Huff by Cliff Cardinal
Calendar, March 18, Performing arts, Theatre

Theatre: Huff

Thursday 22- 24 March @ Subiaco Arts Centre ·
Presented by Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company, written and performed by Cliff Cardinal and directed by Karin Randoja  ·

Nominated for Quebec’s 2016 Critic’s Awards, HUFF is the wrenching, yet darkly comic tale of Wind and his brothers, caught in torrent of solvent abuse and struggling to cope with the death of their mother. Wind’s fantastic dream world bleeds into his haunting reality, as he’s preyed on by the Trickster through the hallways at school, the abandoned motel he loves more than home, and his fragile psyche. With his signature biting humour and raw, vivid imagery, Cardinal expertly portrays over dozen characters in his captivating solo performance.

Winner of the 2015 RBC Tarragon emerging Playwright Prize; Winner of 2012 Buddies in Bad Times Vanguard Award for Risk & Innovation.

“Cardinal writes graphically yet with economy and haunting realism. the characters he creates he inhabits skillfully, moving from one to another with fluid clarity and lithe delineation.” Stage whispers

More info: OR
Email: [email protected]

Pictured top: A scene from Huff, taken at the 2017 Sydney Festival (photo by Jamie Williams/Sydney Festival).

August 18, Calendar, Performing arts, September 18, Theatre

Theatre: Skylab


16 August – 2 September @ State Theatre Centre of Western Australia ·
Presented by Black Swan State Theatre Company ·

by Melodie Reynolds-Diarra
16 AUG to 02 SEP

The launch of a science laboratory into Earth’s outer orbit was hailed as a miracle of the modern age. But what was really going on up there? The nature of the experiments conducted was kept top secret…

It’s July 1979. NASA’s Skylab is hurtling towards Earth, about to crash land near Esperance in remote Western Australia. Nev, Jem and the kids have no idea that their world is about to change: reality shifts, conspiracy theories abound and a pink horse appears out of nowhere. The town’s white fellas start behaving strangely too, with apologies for taking black fellas’ land and handing over all money owed.
Dreamtime meets Monkey Magic in this fantastical comedy where things that were once considered impossible, become not only possible, but real.

Based on a true story – only the facts have been changed to protect the innocent!

For the first time, Black Swan is collaborating with Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company to present this world premiere of a new Western Australian sci-fi comedy.

DIRECTOR Kyle J Morrison
WARNING Some strong language.

Originally developed by Ilbijerri’s Black Writers Lab; Moogahlin’s Yellamundie National First Peoples Playwriting Festival, Playwriting Australia’s National Play Festival with Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company.
A Rio Tinto WA Stories Project.

Black Swan State Theatre Company and Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company present
SKYLAB by Melodie Reynolds-Diarra
DATES: 16 AUG – 02 SEP 2018
VENUE: Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA
WARNING: Some strong language.

Prices: $35.00 to $55.00

Book via

More information at

More info:

The Events
Calendar, July 18, June 18, Performing arts, Theatre

Theatre: The Events

21 June – 8 July @ State Theatre Centre of Western Australia ·
Presented by: Black Swan State Theatre Company ·

by David Greig
21 JUN to 08 JUL

The Events was the sleeper hit of the 2013 Edinburgh Festival and Clare Watson was instrumental in bringing this mesmerising theatre work to Australia in 2016, to direct its premiere for the Sydney Festival. After successful seasons in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne, this acclaimed production is set to have its Perth premiere.

One of Australia’s most powerful actors, Catherine McClements (Water Rats, Rush), plays Claire, a vicar and leader of a community choir that regularly meet in a local town hall. When a young man enters the hall and opens fire, her beloved community – and the ideals that sustain it – is blown apart.

Set in the wake of the tragedy, a conversation unfolds between Claire and the young man. She is unpacking her rage, her fears and ultimately, her forgiveness. The young man is something else: the voice of the alienated, an enemy within and a lost generation. In an era of uncertainty and inexplicable events, questions are asked and resolutions sought. Could he have been stopped?

David Greig (Midsummer: A Play with Songs) has written a beautiful story of hope and healing. The Events will be performed with a different Perth community choir at each performance. It is an extraordinary blend of theatre and music.

“[the] community chorus—the ‘one big crazy tribe’— lifted the show…finding a beautiful harmony we so desperately need.” Daily Review

DIRECTOR Clare Watson
COMPOSER John Browne
CAST INCLUDES Johnny Carr, Catherine McClements, Perth community choirs
WARNING Adult themes, strong language.

