1.'Kids'. I went through a phase where I would seek out any arthouse film I could find, and so began my penchant for Larry Clark films. Eleven year-old me didn't quite understand the ramifications of underage non-consensual AIDS sex but he was greatly influenced by real people versus actors cast in the film, and the improvisation versus scripted work.

2.'The Little Mermaid'. It foreshadowed the 'theatrical flair' I would have in later life. I wanted to be Ursula.

3.'Aliens'. Something about strong women with guns resonated from a young age. I think I also confused Sinead O'Connor and Sigourney Weaver.

4.'Enter the Dragon'. I didn't really like martial arts films, but if I watched them with my father I could bargain for later bedtimes.

5.'Moonwalker'. I wanted (and still dream of) a singing-dancing-music video reality. I wanted to be in a gang — but only if they had dance battles with guns.

Close runners up: 'Robinhood Prince of Thieves', 'Spaceballs', 'Terminator 2', 'The Labyrinth', 'Grease',  'Friday  the 13th' and 'A Chorus Line'.

Steven Mitchell Wright is directing Brisbane Festival and La Boite’s co-production 'The Wizard of Oz' until Saturday September 28.

Published in Theatre
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 15:26

Dan Quigley: Top Five Jazz Trumpet Albums

1. Louis Armstrong - ‘Complete Hot Sevens’ (1927). He was called ‘Pops’ because he's known as the father of jazz. These recordings represent Louis Armstrong early in his career when he was at the forefront of innovations within melodic improvisation of jazz.

2. Dizzy Gillespie - ‘The Quintet Live At Massey Hall’ (1953). Called ‘The Quintet’ because the band had Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, Max Roach and Dizzy Gillespie. Great recording capturing the energy of bebop.

3. Miles Davis - ‘Sorcerer’ (1967). I personally feel this album was the most innovative of Miles' with his second great quintet, as the sound, compositional style and exploratory improvisation is still being emulated today.

4. Woody Shaw - ‘Stepping Stones’ (1978). Amazing live recording from the Village Vanguard, New York, capturing Woody Shaw in full flight who is considered the last great innovative jazz musician.

5. Wynton Marsalis - ‘Black Codes From The Underground’ (1986). This album conjures everything that has come before and represents the beginning of post-modern jazz. All the rhythmical, melodic and harmonic innovations are there and Wynton found his own way of ‘doing it’ on this recording.

Dan Quigley & His Hot Five play the Jazz On Sunday at the Brisbane Festival’s Spiegeltent Sunday Sep 15 from 2pm.

Published in Jazz/ Fusion
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 11:21

Top 5 Craziest Things About Making Cannonball

1. Surviving a creative process that basically saw me locked in a rehearsal room alone for three months, talking to myself in strange voices and recording it all on my phone. Occasional visits from other creatives were the only thing that kept me sane!

2. When ‘Cannonball’ toured to New Zealand, getting to explain to customs officers why I had a taxidermied crow in my baggage. I had all his documents in order but I'm pretty sure the Aussies thought I was crazy. The Kiwis took it completely in their stride.

3. Strange as it may sound, getting to know the characters of ‘Cannonball’. They've developed with each theatre season so I know them quite well now – they're a bit like family members or friends. People who've seen the show often ask after them, or recall things that a particular character said or did!

4. Winning Best Solo Show at NZ Fringe Festival was pretty exciting. I'd had such a great time over there with ‘Cannonball’, so it was a really nice surprise at the end of the tour.

5. Being able to share this weird imaginary world with so many different audiences. I've been to several cities, regional areas and small towns. I love seeing how different audiences respond and chatting to people after the show. I'm keeping a tally on which character is the most popular.

‘Cannonball’ is part of the Brisbane Festival and takes place at the Basement, Metro Arts, September 17-21.

Published in Theatre
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 11:13

Action Hero's Top 5 Tips & Tour Stories

1. We made ‘A Western’ in our living room. It was the first piece we made as Action Hero. Back then I never dreamed that one day we'd be touring it to the other side of the world.

2. If you're going to watch a western film, watch ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’. Trust me, I've seen them all (in the name of research) and that's the best one. Avoid the ones with Kevin Costner.

3. Bristol’s performance scene packs a pretty big punch for a small city. Some of the best work in the UK comes out of there. I'm proud to have adopted it as my hometown.

