Polecats – Space – Til 1st Dec – 3.5K

By Peter Maddern

The concept of dance has come a long way from the days when classical ballet was all anyone would talk about. The women’s empowerment movement has also succeeded in rightly presenting forms of entertainment that were once considered sleazy as legitimate forms of artistic expression – burlesque being another case in point.

At the end of 2012, Cathy Adamek’s Polecats is perhaps as far as those two changes in society and the arts have come and who knows, perhaps as far as it can go.

Five poles, seven domestic mirrors of various sizes and some evocative lighting greet the audience before 12 year old Pole Kitten (Zara Thomas) arrives to break us in. Thereafter, six dancers (including one male) take to the stage to delight us, not for their sexual attractiveness but their dynamic acrobatics and vertical gymnastics. And, yes, like polecats, they scale the uprights producing at times staggering displays of strength that seem to belie the femininity of their bodies.

Many of the individual scenes stand out including Carlie Hunter’s Wild Cat and her and Carlie Angel’s Roller Polers that added a gliding smoothness in the horizontal to match that happening vertically. The only male dancer, Pole Monkey, Luke Quadrio also provides the only outbreak of strip with a parody of the routine. The finale is a delightful display of the female cast in golden light transcending into another world with a cat like stretch through gold glitter that is as beautiful as it is memorable.

The production all round is excellent. Nic Mollison’s lighting is, as mentioned, spot on. Mariot Kerr’s costume design is sensual without being provocative and DJ HMC’s electric dance music keeps the feel of an old time night club without the smoke and the dribbling while also ensuring this is a very modern form of art.

It is perhaps appropriate that at the end of the year, Polecats acts somewhat like a ‘best of dance’ that has come to Adelaide this year, with memories aroused and whispers remembered of such shows as Circa, LWD, Rasta Thomas’ Rock The Ballet and even ADT’s Proximity.

Polecats is a brave initiative, finely executed that speaks fully to its five years in the making and the show’s and the art form’s emergence from the ranks of fringe entertainment.

‘Feathers’; Group Exhibition – Format Gallery – From 9th Jan

Feathers – Curated by Kat Coppock

Vera Ada, Sebastian Petrovski, Steph Fuller, Genevive Brandenburg, Elle DS, Gee Greenslade, Wes Todd, Reb Rowe, Cameron Brideoak, Dan Purvis, Caitlin Millard, Beth Millard, Artist Neto, Sam Evans, Imee Luz, Fruszi Kinez, Grace Mitchell, Andrew Humphries, Katie Lee, Alyshia Eming, Esther Nimmo, Ashley Playfair, Ryan Wakelin. 

Inspired by the phrase “Birds of a feather flock together”, ‘Feathers’ will be held at the Format Gallery Space (15 Peel St, Adelaide 5000) from the 9th January to 10th February 2013.

23 young artists’ works will be enmeshed in a giant chicken wire nest built within the gallery, physically and metaphorically supported by the audience as they weave fabric, yarn, sticks, tape, and other recycled materials into the walls.

The opportunity for young artists to showcase their work and become known in the arts sphere is a high priority of this exhibition, with experienced artists displayed on the same platform as emerging thus promoting equality in the creative sphere. The media that these artists work within will be entirely their own choice, absolving the divide between genres and treating all crafts as equal. From photography to jewellery, to illustration and sculpture, all forms of expression combine to increase awareness of local visual culture.

This exposure is furthered in an accompanying catalogue created by emerging designer Dan Purvis which  includes artist biographies and  exclusive portraits taken by photographer Genevieve Brandenburg and accompanying creative essays by Esther Nimmo and Fruszi Kinez.

The communal aspect with be emphasised with participation of the general public. After being rejected from traditional funding methods, ‘Feathers’ now relies heavily on a successful community based crowd-sourcing campaign (http://pozible.com/feathers), closing the 8th of Deecember. With donations by the public leaving their mark and generating inspiration, it is hoped that the impact of this show will spread throughout the community creating other little nests for fledgling Creatives to thrive in.