A Belvoir, Malthouse and State Theatre Company of South Australia production, presented by Black Swan State Theatre Company

Black Swan State Theatre Company presents
THE EVENTS by David Greig
DATES: 21 JUN to 08 JUL 2018
VENUE: Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA
WARNING: Adult themes, strong language.

Prices: $35.00 to $55.00

Book via

More information at

More info:

Calendar, July 18, June 18, Performing arts, Theatre

Theatre: Assassins

16 June – 1 July @ State Theatre Centre of Western Australia ·
Presented by Black Swan State Theatre Company ·

MUSIC & LYRICS BY Stephen Sondheim
BOOK BY John Weidman
ASSASSINS is based on an idea by Charles Gilbert, Jr.

16 JUN to 01 JUL

Building on Black Swan’s success in presenting contemporary musical works (Next to Normal, Clinton: The Musical), comes the multiple Tony Award-winning theatrical tour-de-force, Assassins.

In a fairground, a rogue’s gallery of nine misfits gather. The Proprietor of the game entices them to play, promising that their problems will be solved by killing a President of the United States, with the song “Everybody’s Got the Right”. A revue-style portrayal follows the many and varied ways that each of the men and women have committed (or attempted to commit) the ultimate crime. It is a highly entertaining diorama of America’s cult of celebrity through the ages and the means that some have used to obtain it.

Sondheim (Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd) is considered a ‘titan of musical theatre’. This work personifies his signature blend of intelligently stunning lyrics and beautiful music, embracing a range of American musical traditions from the 1860s to the 1980s, from marches to spirituals, to folk and rock. Bold, original and alarmingly funny, Assassins is a timely reminder that those in power ignore the marginalised in society at their peril.

“… begins with an invitation to “C’mon and shoot a president” and then goes considerably further.” New York Times

DIRECTOR Roger Hodgman
CAST INCLUDES Mackenzie Dunn, Brendan Hanson, Geoff Kelso
WARNING Adult themes, coarse language, simulated executions and gun violence.

Playwrights Horizons, Inc. – New York City produced ASSASSINS Off-Broadway in 1990. Licensed exclusively by Music Theatre International (Australasia). All performance materials supplied by Hal Leonard Australia.
Black Swan State Theatre Company presents
ASSASSINS Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim | Book by John Weidman
DATES: 16 JUN – 01 JUL 2018
VENUE: Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of WA
WARNING: Adult themes, coarse language, simulated executions and gun violence.

Prices: $35.00 to $88.00

Book via

More info:


The Talk
April 18, Calendar, Performing arts, Theatre

Theatre: The Talk

11 – 21 April @ Subiaco Arts Centre ·
Presented by The Last Great Hunt ·

More than just the birds and the bees.

Think back to when you had ‘The Talk’ (you’ve probably tried to forget it). Maybe your mother told you to “be careful”. Maybe your teacher told you to “abstain”. You felt prepared, right?

Eva is 15 and all she wants is answers. No more condom demonstrations or close-up slides of chlamydia. She needs honesty, and she’s not afraid to get it.

One petition, one riot and one school suspension later, Eva sets out on her own quest to discover just what it is that everyone is hiding.

Written by Gita Bezard (The Advisors, Girl Shut Your Mouth) this hilarious and pointed new show from The Last Great Hunt holds up the fears of the adults against the questions of the teenagers. This is: The Talk.

More info:

Calendar, Dance, March 18, Performing arts

Visual arts: Diversity KPOP Dance Workshop

Saturday 31 March @ King St Arts Centre ·
Presented by: PICA ·

PICA loves South Korea’s electrifying renewal of pop culture so we have teamed up with Diversity to bring you a fun and intuitive KPOP dance workshop to develop (or show off) your own style.

Get together with your friends to learn a routine and flaunt your moves to an upbeat tune. Please note this workshop is held at King St Arts Centre, 357 Murray St, Perth WA.

For more information and bookings, you can book your tickets online or contact [email protected] / 9228 6300.

More info:

Contemporary music, Music, News, Performing arts

Making music in the field

Outdoor shows are relatively common in Perth, especially in summer… but have you ever attended a performance in a bird sanctuary? Perth’s GreyWing Ensemble are giving you the opportunity to do just that when they launch their album “nature forms I” this weekend. Nina Levy caught up with GreyWing’s Lindsay Vickery to find out more.

Most album launches take place in venues specifically designed for listening to music… theatres, clubs or concert halls. But the first of two album launches for GreyWing Ensemble will take place at Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary in Bayswater, this Sunday 25 March. Given the unconventional choice of venue, it’s no surprise to learn that GreyWing Ensemble – which consists of Lindsay Vickery on clarinet/saxophone, Jameson Feakes on electric guitar, Kirsten Smith on flute and Catherine Ashley on harp – are particularly interested in environmental music.

