Posts tagged Adelaide Reviews

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 Mother Africa @ Her Majesty’s until 15 Aug 5K

Mother Africa opened at Her Majesty’s Theatre Wednesday night to a full house with the crew just returning from a two week break after having performed at Jupiter’s Casino on the Gold Coast for 4 months.  Adelaide is the second Australian stop for Mother Africa, performing until the 15 August, before moving on to New Zealand.

From the start to finish, what calls itself a circus is what I would rather label a journey of energy as it goes way beyond circus. So, from start to finish it is a two way performance between the artists and audience. The energy on stage is reflected by the energy of the crowd’s response.  It is a pleasure, a joy to be part of this electrifying experience. The energetic, enjoyable, entertaining and enthralling show takes us on a journey of music, traditional dance and powerful acrobatics with a mixture of mesmerizing colour of the traditional looking costumes.

The world touring show which promotes itself as 100% African, 100% Joy and 100% Party. I must say I 100% agree. It is a party of music, dance and acrobatics. And it is a joy to see the artists enjoying themselves while doing their performance and soaking up the audience’s joyful response. The 40 artists are 100% African, from many different countries of the second-largest continent such as Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and South Africa. Let me add 100% energy and 100% entertainment.

Thank you Mother Africa. Not often that I would give a full 5K, but this must see show deserves it. With ticket prices starting at $59.90 for adults there is no excuse to miss Mother Africa.

Kryztoff Rating  5K

RAW: The Special Relationship – Film – 3.5K

Reviewed By Kosta Jaric

Michael Sheen is making a damn good living out of other people’s lives. After playing reporter David Frost and famed English coach Brian Clough, he has come full circle and returns as the seemingly affable Prime Minister Tony Blair in “The Special Relationship”.

With Dennis Quaid as the unmistakable Bill Clinton, Richard Loncraine directs the finer moments of their relationship during their overlapping terms. Choosing Blair as the protagonist of the two, Sheen is seamless and brilliant in his role. Being the third time he’s played Blair, he’s almost undistinguishable from the real man. Quaid’s attempt at Clinton’s accent becomes a bit of a novelty from the get go, but he does a fine job playing a morally-questionable man (who on screen is shown to be just as deceptive as his successor).

Hope Davis is brilliant as the turmoiled Hilary, taking a leading role during the Lewinsky period, with Helen McCrory is exactly as she was in “The Queen” as Cherie (also written by Peter Morgan). The support cast is also on song (with Jacques Chirac ever the comedian).

The script is tight and creates some interesting moments between the two leaders. In what could’ve been a very dry film (originally made for US TV), the cast and crew have actually made an intriguing behind-the-scenes look at the marriages, friendships and political relationship between the two couples and their countries.

You won’t kick yourself if you miss this on the big screen but it is worth a mid-week peek.

Kryztoff Rating  3.5K

RAW: Fugitive – Robin Hood Retold – Space Until 14th Aug – 4K

Earlier in the year Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe gave us a cinematic new take on the old Robin Hood tale. Now writer, Matthew Whittet and Windmill Theatre have given us another take. The difference is Fugitive is much better.

Here, Robin (Eamon Farren) returns from an unexplained two year absence, hooks up again with Marion (Louisa Mignone) and along with Wil (Whittet) and bovver boy, Little John (Patrick Graham) take on the forces of evil in the district led by Marty (Carmel Johnson.) Along the way they battle knights, some bad, some incompetent, others invisible and also themselves, often at a frenetic pace.

The interweaving of this traditional Robin Hood story with almost everything else being modern, along with a tale about young people desperately trying to come to terms with their place in the world, is expertly done. The humour builds from Little John’s flatulence problem early on to Geoff Revell’s show stealing roles, first on a horse as a sage, then as the treacherous Guy. It is a great romps.

The impact of the whole off stage crew on all aspects of the production is significant. Richard Vabre’s lighting and Luke Smiles’ sound design keep giving the production vibrant and eccentric edges, always making contemporary what is after all a 1000 year old tale – the scene changes are an excellent example of the team work delivering clever outcomes.

