Author Archive for Xanthe Coward

02
Jul
15

Country Song: a chat with singer/songwriter Megan Sarmardin

 

Queensland Theatre Co’s Country Song opens this weekend!

 

We asked Megan Sarmardin a heap of stuff because MT ISA CONNECTION.

It’s true. We knew Megan back in Bobcat Dancing days (Queensland Biennial Festival of Music 2003. She was sensational!)You may know Megan from her band, BullDust, or Little Birung or The Sapphires.

 

 

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Tell us about Country Song. A fictionalised celebration of the music and life of Jimmy Little.

I am very happy and grateful to be a part of this exciting production. Although a fictionalised story, it shines a light on many of Indigenous people that have contributed to music in Australia, particularly country music. The people mentioned in this play are some of these people who have influenced me too in terms of being a singer/artist.

 

This is your QTC debut! Congrats! How did you come to this show?

I have been working for a while now & the journey to QTC has been a long one. ‘Working’ is, by my definition, singing & gigging. Be it locally in Mount Isa or here in Brisbane (when needed). Acting has been a small part of it, but not as prominent as singing. That’s what I have been doing since I was about 7; singing & playing guitar. The skills developed from this, has obviously put me in good stead to be involved with professional productions, i.e. Queensland Music Festival and to work with talented musicians and artists. I developed my show Little Birung with John Rodgers & started performing that. My profile began to build in terms of stage work. I was then offered a role in The Sapphires & toured with that production, nationally & internationally. It was quiet for me for a couple of years, until earlier on this year when I was contacted by QTC about Country Song.

 

Tell us about growing up and finding music/performance opportunities. What can you advise aspiring singer/songwriters/actors do to get a foot in the door?

Singing and performing to me has never been about being famous. I have done it because I have enjoyed it, it made me happy and it made other people happy. I think it’s about making the most of everything you are given and being as actively involved as you can. I have been incredibly fortunate with the opportunities I have been given, whether it’s being in Mount Isa or being here in Brisbane. I have a band back at home called BullDust with three other talented Mount Isa musicians. Our motivation is just playing music and enjoying it. I will be performing for Australian Forces overseas later in the year.

 

There have been three things on my ‘to-do list’ for the last 12 years. One: to be in The Sapphires. Two: to play in the black arm band. Three: to work with Wesley Enoch. I have achieved all three.

 

I think the best advice that I can give to someone, whether they be a singer, songwriter, actress, actor, painter etc, anyone in the creative arts industry is to just do, try & pursue your passion. There have been times where I have had self-doubt and had thought about giving up, but at the end of the day, it’s you. You have to do it.

 

Tell us about your music.

Little Birung is the music I have made so far. There are a lot of different styles within Little Birung; blues, gospel, country, rock n roll. I have listened to and have been influenced by many different styles of music. I’d love to continue writing more material. The goal down the track is to work on an album of originals. That’s slowly getting momentum.

 

Little Birung is about my family history and the stories of the women in my family, particularly the relationship I have my Great-Grandmother, Flora Hooolihan. I sing songs about my Great-Grandmother, My grandmother, Margaret Gertz and my mother, Dixie Sarmardin. It focuses on Aboriginal Australia in North Queensland, going back to the turn of the century until present day, using my family stories set to song.

 

 

My Great-Grandmother, Flora will be 100 this year in October and has seen the show twice so far.

 

 

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Tell us about Women In Voice.

Women In Voice is the ultimate. I got to share the stage with Brisbane’s best female vocalists and I am very fortunate to call them friends. It’s a great gig being mentored by these fine and talented ladies, in the setting that is Women In Voice. This is a chance for female singers to do what they want. Sing what they want. To tell their stories how they want.

 

How important is music to you in terms of telling stories and making political statements?

Through the medium of music, you can convey a story, a message, a personal connection and emotions. It is a much more powerful medium. Music is universal. They don’t call it tugging on heart-strings for nothing.

 

What has it been like to work with Michael Tuahine, Reg Cribb and Wesley Enoch?

Michael has been a great mentor with this production. I met Reg briefly during the first week of rehearsals. It is a lot of fun to be surrounded by these creative people. They bring a wealth of experience and have been great mentors.

 

I have always wanted to work with Wesley. When I first came to Brisbane and heard about acting, singing, cabaret – all the things I was interested in, Wesley’s name was mentioned all the time. I had heard about the Sunshine Club, but had never realised the impact that Indigenous theatre and stories have had until later years.

 

I was out of school for a couple of years and went to visit my Mum at her work on my lunch break. I remember going into her office one day and seeing Deadly Vibe magazine article about the stage production, The Sapphires.

 

 

I said to myself, ‘I could do that. I’m going be in that one day’. I walked away and thought nothing more of it until 2011.

 

 

What will audiences get from Country Song? 

I think you will get a trip down memory lane, revisiting some of the country music classics. I think audiences will also get an insight into Aboriginal Australia during the 1960s and how it was a difficult journey to take, but through the support of his family, Jimmy did it.

 

What’s important about telling Jimmy’s story?

What’s important about Jimmy’s story is that he was famous in a time when Aboriginal people weren’t considered citizens in their own country. But that did not discourage him. He paved the way for many other Indigenous artists to follow; Bobby McLeod, Lionel Rose, Auriel Andrew.

 

What can you tell us about the Jimmy Little Foundation?

I believe that the Jimmy Little Foundation works with remote Indigenous communities to ensure healthy futures for Indigenous Australians. This is achieved through community engagement & a ‘whole-of-community approach’. Chronic illness in Aboriginal Australia is concerning & I believe that the Jimmy Little Foundation assists in improving the health and wellbeing of Indigenous families and children in remote areas.

 

To what/whom do you never tire of listening?

