Friday, 28 February 2014

Am I: Shaun Parker's philosophy of "Self" a great start to Adelaide Festival 2014

While the Adelaide Festival would not officially open on the 28th Feb, some productions had already started its run.  

At the Dunstan Theatre of the Adelaide Festival Centre, Shaun Parker & Company's Am I explored "what it means to identify ourselves as 'I'".  Using texts from various literature, choreographer Shaun Parker shared a narrator with 6 dancers.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Great Ocean Road... and a dose of Eminem

Another day trip.  I visited the Great Ocean Road more than a decade ago when I did a 5 day tour from Melbourne to Adelaide.  It was a "refresher" trip this time.

The coach picked up passengers along the way, and the scenery was beautiful.  We got to see a few koalas in the wild as well.

Lunch break at Apollo Bay.  There are many eateries here and it is not necessary to go for the lunch option suggested by the tour agency,

I decided to take a 10-minute helicopter ride over the 10 apostles.  We had a small discount with the tour agency (A$95), but also a shorter duration.  While the ride was pricey, we were compensated with the beautiful aerial view.

There was still time to walk to the beach area.

A few minutes drive, another view.

Having tea at Port Campbell before heading back.

What better way to end the evening with a Eminem concert.  I missed all the opening acts, but the main guy delivered.  The concert was very loud, but Eminem gave an engaging performance.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Philip Island: 30 years later

I took a bus tour to Philip Island and surrounding area on one sunny afternoon. The ride was comfortable and our first destination was Churchill Island.  A beautiful peacock greeted us at the visitor centre.

There were old houses inside the compound and display of how the interior looked like.

The interesting segment would be sheep searing....

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Melbourne Revisited

Federation Square.

When I was last visited Melbourne in 1999, the Federation Square was not completed yet.  Now, it was a popular place for people watching and of course an arts space.  Besides arts spaces, it also had a tourist information centre, offices, bookshops and of course cafes and restaurants.

An interesting art installation using mobile phones as materials.

It was Winter Olympics during that period and there was live telecast on the video walls.

There was a contemporary visual art exhibition Melbourne Now happening around the city, and Federation Square was one of the venues.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Melbourne: KAGE's Forklift performance

After an absence of about 15 years, I was back in Melbourne for a few days stay, followed by more travelling to other cities. The Qantas flight was smooth (transit via Brisbane) and my first airbnb accommodation was good.

At the Melbourne Airport, I bought a return airbus transfer to the city centre, where the journey time 35 minutes.  At the bus terminal (or at convenience store), remember to purchase a myki card which will come in handy when you take public transport in Melbourne.

My first event for the day (aka Valentine's Day) was catching KAGE's Forlift at the Arts Centre Melbourne.

The few raindrops threatened the delay of the performance, held at the open space of the building. Thankfully, the weather held up and the audience were treated to a different kind of arts performance.

According to KAGE's Kate Denborough, Forklift is about "anti-stereotype, throwing caution to the wind and discovering something luminous where you least expect it"  The performance was presented by Arts Centre Melbourne.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Gearing up for Adelaide Festival

About 2 weeks to the opening of Adelaide Festival, considered one of the major arts festivals in the world.   This year's Festival will run from 28 Feb to 16 Mar.  In addition to performing arts, the festival will also feature visual art and literary arts events.  A fringe festival will also run parallel to it.

Notable performances in the first part of the festival would be Director Ivo Van Hove's Roman Tragedies, a trilogy of Shakespeare’s CoriolanusJulius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra as a sprawling and immersive multimedia spectacular.   At 6 hours, the audience would be part of the action while on stage with the actors. 
Another interesting production would be SKaGen's Bigmouth.  From the write-up:  "With five microphones and unrelenting energy, Valentijn Dhaenens celebrates 2500 years of oration in a tour de force one-man performance. From Socrates to Bin Laden, victory speeches to eulogies and the rousing to the frankly inept, the most memorable addresses in history are woven together to create a thrilling and powerful oratory rollercoaster..." 

Australia would be represented in theatre with a collaboration with Portugal company in a performance called Blackout, Windmill Theatre's Girl Asleep, and State Theatre of South Australia's The Seagull.

Interesting theatre programme for the Adelaide Festival.   More information on the Festival and other programmes:

Coming to Marina Bay Sands : Grease is the Word!

