16th July 2015
16th July 2015
Oh what a night! Last night I went to the new original play 'Country Song' about the legendary Australian indigenous singer Jimmy Little.
Conceived by and starring Michael Tuahine whose voice is so rich and resonant, that even when he speaks it cries musicality. After the show when cousin Michelle Boyd and I went to a bar in Grey St we ran into Michael and the enthusiastic and charming QTC Exectutive Director Sue Donnelly and had a drink and a really great chat.
It was only a short time into the show that I realised that this work will live on, travel and become part of the Australian theatre cannon. Being just in its early performances I can see it will develop and grow and I hear that already there is a huge tour around the country booked for next year. It is an important part of our history that needs to be embedded into our collected culture. I was blessed to once again see David Page on stage. David is a local boy who apart from being an exceptional actor and brilliantly powerful and versatile singer is the musical genius behind the 'family business' of Bangarra Dance Theatre. Wait till you see some of his spectacular characters that just about brought the house down.
Another star in the making is the young Tibian Christopha Wyles who has just graduated from the exceptional performance school ACPA. So many have come from there and are filling places and adding richness to companies all over the country. It is at least the third time I have seen Tibian already and it was such a pleasure to get to shake hands and chat to him after the show. What a talented and oh so charming young man.
I was surprised and so pleased to see Elaine Crombie at the briefing a couple of weeks ago and last night I was left in awe by her brilliant acting and awesome voice. She could play with your emotions, lull you into a comfort zone and then belt out a song which left you quiet stunned. I really liked exchanging some thumbs up across the footlights as the audience stood, sang and clapped along with the last number which challenged us to stand and be counted. Elaine and I are good facebook mates now I am delighted to say. Everyone was wonderful. I also got to shake hands with and chat to the incredible lighting guy Jason Glenwright who has weaved his magic over so many events I have seen in the last year or so. I will drag out the programmes and try and count them up one day. He truly adds something special to everything he works on.
The foyer was also fun as I ran into the beautiful Leigh Alexander Buchanan. Leigh is also one of those Brisbane talents who spreads his incredible eye over so much of what happens here. He is working on the costumes for Candide which I go to see next Friday and also Happy Days which I see in three weeks as well as more to come like Dracula. I must see if he can spruce me up one day. As I said what a night!!
The original great and late Jimmy Little
The 7 Stages of Grieving
27th March 2015
Bille Brown Studio
Last night we went to 'The 7 Stages of Grieving' starring the wonderful Chenoa Deemal. Created twenty years ago by Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman this work has been revived by several outstanding Australian indigenous actors including my dear and beautiful friend Ursula Yovich. Chenoa played the daughter od Ursula Yovich in the outstanding Mother Courage and Her Children back in 2013.
With some gentle updates by Chenoa and director, the fabulous Jason Klarwein this remains a strong, important and so relevant piece even post 'Sorry', 'Reconciliation' and especially in the light of the foul evictions from home country being perpetrated by governments as we speak. This is the bloody 21st century for god's sake. The LNP learn nothing. The new design of the production was masterful and so beautiful. Light and sand are the essence of this country and the contrast provided by the projections of what is wrong led to an attempted standing ovation until Chenoa sat us back down for a great Q&A. Lots of tears and lots of cheering for all full houses.
11th August 2015
Bangarra Dance Theatre
Last night I saw 'Lore' the latest show presented by Bangarra Dance Theatre Consisting of two new works. the first was 'I.B.I.S.' inspired the islands of the Torres Strait and created by Deborah Brown and Waangegga Blanco and a work of celebratory joy which had me in tears by the end because of the sheer beauty and spirit of the work. Following interval was 'Sheoak' a more complex work created by Frances Ring and growing out of the contemporary experience of knowledge, nurturing, affliction of poisons.
Central to both works was the remarkable Elma Kris. This is a dancer who has been in the company 16 years and although she has such experience she is remarkably young but holds centre stage with a towering but humble presence. When she is on stage all eyes look to her for a lead. Such magnificent dancing is what one expects but always the breath is taken away by the expressiveness, beauty and imagination of this major Australian company which is the only dedicated voice of the soul of this country. There are remarkable characters like Kaine Sultan-Babij, Luke Currie- Richardson and the amazing Yolanda Lowatta whom I knew well from Dance Noir and has skyrocketed to a starring role. She is just stunning to watch with movement that ripples through her body with joy and passion. For me it was a great thrill to see Leonard Mickelo on stage again. His work makes him one of the most perfect dancers in this country. His approach is immersed in commitment, beauty and that special something that makes every movement inspired. I was so happy that I did get to congratulate him again after the show as he has left Facebook behind.
One last comment is praise for the epic soundtrack for Sheoak by the uber great master musician/actor etc etc David Page. I just saw him here recently in Country Song which has now begun touring. The music was symphonic in scale and so powerful. As a bonus last night we had an hour long conversation on stage with Artistic Director and most important Australian Stephen Page and proud father of rising superstar Hunter Page-Lochard whom he spoke about with a lot of love and admiration. It was a full night. To add to the theme of so many recent posts I have made, Stephen mentioned that 70% of Bangarra are from Queensland. Such talent here is astounding.
Lore is also the most successful production they have presented in Brisbane. Do go and see Bangarra any time and be truly inspired and affected.