I was totally born in the wrong decade & have a fascination for country music as well as music from the 70s & 80s. Kiss, The Sweet, T-Rex, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Eagles, AC/DC (I have been to their concerts) – all of those of bands. I just love them. My Mum & Dad listened to a lot of that, so that’s what I grew up with. Dolly Parton is in the playlist as well. I used to work in a community Indigenous radio station back in the Isa, so country music is in my soul really.

 

What have you been watching?

Netflix is slowly taking over my life at the moment. I am pretty hooked on the TV show Californication. I don’t mind a bit of Hank Moody & his crazy life. The soundtrack to that show is great too.

 

Where do you go to escape?

I don’t physically go anywhere to escape at the moment I just get my guitar & play music. I find that family is a good place to escape as well. Grandma’s place in Townsville is great, especially when she cooks her famous rissoles.

 

Favourite meal to prepare at home?

Spaghetti Bolognaise. It’s good stuff. Especially when I make it. J

 

Favourite eats & drinks in Brisbane?

I recently discovered the Cobbler Bar in West End. Eats: there is too many to choose from. Anything is fine!

 

What’s next?

There is the mini-tour after the season in Brisbane, then a nice long extended holiday before the national tour in 2016. I have few gigs back at home, with a couple projects that I need to complete. Definitely looking forward to a bit of rest and relaxation time.

 

 

29
Jun
15

The Paratrooper Project

 

The Paratrooper Project

Phluxus2 Dance Collective

Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts

June 25 to July 4 2015

 

Reviewed by Ruth Ridgway

 

Enter the trenches in this immersive new production…

Phluxus2 Dance Collective

 

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The Paratrooper Project is promoted as an immersive experience, and this it certainly delivers. Described in the brief program notes as a dance theatre installation, it is the theatre that dominates.

 

War and conflict and their effects are the subject. Richard Matthaei, grandfather of Phluxus2’s Artistic Director Nerida Matthaei, was a paratrooper in World War II, and this work was inspired by mementoes he left behind.

 

The audience stood (or occasionally sat or lay) on the floor of the performance space in the Judith Wright Centre, with white parachutes and webbing suspended above us, sometimes billowing up and down, and covering the performers.

 

Their layered costumes (Lisa Fa’alafi) are all also white – pants, tunics, shirts, and military-looking coats with wide lapels. This makes the performers stand out amongst the audience, but could also connote ghostliness, death, and the afterlife.

 

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The audience starts out standing huddled in a crowd under a tent-like parachute. Is it going to fall on us? Is there going to be sudden blackout? No, there are performers in there with us, they start speaking, and the parachute lifts.

 

The creators and performers – dancers Nerida Matthaei, Gareth Belling, Gabriel Comerford, and actor Margi Brown Ash – move through different areas of the performance space, the audience shifting (or being directed to shift) around them.

 

The sound design (Andrew Mills) includes clinking sounds like dishes or metal in a workshop, waves breaking, and a plaintive fragmentary tune.

 

Belling and Comerford represent soldiers or fighters, engaging in much violent, grappling movement, frequently crashing with full force onto the floor. They also enact roles of the wounded or dead, the torture victim, and the rescuer.

 

Matthaei is at first a grief-stricken woman, widowed by war; later, a chilling torturer; and then a rape victim. She and Brown Ash also speak of matters on the domestic front, such as tea and biscuits, and borrowing sugar.

 

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Brown Ash is the dominant, compelling force in this work, her mesmerising authority and the power of her voice unequalled. In a surreal evocation of domesticity, she paces around while knitting and trailing an unravelling ball of wool behind her.

 

In this she echoes Madame Defarge, from Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities, who incorporated the names of intended guillotine victims in her knitting, and also the Three Fates from Ancient Greek stories, who created and destroyed people’s lives by spinning and cutting thread.

 

Brown Ash also parodies a Churchillian wartime leader, exhorting and haranguing us; and huddles and flinches as a terrified torture victim.

 

This is not comfortable escapist theatre.

 

The audience is instructed, harangued, and physically directed around the space. Brown Ash took people by the hand and led them where they were meant to go, until the rest of us understood we were meant to follow. Others were invited to take part in some of the action.

 

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Brown Ash orates at the end about the idea of war continuing on, and affecting us now. Moving amongst us, she then asks us to remember the dead, and give them a voice. Most of the audience engaged in a very personal way with this, seeming to forget where they were, and becoming totally absorbed in the moment.

 

This work is gripping and moving, and pulls you into its orbit.

 

Occasionally, though, the attention lapses when some parts go on a little too long (such as the dancers hurling themselves to the floor over and over at the end).

 

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In Phluxus2’s previous work de-generator, the audience also followed the dancers around the space, but moved out of the way of the action without any guidance.

 

This current work is a more sophisticated and choreographed development of audience involvement. It is more powerful, covering more dimensions of experience, but also more coercive and controlling for the audience.

 

26
Jun
15

Fake It ’til You Make It

 

Fake It ‘til You Make It

Brisbane Powerhouse & Theatre Works

Visy Theatre

June 24 – 28 2015

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

 

3 million Australians are living with depression or anxiety

 

 

Do you wake up in the morning and need help to lift your head?

Do you read obituaries and feel jealous of the dead?

It’s like living on a cliff side, not knowing when you’ll dive.

Do you know? Do you know what it’s like to die alive?

 

 

 

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Most people who think they’re happy haven’t thought about it enough.

– Diana Goodman, Next To Normal

 

 

Meet Bryony and Tim: Bryony is an outrageous, hilarious and fearless performance artist from London; Tim is an outrageous, hilarious and fearless account manager from a top advertising agency.

 

Bryony spends most of her life on tour, trying to change the world. Tim spends most of his life at a desk trying to sell the world. Six months into their relationship, Bryony discovers that Tim suffers from severe clinical depression – a secret he had kept for a very long time.

