Red Koi Reviews

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

Archive for January, 2007

Esbjörn Svensson Trio (E.S.T.)

Posted by redkoireviews on 20/01/2007

ESTAnother great Sydney Festival find. I didn’t know a single thing about E.S.T. but booked on the strength of the write up in the Sydney Festival guide. I wasn’t sure what to expect – EST are one of those bands that writers find difficult to describe. But whatever expectations I might have had where well and truly blow away.

EST are a Swedish three piece – piano, double bass and percussion. Their music is closest to Jazz, but they borrow from a range of other styles to meld a quite unique sound. They use some technical wizardry to change the sound of their instruments, or to create the impression of another instrument accompanying them. I’ve seen that kind of thing done before, but EST keep the black boxes tucked away, and use them them as a extension of their instrument rather than a sound gimmick. The result is some highly atmospheric music. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in 4 Stars, Festivals, Music | Leave a Comment »

“The Space Between” by Circa

Posted by redkoireviews on 19/01/2007

The Space BetweenI saw this performance after a last minute offer of free tickets from a friend of mine. It’s a dance / circus / theatre performance piece by the Circa circus company. There have been a few performances as part of the ‘About an hour’ series in the Sydney Festival.

I’ve seen a fee modern dance performances before, and sometimes they can be so full of such physical stunts that you can become distracted by the sheer effort of the performers, forgetting the beautiful shape and form of their performance. Not so with Circa. Though their performance is physical, the performers do that wonderful thing of making a hard thing look graceful. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 4 Stars, Festivals, Other, Theatre | Leave a Comment »

The Adventures of Snugglepot & Cuddlepie and Little Ragged Blossom (A Musical)

Posted by redkoireviews on 14/01/2007

SnugglepotThis musical is based on the book ‘The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie” by Australian author May Gibbs. John Clarke (one of Australia’s best satire comedians) wrote it while Neil Armfield from Company B Theatre Company directed the production. It’s part of the 2007 Sydney Festival.

The story is a classic Australian children’s book, and the play sticks pretty closely to the original adventures of the three main characters as they make a journey towards a human city. John Clarkes satire comes through more as an overlay on top of the existing story, rather than being a 100% satirical plot. Think of it a bit like the Simpsons – the kids love it on one level but there’s jokes in it for the adults as well. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 3 Stars, Music, Reviews, Theatre | Leave a Comment »

“Here comes the Sun” by Tom Holt

Posted by redkoireviews on 13/01/2007

divine comedies“Here comes the sun” is the first half of a Tom Holt Omnibus called “Divine Comedies”. My partner loves Tom Holt, and encouraged me to have another go after my disappointment with “Paint your Dragon“. She managed to convert me to Terry Pratchett this way, but the approach has not won me over for Tom Holt.

The book is a kind of fantasy-with- surreal- connections- to- reality. Heaven and Hell are actually gigantic administrative nightmares that have resulted in terrible mismanagement of earth. Even the sun is stolen for a joyride. A couple of the more scheming types in senior management of Heaven and Hell buck the system and recruit a mortal to help sort things out.

The book is riddled with over the top metaphors and similies that are supposed to be funny but just get a bit boring after the twentieth time. I didn’t really love or hate any of the characters and the plot just wasn’t appealing to me, however zany.

Sorry, but Tom Holt is simply a shadow of Terry Pratchett.

My Rating: 1.5 Stars

Posted in 1 Star, Books, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

Centre Pompidou Video Art 1965-2005

Posted by redkoireviews on 08/01/2007

Baltimore 2003This exhibition of video art spanning forty years is showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art as part of the Sydney Festival. It surprised me to find that artists have been using video and moving images for art for so long – about as long as the format has existed. Some of the early works felt a bit like the artist was still getting comfortable with the tools – a bit like a great painter’s early photographs. In the later works there’s more of a sense that the artist is totally comfortable with the technical bits, which means the viewer is left to focus on the creative aspect of the work, without being distracted.

Of the earlier works, my favourite was a piece by Samuel Beckett, most famous for his plays. Four differently coloured figures enter his minimalist stage one at a time, looking at first to be moving randomly, but as the four come together, creating a very symmetrical, rhythmic pace. He makes very good use of sound and movement – which is exactly the benefit of video over still art. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 3 Stars, Exhibitions, Movies, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

Hazelbrook Waterfall Bushwalk

Posted by redkoireviews on 06/01/2007

Junction FallsIn the last few days of my holidays I’ve been doing some things that have been on the ‘To do’ list for a while. One of the was this bushwalk. It starts at Hazelbrook train station (handy since I don’t own a car). You take a few backroads and tracks west towards Lawson, where I took lot’s of photos of an obliging dragonfly. From the ridges you descend down into gullies, where you find Adelina Falls, Junction Falls, Federal Falls and finally Cataract Falls. Waterfall ShrineAt Federal falls someone had built a kind of tiny, twig shrine at the base of the falls (Photo on right). It was mysterious and touching. They are not a Niagara, but they are full of ferns, moss, birds and sandstone. No leeches makes them even better.

