Smudge is a controversial dark comedy about Nick and Colby; a couple expecting a perfect baby complete their picture perfect lives. But when the baby arrives it’s severely disfigured and deformed, sending Colby into a spiral of denial and leaving Nick alone in his own deluded thoughts.
“The play sets the modern family in a place that many will not tread,” explained director Stephen Lloyd-Coombs. “Those of us raised on Disney believe in happy endings until we grow up and realise life is not that simple. It is neither black nor white; just a constant grey. This is the essence of Smudge.”
Smudge divided audiences when it was first staged in the US in 2010, winning critical acclaim while also drawing criticism from various groups over its representation of disability.
The mind of Emmy Award-winning writer Rachel Axler (The Daily Show, Parks & Recreation, Veep) has brought us this imaginative script that throws away pre-conceived ideas of parenthood and asks the question: if something isn’t normal, does that make it unwanted?
With just three actors on stage, independent theatre company The King’s Fools bring this daring production to the intimate Kings Cross Theatre. (AM)
May 31–Jun 11, Tues-Sat 8pm, Sun 4.30pm. Kings Cross Theatre, Level 2, Kings Cross Hotel, 244-248 William St, Kings Cross. $22-$28. Tickets & info: trybooking.com/LJFI]]>
Barangaroo was a major figure in early colonial history, and the park that bears her name will host 16,000 hands representing justice, rights and respect for indigenous people. The site resonates with symbolism. The Opera House is situated on a point named after Barangaroo’s husband, Bennelong, and the bridge was the location of the largest demonstration in our country’s history, the Reconciliation Walk of 2000.
Artist Brenda L Croft, from the Gurindji/Malngin/Mudpurra peoples of the Northern Territory, has created an innovative version of the iconic installation. It has been inspired by early paintings of Eora men and features the colours of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island flags. Spectators are invited to participate by planting a hand. By doing so, they join over 300,000 others who support recognition and support of the indigenous population.
The interactive exhibit is designed to be the biggest one of its kind this century.
Visitors who wish to learn more about the Aboriginal history of the area can find information at the ANTaR booth or book a cultural tour.
The artist and organisers welcome everybody’s involvement in this important event, which will be a potent demonstration of unity and hope for the city and the nation. (LR)
May 27–Jun 5, 10am–4pm. Barangaroo Reserve, Hickson Road, Barangaroo. Free. Info: antar.org.au or barangaroo.com]]>
The plot centres on an elderly couple, Eva and Jim Rogers, played by Sylvia White and Ross Scott, as together they face the prospect of certain death in the guise of terminal illness.
Jones clumsily handles the female experience of ageing throughout the play. Eva unknowingly farts after dozing off to the embarrassment of the men in the scene, while fellow aged care facility resident Jessie, played by Eva Kitching, becomes hysterical upon touching the skin of the young Rosie, played by Lauren J. Jones, rocking as she cries “I remember this”.
It is widely discussed by the more coherent characters in the play that Jessie “hasn’t been the same” since the passing of her husband, making the point that women lose their purpose and identity without a man to anchor it.
Jones also has his characters perform lengthy, Shakespearean-like monologues, full of poetic language and poetic thoughts. While these speeches could have been powerful, the actors fail at delivering them with natural pace and rhythm, so that they never don’t sound like lines being read off a piece of paper.
The last third of the play turns into a political statement on the subject of euthanasia without any prefacing or depth to the dialogue. It almost feels as though the audience were lured in under a pretense, only to be tricked into being a part of the writer’s political motivations.
Is It Time would have been more successful if it had focused on one or two of the themes and allowed time for them to develop organically. It also requires a more dignified and sophisticated approach to ageing to be a more authentic representation. (CB)
Until Jun 5, Tue 6.30pm, Tue-Sat 7.30pm and Sun 5pm. King Street Theatre, 644 King St (Cnr Bray St) Newtown. $27-$35. Tickets & info: kingstreettheatre.com.au
BY CAITLIN BURNS]]>
The Genesian Theatre production features original music for the folk songs and choreography for the country dances. There are some lovely folk song and dance scenes including a maypole dance along with plenty of nostalgic illustrations, capturing the essence of what life was like in an 1800’s English rural village. Very much a historical period piece, we are transported back in time to a traditional simple life on the farm and a society where status and social standing was of prime importance. The powerful female role of estate owner Bathsheba Everdene, who has the difficult job of managing the farm and its numerous staff within a male dominated society, is played admirably by Harwood and it’s a sweet but predictable ending when she ultimately finds true love. (MS)
Until Jun 25 (Fri + Sat 8pm, Sun 4.30pm). Genesian Theatre, 420 Kent St, Sydney. $25-$30. Tickets & info: genesiantheatre.com.au
BY MEL SOMERVILLE]]>
Back in 2012 these three bands were all playing around Brisbane at house parties and small school halls to just 30 or 50 people. “It was obviously a lot of fun [playing those shows] and we considered it quite successful, but to end up in this position and to see it happen to our mates at the same time has been really rad,” said guitarist James Tidswell. “It’s crazy that we’re literally taking those house party shows with bands that we’ve been friends with since before they were even DZ Deathrays or Dune Rats into theatres just four years later.”
