20 November 2012

‘Everything old is new again’

One of my old Les Girls numbers, music & lyrics by Peter Allen and sung by Julie Anthony circa 1974. Sure I’m being a tad nostalgic, but it seems to be very much the fashion devoir!
It was only in early July I blogged about the birth of the Lost Gay Sydney concept and thousands who shared collective experiences took a quick peak over their shoulder, back to what they thought was a more interesting and fun time.
For a time Lost Gay Sydney grabbed a whole community’s interest, but of course that waned, unfortunately helped along by the odd negative bitter old queen killing the buzz for everyone.
But other stuff has taken traction. For instance next year we celebre our 35th Mardi Gras Festival Generations of Love; expect nostalgia to play its part in that and the Mardi Gras Museum initiative getting its first tangible outing. But before then we have a community event tagged Gay Sydney Reunited, a T-dance produced by Jake Colter and Misha Heaton to be held at the Metro on Sunday 9 December.


12 November 2012

A fresh Aussie take for Noel Coward’s Private Lives

The play Private Lives written by Noel Coward in 1930 and considered one of the best examples of the British comedy is given a fresh Aussie take by Ralph Myers at Belvoir; does it work – well mostly.

Private Lives begins at an oceanside French hotel where, Amanda and Elyot, a divorced couple, have a chance run-in with each other while honeymooning with their new spouses. Their harsh tempers and incessant fighting originally drove them apart, but the couple admits they are still madly in love with each other. The pair decides to run away, ditching their new spouses without warning. When they hide out in Amanda’s Paris apartment, old habits emerge and they remember why they originally split up. Their new spouses catch up with them eventually in an attempt to sort everything out.
Toby Schmitz in Private Lives
For this production Mr Myers, who is the Artistic Director of Belvoir, takes on the roles of director and set designer. He takes the setting to a very modern blank white canvass, runs the three acts into one 90 minute chunk and ditches the middle class English accents. So if this play is, as it is for many theatergoers of a certain age, a favorite, some of this you’ll like and maybe like me some not so.
Surprisingly, ditching the accents worked very well as a means of modernizing the text, although the witty dig at the English’s middle class stuffiness intended by Coward is lost, and the play in one act is terrific for its pace and punch. The set didn’t work so well for me to start. The first scene is set  on the hotels elegant balcony’s but here it’s the corridor outside the hotel rooms with the players left to stand and wonder around. It didn’t make sense to me, so it took me till the second scene in Amanda’s apartment to relax totally into the great fun. And great fun it turned out to be. All of the cast are really excellent, the timing and pace is fabulous and the night I saw it the audience lapped it all up.