From there you head back up onto the ridges and along to the next set of waterfalls and pools. The first is Victor falls followed by Terrance Falls. Willawong Pool is a short stroll away, and had the day been hotter, I would have taken a swim there. Bedford pool is the last feature, with a sandy beech along the creek’s edge. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 4 Stars, Bushwalking, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

“The Mission Song” by John LeCarre

Posted by redkoireviews on 05/01/2007

bookcover for ‘The mission song’Before heading off to a friends house by the beach for a few days, I bought “The Mission Song” by John LeCarre for some summer reading. I was quickly hooked. The plot revolves around interpreter Bruno Salvador and his entanglement in a plot to mount a coup in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Like a lot of LeCarre’s novels, the central character is not an outright hero. In this case, Salvos ethos that a top interpreter does not pass judgement on the words he is translating brings him into the center of a insidious plan to make war in the country where he was born.

There is plenty of pace, suspense, and even a blooming romance – just what I was looking for in a great holiday read. But it’s not too light either, touching on plenty of current, global issues and problems.

I liked it, and I think I’ll be buying or borrowing more of his books.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Posted in 4 Stars, Books, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2006

Posted by redkoireviews on 04/01/2007

GorillaMy Partner and I have made something of a habit of seeing the ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ exhibition at the Australian Museum. It’s a great collection of stunning wildlife photos in a range of categories. This year, many of the bird shots where my favourite – a change from the landscape ones I’ve liked a lot more in the past.

Some of the descriptions that go with the photos are almost as interesting as the photo itself. Some of them reveal just how persistent (mad?) some of these people are. One guy learnt how to dive with walruses (very dangerous) then took over 400 shots in one session just to get his winning shot. This is the Everest mountain climb of photography. Personally, I think there is more creative art in finding something beautiful in something ordinary, like the winning dewdrops on a window (looks totally surreal) and the ‘bark as art’ shot.

Some of the Macro shots of insects, so on a recent walk in the blue mountains, I shot this Dragonfly.

I’d reccomend going to see this exhibition, but if you can, see it after school holidays finish – I found it way too crowded to see everthing at my own pace.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Posted in 3 Stars, Exhibitions, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

Snorkelling at Bushranger Bay

Posted by redkoireviews on 04/01/2007

Bushranger BayI have a mate who lives in Wollongong, on the coast south of Sydney. I wen down there for a few days between Christmas and New Years and went snorkeling in Bushranger Bay, just south of Shellharbour.

It’s too far south for brightly coloured tropical corals and fish, but there was plenty to see. Not more than a few meters from the shoreline, small schools of small fish where having a rest. I floated with them for a while checking out their coloured bands – very cute. Then I noticed a group of about 5 largeish silver fish, each about a foot long. They where stalking the small fish looking for an easy lunch. Further out, in the middle of the bay I spotted a sand coloured sting ray about 20cm wide. I ducked dived down close enough to see those two weird eyes on the top of it’s flat body. Finally, at the mouth of the bay, a large school of fish where having a rest. They where about 15cm long, blue with a white strip on their tail. I floated around them and as they got used to me they came closer, surrounding me. Totally amazing!

I loved it and will be going back. If you choose to go, here’s a few tips;

  • Go in the morning, while the wind is low and visibility is good
  • Go at low tide – it just seems to be better
  • Flippers are a must, a wetsuit and a weight belt would have been great – I had to get out an warm up regularly. You can hire everything in Shellharbour or Windang.
  • Take care not to get burnt!

I highly recommend it – it’s just not that often you can get close to animals like this in the wild!

My rating: 4.5 Stars

For more info, see this site

Posted in 4 Stars, Bushwalking, Gardens & Parks, Other, Reviews | 2 Comments »

‘Keating’ the musical

Posted by redkoireviews on 01/01/2007

KeatingSorry for the delay – chistmas madness! This was our last performance at the Belvior St Theatre for 2006! “Keating!” is a musical satire and biography of former labor Prime Minister of Australia Paul Keating. The songs chart the political life of Paul Keating, and the various other politicians that he fought, defeated and was eventually defeated by.

It’s a great comedy that works really well in a theatre built for plays, but musical spectaculars. The band was a lot better than I thought it would be. And just because it’s a musical, don’t think the music is going to be flowery schmaltz – this has everything from blues to hip hop. I thought that Terry Serio did a so so Bob Hawke and a better John Howard. Mike McLeish had his work cut out for him as Paul Keating – almost every song had him in it. Casey Bennetto wrote the musical and performs in it as a hilarious Alexander Downer and John Hewson.

There’s a speech Keating made while he was Prime Minister at Redfern, about the unjust treatment of Indigenous Australians over the last 200 years of white occupation. It’s still fondly remembered by Labor party stalwarts, and in this musical, the whole speech is set to music, pretty much verbatim. It’s one of the few serious(ish) numbers and I liked it a lot.

A great way to finish off the year – Well done Company B!

My Rating: 4.5 Stars. For another review, see the smh.

Posted in 4 Stars, Music, Reviews, Theatre | Leave a Comment »

%d bloggers like this: