Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Spring has sprung


Departing the Opera House last Saturday after attending the matinee of 'The King and I' and the bar and cafes along the concourse were crowded in the late afternoon early spring sunshine.

Monday, 20 October 2014

The King and I

(Opera Australia and John Frost)

Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical 'The King and I' is this year's money spinning musical to complete the 2014 Opera Australia Sydney season.

This production of the experience of Anna Leonowens who travels to the court of the King of Siam to teach dozens of Royal children has been around since the late 1990s and is deceptively simple in its staging but still visually stunning.

It is difficult to imagine any stage production matching the superb film version of 1956 in which Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr made the two main characters absolutely their own but to my surprise Lisa McCune especially and Teddy Tahu Rhodes come mighty close in their performances.

I don't know why this production presents Sir Edward Ramsay as a bit of a buffoon which makes one wonder why Anna would have tolerated him as an early beau but his is an incidental character with only the one appearance and so this is a minor quibble.

Just about as good as it gets for classic Broadway musicals.
★★★★1/2

Sunday, 19 October 2014

A holiday from the holiday



In retrospect it wasn't smart planning.

Five weeks of overseas travelling. Seven flights spanning the globe. Many changes of time zones. Hours and hours of walking each day.

What should have followed all that was a short period of rest and recovery.

Instead, what have I done in the two weeks since returning from overseas? Six days of volunteer work, attended five theatre performances, saw four films, played three sessions of bridge, had the car serviced, a podiatrist appointment, a doctor's appointment, a blood test, one funeral, attended one football grand final, participated in one Consumer Advisory Group meeting and wasted two hours speaking to a call centre in India.

I need a holiday from my holiday.

Friday, 17 October 2014

A swell send-off

It was simply by chance. Wednesday morning and our nursing home participants are delayed arriving because of heavy traffic. So, whilst I wait I flick through the newspaper and there I notice in the funeral announcements, a section of the paper I only occasionally look at, the name of a former work colleague and friend with whom I have had no contact since exchanging Christmas niceties last year. What a shock. He'd seemed in acceptable health always and a death announcement was unexpected.

The funeral was today. More than 250 in attendance. Clearly a man respected by many. His grown up family impressive in their demeanour and speech. Charming young grandchildren participating articulately and with poise beyond their youth. Widow dignified.

I shed a tear as the coffin was carried out of the church.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Judge


A brash, aggressive and successful big city lawyer (Robert Downey Jr) returns to his small town of origin to attend his mother's funeral and finds his father, the long serving local Judge, (Robert Duvall) facing a serious criminal charge.

'The Judge' has received some mixed reviews and low ratings which I think is rather harsh. It is a well acted film with an original plot that doesn't entirely follow predictable lines. Yes, there is the occasional misstep. One of those is the moment when an unexpected court room confession brings a noisy intake of breath from the assembled observers; a rather silly unintentionally comical moment.

Overall this is a superior drama about family relationships.
★★★★

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Skeleton Twins


Adult twins are reunited after a separation of ten years when Maggie (Kristen Wiig) comes to the aid of her brother Milo (Bill Hader) following his unsuccessful attempt at suicide.

'The Skeleton Twins' is a gentle examination of troubled souls haunted by a past they barely understand. Both siblings have unfulfilled ambitions but find solace in their obvious love for each other.
★★★1/2