 

 

BUT WAIT. I HAD NO IDEA THAT THIS WAS BRYONY KIMMINGS WHO DID THE FANNY SONG. OMG. GOLD.

 

 

 

 

BUT THE SHOW.

 

 

The show is designed to get us talking. About depression. About the signs and symptoms and what the hell to do with a person – with ourselves – when the impact of the illness becomes impossible to ignore.

 

 

It’s beautiful, powerful, poignant.

This show should be seen by everyone.

 

 

Now if you didn’t know this already, me and Tim are a real life human being couple, so this unfortunately guys is going to be a love story.

 

We’ve kind of taken out the mundanity of everyday existence for you but what we haven’t been able to cut out is all the darkness because this is a show about clinical depression.

 

 

Bryony Kimmings & Tim Grayburn share some of their most intimate real-life moments. Basically, we’re invited into their living room to listen to their story. They are in their underwear, wearing wicker baskets on their heads, shaking maracas, and dancing and singing to the muzak so, you know, NORMAL. We feel like we know them. We feel like we should have noticed something, said something…

 

BUT THEY HAVE BEEN HIDING AND SINGING AND DANCING IN THEIR UNDERWEAR BENEATH WICKER BASKETS. HOW WERE WE TO KNOW?

 

Unabashedly, they bring us all of the complex, raw emotions – sometimes naturalistically, sometimes symbolically – of Tim’s anxiety and clinical depression, and Bryony’s unwavering love and support for him. At times it’s so incredibly funny, even when it’s sad, that I can only rest my cool glass against my cheek and try not to breathe because if I breathe I might cry, or laugh, at the wrong time.

 

It’s the stuff of millions of people’s lives, trying to make things work, at work and at school and at home, whilst suffering the crippling feelings of chronic depression. And not waving but drowning. We learn about them through mambo. That’s right, The Symptoms of Depression delivered via a SMASH style mambo number. Bryony and Tim dance and hold up pieces of card, with the symptoms written on them in black pen, dazzling their way through fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, sadness, insomnia, guilt and recurrent thoughts of death…faking it ‘til they make it.

 

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Are we not all living like this? Or, have we not, at some stage or another, lived like this? Imagine how many of us must go through life undiagnosed!

 

72% of people treated for depression are female yet

75% of people that take their own lives are male (Men’s Health Forum)

 

 

I woke up one morning and tears just poured out of my face into my pillow. I couldn’t believe what was going on to be honest. I hadn’t cried for years.

 

Segments from a pre-recorded conversation help to paint the picture of the suffering so many couples share. Not all couples speak so candidly though, and the ultimate lesson is in the reminder that we must always find a way to talk about this stuff.

 

I don’t think, no matter how many shows I do, I’ll be a performer to be honest but I’m not here to perform, that’s Bryony’s job. I’m here to be a real life example of depression.

 

 

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If it was any other illness, I’d be on the internet everyday trying to get better but I didn’t because I was too ashamed to even type it in.

 

I agreed to do this show, in this outfit, dancing around with my mental girlfriend just in case I might help someone like myself.

 

Tim, a “non-performer”, has no direct eye contact with the audience until the end of the show (and after it, of course, when we meet the couple. They are exactly as they seem to be. Gorgeous, genuine, humble). Instead, he wears masks: binoculars, white cotton clouds, a goat’s head, a mass of tangled rope. Wearing clouds when the two meet, Bryony believes he is “sent from heaven”. He’s fun and ambitious and enthusiastic and capable of anything. In the latter garb he is a confused mess of feelings, and reminds me of Scarecrow. And you know I’m not talking about Dorothy’s friend. Horrifying.

 

More disturbingly, appearing with a paper bag over his head, Tim displays no feelings whatsoever. In a heartbreaking one-person-pas-de-deux, Bryony manipulates Tim’s limbs to hold her in an embrace beneath his forlorn looking paper bag head. If there is anyone who doesn’t recognise this precise moment of unresponsiveness, either in themselves or in someone they love, they should be grateful for that.

 

If only I would have spoken about it or felt comfortable to talk about it, it would have been prevented I believe at an earlier stage.

 

I haven’t seen a lot of live theatre about mental illness and depression that actually succeeds in making us feel all the feelings. Fake It ‘til You Make It brilliantly uses basic theatrical storytelling devices to give us insight into the specifics of one couple’s battle, as well as hope for everyone’s struggle. The struggle is real.

 

 

Bryony & tim. April 2014 Photo Credit ©Richard Davenport

Bryony & tim. April 2014
Photo Credit ©Richard Davenport

 

 

This is a “work in progress showing” preceding a special festival edition of the production for Latitude festival. I’m wondering what else Bryony and Tim will do with their story, and will it continue to evolve, as a new little person is welcomed into their world? Bryony states matter-of-factly that they will be speaking openly with their child about Tim’s depression and anxiety. And so the conversation continues.

 

 

Have you ever talked to a child about adult depression? Have you ever had to answer tricky questions like, “Why does my dad act the way he does?” and “What’s going on in Mum’s head when she’s not herself?”

 

 

I’m about to trade a few Brisvegas trips for Noosa trips in another week’s time, for Dream Home rehearsals so I may need to listen to something else to get into the ex-model Colette’s head, but lately I’ve been listening to Next To Normal again (watch the whole thing here. Or check out the archived Twitter performance here).

 

Oscar Theatre Co staged a brilliant production of Next To Normal (2013).

 

Anyway, Chris Kellett came with me to see Fake It ‘til You Make It so I asked him to write a little something something from his POV. I’ll add it when I see it. NO PRESSURE, CHRIS.

 

In the meantime, here’s a rehearsal clip from Oscar’s production of Next To Normal because HOPE.