GREASE will blaze into Singapore direct from London’s West End and a sell-out tour of Australia and open at the MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands on 25 April.

This rockin musical production is packed with explosive energy and super-slick dance moves, dazzling costumes and all those unforgettable songs from the hit movie, including Summer Nights, Sandy, Hopelessly Devoted To You, You’re The One That I Want, Greased Lightnin’ and Grease Is The Word.

My Fair Lady: The music still shines after all these years

It is a challenge presenting an old musical to younger audience, be it the music, the storyline, the dialogue, and in the case of My Fair Lady, the cockney accent.  Based on George Bernard Shaw’s 1912 play Pygmalion, My Fair Lady follows the relationship between Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl, and the snobbish and misogynistic Professor Henry Higgins, a phoneticist, who wagers that he can turn Eliza into a “proper lady’ in a short period.

The pace of the show was initially slow and the actors seemed to be struggling with the cockney accent.  It got better once Eliza master the English accent ("The Rain in Spain", and the production went onto a higher gear.

The highlight of the musical must be the music, and those who are familiar with the movie would be assured that the hit songs were there: "With a little bit of luck", "I could have danced all night", "Get me to the church on time".     Daniel Cardenes as Freddy Eynsford-Hill delivered one of the best songs of the musical "On the street where you live".

The cast gave a good performance, including Aurora Florence as Eliza Doolittle, Chris Carsten as Henry Higgins, Ricard Springle as Colonel Pickering, Arthur Wise as Alfred P. Doolittle, and Daniel Cardenes as Freddy Eynsford-Hill. 

The set design was generally beautiful.  On the opening night at the Mastercard Theatres of the Marina Bay Sands, there were some minor technical glitches though.

Overall, this is an enjoyable performance from the cast and production team.  It would please the more mature audience.

Friday, 7 February 2014

My Fair Lady coming to Mastercard Theatres this February

The rain in Spain would fall in Singapore over the next few weeks.  Based on George Bernard Shaw’s 1912 play Pygmalion, the musical My Fair Lady will transport audiences to Edwardian London.  It follows the relationship between Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl, and the snobbish and misogynistic Professor Henry Higgins, a phoneticist, who wagers that he can turn Eliza into a “proper lady’ in three months’ time.  When the show first opened on Broadway in 1956, starring Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews, critics described it a “legendary” and “one of the greatest musicals of the century.” My Fair Lady went on to win six TONY Awards, and, in 1961, became the longest-running production in Broadway history at that time.

The musical features book and lyrics by Alan Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, and includes the classic songs “The Rain In Spain,” Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” and “Get Me To The Church On Time.” Often called “the perfect musical,” if you have seen the movie version before, it is time to catch the stage version.  This production from the US would feature Aurora Florence as Eliza Doolittle; Chris Carsten as Henry Higgins; Daniel Cardenes as Freddy Eynsford-Hill; Ricard Springle as Colonel Pickering; and Arthur Wise as Alfred P. Doolittle.

From 11 February 2014
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Saturday, 1 February 2014

Singapore Biennale 2013: If the World Changed

Wormhole, Eko Prawoto
The Singapore Biennale 2013 is coming to an end.  This year, many curators were involved in the presentation of art work and the focus seemed to be on South East Asian artists.   A few months back, I visited the exhibits at Singapore Art Museum.  While there were many works being displayed, they did not catch my attention.

I was at the National Museum of Singapore recently and the above art work, Wormhole by Eko Prawoto, was at the front of the Museum.  I happened to catch a performance was staged there.

 The performers then proceeded to another art work, a reconstruction of a village house (forgot the name of art work).

While I could not really appreciate this edition's art work, I found joy in attending an in conjunction exhibition held at the National Museum of Singapore.  A Changed World, Singapore Art 1950s- 1970s gave a good overview of Singapore art, covering key Singaporean visual artists over few generations.   Besides pioneer artists such as Cheong Soo Pieng, Liu Kang, Yeh Chi Wei, we were introduced to the next generation artists such as Lim Tze Peng, Ng Eng Teng, Anthony Poon and Chua Mia Tee.   This exhibition was an excellent introduction to Singapore visual art.  Hopefully it exhibition could be remounted or better still, made it as a permanent exhibition.

While I may not enjoy this bienalle mainly for the lack of a memorable work, I still look forward to the next edition in 2015.