Kat Coppock is an emerging curator and visual artist; currently Visual Arts Curator for Re-New Adelaide initiative The Reading Room and a 2012 GreenRoom Advocate. This is her first large-scale un-mentored collaborative art exhibition, and a major evolutionary step in her career to date.

My first taste of exhibiting art in Adelaide was through curator Katherine Coppock, who has an unyielding desire to bring to light the work of emerging local artists. It is my belief that by supporting the exhibition ‘Feathers’, one will be supporting and giving an opportunity for professional development to a variety of emerging local artists.” -Steph Fuller; participating artist.

“Too often I hear people say that “Adelaide doesn’t have anything for artists and creatives, that’s why they all flock to Melbourne.” Well, flock that. Adelaide has plenty for everybody. By welcoming friends and naysayers to come and participate in the production of this makeshift home, maybe we can help everybody appreciate the warm nooks and crannies that are so often neglected.” -Daniel Purvis; designer and participating artist.

Creating Christmas Pageant Magic: 80 Years On – Fest Centre Exhibition

Creating Christmas Pageant Magic: 80 Years On

Adelaide Festival Centre’s Visual Arts and Performing Arts Collection are proud to exhibit a collection of Pageant treasures: Creating Christmas Pageant Magic: 80 Years On, in both the Artspace Gallery and Festival Theatre Foyer from 8 December 2012 – 27 January 2013.

Children and ‘children at heart’ can relive the magic behind Adelaide’s internationally renowned Credit Union Christmas Pageant through a collection of magical items sourced from Adelaide Festival Centre’s Performing Arts Collection and the Pageant workshop, giving people the opportunity to see the characters up close and the details not always obvious in the passing parade.

Artspace Gallery will be exhibiting a collection of old and new Pageant materials, including props, models, costumes, clown bikes and ‘bobups’, float characters and pieces including penguins, the Christmas pudding man, Cleopatra and other items. The Festival Theatre Foyer showcases will contain a Pandora’s box of special pageant artefacts, including candy canes, masks, fairytale books, and letters to Santa, along with historical photographs and some of the original pageant float designs by Judith Dodd, the first female artist to work on the Pageant floats in 1950.

To celebrate the opening of the exhibition, there will be a special family fun event on the Artspace Plaza on 8 December from 2 – 5pm, featuring a special appearance from members of the Credit Union Christmas Pageant Royal Family, balloon workshops, face painting, a bouncy castle, and other activities, plus refreshments for all ages. Children are encouraged to dress in their best Christmas outfits as there will be a prize for Best-Dressed on the day, and bring their letters for Father Christmas along, so they can be posted in the Christmas letterbox.

The Adelaide Christmas Pageant was established in 1933 by Sir Edward Hayward as a way to lift the spirits of the people of South Australia after the Great Depression. Celebrating the 80th year of the Pageant in 2012, the Pageant continues to be a celebration of joy, community spirit, and Christmas magic!

What: Creating Christmas Pageant Magic: 80 Years On
When: 8 December 2012 – 27 January 2013
Venue: Artspace Gallery and Festival Theatre Foyer, Adelaide Festival Centre
Cost: FREE
Hours: Artspace Gallery open Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun 12 – 4pm, Thurs 12 – 8pm

(Please contact Artspace Gallery 8216 8850 for Christmas closure dates)

Access via Festival Drive or Dunstan Playhouse Foyer

Festival Theatre Foyer open 9am – 6pm Mon – Fri and performance times

What: Family Fun Opening Event
When: Saturday 8 December, 2pm – 5pm
Where: Artspace Plaza, access via Festival Drive or Artspace Gallery
Cost: FREE
For further information visit: www.adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au

Gemini Downs’ ‘Jangle’ Released – Launch Party at Jive Dec 7

Who’s coming to the party?

For the Gemini Downs website

CLICK HERE

Jangle, the new single from indie-pop explosion Gemini Downs, is full of energy, sweetness and truth.

