Bill Bailey is a funny man. And he does his homework. He knows exactly how to play an audience and involve them in his humour. He knows exactly where Lara Bingle sits in the Australian zeitgeist. His comedy bristles with a twinkling intelligence that creeps up and pokes you square in the ribs while you’re looking the other way. I caught his show “Qualmpeddler” in Sydney on 19 September. If you missed him do yourself a favour and see him next time he’s out here.

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I’ll always barrack for excellence in writing and this is the writer’s night of nights. At Dalton House there were awards a-plenty and John Doyle kept the night just ahead of schedule, peppering the tempo with his own flavour of straight-faced wit. The animators’ table was great company and Richard Tulloch received the Children’s Theatre award for Snow on Mars!  He has applied his colossal talent across television, feature film, on stage (including musicals) and in over 80 books, greatly enriching the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people.  All power to you, Richard!

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Biennale of Sydney 2012

In early August I was lucky enough to be part of a mystery tour of Cockatoo Island with a celebrity guide thanks to Gaston Nyugen from the Art Gallery of NSW. Too many instalations left me speachless but I’ll try to impart some hint of the facination I felt when confronted by the luminescent, biomechanical sculpture by Philip Beesley. Hypnotic, chilling, fearfully absorbing, memories of a hospital refracted and clinical. The perfect finish to a highly stimulating experience. And our mystery tour guide? Celebrity chef Adam Lau. A thousand thank yous, Gaston!

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Die Tote Stadt

Korngold’s opera directed by Bruce Beresford was a must see. Visually innovative use of projections played wonderfully with the ideas of dreaming and obsession. Staging and lighting were evocative with some strong diagonals and glancing light. Vocal performances were thrilling. The music was very exciting with many moments of Korngold’s signature melodic invention and harmonic progression – familiar from his scores for “Between Two Worlds” (1944) or “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938), for example.  I couldn’t help wanting the clarity and fidelity of the orchestra’s natural voices rather than a performance amplified from the Studio below (necessary because it was too big for the  orchestra pit.)  It was, however, a mighty performance by both Opera Australia and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra!

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Fred Williams

sapling forest
Got to the Fred Williams “Infinite Horizons” retrospective at the Australian National Gallery last year. Seeing so many of his works assembled in one place was truly breathtaking, multiplying the experience of mere reproductions one hundred fold. Genius.

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No Man’s Land

I saw the wonderful Sydney Theatre Company production of Pinter’s play just recently – Gaden and Carroll attacked the text with ebullience and a half gallon of whisky.  Alcohol makes memory a stranger.   And we must with Pinter’s play, as his characters do with alcohol, give ourselves over to total immersion.  I seem to recall that Cate Blanchett played the drinks cabinet, but er… hmm… pass the port.

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Comedy Masterclass

The directors’ audience with the delightful, animated Francis Veber as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival in August was a triumph for all of us lucky enough to attend.

Francis Veber

He took us through practical considerations; a strong premise, pace, characters with comic charm, work hard on the plot, start rehearsals with a table read. We were all intrigued. I asked him if he’d ever had the opportunity to work with the French comedic legend Louis de Funès. Alas he had not.

Thanks to Screen Australia and a BIG congrats to Sue Maslin from RMIT for her vision and commitment to an inspired initiative!

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New on the Block

Passed this the other day in Surry Hills and couldn’t help taking a pic. Love the architecture. And the colours are mad. Soon to be a restaurant with a bar underneath, it could be good.

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Check the Compass

This is a delightful spot I worked on a while back with director, designer and artist Robert Malherbe. It was a commercial for Hong Kong’s Compass Visa and featured Robert’s painterly style.

Something this fresh and graphic has just as much to offer as great 3D animation. The most fashionable is not always the best option. The choice of style is about subject, purpose and visual language. The options are as diverse as your imagination.

Just beautiful.

Director/designer: Robert Malherbe

Animators: Robert Malherbe, Murray Debus

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