Red Koi Reviews

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

Archive for the ‘Festivals’ Category

Sydney Festival – Paul Kelly A – Z night 2

Posted by redkoireviews on 24/01/2011

I’ve come to like Paul Kelly fairly recently, but after seeing him once live at a free gig in the Sydney Rocks area bluekoi and I kept him on our mental list of performers to come back to. Since then I’ve become very fond of ‘How to make Gravy’ and ‘Careless’ to name a couple. So last year bluekoi got me tickets to see him perform on of his series in the ‘A to Z ‘ series. The concept is simple; Paul performs 100 of his songs from A to Z over four nights. This means every night you get a sample from across his career and styles, some hits and hidden treasure. So while I thrilled to hear some of my favorites I also got to hear some wonderful tunes for the first time.

The series is something more than just a song list. He’s re-arranged many of the songs that where originally performed and recorded with a full band into pieces that me solo, performed with his nephew Dan Kelly and occasionally with a clarinet. That makes the set more intimate, tending to make the quiet ballads even more personal and emotionally engaging, and morphing some of the energetic numbers into something more reflective. Very occasionally I was missing the punch of drums or the power in a bass, but mostly I was captivated by the man and his voice.

I hope I get old like Paul has; with dignity and a life pickled with people and poetry.

I didn’t even get through intermission before buying the CD set and book. I’m now enjoying both.


Posted in 5 Stars, Festivals, Music, Reviews | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Sydney Festival – My bicycle loves you

Posted by redkoireviews on 17/01/2011

This latest physical theatre piece by ‘Legs on the wall‘ draws inspiration from early 20th century Australian vaudeville, with archival footage of the Corrick family projected throughout the show. The troupe are acrobatic, but it’s not a circus act stuffed to overfull with physical stunts. The show is dramatic, but doesn’t follow a traditional plot progression that moves neatly from beginning, middle and end. It makes full use of audio and visual technology, but not in a ‘wow, 3D!’ kind of way. So it’s hard to define and that’s exactly what a great sydney festival show should be like.

The band provides a live accompaniment to the stage and the performance is all the better for it, reminding me of the pianist in movie cinemas that would accompany silent movies and a musical interlude during intermission. Some parts of the show did seem to drag on a little but mostly it had me captured. The characters build through the show as you find out their quirks and oddities, and my favorite was the you man whose energy, anger and frustration in the scene with the horns really moved me.

My Rating 3.5 stars

Second opinion? try stagenoise

Posted in 3 Stars, Festivals, Reviews, Theatre | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Varekai by Cirque du Soleil

Posted by redkoireviews on 13/08/2006

VarekaiA couple of years ago, my partner and I went to see Quidam by Cirque du Soleil, and loved it. So when we heard that they were back out here in the land of Oz with Varekai, we booked early.

Cirque du Soleil always perform in their own tent, with the stage and seating arranged ‘in the round’. This makes it a lovely, festival feel, where the performers never feel too far away.

Varekai means ‘wherever’ in the Romany language, capturing the sense of being taken away, perhaps somewhere magical and unknown. The plot is (very) loosely based on the Greek myth of the fall of Icarus, but the format is largely a series of acts.

In any other book, play, theatre or performance, a series of acts with a thin plot would spell a disaster – but it’s the performers and their acts that make Varekai truly magical. Many of the acts make your jaw drop through the sheer physical feats and risky stunts, but the performers and costumes take it to another level. I think the two men on the aerial straps best captured just how beautiful and mystical Cirque du Soleil can be. At times their combined shapes and movement reminded me of the multi-armed Hindu god Ganesha, at other times their lives were entrusted completely in each other and their symmetry – the ultimate ying yang. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 5 Stars, Festivals, 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 »

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