Since bursting onto the music scene, Gemini Downs have gained a reputation for fun-filled live shows with everything from home-made instruments to tap dancing percussion.

The seven-piece are set to get even quirkier with the launch their new single ‘Jangle’, the video for which features wild car scenes, fairy floss, a flash mob and a dancing donkey. It’s certainly one heck of a party!

The single is now for free download nationally on Triple J Unearthed.

“We wanted to make sure everyone could share in the fun, so we’re putting it out there for free. We would love it if our fans could jump online, download it, and rate it,” singer and guitarist Jessica Braithwaite said.

‘Jangle’ was produced with former head of Sony Music Australia, Wayne Ringrow, at Chapel Lane Studios.

“We were really excited with the big pop sound we created, so we thought it was only right to create an equally as big and bright video clip to go with it,” Ms Braithwaite said.

“We invited our friends and fans to join in a series of dance lessons, and Adelaide choreographer David Placentino put together a really funky routine. Even those of us with two left feet managed to pull it off.”

Staff at Thebarton’s Southwark Hotel let Gemini Downs take over their venue for filming, while Jessica, an Entertainment Reporter at Network Ten, rallied her colleagues to film and direct the clip.

“Everyone just pitched in. The shoot involved about 60 people who all kindly volunteered their time and expertise; although, they did get to eat the free fairy floss!” Ms Braithwaite said.

Given the band’s reputation for getting parties started, it’s only fitting that the film clip will be launched at an actual birthday party.

Gemini Downs were asked to play at a party for a local bloke named Frank, and after hearing that no one came to his last birthday party, the band decided to get on board. The best bit is – it’s open invite!

The launch party will be at Jive in Adelaide on December 7.  A magician, comedian, circus performers and local dream pop act Swimming are all joining in on the fun. Yes folks, this is one party you don’t want to miss!

Gemini Downs shot onto the music scene in 2010, when their debut single ‘From Darwin’ topped Triple J’s Unearthed chart and made headlines nationally. This new project has been two years in the making, and is anticipated to create an even bigger stir.

Download ‘Jangle’ on JJJ Unearthed now from Triple J Click Here

Potted Potter – Her Majesty’s – 4.5K

By Rupert Hogan-Turner

I walked into Her Majesty’s Theatre and it reminded me of going to see the Wiggles with my younger cousin. Kids running around, while adults either so confident of their children’s safety or beyond apathy chatted amongst themselves. I sat skeptically wondering to myself if this was in fact the right place. The lights went up and the show began and within thirty seconds the first of hundreds of uproars of laughter began.

The two stars, Gary Trainor and Jesse Briton, played the audience so perfectly. In the initial scenes they pandered largely to the kids, getting the easy laughs while still throwing an adult sized joke through very regularly. The play was essentially a challenge placed upon Gary and Jesse to perform and explain all seven volumes of Harry Potter, underlying themes and all, in seventy minutes. What came of it was magic comedy.

Largely the humour stemmed from Gary being the Harry Potter master (while even looking just a teensy bit like Daniel Radcliffe) and Jesse being the bumbling sidekick who knew nothing of the series. This tried method of comedy flowed effortlessly on stage, at some moments you actually got the feeling that Jessie had no clue what he was doing. They were the typical odd couple.

Full credit to the stars who managed to pull off an hour and a half of blissful entertainment with unlimited enthusiasm. There was a massive delivery of guffaws and giggles as the two absolutely played to and subsequently owned the crowd. The writers and director deserve credit too for this outrageously silly but fervently accurate parody of the seven books. The play offers not only bottomless buckets of laughter but startling revelations into the Harry Potter franchise. Not one to be missed.

Kryztoff Rating  4.5K

TINPAN ORANGE (Melb) INTERVIEW

By Calen Vanstone


Having just released their new album, Over The Sun to stellar feedback, Triple J Unearthed winner, Tinpan Orange has begun a mammoth tour of Australia in support of it, with their final show in Adelaide this Saturday night.