During this four year period, which included the release of Violent Soho’s breakout record Hungry Ghost, not only have the band members blown up in the musical conscious of the Australian public, but they have all also matured personally and as musicians. “We’ve all gotten married, had kids and had a lot personally happen. Naturally that’s going to change the music, so hopefully it sounds a bit more matured because I think we are, but at the same time we really don’t like to over think things and instead just let it come naturally.”
The success of Hungry Ghost allowed the band to solely dedicate their time to writing and recording their newest album Waco, which James said they were “really grateful” for. Thanks to the extra time that they were afforded with this record, lead songwriter Luke Boerdam attempted to make writing his full time job by writing from 9am to 5pm everyday, but as James explained “[Luke] realised really quickly that regardless of time, he had to let the songs and inspiration come to him rather than forcing it.”
For all their shows, and these shows in particular, James said that the band “approaches everything now thinking ‘what can we get away with?’ and ‘how stupid can we make this?’ So it feels ridiculous, what we’ve been able to do.”
May 27. Enmore Theatre, 118-132 Enmore Rd, Newtown. $54.90+b.f. Tickets & Info: enmoretheatre.com.au]]>
A medical centre for homeless people in Darlinghurst whose funding was by the Federal Government last year is holding out until after … Read more]]>
A medical centre for homeless people in Darlinghurst whose funding was by the Federal Government last year is holding out until after the election before it closes its doors for good.
Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek said the Labor Party would reinstate its funding to The Haymarket Clinic if it won office at the July federal election.
Speaking from the homeless centre last Friday, Ms Plibersek said that it provided a valuable service for the local homeless population.
“To close the doors here would leave many hundreds of people much worse off.”
“We know that the people who turn up here day after day are some of the most vulnerable people who live in our community. They are people who suffer homeless, and drug and alcohol problems, mental health problems. They are also at risk of exclusion, of social isolation, and loneliness.
Ms Plibersek said that she had become involved with the clinic after being a resident of Wooloomooloo and had seen first hand the difference it had made to the local homeless population.
“They would end up in hospital emergency in some cases, I don’t frankly know where they would go. They might end up in the corrective system, they might end up in mental health services, or they might just get lost on the streets and they might actually lose their lives.”
“This is a lifieline for so many people, and the fact that a service that has been running for 40 years might close its doors because of the Liberal’s health cuts, breaks my heart.”
While there are many services in the inner city for homeless people, the Haymarket Clinic is unique as it provides long term medical care.
For many homeless people, simply turning up at a medical centre is not an option. Over the past 40 years, the benefits of having specialised medical treatment for people who also have high rates of drug and alcohol abuse problems, as well as mental health problems has taken pressure of the public health system.
The clinic estimates that is helps 1,200 local homeless people every year.
Homelessness exacerbates health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, as well as taking its toll on mental health. Not having a refrigerator to store medicines can also increase health problems.
Chairman of the board, Kevin, said that it did not make sensible economic sense to close the centre.
“For every dollar that is spent on our service, we save the government a further at least two dollars.”
“It is all very well to say Accident and Emergency will pick up the slack because they won’t,” he said.
“Our population is really not acceptable to the average Accident and Emergency service. They’re a nuisance, they’re put down at the bottom of the queue , in fact some of them they are just told, they will call security, and they do and they’re thrown out.”]]>
Inner west residents shouted down the administrator of a newly elected council at its first meeting on Tuesday night.
Chanting “stop WestConnex”, … Read more]]>
Inner west residents shouted down the administrator of a newly elected council at its first meeting on Tuesday night.
