenty of pathos and depth. The plot could maybe benefit from a bit more work but this is a small consideration. iOTA’s song writing and performances are excellent, the band are outstanding.

This is the premiere of Slap And Tickle. The final performance at this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival is tonight, 7pm Saturday 22 June in the Dunstan Playhouse.

4K

Vika and Linda Bull – Between Two Shores

Dunstan Playhouse 6:30pm 20th June 2019

VIKA and LINDA BULL – ‘Between Two Shores’ 4.5 Stars
Review by Gary Clarke

Vika and Linda Bull have been at it now for over 30 years since those heady days when they hooked up with Joe Camilliri in the 1980s. While many things have changed in the interceding decades some things have endured. The delightful Bull sisters have endured and indeed flourished. Their talents and musical credibility have developed and continue to mature to this day.

After just completing a tour across Australia they have arrived in Adelaide to bring us ‘Between Two Shores’, a reference to their Tongan and Australian roots and true to form we are treated to a rendition of a traditional Tongan folk song to kick off the show. But only one, because we are informed that it’s the only song the sisters can sing completely in the Tongan language ! Next up an Irish Lullaby dedicated to their dad who sang it to them every night as kids. All the songs in tonight’s show have personal meaning to the sisters and this is the tenor of the whole show.

The Bull sisters were brought up with Tongan church music in Melbourne and so they hit us with some gospel numbers because ” gospel is a workout for our voices” and they kicked it off with a searing versions of “Walk with me” and “Up above my head”. The harmonies were glorious.

As young girls growing up in 1970s Doncaster, TV was the thing and so they cut their musical teeth on theme tunes and advertising jingles. The main demographic of the audience found themselves singing along to Greenacres, Petticoat Junction, The Flintstones, Happy Days and Ads like Louis The Fly and one for “Linda” electric blankets that Linda Bull informs us is the source of her name. It was a lot of fun and very infectious.

Vika and Linda Bull are such icons of the Australian music scene and they project such a genuine joi de vivre that the almost full house were enraptured. Some other highlights were nods to friends and collaborators Paul Kelly and Jo Camilleri and a stunning solo version of “I’d Rather Go Blind” followed by Linda’s beautiful solo “Always on my mind”. Then there was a moving tribute to their Tongan grandfather and a rousing anthem, “Raise your Hands” written for the sisters by Casey Chambers and soon to be recorded for their upcoming album. Backed by an accomplished four piece band Vika and Linda gave us 90 minutes of their best and when they broke into a rousing and beautiful version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” they totally owned it ! The audience roared their approval with a standing ovation that continued well after the house lights cam on.

Review by Gary Clarke
for Kryztoff RAW. 4.5 Stars

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2019 – Dickie Beau – Unplugged -4.5*


Dickie Beau : Unplugged : photos by Claudio Raschella

‘Unplugged’ begins with an upbeat vaudevillian cabaret performance in which Dickie Beau channels the actor Kenneth Williams via brilliant lip-sync and physical performance. But the tone of the show soon shifts into something much more meditative and philosophical.

Through his masterful use of the ancient art form of mime he takes us back to our early human roots: to the beginning of human vocal interaction and its consequences. Dickie animates audio recordings of the philosopher Terence McKenna and of past festival director Peter Sellers to take us on this journey through history and time, illustrating how word and image are inextricably linked, how they can bring us closer together but also how they can drive us apart.

At times poignant and sad, at other times laugh out loud hilarious, this is an astonishing piece of theatre exhibiting great skill, inventiveness, and daring. He presents much, much more than a simple cabaret act. His timing and vocal dexterity are often mind-blowing.

The audience are kindly dealt with throughout and made to feel part of the stories he tells. We are treated to interludes of song and dance with the opportunity to sing-along/sync-along. He leads us by the hand into the lives of others, invoking Greek myth to introduce the modern day narcissist Dimitri and also ‘Echo’ : an unknown middle aged woman who, via a lost-and-found-again recording made for her lover, is brought to life before us. We listen to her voice and are amused, surprised, and maybe a bit embarrassed to be listening to something that was not intended for our ears.