Lines of flight
An extract from the score for ‘lines of flight’ by Lindsay Vickery, from ‘Lines of Flight’.

It’s this interest that drives the first of GreyWing’s two new albums, “nature forms I”, says Vickery. “Many of the pieces from ‘nature forms’ and Sunday’s launch take a stance where they draw their structure and sounds from recordings of natural environments, sometimes called field recordings or soundscapes, rather than traditional music structures and sounds,” he explains. “They ask the musicians and the audience to try to enter into the rhythms and timbres of the natural sound world rather than transforming natural sounds to fit within the conventions of classical music language. The melodies that evoke birds sounds in a Beethoven symphony, for example, use the scales and rhythms of classical music rather than try to precisely mirror the actual sounds of bird. There’s a limit of course – you can only listen and play with ‘human ears’ but it’s a sort of nature rather than human first aesthetic position that came out of the environmental movement of the 1970s and has been increasingly been explored by composers.”

Nature Forms
A postcard that accompanies ‘nature forms’, showing the locations of all the field recordings.

That “nature rather than human first aesthetic” will be in evidence at the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary launch, too. “There’s no power there, of course, so we use a lot of Bluetooth speakers, each of which is pretty quiet, spread around the space to play the ‘field recordings’. That way they are more like sounds in nature that occur in many locations, not just from two big speakers in a PA system,” Vickery says. “I suppose for most projects the fairly loud and unpredictable ambient sound of birds, frogs and insects would be a drawback, but it is perfect for this album because we can kind of embed ourselves in that sound world try to become part of the family.”

It seems as much a philosophical as a musical stance, a desire to tread lightly on this earth, as well as experimenting with sound. “It’s sort of both of those things,” agrees Vickery. “Jameson studied with the composer Michael Pisaro, who calls this approach playing ‘just below and just above “music”‘. It’s part of that same ‘nature first’ (or at least equal) aesthetic I mentioned, so trying to fit in, rather than dominate the sonic environment. Of course, it has the side effect that it’s generally quite soothing music to listen to.”

On Friday 6 April, less than two weeks after the launch of “nature forms I”, GreyWing will launch another album, “Lines of Flight”, at Gallop House in Dalkeith. It’s quite a different album, observes Vickery. “‘Lines of Flight’ is a collection of works written for the group by local composers Catherine Ashley, Eduardo Cossio, Sam Gillies, Cat Hope and me. That launch is at Gallop House in Dalkeith, where Kate Moore is this year’s composer in residence. It’s a bit less thematic, but perhaps the most common theme is composers blurring the lines between prescribed and improvised situations for the performers. The works approach this goal through a range of extended, graphical, textual and extended notations.”

Lines of Flight Detritus
The ‘crazy looking pretzel score’ for Vickery’s piece ‘detritus’, from ‘Lines of Flight’.

Experimenting with new forms of notation is central to both albums and Vickery explains that the scores are created using an iPad app developed at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (where Vickery is a senior lecturer and coordinator of the composition and music technology program). “It’s called the Decibel scoreplayer and it allows you to scroll notation and graphics across the screen and synchronise it with multiple iPads,” he elaborates. “The general project is to develop music notations that are better suited to particular requirements – for example music with a lots of sliding pitches and no pulse is very hard to represent with traditional notation, the same with music where timbre is the most important element and of course filed recording fit into both of those categories. The scoreplayer also allows you to organise the musical structure differently – it is simple to coordinate sections to be played in different orderings or combinations for example and coordinate it wirelessly between the iPads.”

Even if one doesn’t know much (or anything!) about musical notation, the results are fascinating to view, so it’s pleasing to learn that these are being shared. “Both albums have a pretty elaborate physical object, a sort of ‘art book’ that you can get in addition to the recordings – a ‘concertina book’ and case with bookends laser cut with score excepts,” says Vickery. “For ‘nature forms I’ the concertina image is a full length, nearly two and a half metre score of my piece ‘nature forms I’. For ‘Lines of Flight’ it’s the score from Sam Gillies’ ‘Snowden (Eyes in the Sky)’. We worked with the amazing local design company Future Shelter to create it. Both also include a pretty fancy liner notes and postcard showing the locations of all the field recordings for one album and the crazy looking pretzel score for my piece ‘detritus’ for the other.”

‘nature forms I’ launches March 25, 6pm, at Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary. Listen/purchase here.  
‘Lines of Flight’ launches April 6, 6pm, at Gallop House, Dalkeith. Listen/purchase here. 

Entry to both events is by donation.