Farren is an impressive stage figure and Mignone handles superbly the various challenges of Marion in a costume that was not exactly flattering.

The Windmill people are calling for young men to flood to see this. They cast their net not nearly wide enough. This is great entertainment for everyone.

Kryztoff Rating   4K

RAW: Ziggy Diagne – Nexus – 23 July

Unfortunately only a sparse crowd came to Nexus last night to hear Ziggy Diagne and his four piece ensemble play his high energy fusion of African, Salsa and other Latin rhythms. The setting was also not helped by a late start due to Ziggy et al losing their way, drums tumbling over during songs and musicians tripping over cords on stage. However, the second half was worth the wait.

Then Senegalese, Ziggy, (who, in a white jump suit adorned with small flags and with his hair in a bun on the top of his head looked like a cross between Whoopi Goldberg and Buzz Aldrin), got into his stride with brilliant control of his formidable kora that seemed to inject boundless hand energy into his two drummers, Funkalleros and Dunumbra. The interplay between them was spellbinding as the reggae funk, rap and jazz beat grew in intensity, the groovy M’balah rhythms, unique to Senegal, roaring through.

Before moving to WA in 2000, Diagne played and toured internationally for ten years in the Baaba Maal band as a drummer, dancer and choreographer. He has also performed on stage with the likes of Carlos Santana and Youssou N’Dour and has recorded with Assane Thiam (regarded by many as the world’s best talking drum player.)

Before a small, mostly middle aged audience, getting reciprocated energy from the dance floor before him was always going to be a struggle. However, one could imagine a WOMAD crowd going absolutely silly at the height of a performance (with good gunja only adding to the tsunami of energy and power and chills of ecstasy that would ripple through such an audience.)

Ziggy and friends deserved more support than they got last night but it was a richly rewarding experience nonetheless.

Kryztoff Rating  4K

RAW: Greenberg – Film – 3.5K

Reviewed by Lucy Campbell

Greenberg is the story of 40 year old Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller) and his return to his native LA after a nervous breakdown and mental hospital stay. Writer/director Noah Baumbuch’s film charts his relationships with old friend and ex bandmate Ivan (Rhys Ifans), ex lover Beth (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and affair with his brother’s personal assistant, Florence (Greta Gerwig).

At it’s core Greenberg defies the conventions of plot, instead focusing on the intricacies of relationships and the title character’s manic depression, which a brave Stiller plays without the comic stylings that we’re so accustomed. It’s Stiller’s film and he plays the role to a tee: the detachment from his surroundings, OCD behaviour, alienation and complete self-obsession. Unfortunately, all these things mean his character is ultimately pretty unlovable, and his fractured character gradually becomes whining and so downright rude, you question why anybody bothers to hang out with him.

But this is a film of a man railing against the world, against LA, against his desires and against himself. Stiller’s self-destructive Greenberg feels real, as does the loose ends of Gerwig’s Florence. Everybody in this film runs in circles, and by the end one feels thoroughly exhausted though not entirely confident anyone will break the cycle. There are the occasional muted chuckles, but it isn’t by any stretch a ‘Ben Stiller Film’ – more of an awkward insight into emotional freefall and neurosis as we slowly watch Greenberg self-destruct and then attempt to pick up the pieces. Though by no means a bad film, Greenberg still leaves you a little empty as the credits roll.

Kryztoff Rating   3.5K

RAW: Superheroes – Space – July 20-24

The publicity image of a prone Superman may suggest Superheroes, which enjoys its world premiere at the Space this week, is a light hearted romps. On the contrary, this Stone / Castro production explores weightier issues reflecting on war and exploring man’s vision for the domination of the earth.

In an unknown rest home, six characters regaining their strength to return to their lives the way they were, come together including a Muslim who has been in a coma for 20 years, a born-again Christian, a pregnant woman who has been in jail and a soldier fresh back from the Iraq war. Together, they project their vision for the future onto a young boy who is there doing work experience.

