Red Koi Reviews

See what I've seen, hear what I've heard

Archive for April, 2006

The Goat, or who is Sylvia?

Posted by redkoireviews on 23/04/2006

The GoatThis play is grim, dark and confronting. It’s the first play by Company B I’ve seen for a long time, and it brought back the gravity of live acting that the silver screen can never capture.

It’s the story of Martin and his wife Stevie. They are the perfect people in a perfect marriage, and have lived a life without scars or trauma. Then Martin falls in love with Sylvia, and the whole thing shatters like crystal.

I can’t go into more detail without revealing some plot and some shock, so proceed with caution before you read any further. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in 4 Stars, Reviews, Theatre | 1 Comment »

National Folk Festival

Posted by redkoireviews on 22/04/2006

Folk Festival Street SceneThis was my third visit to the National Folk Festival held in Canberra. The festival runs over Easter, from Thursday night through to Monday night. The Festival is much more than four days of fiddle playing (Thank god). Aside from a wide range of music there is also dancing, food, stalls, poetry, art and a long series of workshops aimed at getting the punters a bit more involved.

Involvement and participation is one of the hallmarks of the folk festival. The session bar is full of people who turn up with some kind of instrument and join in with a bunch of others on some jig or tune. Every day there are singing workshops, most of which are not aimed at experienced musicians. I attended a singing workshop on African songs, and participated in a “pigeon ancient Croatian viking massed song thingy” in the words of the ‘spooky men’s coral’ who organised it. Great fun. There are also an array of instrument workshops for the more musically inclined, as well as dance workshops covering anything from traditional Irish set dances to Zydeco / Cajun. There is a whole tent dedicated to ‘blackboard’ performances, where anyone can put there name down to perform a few tunes. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 4 Stars, Festivals, Music, Reviews | 2 Comments »

Constable: Impressions of land, sea and sky

Posted by redkoireviews on 18/04/2006

John Constables Rainstorm over the sea We saw this exhibition of John Constables art in Canberra at the National Art Gallery in Canberra, before we started at the National Folk Festival. Constable was a renowned landscape artist whose work has been reproduced in print but also on anything from biscuit tins to paint boxes. At the time, he was not as well recognised as he should have been because he persistently painted landscapes, which where not the fashion of the day. Now, his oil sketches have been brought together with finished works to reveal Constable as a real innovator.

He was a naturalist painter, paving the way for impressionists that would follow like Pissaro. His cloudscapes, use of light and shadow, and grasp of weather conditions really define his work. Many of his sketches have the weather conditions on the back so he could come back in similar conditions to paint a larger, final version. It made my partner want to go home and start painting. Personally, I like his style, but not as much Pissaro.

We took a guided tour and found it very worthwhile. The guide moved through the works at the right pace, not assuming too much assumed knowledge. If there’s no tour when you go, pick up an audio guide or watch the short documentary on the man. The works are arranged in themed rooms which help to create a story of the Constables life, not just a set of nice paintings. A must see. My Rating: 4 Stars

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Beyond Right and Left

Posted by redkoireviews on 04/04/2006

Bookcover for This book on Australian politics by David McKnight is probably the best book on politics I’ve read. I’m a member of the Australian Greens party, and have never been a member of any other. I have a ‘left’ outlook on issues, as I’m sure a lot of readers of this book will have.

I found it fascinating for two reasons. Firstly, it gave me a much better insight into the history of Australian left / right politics, and allowed me to better understand what the Greens have in common with the traditional left and the conservative right. It also made clear where there are areas of green politics that don’t really feature at all in the left / right spectrum.

Secondly, it challenged some assumptions about my own politics. McKnight suggests that green politics and ‘old’ conservative politics share some perspectives on issues such as genetic modification and other experiments with nature. That they both share a ‘precuationary principle’. I’ve have tended to assume that in all respects, green politics has more in common with the ‘left’ than with anything else. Certaintly nothing in common with conservative politics. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Importance of Being Ernest

Posted by redkoireviews on 02/04/2006

The Importance of Being ErnestThis rendition of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Ernest” by British duo Ridiculusmus at the Sydney Opera House is hilarious. By only using two actors to play five characters, the comedy of manners and mistaken identity used by Wilde become yet more hilarious. At first the pair make complete and therefore somewhat slow costume changes, allowing the audience to become familiar with the characters dress and mannerisms. Then as the play moves on, character changes become simpler and faster. The pair make no attempt to cover up costume ‘slips’ which injects new laughs into an old script.

I’ve never seen or read the play before, but my partner has done three or four times. For her, the play was fresh and still funny after all those viewings. The text of the play remains largely unchanged, but the innuendo does not. There’s moments when a subtle sexual reference or tone get considerably raunchier, which seemed to offend the very large American tourists next to us.

The play is part of the ‘Adventures in the Dark‘ series, which looks great. If you can get seats, see this play.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

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