 

 

 

Update. Chris said: I went in cold. I had no idea what I was in for. I didn’t know a thing about the play and that’s sorta’ how I like it. If I’d known the subject material, I probably would’ve reacted as many of my friends did to Next To Normal. “Oh, that sounds great…nothing like a real bummer for a great night out!” All I’d heard was, “I hear it’s great”. Brilliant! I thought. I’m in!

 

And then I meet Bryony and Tim – baskets covering their heads – singing a song about how 80% of the patients in the GP waiting room have mental illness (80%!). And I find myself smiling. And thinking. Bryony is an obvious performer, comfortable, strong and confident in front of the crowd. Tim is great too, but you can tell he’s new to this; he’s not comfortable, almost shy. But it works.

 

It begins awkwardly, uncomfortably even, I suppose in the same way that a conversation about mental health always starts, but as the show continues it becomes charming, sincere, sweet and tender. You can’t help but fall a little in love with this wonderful pair.

 

They take us on a short journey. We see how the couple deals with the clinical depression that affects them both, one directly, one indirectly (but is anyone ever indirectly affected by their partner’s illness?). We’re given a window into their private lives and we start to appreciate how their struggle has evolved. One of the highlights of the evening was the “under the doona” song sung by Tim as he played guitar.

 

The story is told with honesty. To me, it almost seemed too honest in parts, with my inner cynic saying, “how much of this is real, and how much are they playing the part for effect?” I couldn’t tell you if what I saw was the honest story of these two people, or a story of two people told honestly. And that’s a win in my book. You’ll laugh, you’ll feel; you might shed a tear, but either way you’ll be touched by this. 

 

 

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Tim and Bryony are beautiful and tender and relatable.

 

 

Through their eyes we see exactly what it’s like to live with someone who suffers from chronic depression and we also gain insight into that chronic depressive state. The courage and transparency of these artists and their original show earns them a heartfelt standing ovation in Brisbane. The overwhelming feeling in the Visy and afterwards, upstairs over drinks with the artists and Artistic Director of Brisbane Powerhouse, Kris Stewart, is one of solidarity and compassion and HOPE. The same tone needs to continue to be adopted in our conversations about anxiety and depression.

 

 

Without the conversation nothing changes, no one speaks out and the silence is deafening.

 

 

 

 

Extracts from the show taken from Natalie Whiting’s interview for ABC Radio

25
Jun
15

Introducing Katy Cotter

 

Welcome Katy!

 

 

You may know Katy from Dust Covered Butterfly and Awkward Conversation.

 

 

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Hello. My name is Katy Cotter and I am a Brisbane-based actor and writer.

I recently completed a Bachelor of Arts in Creative and Professional Writing at Queensland University of Technology.

 

Writing is a new lover of mine but acting has always been my passion. Being the youngest of five children and having a significant age gap between my siblings and me, my childhood consisted of embracing my vivid imagination and transforming the backyard into faraway worlds.

 

In 2009 I graduated from Southbank Tafe with an Advanced Diploma of Arts in Acting. Since then I have worked with independent companies, having been involved in Daniel Evans’ theatre marathon, Awkward Conversation last year. Recently, I wrote and performed in Dust Covered Butterfly at Metro Arts. The creative team and I had been working on the show for the past three years and finally saw all of our hard work culminate in a three-week season.

 

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To pay the bills I work for Creative Brisbane, a distributing company, supporting and advertising upcoming shows for major and independent companies in Brisbane. We also have a What’s On Guide each month for which I write the profile, and have interviewed a variety of talented people.

 

I am so excited to join the XS Entertainment team to develop my writing and witness groundbreaking theatre and performance.

 

Brisbane is producing some great works and I am lucky to call some of those artists my friends. I love and support the arts just as I love and support good coffee. As should we all! So look out for my upcoming reviews and follow me on Twitter for news, or if you also have a fierce obsession with Tom Hiddleston.

 

Images by Morgan Roberts

 

25
Jun
15

QPAC Choir 2015 Showcase – 30 Years of Musicals

 

QPAC Choir 30 Years of Musicals

QPAC

QPAC Concert Hall

June 23 2015

 

Reviewed by Katy Cotter

 

QPAC is turning 30 this year and to celebrate, the QPAC Choir presented a magnificent showcase of musical theatre hits.

 

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In 1985 on the 7th of February, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance was the first of many glorious productions to entertain Brisbane audiences. There have been over 100 musicals performed at QPAC, with some of those being return seasons.

 

The Choir was led by the veracious and accomplished Tim Sherlock and accompanied by the talented Tina Liu.

 

It is easy at times to look beyond the choirmaster, although my eye was continually drawn back to Sherlock, who was extremely attentive to each and every member of the Choir, guiding them through memorable musical tunes.

 

The concert began with the dramatic overture from The Phantom of the Opera, performed with skill and proficiency by Brendan Murtagh on the Klias Grand Organ. The lighting was dim and Murtagh was lost from view as he no doubt sat on high behind an illustrious wooden console. The audience looked up at the pipes reaching towards the high-ceiling, our ears filled with glorious sound. And then silence. The overture came to an abrupt end with the audience unsure whether to applaud, symbolising the grandeur of Lloyd Webber’s score.

 

Feet started tapping and fingers started clicking as the familiar riff of All That Jazz from Chicago began. The lights came up on the members of the QPAC Choir (over 100 of them) and an immediate feeling of warmth and joy radiated from the group. The Choir consists of people of various ages and performance backgrounds that share a common passion – music. There was something cathartic about listening to a large group of people singing together. It reminded me of how powerful music is in connecting human beings. The Choir gave it their all, with Sherlock showing off his best dance moves, welcoming the audience to join them in the celebration. This energy was sustained throughout the night.

