Sunday, 25 February 2018

Dumplings anyone?

Taking my seat for 'Single Asian Female' I immediately had a yearning for Yum Cha or something similar.

The main set was a family run Chinese Restaurant. Don't be fooled by the empty seats in the auditorium. By the time the play commenced every seat was occupied.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Single Asian Female

(Belvoir Street Theatre)

'Single Asian Female' focuses on three females; a fifties something recently divorced mother and her two daughters, one aged in her late twenties and the other a high school teenager. Mum is an immigrant whose home origin cultural mannerisms and accent embarrass the younger daughter. The older daughter is more tolerant of her mother but suffers the boorish behaviour she experiences as a first generation Australian.

Set mostly in the family run Chinese Restaurant and its upstairs bedroom, this is a vibrant and entertaining tale of the immigrant experience.


Friday, 23 February 2018

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool

Annette Being plays 1940s/50s film star Gloria Grahame in the later stages of her career in 'Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool'. Grahame was struggling for work and struggling with her health whilst in Liverpool, England in the late 1970s and she found support and more from a co-resident (Jamie Bell) in the guest houses where they were residents.

Bening and Bell are superb in this re-creation of actual events.


Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Lethal Indifference

(Sydney Theatre Company)

'Lethal Indifference' is a monologue in which an unnamed woman speaks about family violence. Employed as a media representative at the Family Court, the woman speaks about cases, their details and how they were dealt with to present a powerful picture of the processes and the injustices and indignities suffered by victims. Emily Barclay is the impressive performer.


Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Top Girls

(Sydney Theatre Company)

Marlene (Helen Thomson) is a successful executive in an employment agency who is celebrating a promotion over a colleague but her private life is troubled.

This revival of 'Top Girls' features excellent performances from its cast, especially from Thomson and Kate Box. Alternately humorous and dramatic the play, from the 1980s, still packs a contemporary punch re gender politics and family relationships.


Monday, 19 February 2018

NT Live: Follies

The National Theatre's Production of Stephen Sondheim's 'Follies' received rave reviews. This musical performance piece is set around the reunion of former showgirls and entertainers held in the theatre they once performed in which is derelict and about to be pulled down.

It is a work that is rarely performed in full production on stage mainly because it requires a large and diverse range of characters which is difficult and expensive to assemble for other than minimal performances.

There is a documentary film version of the show when it was staged for several performances only in New York back around the 1990s that remains vividly in my mind. Featuring performers such as the actress Lee Remick, the comedian Elaine Strich and assorted Broadway and Operatic stars it is burnt into the hard drive of my memory as the definitive interpretation.

The NT's production, presented in Australia on screen filmed from a live performance, is excellent on many fronts and is recommended even though it does not equal that New York production. No-one can sing 'Broadway Baby' like Strich.


Sunday, 18 February 2018

Sydney Summer Skies

ANZ Tower (l) and Sydney Tower (r)
Australia Square (l), the Law Courts (c), towers on Macquarie Street (r)
Hyde Park North
The Domain (foreground) and East Sydney towers (background)
Hyde Park North, Sheraton on the Park, Stockland Arcade and ANZ Tower
St Mary's Cathedral

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Strangers in Between

Teenager Shane (Wil King) has arrived in Sydney's seedy Kings Cross from rural Goulburn and on his second day working in a liquor store meets two customers, Will (Guy Simon) and Peter (Simon Burke).

Shane endures the pangs of coming to terms with his sexuality through his infatuation with Will and his growing friendship with the older, experienced Peter.

'Strangers in Between' is a coming of age play. The stereotypes are a little too cliched at times and King's clingy performance irritates particularly in the first act. The short second act is more restrained allowing the production to improve.


Friday, 16 February 2018

Oh, Malcolm

Our Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, doesn't have much luck, does he? Just when at long last, after numerous failing Polls, one Poll showed the minutest of turns in his favour, his own Coalition Partner, Barnaby Joyce, throws an almighty spanner into his works.

But is it just bad luck? Hasn't Turnbull shown poor judgement numerous times over his political career. A bit like Joyce himself really. Both seem to have appealing qualities and attitudes at least on the surface but then both undermine the goodwill their supporters might harbour towards them by their words and actions. And they do it, time and again. Turnbull, in particular, loves the sound of his own opinions and often expresses them in long winded, meandering monologues.

Instead of remaining a dignified figure above the seemingly grubby behaviour of his coalition partner, Turnbull decided to deliver a sermon to ram home to the electorate Joyce's failings. In so doing he injected himself into the mud pit and gave Joyce's National Party an excuse to rally around their embattled, undeserving leader.