Self-described Shape-Shifter/Shirt-Lifter Actor/Artist, Dickie Beau is best known for his work in alternative drag and lip-sync which he has turned into a ground-breaking artform of his own. He is also an accomplished actor of stage, tv, and film.
This is the Australian premiere of ‘Unplugged’. The final performance is tonight, 9:15pm 20th June in the Dunstan Playhouse.
4.5K

My life in Songs – Dami Im

Dunstan Playhouse – June 14th 6:30pm — 4.5 Stars

Wow what a voice  !  If you have never heard of Dami Im you probably dont know that she won The X Factor in New York in 2013 and came second in The Eurovision song contest in 2016. That she is managed by none other than Danni Minogue. And even if you were aware of these milestones in her career you probably woudnt have realised this “shy” Korean born immigrant to Australia arrived on these shores as a 9 year old classical piano prodigy entering the Conservatorium of Music  at the ripe old age of 11. That she completed her degree and ventured into a Masters in Jazz  vocals scoring her first paid gig in a Chinese restaurant playing piano then eventually as a singer.   But if you had been at this world premiere performance of “My Life In Song” you would have discovered all this and much, much more.

Dami is engaging upbeat warm and very very talented !  This night there was a full house and even Julia Z dropped in to join us.  We were treated to a selection of songs carefully chosen to represent  an event or stage in Dami’s  life and career interspersed with stories and anecdotes giving the audience an insight into the real Dami Im.  And nothing gets more real than when Dami belts out her special brand of power pop, torch songs and original offerings.  I have never heard anyone come anywhere near her amazing rendition of Purple Rain. Every song though was a highlight.  As a performer, musician and singer she is flawless !

Dami is a rare talent indeed.  We were treated to versions of her hits including Sound of Silence, Super Love and the sad and moving Crying Underwater and even some flourishes of classical piano to thoroughly entertain her appreciative audience.   Supported by her four piece backing band of Joey, Michael, Steve and Bobby, Dami pumped out a delightful version of Summertime  and even the quirky K Pop hit Gangman Style with panache, rounding off 90+ minutes of entertainment with a rousing finale of Fight For Your Love. A great performance that deserved the accolades.

Review by Gary Clarke
for Kryztoff RAW                                                 4.5stars

FRINGE 2019 – In Transience – 4K

by Riccardo Barone

“Enjoy some peaceful and gentle piano music”.

The Pianist and Composer Rich Batsford enriches the audience’s tranquillity with kind and simple chords softened by genuine melodies. Everything is In Transience, temporary, life’s unstoppable cycle, here and now, the present; and we want a nice present, free from any kind of pressure, free from the  “What’s gonna happen tomorrow” unanswered question, getting lost into a waterfall looking at the quiet soft clouds.

The concert is structured in three parts: an introduction, a group of four pieces and a finale which gives a really different color to the entire concert with its jazzy and involving resonance, sounding really like an Arrivederci, see you soon.

Rich Batsford is a clear ambassador of minimalism, a music language started by E. Satie at the beginning of the ‘900 and continued by composers like P. Glass, S. Reich, J. Adams, L. Einaudi, M. Nyman.

Kriztoff rating: 4k

FRINGE 2019 – Sound Bath – Plant Song – 5K

by Riccardo Barone

Sacred Resonance are an electronic music duo consisting of Darren Curtis and Bradley Pitt, often collaborating with the Visual Artist Jessica Curtis.

Their extremely interesting research project presented for the Fringe 2019 has been inspired by two books: The secret life of plants by P. Tompkins and The hidden geometry of flowers by K. Critchlow.

The Sacred through the Symmetry,  the research of a form of communication between plants and human beings through the unexplored possibilities of sound, Science and Art find their marriage here, where the Duo demonstrates how beans’seeds could sprout through frequencies stimulation.

The Diamond Gallery in Port Adelaide is surrounded by Jessica Curtis’s works (all based on the geometry of flowers) hanged on the walls while in the middle of the room you can see several pots with beans sprouts and headphones in between diffusing frequencies from 7000 to 20000 Hz needed to stimulate the growth.  Some specific plants around the room are wired connected to speakers in order to produce sounds when touched.

This meditation-concert allows you to lay down on yoga mats for a deeper and more comfortable experience of an hour of hypnotizing live electronic music.