 

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A superb Rodgers and Hammerstein medley followed, featuring songs from The King and I, South Pacific, Carousel and one of my all-time favourites, The Sound of Music. A projection screen hung above the Choir providing a visual aid for the audience, displayed famous posters and stills from both theatre and movie productions. There was Julie Andrews as Maria, sitting on a hill of green grass with a guitar perched on her knee and the Von Trapp children gathered around. The Choir’s angelic voices enticed me back into fond memories of childhood.

 

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The night showcased some truly outstanding performances from the 3rd Year Music Theatre students at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. These young artists proved that they are the future of musical theatre. Emily Monsma emanated charm and charisma as she sung Popular from Wicked. Tim Carroll had everyone holding their breath as he performed Tonight from West Side Story. Then came the lovers’ duet, All I Ask of You from The Phantom of the Opera.

 

Hayley Maybury and Oliver Samson have outstanding voices, with technical prowess and stage presence beyond their years. Samson felt like an old soul to me and no doubt will have a successful career.

 

The showstopper from the students was definitely Lloyd Webber’s trio of love songs from Jesus Christ Superstar, Song and Dance and Aspects of Love. Sarah Murr is captivating to watch, connecting with each word and hitting those high notes with such power and control. Jacqui McLaren appears delicate and composed but there is an unrelenting rawness to her voice that demands to be heard.

 

Not only is Hayley Maybury’s high range exquisite, she is beautiful and commands the stage. I can see her playing many leading ladies in the future.

 

The students were accompanied, and are being guided through their education at QCGU by the incredible Paul Sabey.

 

The moment that brought a tear to my eye was when Choir soloist, Charlie Tutt, sang Bring Him Home from Les Miserables. Words seem somewhat obsolete but there was a mesmerising quality to his voice that filled every heart in the room.

 

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The energy soon lifted and the lights glowed red as the Choir sang their tribute to Jersey Boys. The guest musicians never missed a beat, remaining poised but also bopping along, losing themselves in the music. People were getting restless in their seats, itching to get up and dance. It was Dancing Queen from Mamma Mia that saw a few audience members jump to their feet and swing their hips. A disco ball lowered from the ceiling and everyone joined in singing.

 

The night was a true celebration. Happy Birthday, QPAC!

 

 

23
Jun
15

Brain Slam Giveaway – win tix to Finbar’s Live Comedy Quiz Show

 

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Are you free tomorrow night? That’s Wednesday June 24 – go check, quick!

 

Cancel whatever you had planned because we have 4x Brain Slam tix to give away, valued at $20 each!

 

All you need to do is LIKE ClapTrap Comedy & XS Entertainment on Facebook and tell us in the comments below why you need a night of fun comedy, woodfired pizzas, AND drinks with friends at Finbar’s Live Comedy Quiz Show BRAIN SLAM.

 

See Sam Coward & Clayton Storey battle it out with Cardie Boyle and Howie Tampling tomorrow night at Finbar’s Lounge Bar, Maleny, in an all-new live comedy quiz show featuring Quizmaster, Simon Denver. (He’s a little concerned because he knows SAM WILL CHEAT!).

 

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Two teams battle it out in a fiery contest of knowledge and wit!

Join them at Finbar’s on Wednesday 24th June to see Quizmaster Simon Denver host the next comedy night, where he challenges two teams to out-wit and out-knowledge each other (out-knowledge, wait…is that even a word?)!

 

 

brainslam_miniSpecial Guests include Sam Coward (Hot 91 FM’s Breakfast DJ), Clayton Storey (if you’ve been to a comedy at Finbar’s you’ll know who he is), Howie Tampling (South East Maleny’s 12th Sharpest Mind) and Cardie Boydell (technically she’s a doctor, so that’s kind of scared everyone else a bit), and of course, your Quizmaster Simon Denver (playwright and director, and he ‘reckons his mum once said he’s a bit of a legend).

 

 

This is a panel show not unlike Spicks & Specks, QI, and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, so come out, sit back and find out if the contestants make a fool out of the Quizmaster, their competition or themselves!

 

 

Not to mention all the perks of Finbar’s Lounge Bar and Jen’s Famous Woodfired Pizzas!

 

Please note this is an 18+ event due to language and concepts.

 

 

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ClapTrap Comedy is about creating opportunities for both lovers of comedy as well as comedians themselves.

 

A successful comedy industry is about professional comedians being employed but also allowing comedy to be affordable for everyone who wants to get out and watch a bit of live stand-up. This is the aim of ClapTrap Comedy. Affordability for the audience, but also sustainability for the comedy industry.

 

The comedy industry in Australia is thriving with some of the best talent IN THE WORLD – and the world deserves to experience it. These are hard working people, and talented writers & performers. A true asset to Australian society. The world needs comedians. Not so much to lighten up, but to see things from a different perspective.

 

Remember:

LIKE ClapTrap Comedy & XS Entertainment on Facebook and COMMENT BELOW. Winners will be notified via email.

 

 

22
Jun
15

Helpmann Award Nominations 2015

 

Helpmann Award Nominations 2015

 

If awards equate to success for you, the Helpmann’s are the top of the heap.

 

Because I’m vaguely on strike for a bit while David Williamson’s Dream Home has my attention, I’ll share the nominations as per suzygoessee because now that Augusta Supple is busy with other projects and I (still) need to know what’s happening in Sydney, I sometimes glance at what Suzy Wrong is seeing, and you know I like to share the blog love. Check her out!