Emily Lubitz, the voice of the band, and one of the songwriters, (along with her brother Jesse Lubitz, and accompanied by Daniel Farugia on drums and Alex Burkoy on violin), has been unable to fully gauge the success of the new record, especially as the focus has been on the tour and promotion of the album.

“The album? Great, I think. It’s hard to know sometimes. We really enjoy playing live and that’s what we’re out doing. It’s a labor of love though.”

“We made a career on touring, not radio play.”

The new album has been over three years in the making, with two of them for writing, and the last year recording. The changes in Lubitz’s life greatly influenced her writing, having a child along the way, among many other things.

“I went from someone who was wasn’t even thinking about kids… to a mother. However, it’s not obvious. The songs aren’t necessarily about being a mother or my child. It’s about remembering, nostalgia, memories…”

The band overall has undergone many changes too, says Lubitz.

“We weren’t really a goal-orientated band. We lacked some ambition. When Steven (Schram – producer) came in, he brought us a bit more focus. He’s more mainstream, not that we think we are a band that is constructed for, or has any intention of being mainstream. We’ve become a little less folky, but either way we just made music we wanted to make.”

As for the writing process in general, Lubitz embraces inspiration from outside sources.

“It’s great to be influenced as a songwriter. For me, it’s paying tribute. I think it’s healthy.”

As for her songs, it’s about opening up, whether she likes it or not.

“My songs are my life, my stories. They’re autobiographical. It’s all honesty. We like that people can connect, and get to know me. As much as it’d be great to be a rockstar on one hand and not have to worry, this is who we are. We tell our stories.”

The band’s unique relationship at the core of it all, is between Lubitz and her brother, Jesse. She recounts growing up, being the shy one of the two, and her brother was always there encouraging her. This partnership allowed her to slowly gain confidence while gigging at various open mic nights.

As for the change in their partnership? “We generally write separately nowadays. We kinda grew out of sitting down and writing together.”

In the build-up to their Adelaide appearance, Lubitz is excited to be back more than anything.

“I love Adelaide. I love Adelaide people. You guys do festivals like no one else! Some great venues… The Grace Emily, The Wheatsheaf… I love those small venues. They are vital to the scene. You can’t just have arena shows.”

As for the new year looming, Lubitz is more than happy to stay on the road for as long as necessary.

“We signed with an agent from Canada. So we are keen to go back, after playing there with The Cat Empire not too long ago. I think we’re just going to keep playing and touring, and play some more festivals if we can.”

There is no doubt Lubitz and Tinpan Orange are set for bigger and better things, and these big changes in their lives have simply prepared them for the wave of work and attention they will be flooded with in the future. Of everything, what is most prevalent is the sheer joy Lubitz gets out of playing and making music.

When asked about her favourite, and least favourite aspect of being a musician, Lubitz is quick to reply – “The friends all over! …And I love playing! The waiting is definitely the hardest part”. Ending with a quote from David Crosby, “Airports, soundchecks, that’s what they pay me for. The music is free.”

Tinpan Orange play Jive TOMORROW NIGHT !

Grab your tickets here: http://www.bandsintown.com/event/5671253/buy_tickets?affil_code=fb_51969119036_event&artist=Tinpan+Orange

TINPAN ORANGE on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/tinpanorange

Theatre: Potted Potter – Her Majesty’s until Nov 17th – 2.5K

By Miriam Keane

There seems to have been a surge in stage shows purporting to summarise entire book/film series in a short timeframe, presumably in some amusing fashion (think The Complete Works of Shakespeare: Abridged or One Man Star Wars).  The series of Harry Potter books, and subsequent film adaptations, were a genuine world-wide phenomenon in terms of popularity and obsession. It is hardly surprising then, that JK Rowling’s stories have been given this treatment by some pop-culture savvy performers who, while probably holding some sort of candle for the books themselves, no doubt also appreciated the immense marketability of such a concept.

