RAW: ADT’s Ignition Til 21st August

Reviewed by Kosta Jaric

At a time when the public is saturated with dance via music videos, TV and film, Garry Stewart and the Australian Dance Theatre (ADT) are asking us to take a step back and ask “what is dance?”

Encouraging his band of young choreographers and dancers to take this question and look at it from every angle Stewart has produced some outstanding pieces for the 2010 edition of Ignition, “But Is It Really Dance?” Put simply, this is fantastic. You couldn’t ask for more from a theme which encourages the choreographers to go beyond rhythmic movement and consider every act – whether as simple as walking and talking – a form of dance.

With six performances all glaringly different, it’s great to see such wide interpretation of the theme. Stewart himself highlights the absurdity of conceptualising a performance in ‘The Universe of No-Body’. ‘Scrap’ and ‘Be That As It May’ are also two highlights; the former uses violent and abrupt movement and sound to convey itself with bodies being literally flung across stage, whilst the latter (choreographed by and starring the talented Tara Soh and Kyle Page)  sees frenetic chaos intertwined with fluid and constant movement and emotion. There is partial nudity involved with one performance, but in a tasteful and restrictive manner.

For those that fear this is too conceptual, don’t. This is highly entertaining and a terrific way to bridge the dance you see everyday with the amazing ideas on movement that are being pushed in the industry. Proving we don’t need TV to showcase the amazing young talent we have in this country, if you don’t catch Ignition this year, book it in the diary for every year after now.

Kryztoff Rating    4K

RAW: SALA – Exhibition of Happiness – Kirsty Shadiac – Tin Cat Cafe – 4.5K

Clearly one of the most successful exhibitions at this year’s SALA is that of returned local girl, Kirsty Shadiac and her most engaging images of children sharing moments of pleasure. Located at the quaint Tin Cat Cafe, the use of broad brushed white backdrops to the animated actions of the children simply but effectively captures them alone, in their own world, possessed only by their own thoughts and oblivious to what else is around them. And Kirsty has captured all manner of these moments, fiddling with fruit, hiding in boxes, playing hop scotch, in the boughs of a tree, fishing in a stream. All not only portray the innocence of that age but at the very least contentment and often rapturous joy of those moments.

Laughter, six children revelling in the world around them on a summer’s day encapsulates all the key features of the exhibition and is a standout work.

Her style is also unique in other respects – the black outlines to the motifs, the drips let loose to develop visual balance – and her smaller water colours also amply capture the mood of shady summer afternoons, such as her three part Little Red Boat series, displaying skills in an alternate form but without loss of impact.

Rather than being potentially criticised for attempting to cash in on images of children for starry eyed parents, Kirsty comes from a background of having worked with children professionally both in Sydney and locally, including those with disabilities, cancer and general sickness in all manner of institutions. That none of her paintings carry any shred of darkness inherent in those conditions is a tribute to her work and the children she has worked with.

Kryztoff Rating   4.5K

RAW: Caitlin Stasey and Deniz Akdeniz Interview Pt 2

Tomorrow When The War Began – Part 2

In the second part of their interview with Kryztoff TV, Caitlin Stasey and Deniz Akdeniz talk about the impact of Tomorrow, When The War Began on them personally and the potential for their careers.

RAW; Cairo Time Film Review – 2K

Reviewed By Lucy Campbell

When American pulp fiction journalist Juliette (Patricia Clarkson) travels to Cairo to meet her UN jetbug husband Mark (virtually-no-screen-time Tom McCamus) she ends up stranded in the city with Mark’s friend and local, Tareq (Alexander Siddig). Of course, Juliette and Tareq grow close through a mutual loneliness and embark on an emotional affair. And all in all, it’s a terribly dull film that plods along with lingering gazes, conversations and scenery, and garners the rather dubious title of the dullest opening ten minutes in film.

Patricia Clarkson’s notorious monotone and ‘subtle gazes of love’ (that in the real world would make you think she was either a couple of bob short of a dollar or taking the mickey) make the film feel like it is literally in slow motion, and Juliette and Tareq’s love affair has no spark, no tension, little humour and is ultimately unsatisfying. Neither the main characters have any charm that sets them apart from a cliche: the lonely Westerner meets handsome Easterner in a series of long conversations resulting in wan gazes into the middle distance.