 

 

This year’s Helpmann Awards, hosted by Todd McKenney, will be presented live at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre on July 27 2015. Watch the live simulcast from wherever you are via foxtelarts.com.au

 

 

Todd-McKenney_Jim-Lee-Photo

 

 

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY
ANDREW UPTON
Endgame (Sydney Theatre Company)
CLARE WATSON
What Rhymes with Cars and Girls (Melbourne Theatre Company)
KIP WILLIAMS
Suddenly Last Summer (Sydney Theatre Company)
SARAH GOODES
Switzerland (Sydney Theatre Company)

 

BEST FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A PLAY
HELEN THOMSON
After Dinner (Sydney Theatre Company)
JULIE FORSYTH
Endgame (Melbourne Theatre Company)
PAMELA RABE
Beckett Triptych – Footfalls (State Theatre Company of South Australia)
SARAH PEIRSE
Endgame (Sydney Theatre Company)

 

BEST FEMALE ACTOR IN A PLAY
JULIE FORSYTH
Night on Bald Mountain (Malthouse Theatre)
PAMELA RABE
The Glass Menagerie (Belvoir)
ROBYN NEVIN
Suddenly Last Summer (Sydney Theatre Company)
SARAH PEIRSE
Switzerland (Sydney Theatre Company)

 

BEST MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A PLAY
BRUCE SPENCE
Endgame (Sydney Theatre Company)
GLENN HAZELDINE
After Dinner (Sydney Theatre Company)
JOHN BELL
As You Like It (Bell Shakespeare)
LASARUS RATUERE
Kill the Messenger (Belvoir)

 

BEST MALE ACTOR IN A PLAY
HUGO WEAVING
Endgame (Sydney Theatre Company)
HUNTER PAGE-LOCHARD
Brothers Wreck (Belvoir)
PETER CARROLL
Oedipus Rex (Belvoir)
STEVE RODGERS
Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Porn (Griffin Theatre Company and Perth Theatre Company)

 

BEST PLAY
CALPURNIA DESCENDING
Malthouse Theatre and Sydney Theatre Company
ENDGAME
Sydney Theatre Company
THE GLASS MENAGERIE
Belvoir
SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER
Sydney Theatre Company

 

endgame_stc

 

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY IN A MUSICAL
ANDREW HALLSWORTH
Anything Goes (Opera Australia and John Frost)
KATE CHAMPION and MICHELLE LYNCH
Dirty Dancing – The Classic Love Story on Stage (John Frost)
MICHAEL ASHCROFT and GEOFFREY GARRATT
Les Misérables (Cameron Mackintosh Australia)
STEVEN HOGGETT
Once (John Frost, Barbara Broccoli, John N. Hart Jr., Patrick Milling Smith, Frederick Zollo)

 

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL
DEAN BRYANT
Anything Goes (Opera Australia and John Frost)
JOHN TIFFANY
Once (John Frost, Barbara Broccoli, John N. Hart Jr., Patrick Milling Smith, Frederick Zollo)
LAURENCE CONNOR and JAMES POWELL
Les Misérables (Cameron Mackintosh Australia)
STUART MAUNDER AM
Into the Woods (Victorian Opera)

 

BEST FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
AMY LEHPAMER
Once (John Frost, Barbara Broccoli, John N. Hart Jr., Patrick Milling Smith, Frederick Zollo)
CLAIRE LYON
Anything Goes (Opera Australia and John Frost)
KERRIE ANNE GREENLAND
Les Misérables (Cameron Mackintosh Australia)
LUCY MAUNDER
Into the Woods (Victorian Opera)

 

BEST FEMALE ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
CAROLINE O’CONNOR
Anything Goes (Opera Australia and John Frost)
HELEN DALLIMORE
Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents)
MADELEINE JONES
Once (John Frost, Barbara Broccoli, John N. Hart Jr., Patrick Milling Smith, Frederick Zollo)
PATRICE TIPOKI
Les Misérables (Cameron Mackintosh Australia)

 

lesmiserables_patricetipoki_mattmurphy

 

BEST MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
ALEX RATHGEBER
Anything Goes (Opera Australia and John Frost)
BRENT HALL
Once (John Frost, Barbara Broccoli, John N. Hart Jr, Patrick Milling Smith, Frederick Zollo)
CHRIS DURLING
Les Misérables (Cameron Mackintosh Australia)
COLIN DEAN
Once (John Frost, Barbara Broccoli, John N. Hart Jr, Patrick Milling Smith, Frederick Zollo)
EDDIE MULIAUMASEALI’I
Show Boat (The Production Company)
TREVOR ASHLEY
Les Misérables (Cameron Mackintosh Australia)

 

BEST MALE ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
HAYDEN TEE
Les Misérables (Cameron Mackintosh Australia)
SIMON GLEESON
Les Misérables (Cameron Mackintosh Australia)
TODD MCKENNEY
Anything Goes (Opera Australia and John Frost)
TODD MCKENNEY
La Cage Aux Folles (The Production Company)

 

BEST MUSICAL
ANYTHING GOES
Opera Australia and John Frost
DIRTY DANCING – THE CLASSIC LOVE STORY ON STAGE
John Frost, Karl Sydow, Martin McCullum and Joyce Entertainment
LES MISÉRABLES
Cameron Mackintosh
ONCE
John Frost, Barbara Broccoli, John N. Hart Jr., Patrick Milling Smith, Frederick Zollo

 

anythinggoes

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
ANNA CORDINGLEY
Masquerade (Griffin Theatre Company and State Theatre Company of South Australia)
DALE FERGUSON
Anything Goes (Opera Australia and John Frost)
GABRIELA TYLESOVA
The Rabbits (Opera Australia and Barking Gecko Theatre Company)
GARY MCCANN
Faramondo (Brisbane Baroque in association with QPAC)

 

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN
GEOFF COBHAM
The Philip Glass Trilogy (State Opera Company, South Australia)
NICK SCHLIEPER
Macbeth (Sydney Theatre Company)
PAULE CONSTABLE
Faust (Opera Australia)
PAULE CONSTABLE
Les Misérables (Cameron Mackintosh Australia)
RACHEL BURKE
Marlin (Arena Theatre Company and Melbourne Theatre Company)