4. We like to see as much theatre as possible, but we also try to see as many non-theatre events as we can. It’s good to be inspired from outside your artform. Last weekend I went to a massive air show, it was awesome!

5. We performed ‘A Western’ in Texas a couple of years ago. I thought, 'if I never perform this show ever again, I don't mind, because I got to do this’. Texans are one hell of a crowd. I reckon Aussies might give them a run for their money though.

Action Hero perform A Western as part of the Brisbane Festival at the Basement, Metro Arts, until Saturday September 28.

Published in Theatre
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 05:46

Soul Continuum: Funk Soul Brothers

As a genre, there aren’t a lot of local funk bands doing the rounds.

But one act who have sewn their funk roots across Brisbane are Soul Continuum.

“We really have listened to a lot of music from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s in that sort of funk/ soul genre mix up. Really, when we started out we were emulating a lot of early ‘80s stuff,” lead singer James Higgins says.

With a resume that includes supports of industry giants like Brand New Heavies and Jamiroquai, the band are looking to create a strong dynamic and presence on stage.
“We just watched closely how they work on stage and really have taken as much from that as we can. Their cohesion of the band is probably the most impressive thing that they bring, so we've really worked on that to really sort of have a tight outfit on stage where we're all close to each other and play tightly.”

Set to play Wunder Bar as part of the Brisbane Festival, James says they want to build upon their strong performance there last year.

“At Wunder Bar [the audience] responded to that really well and it went from being a seated dining experience to having a packed dancefloor very quickly.”

Soul Continuum’s mixture of soul, pop and funk is greeted with less uncertainty in Europe, as they find the audiences are more aware of the sound they produce.

“There's more general awareness of funk and soul music in Europe, it's a bit more ingrained in the culture whereas in Australia it's a little bit more out of the box, they're just a little more surprised by what they hear. People in Europe are expecting what they hear and they're quite enthusiastic about it.”

As they build their reputation as a funk band, James says they still find joy from the smaller things.

“We're not as well known as we'd like to be but that's okay now, we're happy to just fit into a niche. I still get the pleasure from time to time of just randomly hearing one of our songs on the radio.”

Soul Continuum play Wunder Bar as part of Brisbane Festival September 19.

Published in Urban
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 15:16

Songs For The Fallen: Theatre In Preview

The stellar cast of part punk/ part opera ‘Songs For The Fallen’ is set to enchant Brisbane Festival audiences.

“It's big, brassy, and rambunctious theatre that gets really naughty — but it's also quite poignant because it's a real story of a woman dying.”

This is Sheridan Harbridge's — director, writer and performer of 'Songs For The Fallen' — own explanation of the sassy pop-opera romp that is premiering on Queensland stages at this year's Brisbane Festival.

'Songs For The Fallen' is the story of Marie Duplessis, the legendary Parisian party girl who rose from rags to riches within a few short years, only to die a lonely death at age 23. Harbridge explains that the performance has “done a terrible thing of of making a comedy out of someone's death”.

She goes on to explain that the archetype of Marie Duplessis has been used and abused as a love story – the 19th Century French courtesan has inspired works such as Baz Luhrmann's 'Moulin Rouge', and the classic story of 'The Lady Of The Camellias' – however, Duplessis "didn't die in the arms of her lover … she died alone, and very poor ... the real tragedy of this woman's life is not to be disrespected.”

Despite the tragic undertones of 'Songs For The Fallen', the performance is decadent, sexy, and fun. It's an eclectic mixture of cabaret, opera, comedy and vaudeville. To top it off, AFI-winning composer Basil Hogios (who did the soundtrack for 'Romulus, My Father') has perfected a baroque pop-score for Duplessis' story.

Harbridge, who wrote the performance and also plays Marie Duplessis, was last year's Sydney Cabaret Showcase winner. But cabaret is not Harbridge's sole field of performance. She explains that there are limits in cabaret's ability to tell a good story, but it's great as it allows for the audience to be “harassed but at the same time not feel too confronted ... you really want [the audience] to be listening but not wishing that they hadn't sat in the front.”

This is why Harbridge chose to give Duplessis a cabaret persona. 

For those who may have seen 'Songs For The Fallen' while it was being staged in Sydney, never fear, the Brisbane performance has been developed a bit further, and there is also a new member to the cast. Also “vocally it's different, there are ... new moments in the songs,” Harbridge explains.

Brisbane Festival director, Noel Staunton describes 'Songs For The Fallen' as a “devilishly good production ... [it's] a tantalising theatrical extravaganza that leaves audiences wanting more.”

‘Songs For The Fallen’ hits Metro Arts from Sept 19 to 22 as part of Brisbane Festival.

Published in Theatre
Thursday, 29 August 2013 15:49

A Western Tickets

Join UK artists Action Hero in the Basement bar and take part in an up-close, chaotic, half-arsed remake of the classic western.

“We want to make a western. We have a cowboy hat and some ketchup. We want the scene where our hero walks into the bar and everyone stops talking. We want the scene where the whore begs to be loved. We want to cheat at cards. We want blood and guns. Everyone will have a moustache. All the bad guys laugh. Dust blows across a deserted street. Music.”

A Western takes place at the Basement, Metro Arts from September 10-28.

"Sharp, witty and poignant ... a truly epic piece of theatre ... a beautiful pipedream of a show — one that places the audience at its heart. 4 stars." The Guardian

To win one of two triple passes (you and two mates) to the Wednesday September 11 performance This competition has closed.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Terms and Conditions:

1. Winners will be drawn at random at 3pm Tuesday 3rd September at Level 2, 192-210 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley. [Winners drawn]
2. Winners will be notified by e-mail. [Winners notified]
3. Entrants' email address will not be used for any other purpose except the conduct of this competition.

Published in Competition
Thursday, 29 August 2013 10:38

Jazz On Sunday Tickets

With Clotilde Rulland 4tet headlining the first Jazz On Sunday program at the Brisbane Festival September 8, Jazz Qld have announced the players for the remaining two shows.

Dan Quigley and his Hot Five bring the street jazz sounds of New Orleans into the new millennium when they play alongside the Catherine Lambert Quartet September 15.

Then on September 22, Sydney-based the Gai Bryant Quartet will be joined by the raw soul of Shannon Marshall and the Souls Almighty.

The action takes place at The Spiegeltent, Cultural Forecourt, South Bank, and kicks off at 2pm for all three events.

We have a double pass to each show to giveaway. To win a double pass This competition has closed.
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And indicate which show you’d like to attend.

Terms and Conditions:

1. Winners will be drawn at random at 11am Wednesday 4th September at Level 2, 192-210 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley. [Winners drawn]
2. Winners will be notified by e-mail. [Winners notified]
3. Entrants' email address will not be used for any other purpose except the conduct of this competition.

Published in Competition
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 14:36

One Night Stand: Brisbane Festival Preview

Prepare to be outraged and amazed as Captain Ruin hits the city for night of circus mayhem, anarchism and plenty of charm. The variety entertainer is ready to own the stage for his debut solo performance 'One Night Stand' during The Brisbane Festival.

Every child dreams of running away to the circus, touring the world, performing daring stunts, mesmerizing audiences and escaping handcuffs during a stint in a Turkish prison. Don't they? For Melbourne-based Captain Ruin a.k.a Mitch Jones, this is an average night as he tours his theatrical circus shows nationally and worldwide.

Dubbed “Australia's Harry Houdini” by Triple J's John Safran, Mitch specializes in areas of escapology, acrobatics, tight-wire walking along with roving characters and ferocious wit. Most impressive is his approach to fear during dangerous antics. “I just take a breath, think rationally and not let anyone push me around.”

Captain Ruin is back in Brisbane with his first ever solo show. Mitch says that audiences can expect something different, as there are positives to a one-man show.

“With bigger groups we do some outrageous stuff, try to push the boundaries but sometimes the message of the show can get lost”, Mitch explains. “I’ve narrowed this show down to really concentrate on a few ideas and it’s easier to keep it personal when it’s only one person telling the story.”

'One Night Stand' is the artistic result of Mitch’s recent traveling misadventures including a six-week stay in a prison in Istanbul. The show even incorporates a D.I.Y demonstration of how to escape from standard issue handcuffs using only a safety pin into the show. “My work mixes intelligent conversation with ideas about anger, freedom and disillusionment that have preoccupied me for the last couple of years. All this with the entertainment and humour of contemporary circus — what more could you want?”

'One Night Stand' runs until September 29 at the Sue Benner Theatre, Metro Arts.

Published in Theatre
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 14:32

Tender Napalm: Theatre In Preview

'Tender Napalm' is sure to ignite audiences with its haunting exploration of catastrophic young love.

There is an inescapable darkness to a great love. Like an alluring quixotic opiate, it has the ability to ensnare unwitting victims in allegories of tenderness and idealism. And yet, it is in the midst of such great love that we also traverse our most destructive, volatile episodes; veritable battlegrounds of definition as a couple and as individuals. It is this post-apocalyptical, emotional war zone which serves as the basis for Brisbane Festival offering, 'Tender Napalm'.

The production, penned by prodigious British wordsmith Phillip Ridley, is an exploration of the destructive, passionate, consuming nature of a great love experienced in youth. Set amid the remnants of an unidentified disaster, the narrative spans the life of a love story with equal measures of fantasy, raw emotion and dance carrying the protagonists through both disaster and euphoria.

Kurt Phelan who portrays a displaced Romeo affirms that the play is “about lovers and the catastrophes that happen when you’re not ready for life to take hold.” Catastrophes which invariably present themselves during the course of a catalytic first love, the kind explored in the La Boite production. “It seems so familiar, all the stuff that we’re dealing with but its also so mythical. Everyone knows love and everyone knows tenderness and how sometimes that can be quite destructive,” notes Phelan.

Renowned for his darkly emotive literary offerings which have found voice in the form of plays, books, films and songs, Ridley’s 'Tender Napalm' world is an examination of the dichotic, often chaotic universe of desire which “seems to be quite beautiful and picturesque on the surface but underneath there is bubbling lava” explains Phelan. “You go on this huge, big, fantastical journey through time and space and their relationship and then he just drops you and leaves you with this beautiful scene where you go 'oh, that’s what they were talking about'.”

Ridley’s romantic dystopia is brought to life by La Boite's Artistic director David Berthold and esteemed choreographer and Australian Dance Theatre Artistic Director Garry Stewart. Stewart’s dance directives help enrich the visual language of 'Tender Napalm', exploring the physicality of the characters predicament and taxing the skills of his players. “Garry’s choreography is so visceral and really quite unforgiving. It takes all your energy and all your power and that’s what’s so charming about it. You’re watching these people just throw themselves around the room and create these virtuosic pictures with their body.”

Luckily for Phelan, dance is a visual language the NIDA graduate is fluent in. Born in Townsville, Phelan moved to Sydney straight out of high school to pursue his musical theatre dreams. It wasn’t long before the former dancer landed his first show in the form of 'Singing in the Rain' before going on to amass a plethora of musical credits and parts in original casts including a pre-Broadway 'Priscilla, Queen of the Desert'. Whilst refining his acting skills at NIDA, Phelan discovered an affinity for writing his own one-man productions. Efforts which culminated in the premiere of his debut play 'The Bitter End' at Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival earlier this year.

“I started writing it when I graduated from NIDA [in 2010]. I started working at doing a lot of shows and I worked with a director and a writer from my year as well (of course they were in a different course). And I’d been working on this script that I thought was a one man show just cos I’d always written cabarets, I thought maybe I can write a fringe festival-esque, one-man show,” explains Phelan. “So I started writing this show and I gave it to a friend of mine to read and she said to me, ‘You've got a play here, why do just have one person? You should have all these characters.’ So I put it together and I sent it off to a festival and it got accepted.”

Described by one reviewer as “a modern day 'Tristan and Isolde' meets 'Social Network,” 'The Bitter End' was so well received, it resulted in official requests for further scripts and gave Phelan the chance to experiment with another aspect of the performance process. “It’s really great to be able to let go of a work and trust the people that are putting it on to do the right thing.”

No doubt both Ridley and Brisbane Festival audiences will be equally enthralled by the way the La Boite team has interpreted 'Tender Napalm'. The catastrophe-ravaged love story is sure to provide a gripping theatre experience. “The dance world will love it, the theatre world will love it but anyone who's ever been young and in love will just absolutely adore it because it takes you on such a
journey.”

'Tender Napalm 'will be running at La Boite until Oct. 13.
Published in Theatre
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