Thursday, 17 August 2017

Archie got it wrong.....again

It is that time of year. The Art Gallery of New South Wales is displaying the Archibald Prize; the annual prize for portraiture painting. Most years the Prize raises a degree of controversy which is probably just as well for maintaining interest.

As usual I wasn't all that fussed by most of the finalists on display. Even more usual, this year (yet again) I favoured the pick of the Packers - the men and women who unpack the arriving works for display - over the official winner - chosen by the Trustees of the Gallery.

A few snaps to share the atmosphere, or lack of, at this year's display.

This portrait of media personality Lisa Wilkinson by Peter Smeeth won the Packers' Prize.

(Art Gallery of NSW)

And for the record, this portrait of Agatha Gothe-Snape by Mitch Cairns won the Archibald Prize.

(Art Gallery of NSW)
As the saying goes; I don't know much about art but I know what I like.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Where is winter?

Sydney has not really had a winter this year. Yes, there have been a couple of cold days and some cold mornings but mostly the temperatures have been very mild indeed. One day in July the maximum reached 26º which is the warmest July day recorded at Sydney's weather bureau in 158 years of record keeping. We've enjoyed multiple maximums around the 24º mark.

Sunsets have been colourful and so peaceful looking. This was one of our sunsets this week.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Wind River

An FBI agent enlists a game tracker to assist her to investigate a murder in a remote, snow bound, Indian reservation in Wyoming.

Whilst the setting is almost literally a polar opposite to 'The Wall', which I commented about in yesterday's post, 'Wind River' shares that film's themes of hostile environment and enemy forces. The snowy mountains in Wyoming provide spectacular scenery. The plot unfolds slowly and most of the action is confined to the final scenes. I didn't mind the slow nature of the film but C was annoyed by it.

The sound design is poor with quite a bit of the dialogue inaudible at times.


Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Wall

In 2007 the US President, George W Bush, has declared that the Iraq war has been won. The task of rebuilding the country has begun under the watchful eyes of US troops. In this environment two US soldiers find themselves pinned down by an unseen sniper in a hot and dusty hostile location with only a flimsy, decaying stone wall providing any protection.

'The Wall' has only three characters, one of whom is never seen.

This oppressive situation won't appeal to everyone but I think this film gives a terrific sense of remote desert warfare against a determined and unrelenting enemy who seems to hold all the aces. It certainly does not romanticise war.


Monday, 7 August 2017

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

(Sport for Jove Theatre Company)

The arrival of a new and argumentative inmate at a US mental institution in 1963 stirs the settled existing community and staff eliciting changes in attitudes and power bases.

The play 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' is adapted from a novel by Ken Kesey. A hugely successful film version was released in 1975. The play is at once disturbing in it's representation of cruel health and welfare treatment and also entertaining as its dominated characters draw on hitherto unrealised strengths.

This may be an amateur production but it is professional in quality.


Sunday, 6 August 2017


(Darlinghurst Theatre Company)

In 1939 as war appears inevitable a Jewish mother in Germany prepares her young daughter for evacuation to hopeful safety in Britain. In the 1980s in London a mother helps her daughter pack in preparation for her move away from home.

These twin stories and the links between them that become disclosed form the basis of this play. 'Kindertransport' is an interesting play about mother/daughter relationships and issues of identity.


Saturday, 5 August 2017

Jesus Christ Superstar

The Production Company

The current presentation from The Production Company, in limited season, at the State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne.

If you need a precis of the plot then you haven't been paying attention.

It has been probably been 40 years since I last saw this musical on stage. Revisiting the work properly after such a long break really had me thinking about it. For a Superstar, the Jesus character gets a pretty raw deal.

Judas has most of the best songs and moments. He opens the musical with a big number, closes the musical with a big number and has the last big moment to close Act 1. By comparison Jesus has one big solo musical moment only when mid stream in Act 2 he questions God; 'why must I die?'. Rob Mills (Jesus) handles that moment well earning strong applause. But Zoy Frangos (Judas), an unknown (to me), has the best gig and he makes the most of it. Should the musical be called 'Judas Isacariot, Super-villain'?

Jesus doesn't even have the second best of it. Arguably, Mary Magadelene, Pontius Pilate and King Herod all have better scenes. All three are strongly represented in this staging.

I wonder if Lloyd Webber and Rice had created this musical later in their careers rather than earlier, might Jesus have a got a better deal musically?

As usual, The Production Company has delivered a strong, ensemble performance. The future of Australian musical theatre remains strong with young artists like those we see in their productions.

✮✮✮ ½