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
CAMERON GOODALL and QUENTIN GRANT
Little Bird (State Theatre Company of South Australia)
KATE MILLER-HEIDKE with IAIN GRANDAGE
The Rabbits (Opera Australia)
MIKELANGELO and THE BLACKSEA GENTLEMEN
Masquerade (Griffin Theatre Company and State Theatre Company of South Australia)
TIM ROGERS
What Rhymes with Cars and Girls (Melbourne Theatre Company)

 

BEST MUSIC DIRECTION
ERIN HELYARD
Faramondo (Brisbane Baroque)
MARTIN LOWE
Once (John Frost, Barbara Broccoli, John N. Hart Jr., Patrick Milling Smith, Frederick Zollo)
TIM ROGERS
What Rhymes with Cars and Girls (Melbourne Theatre Company)
TIMOTHY SEXTON
The Philip Glass Trilogy (State Opera South Australia)

 

BEST SCENIC DESIGN

DAN POTRA
The Perfect American (Brisbane Festival and Opera Queensland)
GEOFF COBHAM
Little Bird (State Theatre Company of South Australia)
MARG HORWELL
Marlin (Arena Theatre Company and Melbourne Theatre Company)
MATT KINLEY
Les Misérables (Cameron Mackintosh Australia)

 

BEST SOUND DESIGN
CLIVE GOODWIN
Once (John Frost, Barbara Broccoli, John N. Hart Jr., Patrick Milling Smith, Frederick Zollo)
JD BRILL, CLAIR GLOBAL and EAGLES
Eagles | History of the Eagles Live In Concert 2015 (The Eagles and Frontier Touring)
MICHAEL WATERS
Anything Goes (Opera Australia and John Frost)
MICK POTTER
Les Misérables (Cameron Mackintosh Australia)

 

BEST NEW AUSTRALIAN WORK
AIDAN FENNESSY, MUSIC AND LYRICS BY TIM ROGERS
What Rhymes with Cars and Girls (Melbourne Theatre Company)
ARENA THEATRE COMPANY
Marlin (Arena Theatre Company and Melbourne Theatre Company)
JOANNA MURRAY-SMITH
Switzerland (Sydney Theatre Company)
NICKI BLOOM with songs and music by CAMERON GOODALL and QUENTIN GRANT
Little Bird (State Theatre Company of South Australia)
OPERA AUSTRALIA and BARKING GECKO THEATRE COMPANY
The Rabbits (Opera Australia and Barking Gecko Theatre Company)
TAMARA SAULWICK
Endings (Sydney Festival and Insite Arts)

 

BEST AUSTRALIAN CONTEMPORARY CONCERT
CHET FAKER | NATIONAL TOUR 2015
JIMMY BARNES | 30:30 HINDSIGHT GREATEST HITS TOUR 2014
KYLIE | KISS ME ONCE TOUR 2015
TINA ARENA RESET TOUR

 

kylie_kissmeonce

 

BEST CONTEMPORARY MUSIC FESTIVAL
BLUESFEST BYRON BAY
LANEWAY FESTIVAL
VIVID LIVE 2015
WOMADELAIDE 2015

 

BEST CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL CONCERT
ED SHEERAN | X WORLD TOUR 2015
FOO FIGHTERS | SONIC HIGHWAYS WORLD TOUR 2015
PAUL SIMON and STING – ON STAGE TOGETHER
THE ROLLING STONES | 14 ON FIRE

 

BEST COMEDY PERFORMER
JUDITH LUCY
Judith Lucy – Ask No Questions of the Moth (Token Events)
MATT OKINE
The Other Guy (Century Entertainment)
NAZEEM HUSSAIN
Nazeem Hussain – Legally Brown (Live Nation)
RONNY CHIENG
You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About (Century Entertainment)
SAM SIMMONS
Sam Simmons – Spaghetti for Breakfast (Token Events)

 

BEST CABARET PERFORMER
BECCY COLE and LIBBY DONOVAN
The Cowgirl and the Showgirl (Adelaide Festival Centre Trust)
CAMILLE O’SULLIVAN
Camille O’Sullivan – Changeling (Arts Centre Melbourne)
DAVID CAMPBELL and JOHN BUCCHINO
David Campbell Sings John Bucchino (Luckiest Productions)
KIM SMITH
Nova Noir (Adelaide Festival Centre Trust)

 

kimsmith

 

BEST BALLET OR DANCE WORK
FRAME OF MIND
Sydney Dance Company
MEETING
Antony Hamilton and Alisdair Macindoe
MOTION PICTURE
Lucy Guerin Inc
PRECIPICE
Rachel Arianne Ogle

 

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY IN A DANCE OR PHYSICAL THEATRE PRODUCTION
ANTONY HAMILTON
MEETING (Antony Hamilton Projects, Arts House and Insite Arts)
NATALIE WEIR
Natalie Weir’s The Red Shoes (Expressions Dance Company and Queensland Performing Arts Centre)
RAFAEL BONACHELA
Frame of Mind (Sydney Dance Company)
STEPHEN PAGE
Patyegarang (Bangarra Dance Theatre)

 

BEST FEMALE DANCER IN A DANCE OR PHYSICAL THEATRE PRODUCTION
CHLOE LEONG
William Forsythe’s Quintett (Sydney Dance Company)
ELISE MAY
Natalie Weir’s The Red Shoes (Expressions Dance Company and Queensland Performing Arts Centre)
JESSE SCALES
William Forsythe’s Quintett (Sydney Dance Company)
MADELEINE EASTOE
Giselle (The Australian Ballet)

 