Kriztoff rating: 5k

FRINGE 2019 – Septem – Bakehouse Theatre – 3K

By Julia Cudsi

‘Experimental’ theatre is one of the stalwarts of the Adelaide Fringe, and Eclipse Productions’ ‘Septem’ fits nicely within this category.

Advertised as running in ‘real time’ (which I did find somewhat confusing, given that by definition theatre is portrayed in ‘real time’), ‘Septem’ focusses on seven strangers who are locked into a room together for a reality TV show and must select, within thirty minutes, one person to take a poison pill.  Introductions, justifications and explanations start to run down the clock before decisions can be made.

The characters are fairly stereotypical and two dimensional (such as a “nice girl,” a flamboyant gay writer, a somewhat deranged young woman, an angry white man,  a sweet nerd with a physical disability) and the “twist” at the end is not as shocking as you might expect. However, the acting is solid and the concept, although not completely unique, is sufficiently unusual and topical in a world obsessed with reality television to make an impact that carries through well after the show is over.

In the context of an arts festival which originated from the celebration of up and coming local talent, ‘Septem’ is a very intriguing and thought provoking way to spend 45 minutes of your life.

3K

MICK HARVEY – Intoxicated Man

RCC Fringe  ELDER HALL – 14th March 8pm

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting and text

Review By Gary Clarke                                                                                                          3 STARS

The mood was high as the virtually sell out crowd streamed into the illustrious surrounds of The Elder Hall.   Despite being kept waiting in a huge line up outside until almost half an hour after the scheduled start the audience was buzzing in expectation.  As a mix of Mick Harvey fans and Serge Gainsbourg buffs we were ready for a treat.  Having iconic Australian  music legend Mick Harvey with an enormously talented troupe of fine musicians and singers in tow was enticing enough.   Having them perform “Intoxicated Man”, the most recent contribution to Mick’s wonderful series of works centred around  Gainsbourg and his music had me considering what superlatives I might pen in my pending review of the show here.

An entourage of six men in black  took up their positions on stage with Mick Harvey at the mike. He briefly mumbled a few barely coherent words and they launched into a number.  The bass notes seemed heavy and the mid-range was swamped.   At first I thought maybe it was just a teething problem as it must be a nightmare trying to mix in such an unusual venue not designed for highly amplified rock/pop,  perhaps?   I had only seen/heard classical and acoustic music in Elder Hall previously.   Initially I had moved up to the balcony to get front centre and the best view.  Maybe that was the problem?   After about six or seven songs I moved downstairs. It was a lot better but still strangely muddy and there was a persistent loud buzzing from the Bass amp.  This continued throughout the entire performance despite a tech desperately trying to fix it much to the chagrin of Harvey.

I quizzed my companion who had seen The Tiger Lillies perform there a few nights earlier and she said even though they were similarly amplified it was crisp and clear.    I ducked out in to the foyer and chatted with a couple there who confirmed my experience.   Several other folks later concurred .

I really was not enjoying the experience.   I have highly tuned hearing devices (my bionic ears) that bring my hearing to the equivalent of 20/20 vision.   I even tried removing the devices.  It was marginally better but the muddiness and lack of coherence remained.  Damn, what a pity!   I knew quite a few of the songs and the renditions musically and creatively seemed great. “Hearing” Harvey and his troupe performing his English translations of Gainsbourg songs live should have been a delight!  It was just that it was like they were playing inside a huge invisible fluffy pillow.    Most of the audience clearly still enjoyed themselves and were enthusiastically applauding and at times singing along.   I guess they were determined to get their $59 worth!

As I said, the performances seemed to be going well in themselves apart for some minor communication pips.  The six men in black were joined by six women also predominantly in black and the musical interplay was tight and professional  They were punching out some great Gainsbourg classics and some creatively reworked numbers.  I racked my brains trying to figure how to write this review but I couldn’t find an excuse for the audiological inconsistencies.  I wanted to be generous because I could tell that the performances were actually very good.   In the end I can only give it three stars.   I would love to see the whole thing again under better conditions.   Fortunately this review was for a one off performance at Adelaide Fringe 2019 so it will not affect the ticket sales.   As for me I am going home to listen to my recordings of Harvey doing Gainsbourg and my old Serge Gainsbourg CDs and downloads.

Review By GARY CLARKE    for Kryztoff RAW                                             3  STARS