As fiction and reality blur we witness the madness and trauma of war through the soldier’s hallucinations, turning the characters to saviours and heroes for hope and salvation and faith and drugs for escape and shelter.

Directed by Jo Stone (who also plays the role of the pregnant woman) and written by Paulo Castro, Superheroes promises to be thought provoking theatre and worthy of exploration from Wednesday to Saturday evening (with a Friday 1pm matinee.)

RAW: Bill Viola’s Observance – Samstag Art Museum – To July 14

A column of people comes, one by one, towards us to observe for themselves and be emotionally affected, absorbed by grief, horror and / or sadness, by a scene playing out below where we stand. We don’t know what it is but by their reactions we too come to be observers of their grief and thus for those immediately involved.

Observance is one of a series of works by Viola comprising The Passions created over three years from 2000 to 2002. His art generally explores themes of human experience, memory and the mystery of existence and he creates compelling, voiceless narratives where their effects are magnified through the slow motion of their movements and expressions.

As much as we too may become infected by the reactions, there is a voyeuristic disposition of these people that is also unsettling for they seem to neither know the players suffering nor, in most instances, those around them as they almost jostle for their chance to gain a clear view. The reassuring touches and anxious glances seem to be mostly towards those who are joined only by this experience. Interestingly, while people of all colours and ages are represented, Viola does not have children in the mix.

This is interesting art that poses questions about how we react when confronted with the grief of others, whether known to us or not, as well as how we can share in the reactions of others. Combined with the Mirror Mirror exhibition, Observance promises that a walk to the West End will again reward you for the effort.

Until 14th July.

RAW: Farewell – Film

In the early 1980s, the Cold War for the Russians is being increasingly held together only by intelligence about western people, missiles and bases. Sergei Gregoriev (Emir Kusturica), in the Soviet intelligence services, has decided that should all change through sending back to the West all they know about them and the names of the Russian agents operating there. His mission is to make the Russian world a better place for his son, Igor. To do this, he enlists the help of Pierre Froment (Guillaume Canet), a Frenchman living in Moscow, in an operation codenamed ‘Farewell’.

This is a terrific espionage film, based on the factual account in the book by Serguei Kostine. Director and co-writer, Christian Carion, builds the tension silently but inexorably throughout until the last scenes are nearly unbearable to watch, so involved in the machinations and the lives of the players involved has one become.

Both the main actors do a great job and are well supported by Sergei’s ‘family’ (son, wife and mistress) and Pierre’s wife, Jessica (Alexandra Maria Lara). There is no James Bond or Jason Bourne in this drama and conflict between ‘duty’ to the cause and honesty and trust in the family is compellingly portrayed. Cliche portrayals of President Reagan and the CIA are upturned in the end as the real goings on get revealed.

Don’t miss it.

Kryztoff Rating  4.5K

RAW: Food Inc. – Film

Food Inc is an unsettling and uncomfortable expose of the corporately controlled US food industry which no doubts has many parallels in Australia. As such it sits as an excellent companion piece to End Of The Line, the recent documentary about global fishing stocks.

Like EOTL, Food Inc wastes no time and nuance in quickly establishing who the villains are. Writer and director, Robert Kenner, names and shames in ways the US legal and political system no longer much allows it seems. Images of suffering animals due to pens, genetic modification or their food intake abound and the disconnect between consumer perceptions about their food and reality is hammered home.

However, again like EOTL, hope for the future is sustained, this time through the growing organics industry, (though no doubt the definition of this will be attacked and made meaningless over time such as the concept of ‘free range eggs’ is under at present in this country.)

These types of documentaries are at times glib, very biased in their view but they do get your blood boiling and make for compelling entertainment. Food Inc is one such in that mould but any kernel of truth that helps propel change is a good thing and the case for the power of the individual to make a difference keeps it interesting.

Kryztoff Rating    4K