Oh Malcolm, you don't learn do you?

Monday, 12 February 2018

Oh, Barnaby

(The New Daily)
Barnaby Joyce, our Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the National Party, the junior partner in the Governing Coalition, is in a spot of bother.

A hospital volunteer colleague and staunch Roman Catholic and family values adherent opined over lunch today that she was a bit sad for Barnaby who she feels 'is doing a good job'.


Sunday, 11 February 2018

Phantom Thread

Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day Lewis) is an exclusive English fashion designer and confirmed bachelor catering to the aristocracy and the rich. On a weekend retreat at a small hotel Woodcock meets a young waitress and becomes intrigued by her appearance and manner. The relationship they engage in eventually impacts upon Woodcock and his design house.

Day Lewis is an acclaimed actor. His performances are typically intense and mostly joyless and Day Lewis lives up to his standards in 'Phantom Thread'. The best performance, however, comes from Lesley Manville as Woodcock's tightly controlled sister and business administrator.

Slow and earnest.


Thursday, 8 February 2018


Interval at 'Dream Lover' at the State Theatre, Melbourne's Performing Arts Centre

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Fifty Shades Freed

I should have known better than to see 'Fifty Shades Freed'. I couldn't finish reading Fifty Shades of Grey the puerile, appallingly poorly written book that started this series of tales about the Billionaire Christian Grey and his kinky, chauvinistic, sadistic domination of women.

The film of that first book was as awful as the source. I missed seeing the second film but went to see this third film on a sort of dare from a workmate.

Grey and his amour, Anastasia Steele, marry in the opening sequence and embark on their honeymoon. This provides tantalising images of the Billionaire lifestyle but it is all downhill after that. What passes for a plot is some stalking and something more sinister from an apparently deranged character.

But very little is developed either by way of character or plot because the film pauses every few minutes for scenes of jiggy-jiggy and/or nudity, but mostly of both.

The dialogue is inane and I felt embarrassed for the performers who had to speak those lines. I guess they were well paid to do it.

Some nice scenery but otherwise nasty, boring and stupid.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Molly's Game

'Molly's Game' is based on the true experiences of Molly Bloom, an aspiring Winter Olympics Skier, who suffered a sporting career ending injury whilst attempting to qualify for the Olympic Games and who subsequently moved into private Poker Games eventually launching her own business for high rollers. These poker games exposed her to physical and other dangers of quite another type.

I enjoy the acting of Jessica Chastain, who plays Molly, and also enjoy the type of films she appears in. You don't have to know about Poker to understand this film although some knowledge probably enhances understanding. The narration to the movie and screen prompts illustrate the Poker games. I wasn't able to follow them fully but nonetheless managed to get the gist of what was happening.

I liked this film.


Monday, 5 February 2018

Dream Lover - The Bobby Darin Musical

'Dream Lover - The Bobby Darin Musical' tells the story of singer and entertainer Bobby Darin from his childhood, raised by a single mother, ex-showgirl, through his successful years as performer and screen actor and to his later years of ill health and addiction.

This musical goes beyond Darin's own work to cleverly incorporate other music and songs that illustrate the events portrayed on stage.

David Campbell is energetic and brilliant as Darin. His is a world class performance. There is terrific support from Marina Prior as Darin's mother and from the entire hard working ensemble. The big band provides excellent musical backing.

Highly recommended.


Sunday, 4 February 2018


The famous waterfall on the glass wall at the National Gallery of Victoria seen from the inside

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Images from the Syrian War

Another exhibit from Triennial at the National Gallery of Victoria was a collection of moving images from the Syrian War displayed on three adjacent curved screens (Cinerama style) by Richard Mosse using new long range thermal cameras with the ability to record subjects up to 50 kilometres away in total darkness. Mr Mosse has produced some stunning images.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Triennial Marilyn trivia

I quite enjoyed my quick dip into the current Triennial art and design exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.

One exhibit by Iraqi born Adel Abidin recreates the famous images of Marilyn Monroe in 'The Seven Year Itch' where she stood over a New York subway grate and her skirt billowed from the updraft. In Abidin's recreation it is a man wearing Arab clothing who is pictured.


Thursday, 1 February 2018

The Shape of Water

A mute cleaner enters into an unusual relationship with an amphibian creature held captive at a military installation. Set in the 1960s against the background of the Cold War and the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States, the central focus of 'The Shape of Water' is acceptance and the desire for companionship and love. Anything is normal depending on your perspective and attitude.

A polarising film - friends of mine have liked it or loathed it. I liked it.