The few themes that ‘Cairo Time’ attempts to explore are sketches to say the least, which seems odd considering there’s little storyline to dominate screentime, and issues such as the contrast of Eastern and Western cultures, poverty, loneliness, isolation and the transition between the old Cairo and the new, are splashed about at the shallow end of the paddling pool: revealing little, explaining none.

Somehow, even the cinematography, beautiful though it is, struggles to illuminate anything other than a travel documentary, and leaves you feeling hollow. For writer/director Rubba Nadda, ‘Cairo Time’ a disappointing offering that fails to enchant beyond a postcard.

Kryztoff Rating   2K

RAW: Interview With Tomorrow When The War Began Stars Caitlin Stasey and Deniz Akdeniz

Tomorrow When The War Began – Part 1

In the first of a two part interview, stars of Tomorrow, When The War Began, the georgeous Caitlin Stasey and the hunk, Deniz Akdeniz talk about the challenges of preparing for filming and being on the set.

RAW: SALA – Bill Botten’s Abstract Paintings – The Maid – 4K

Since first exhibiting five years ago, Bill Botten’s work continues to develop with particular emphasis on single subjects or styles within his genre of artworks with that reflective mood. Even within this relatively small collection of 15 some major themes along these lines are explored. I shall mention three.

Some of Botten’s canvasses are now quite substantial, Field Hospital at over 3m in width and Flag of Unknown Country are examples but none of his ability to create an almost floating balance on them, a hall mark of his work, is lost. Then there is an increased intensity to much of his brushwork and motifs since his early days – multiple joined black circles or circular shapes dominate in this collection (eg Army of Country of Unknown Flag) while the concept of nationhood is fully explored in five pieces including Immigration Staten Island (above), almost a homage to Blue Poles or Pollacks’ works generally and (the aforementioned) Flag of Unknown Country which tempts immediate recognition before causing one to recoil to ponder its lineage.

While many exhibitions have works that sit on walls making no impact on their exhibiting space, at least two of Botten’s pieces work a treat in situ in their cosy, fire lit, secluded portions of The Maid – owners, take note, they may be a bonus acquisition for your establishment.

Finally, one of Bill’s most endearing qualities is to provide titles to his works that rather than being a self indulgence most clearly add to interpretation and identification of the subject matter which for abstract work is a rarity if not a novelty. More please.

Kryztoff Rating   4K

RAW: SALA – X-HIBIT By Simon Klobas – Gallery on Waymouth

Simon Klobas is the force behind this initiative to have some of Adelaide’s young and upcoming artists exhibit before their peers in a relaxed club atmosphere – to enjoy art in an opening night spirit but without the art nobs. His first night certainly suggested the idea has legs.

Five artists were featured and for mine Ashleigh Abbott’s crisp, clean geometrically shaped bird series was the stand out. A coming together of Gould and Mondrian, her birds were often presented in mirror images with titles such as ‘love is two minds without a single thought’ that gave them a romance and familiarity that was most endearing.

Gretl Watson-Blazewicz presented three large oils, painted with a palette knife to give them a rough but energising texture, of the San Diego coastline, Venice Beach, Ca and a street scene in Vietnam. Their perspectives were very much of the postcard type view and but the works oozed a life beyond your standard post card image.

Lili Dare’s drawings included two set at specific moments of time, those instances where emotions or events gets indelibly marked in memory. The girl with the bare shoulder in 3.47pm was her highlight. Along a similar line were Seb Paynter’s images, taking old scratchy or hazy photographs and working them up into a unique picture. Seemingly a little clichéd at first, over time they came to enchant and draw curiosity.

As mentioned, this X-Hibit exhibition was on for just one night and that is the sad part giving prospective buyers no time to consider the works, especially in the full light of day. Hopefully next time Simon will be granted a longer leash by the Gallery on Waymouth proprietors.