Chanting “stop WestConnex”, the crowd forced newly appointed administrator Richard Pearson to collect his things and leave the meeting.
Residents and protesters, furious with the government’s decision last fortnight to sack the council, did not relent until Pearson left.
Outside, councillors and a local MP Jenny Leong had addressed the crowd, angry that local democracy will not be an option for the next 18 months as the construction of the $16.8 Billion WestConnex roadway continues in the inner west.
Ms Leong said that the sacking of the council coinciding with the WestConnex project was dangerous.
“We know this administrator has no legitimacy, and we will not give him any respect, not for him as a person, but because he was not elected to represent us, he is not representing our interests, and we are not interested in him deliberating and deciding what is in the best interest of our community.”
Ms Leong also said the administrator would be a single person raising minutes, deliberating on decisions and discussing with himself and then determining, was met with laughter from the crowd.
In a media release last week, Mr Pearson said he would work with councillors to ensure the voice of inner west residents was heard by the state government
“I believe that my experience with the State Government will in fact help me to make our voice even stronger,” he said in a media release last week.
The crowd laughed after Ms Leong repeated this claim by Mr Pearson.
“The fact that our community will be destroyed over the next period of time while this administrator sits in here and tries to make allegedly objective and reasoned decisions with himself about what’s in the interest of our community is just completely unacceptable,” Ms Leong said.
Speaking at the meeting former Ashfield Mayor , Lucille McKenna said the government’s choice of sacking the councils was “just disgusting”.
“The actions of this government are nothing short of an absolute disgrace, they are attacking our communities on every level. We are now 18 months without democracy and God knows what can happen.”
WestCONnex Action Group spokesperson Pauline Lockie said it was no coincidence that the councils that opposed the WestConnex had been sacked.
“This is just the latest in a very long line of assaults Mike Baird has placed upon our democratic rights in order to bulldoze WestConnex through.
“We have seen him give this project special designation that means it is immune from legal challenges that would be expected with a development like this. People’s homes, including my own, and businesses have been taken away. Construction works has started and construction contracts were signed, before any planning approvals were granted.”
Debuting at King Street Theatre this month, Is It Time is a play that explores the idea of eternal love and “‘til death do us part”, in a very literal sense. It is London-based writer Martin Ashley Jones’ first full-length work, and one that he described as happening organically.
“As an artist sometimes you’ve got a head full of ideas, you’ve got scraps of paper, bits and pieces half-finished. It was nice to complete one and hand it over,” he said.
Jones, alongside the Theatre’s resident young director Barry Walsh, have set out to mirror situations that, at one point or another “most of us will have to deal with, or do deal with, or have dealt with”.
“I’m hoping that within the writing and the acting, people get to relate to those situations that affect all of us. That’s what it’s about, it’s a love story and it’s relationships – the complexities of them, the good and the bad,” said Jones. Audiences can expect to see love and life in all their glory. (CB)
May 25–Jun 5 (Tue-Sat 7.30pm, Sun 5pm). King Street Theatre, 644 King St & Cnr Bray St, Newtown. $27-$35. Tickets & info: kingstreettheatre.com.au
BY CAITLIN BURNS]]>
A Parisian-themed revue, Cabaret de Paris mixes old-school showgirl glamour with aerial artists, pole dancers, circus acts, magicians, and of course the famous cancan dancers, in a lavish French cabaret show like no other. These performers have been sourced from around the globe, having already graced the beloved stages of the Moulin Rouge, The Lido and other French cabaret revues.
Indeed, legendary Australian showgirl and former Moulin Rouge star – the longest serving showgirl in the revue’s 120-year history – Marissa Burgess will perform alongside Michael Boyd, a world-class illusionist, and Cyriaque and Angela Kinkingnehun, a husband and wife duo of classically trained ballet dancers who perform in haute couture.
If nothing else, Cabaret de Paris will light up the stage with elaborately embellished and exquisitely bejewelled costumes. Made in the traditional Parisian style, the dancers are clad in little but feathers, sequins and rhinestones with viewer discretion advised during the weekend performances as it is a topless burlesque revue. Not to fear though, the matinee performance will not feature topless dancers and are suitable for the entire family. (ES)
May 27–28 (Fri 8pm, Sat 2pm + 8pm). Capitol Theatre, 13 Campbell Street, Haymarket. $60-$129. Tickets & info: ticketmaster.com.au or 13 61 00
BY EMILY SHEN]]>