BEST MALE DANCER IN A DANCE OR PHYSICAL THEATRE PRODUCTION
ALISDAIR MACINDOE
Motion Picture (Lucy Guerin Inc)
CASS MORTIMER EIPPER
William Forsythe’s Quintett (Sydney Dance Company)
DAVID MACK
William Forsythe’s Quintett (Sydney Dance Company)
JACK ZIESING
Natalie Weir’s The Red Shoes (Expressions Dance Company and Queensland Performing Arts Centre)

 

theredshoes_elisemay

 

BEST VISUAL OR PHYSICAL THEATRE PRODUCTION
BEYOND THE CIRCA
Arts Centre Melbourne and Circa
DISLOCATE’S “IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK”
Marguerite Pepper Productions
THE PAPER ARCHITECT
Davy and Kristin McGuire and Perth International Arts Festival
TABAC ROUGE
Produced by Compagnie du Hanneton, presented by Sydney Festival

 

BEST DIRECTION OF AN OPERA
DAVID MCVICAR
Faust (Opera Australia)
DAVID MCVICAR
Don Giovanni (Opera Australia)
LEIGH WARREN
Philip Glass Trilogy (State Opera of South Australia)
PAUL CURRAN
Faramondo (Brisbane Baroque)

 

FAUST_OA

 

BEST FEMALE PERFORMER IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN AN OPERA
ANNA DEVIN
Faramondo (Brisbane Baroque)
ANNA STARUSHKEVYCH
Faramondo (Brisbane Baroque)
NICOLE CAR
Don Giovanni (Opera Australia)
TARYN FIEBIG
Don Giovanni (Opera Australia)

 

BEST FEMALE PERFORMER IN AN OPERA
CAITLIN HULCUP
Iphigenie en Tauride (Pinchgut Opera)
JENNIFER RIVERA
Faramondo (Brisbane Baroque)
LATONIA MOORE
Aida – Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour (Opera Australia)
NICOLE CAR
Faust (Opera Australia)

 

BEST MALE PERFORMER IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN AN OPERA
CHRISTOPHER LOWREY
Faramondo (Brisbane Baroque)
SHANE LOWRENCEV
Don Giovanni (Opera Australia)
TEDDY TAHU RHODES
Faust (Opera Australia)
WARWICK FYFE
The Flying Dutchman (Victorian Opera)

 

BEST MALE PERFORMER IN AN OPERA
ADAM DIEGEL
Madama Butterfly (English National Opera, Metropolitan Opera and Lithuanian National Opera)
CHRISTOPHER PURVES
The Perfect American (Brisbane Festival and Opera Queensland)
CLAUDIO SGURA
Tosca (Opera Australia)
MICHAEL FABIANO
Faust (Opera Australia)
TEDDY TAHU RHODES
Don Giovanni (Opera Australia)

 

BEST OPERA
FARAMONDO (Brisbane Baroque)
FAUST (Opera Australia)
MADAMA BUTTERFLY (English National Opera, Metropolitan Opera and Lithuanian National Opera)
THE PHILIP GLASS TRILOGY (State Opera South Australia)

 

phillipglasstrilogy

 

BEST CHAMBER AND/OR INSTRUMENTAL ENSEMBLE CONCERT
GOLDNER STRING QUARTET, MUSICA VIVA INTERNATIONAL CONCERT SERIES NATIONAL TOUR 2015
Goldner String Quartet for Musica Viva Australia
LES ARTS FLORISSANTS and LE JARDIN DES VOIX IN Â JARDIN Ã L’ITALIENNE
Melbourne Recital Centre, Sydney Opera House and Perth International Arts Festival
THE SIXTEEN
Melbourne Recital Centre, Sydney Opera House, Perth International Arts Festival, Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Australian National University of Music, Llewellyn Hall
STEPHEN HOUGH IN RECITAL
Sydney Symphony Orchestra

 

BEST SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA CONCERT
THE DAMNATION OF FAUST
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
MAHLER 3
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
REFLECTIONS ON GALLIPOLI
Australian Chamber Orchestra
TAFELMUSIK’S HOUSE OF DREAMS
Musica Viva

 

BEST INDIVIDUAL CLASSICAL MUSIC PERFORMANCE
ASHER FISCH
Beethoven Festival (West Australian Symphony Orchestra)
CHRISTIAN TETZLAFF
Christian Tetlaff (Melbourne Recital Centre)
EMANUEL AX
The Beethoven Piano Concertos (Sydney Symphony Orchestra)
WILLIAM CHRISTIE
William Christie (Melbourne Recital Centre, Sydney Opera House, and Perth International Arts Festival)

 

BEST REGIONAL TOURING PRODUCTION
FESTIVAL OF CIRCA
Circa
FOOD
Force Majeure and Belvoir
KELLY
Queensland Theatre Company
SONS & MOTHERS
Performing Lines and No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability

 

kelly_stevenrooke

 

BEST PRESENTATION FOR CHILDREN
CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS
Circa and Queensland Performing Arts Centre
HANS CHRISTIAN, YOU MUST BE AN ANGEL
Sydney Opera House and Arts Centre Melbourne
PETE THE SHEEP
Monkey Baa Theatre Company
THE RABBITS
Opera Australia and Barking Gecko Theatre Company, in association with West Australian Opera, cocommissioned
by Perth International Arts Festival and Melbourne Festival

 

2015 HELPMANN AWARDS BESTOWED AWARD

 

BEST SPECIAL EVENT
PERTH INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL IN ASSOCIATION WITH ROYAL DE LUXE
The Incredible and Phenomenal Journey of the Giants to the Streets of Perth

 

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

 

SUE NATTRASS AWARD™
ERIC ROBINSON

JC WILLIAMSON AWARD®
PAUL KELLY

BRIAN STACEY AWARD 2015
JESSICA GETHIN

 




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