Original writer/performers Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner have been replaced in this current production by Jesse Briton and Gary Trainor as the energetic, ridiculous duo, whose clashing personalities and egos wreak havoc as they wend their way through the series. Both meet the demands of the show, with Briton in particular working admirably to switch between many different characters. However, the talents of these two men are not enough to lift this show above the level of average to good entertainment.

While it was a generally fun experience, it was all the same disappointing. Potted Potter played Adelaide previously at the 2009 Fringe, as well as various comedy festivals, both in Australia and internationally, and this is connected to its major problem – it feels like a Fringe show. With a set and props specifically designed to be disappointing, and so much resting on the energy and silliness of the performers, it would be more suited to a tent in the Garden of Unearthly Delights – playing to either rooms full of late-night drunken idiots or afternoon family crowds for the cost of a couple of beers, rather than the theatrical beauty and matching price-tag of Her Majesty’s.

While there has been a good deal of debate about whether the Harry Potter series were actually children’s books or just books that happened to feature children, there is no doubt that this show will appeal most to the younger fans. Those in the older age group of the audience were likely left somewhat disappointed by the lack of wit involved in, and predictability of, the majority of the jokes. The under 12s lapped them up.

This is a fun, family friendly show but lacks any real ingenuity. However, with the popularity of Harry Potter not likely to dissipate any time soon, and new fans getting hooked on the series all the time, it will no doubt continue to attract an audience for years to come.

Kryztoff rating: 2.5K

Jeffrey Smart – Master of Stillness – Samstag and Carrick Hill – Til 14th Dec – 5K

Wallaroo (1951) National Gallery of Australia

By Peter Maddern

Jeffrey Smart holds a special place in the South Australian art scene, an artist who saw the light both in a new way on his canvases and who knew by the age 30 it was time to get out of Adelaide – ‘if you knew the Adelaide I knew, you had to get out.’

Still, as Barry Pearce, the curator of this exhibition, Master of Stillness, notes there is much in Smart’s work that has persisted since his days here that ended around 1950. In particular the crisp, clean, bright light that our Mediterranean climate delivers and his passion for the seemingly mundane artefacts of a technologically developing world that have so defined his aesthetic, as strong in last works as his earlier ones.

This exhibition is in two parts, the early, Adelaide works are housed at Carrick Hill, significantly so given the close association between both with the Hayward family; his ‘greatest hits’ collection can then be seen at the wonderful Samstag Art Museum on North Terrace.

As geographically challenging as this may be, both are well worth the visit. A return visit to Carrick Hill is always a delight, roaming around the beautiful gardens with their unique views of the city and exploring the home. But a visit now to see Smart’s work is perhaps the more rewarding of the two Master of Stillness adventures. For there one sees very closely the development of the style that Smart has made his own and which has attracted no shortage of imitators.

Labyrinth 2011

Taken in by T.S. Eliot’s verses about urban and industrial landscapes, disused buildings and desolate vistas, Smart travelled widely in the State from, for example, Robe in the south to Kapunda in the mid north, to create visions that matched the stanzas. Not only does one see how the style grew over a decade (and particularly after about 1945) but also the first uses of so many of his now famous motifs. For example, in Kapunda mines (1946) we see semi dressed men and dark, forbidding skies, in Holiday resort (1946) the abandoned pram.

As interesting as any is Wallaroo (1951) which generates an instant flash of Russell Drysdale’s The Cricketers, yet closer inspection also identifies all the building blocks of one of his most famous works, Cahill Expressway which he painted some 12 years later.

But Sunday morning service (1945), Robe (1947), The salvagers (1946) and Vacant lot Woolloomooloo (1947) are also fascinating as works of their own as well as shining light on the creation of a style that came to capture the imagination of the international art world.

Not that there aren’t many great works to see at the Samstag but perhaps the most significant is Labyrinth, his last work, painted just last year before physical infirmity and frailty consigned his paints and easel to the too hard basket. In it are so many of his trademark elements, his love of geometry, the clear, still air, the dark skies building and the solitary figure (perhaps Smart himself again) in the midst, neither here nor there.

