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NOEL TOVEY - AM

NOEL TOVEY - AM

By Diana Simmonds News Posted on January 24 2015

An Australia Day honour that goes some way to taking away the sour taste that this day can bring.

To Noel Tovey, born 25 December 1934. Actor, director, author, mentor, choreographer and wise elder, now also AM for "A significant input into the performing arts. For helping Indigenous performers, and as an Advocate for the LGBTI community."

If you haven't seen the show he made, you can read Little Black Bastard (Hodder Headline) to begin to understand what a remarkable man he is. He has been successful in the theatres of Europe and London and finally at home in Australia and has always been a brave and outspoken gay man and man of colour.

Congratulations!

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THE UNSPOKEN WORD IS 'JOE'

THE UNSPOKEN WORD IS 'JOE'

By Diana Simmonds Review Posted on January 23 2015

THE UNSPOKEN WORD IS ‘JOE’, MKA Theatre of New Writing and Griffin Independent at the SBW Stables Theatre, 21 January-7 February 2015. Photography by Eugyeene Teh: Natasha Herbert and the others; right: the weeping one.

How is one to describe the experience of The Unspoken Word is ‘Joe’  without ruining it for those who must surely follow? As little as possible, perhaps. Yes, probably, but a little information will assist the undecided.

Zoey Dawson, a Melbourne-based playwright, appears to have had a particularly rotten time with a break-up. Being a sensible woman she decided to purge herself of the unspeakable pain and transcendent rage by writing a really really funny and awesome play about it. And, on the way through, dishing out some really excellent revenge stuff too. 

 
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THE KITCHEN - 2015 SYDNEY FESTIVAL

THE KITCHEN - 2015 SYDNEY FESTIVAL

By Diana Simmonds Review Posted on January 23 2015

THE KITCHEN - Sydney Festival 2015 at the York Theatre, Seymour Centre. 22-25 January 2015. Photographs: the show. Right: Royston Abel.

The Manganiyar Seduction was one of the out-of-the-blue hits of the 2010 Sydney Festival when audiences were thrilled by the Rajasthani folk music and the setting of the vividly coloured  “jewel boxes” structure in which the musicians played. Its deviser, Royston Abel, has been on a circuitous track back to the city ever since as then-festival director Lindy Hume, who brought the show to Sydney, co-commissioned a new work. Creative block delayed conception and execution of the new piece but current director Lieven Bertels stuck with it – and it was worth the wait.

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AFTER DINNER

AFTER DINNER

By Diana Simmonds Review Posted on January 22 2015

AFTER DINNER, Sydney Theatre Company at Wharf 1. 21 January-7 March 2015. Photography by Brett Boardman: above Helen Thomson, Rebecca Massey, Anita Hegh, Josh McConville and Glenn Hazeldine. Right: Helen Thomson.

In Melbourne in 1988 a 21-year-old Andrew Bovell sat beside his father, visiting from Adelaide, for the opening night of his first play, After Dinner. His father’s reaction to this bleakly funny and shockingly truthful comedy of sexual misery and ineptitude is the subject of a lovely essay by the playwright in the program. It’s typical of the writer: keenly observed and wry. It was part of his keynote address to the 2014 National Play Festival - find it in full at sydneytheatre.com.au/bovell.

Meanwhile, close to three decades on, to celebrate the 30th birthday of the Wharf Theatre complex, the STC opens its 2015 season with a fine production of After Dinner.  Bovell is now one of Australia’s most admired and popular writers for stage and screen (Speaking in Tongues, When The Rain Stops Falling, Lantana, The Secret River) and revisiting his precocious writing youth turns out to be both rewarding and fascinating.

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UKCHUK-GA - SYDNEY FESTIVAL 2015

UKCHUK-GA - SYDNEY FESTIVAL 2015

By Diana Simmonds Review Posted on January 21 2015

UKCHUK-GA - PANSORI MOTHER COURAGE, Sydney Festival 2015 at the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House, January 20-21, 2015. Photography by Prudence Upton: above Lee Jaram as the general; right: as Anna - no children.

This show is what an international arts festival is all about: to be handed the chance of discovering another culture, of learning about another art form and then to be transported to another planet by an artist of sublime brilliance. Lee Jaram is that artist and her adaptation of Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children is the Pansori show brought so briefly to the city by the 2015 Sydney Festival.

As well as being a bona fide rock star at home in South Korea, Lee Jaram is a dedicated and renowned performer of the ancient art of Pansori. She began studying and working in the form at four years of age and is now in her mid-30s. And you don’t have to understand a word of Korean to know she is one of the most gifted actor-singers ever to grace a Sydney stage. 

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2014 SYDNEY THEATRE AWARDS - the winners

2014 SYDNEY THEATRE AWARDS - the winners

By Diana Simmonds Feature Posted on January 20 2015

THE 2014 SYDNEY THEATRE AWARDS at the Paddington RSL, January 19 2015. Photo above: Lifetime Achievement Honoree REG LIVERMORE as Betty Blokkbuster (visit reglivermore.com if you are too young to have seen this seminal character).

The tenth (!) Sydney Theatre Awards went off at the Paddo RSL on Monday night (January 19) and it was a wonderful night of warmth and appreciation by all for all. As one of the founder members (with Ian Phipps and Bryce Hallett) of the group that got the awards going all those years ago, it’s become part of the evening that I take a look back over the year and mention the whatevers that we have liked or noted but which, for whatever reason, didn’t get up as either nominee or winner on the night. 

In response to a number of requests from guests after the event, here is the full text of what I said…

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