RAW: SALA – Sudhira Shah – SSStudio – Rundle St, Kent Town – 4K

Sudhira Shah is a photo journalist with a specialty, when confronted with set pieces, for family portraits. She has been based in Adelaide for around 12 months and her first Adelaide, seven piece, exhibition heralded the opening of her SSStudio in Rundle Street, Kent Town.

It has to be said family portraiture is hardly new, the Gainsborough Studios of this world have thrived on it for decades, but Shah brings a life and enjoyment to her finished works that leap from the paper, images of spontaneity that make you want to be like those featured.

Using either a (mostly) white washed background and floor or the same in black, families across generations are brought together to celebrate their existences as both humans and as families. This exhibition goes a step further by highlighting not only the cross generational aspects but also cross cultural combinations that also just happen to finish up in Adelaide. It speaks to that most unheralded of our great success stories of racial integration.

Two images stand out. In close-up, one eyed relief, Roshni and Shyam are a couple of an arranged wedding and who have come to Adelaide from the hilly slopes of Nepal. Fifi and daughters Tislisha and Phila are from the African Xhosa tribe, the same as Nelson Mandella. Both images ooze of life and their interconnection and seeming contentment with their lot in Australia. They are part of the pot pouri of life that Shah is able to capture brilliantly drawing on her own inter-cultural and travelling experiences.

Kryztoff Rating   4K

Group Shot at Opening. artist 3rd from right.

RAW: The Bedroom Philosopher – Jive Bar, August 12

The Bedroom Philosopher is no stranger to Adelaide, having made appearances during several Fringe Festivals as well as doing gigs in between. Recently, he has performed a couple of times a year in various bars around town, always attracting a good crowd of dedicated followers.

On a cold Thursday night, the Jive Bar on Hindley Street was close to full as he took to the stage with his quirky blend of comedy and music. The audience was brimming with enthusiasm, the mood having been well set by local support acts Guilliame Soloacoustic and Cookie Baker. Joined for the first time in Adelaide by his backing group The Awkwardstra, the performance had a more robust sound to go with his amusing lyrics.

The Bedroom Philosopher’s latest album, Songs From the 86 Tram – derived from his award winning Melbourne Comedy Festival show of the same name – is a collection of tunes based on the people you meet on public transport. The current single Northcote (So Hungover) is enjoying strong popularity and the live rendition did not disappoint. In amongst other tracks from this album, a couple of older songs also made an appearance, with a great version of Folkstar and the ever amusing Generation ABC both big crowd pleasers.

A highly entertaining and aurally pleasing night out. The Bedroom Philosopher capably mixes music and comedy in such a way that going to see him perform is worth it every time.

Kryztoff Rating: 4K

RAW: Romeo & Juliet – Playhouse – Till 29th Aug – 4K

Reviewed by Kosta Jaric

It takes a while to realize what is happening on stage, but once the confusion settles it is apparent that all six actors rotate roles throughout the play. As one actor takes part in a scene as Romeo, they may then transition into Juliet in the next. Once accustomed to recognizing the character by clothing or dialogue, it actually becomes enjoyable, and confirms how talented (and seamless) this cast is.

Director Geordie Brookman does something unique here in making the peripheral roles more prominent than the titular characters. Benvolio feels like more of a main character than Romeo, the Nurse more prominent than Juliet at times, and Mercutio gets the limelight like he has always deserved.

Josephine Were is great in her first full production with the STC opposite her former teacher, the always fantastic Terence Crawford (who perhaps is the most masculine Juliet since Victorian times). Another star of this production is the set designed by Pip Runciman. Almost a jungle gym for the cast, it hits fantastic extremes, gloriously morphing between scenes.

A lot of people would feel less inclined to see this famous play if they’ve seen it (or even one of the film versions) before, but they’ve created something unique in itself and definitely worth experiencing. It seems as if we’ve been blessed here lately with great productions and casts, but this one takes it a step further and perhaps surpasses The Toy Symphony (also involving Brookman) as the best performance seen at the Playhouse this year. The (perfectly placed) use of Roxy Music classic Love is the Drug throughout as a soundtrack and as dialogue is also brilliant, and sums it all up: “catch that buzz”.

Kryztoff Rating   4K