Rushcutters Bay baths 1983

There is no doubt that the first impacts on the visitor as they enter the Samstag are the bright colours, especially the yellows, the reds and the blues and that sense of structure in the works conceived around shapes, squares, poles and his exquisite curves. Yet, closer inspection also reveals Smart’s desire to give these modern figures of the city a sense of life and being for no matter how repetitious the shapes may appear they could be, Smart finds way to show them ‘alive’ though use, decay, the weather and so forth. The minute variations that abound in Rushcutters Bay baths (left) are classic examples of this. (Container train in landscape (1983-4) is another on this point and its five panels hanging high in the open space between the Samtag’s upper and lower galleries are another highlight of the exhibition.)

As mentioned, there have been many imitators of the Smart style – crisp clean street- and cityscapes with bright motifs like highway signs and containers – but as Barry Pearce explains none have ever captured the stillness, the light and the geometric structure quite in the manner that Jeffrey Smart has.

Like the recently ended Fred Williams exhibition, Jeffrey Smart – Master of Stillness is a must see for any lovers of iconic Australian art as well as those affectionately connected to the land, places, buildings and people of this State.

State Theatre’s Red Carpet Event – Review – 9 Nov

By Rupert Hogan Turner

Red Carpet is an initiative run by the State Theatre Company who is endeavouring to maintain a youthful audience at their shows. By paying a smidgen extra people aged between 20 and 30 can find themselves in the prop warehouse rubbing shoulders with the director, actors and other industry players. The warehouse itself was covered in old and new props strewn haphazardly around, which gave it an eclectic feel.

Last Friday I found myself back there and I have to say it was great fun. Admittedly the largest draw for me was the opportunity to speak with the stars of the show, who walked calmly into the crowd of eager young actors, actresses and playwrights armed with only the answers to the vast wave of oncoming questions. For those who demand more bang for your buck there was free wine and beer as well as delicious aroncini balls and other snacks. A DJ set the scene with some upbeat but relaxed tunes while everyone become comfortable and mingled.

These events are an amazing networking opportunity, while there for only an hour and a half I heard about every play coming up in the next twelve months and why I should go and see it. The DJ’s were a tad loud which created conversation issues, “Your play is called what?” was one of my more frequent questions. As with all industry nights, it did feel somewhat cliquey and there is the feeling that the same people attend every one of these. However once you broke into any given circle you found yourself surfing the conversations. Overall a good evening, wonderful initiative and an excellent if somewhat underused opportunity for young people looking to become involved in theatre.

Were you there? Let us know your thoughts as well.

Megan Doherty – La Boheme – 3K

By Peter Maddern

Megan Doherty is the latest performer brought to the stage by Kate Warren’s newly formed The Factory (no doubt with apologies to Warhol, A.) The 28 year old recent graduate in musical theatre from Ballarat chose the topics of loneliness, lust and yearning to underpin her show entitled The Girl Who Won’t Grow Up, a repertoire that had Weimar cabaret strains to it without going for the whole Marlene Dietrich persona.

6pm on a Sunday evening is not usually the best time to collect a crowd but La Boheme was sold out for this last night and certainly it was keen to be swept along by Megan’s solid voice and shtick. After a slow start, her Disney song proved to be a highlight followed up not long after by Coin Operated Boy, all the while ably accompanied on piano by Daniel Brunner.

There is no doubt that Doherty has potential but more experience is needed to lift her to the fore front of similar acts in Adelaide (where queens of the genre like Sidonie Henbest presently reign.) More imaginative lighting, less use of the microphone (a perennial bug bear for this critic when attending at such a small venue as La Boheme) and a breaking down of what seemed like a glass partition between her and her audience members – more intimacy with her patrons gets rewarded – are all elements to be worked on.

But, to be sure, Megan Doherty is a talent worth following and one who will consistently entertain as she refines her performances.

Kryztoff Rating  3K