Lines of Flight
An extract from the score for ‘here, apparently, there was a time for everything’ by Lindsay Vickery, from ‘Lines of Flight’. Pictured top is an extract from the score for ‘Wellington Forest’ by Lindsay Vickery, from ‘nature forms I’.
Asher Fisch with WASO
Classical music, Music, News, Performing arts, Reviews

An ode to flair and imagination

Review: “Ode to Joy”, Asher Fisch conducting West Australian Symphony Orchestra & Chorus ·
Program: Beethoven’s Zur Namensfeier: overture; Fantasia for Piano, Chorus & Orchestra Choral Fantasy; Symphony No.9 Choral ·
Perth Concert Hall, 15 March ·
Review by Leon Levy ·

All-Beethoven evenings are common enough, often based on the safe formula of overture/concerto/symphony: good for both box-office and a contented audience. But turn that formula on its head, and suddenly the jaded listener finds her or his antennae quivering.

And so it was that on Thursday night we had WASO living more dangerously than the gentle “Ode to Joy” title of the evening implied: for it represented the musical equivalent of an increasingly rich but novel meal based only on one central ingredient.

The Zur Namensfeier overture, from 1815, has never established itself with the public and yet, undistinguished as it is, a convincing case was made for it as an effective concert opener for a programme such as this.

The Fantasy for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra was written in 1808 as the concluding work in a benefit concert for Beethoven himself, an event of epic length held on a bitter Viennese winter’s night. Even with Beethoven at the keyboard, it’s hard to imagine how this rather strange composition would have been received. By contrast, on a balmy Perth evening not only was the work given room to breathe, but having our esteemed principal conductor at the keyboard brought an additional focus and frisson to the proceedings. It was an extraordinarily unusual but daring and imaginative act to programme this work on the same bill as the Choral Symphony, which it rather pre-echoes. Has this ever been done previously? Certainly not in Perth; but it proved fascinating to have the two works performed in sequence.

After a somewhat rambling piano opening, the orchestra introduces – rather pleasurably as we sense its approach—the “proto” choral theme which is then carried in variation form by various instrumental combinations before the vocal soloists are eased in, followed by the full choir. There was much enjoyment to be derived by the listener in all of this, as the unusual work flashed vividly and satisfyingly into life.

But having strolled happily through the foothills, we now came to the Everest that is the Ninth Symphony. For all that the “Ode to Joy” is done to death, in the context of the work as a whole, all sense of over-exposure withers. A beautiful unfolding of the opening movement, by turns dramatic and lyrical, was followed by a finely controlled scherzo, almost gossamer at times, but always with a strong and satisfying momentum, evoking both joy and drama. Unrushed, but still with a perceptible sense of moving forward, the slow movement sang its way with an unforced beauty, setting the scene for the choral conclusion. And what a triumphant exposition that was, the audience in the very grip of the music as the first quiet statement of the famous theme was followed by oh-so-refined re-statements until the blazing tune could be held back no longer, or so it felt! The firm, gleaming tone of bass David Parkin immediately set the standard for the remaining vocal contribution from the well-matched soloists Rachelle Durkin, Fiona Campbell and Henry Choo, and a very fine WASO Chorus.

In sum, the assembled forces (including Naomi Johns and Perry Joyce in the Fantasy) provided what, even at this early stage in the season, will surely prove to be one of the highlights of 2018. But equal congratulations must be offered to the artistic planners whose flair and imagination brought us a programme that was so unpredictable, stimulating and so worthy a tribute to Beethoven, whose own share in the universal brotherhood of the “Ode to Joy” was, after all,  comparatively meagre.

One would normally have to go far to hear a concert of this calibre: fortunately there are two further performances – subject to ticket availability – and then an ABC broadcast on 24 March.

“Ode to Joy” plays until 17 March.

Pictured top is Asher Fisch conducting West Australian Symphony Orchestra. Below: West Australian Symphony Orchestra and Chorus at Thursday night’s performance.

Ode to Joy

Star Wars
Calendar, Music, Performing arts, September 18

Music: Star Wars: A New Hope – In Concert

28 September, 7:30pm; 29 September 1:30pm & 7:30pm @ Perth Concert Hall ·
Presented by West Australian Symphony Orchestra ·

May the Force be with you! Experience Star Wars on the giant screen with John Williams’ epic score played live by WASO.

Luke Skywalker begins a journey that will change the galaxy, as he leaves his home planet, battles the evil Empire, and learns the ways of the Force. Don’t miss A New Hope in concert, with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra performing John Williams’ Oscar-winning score live to the complete film.
This performance includes subtitles on the screen.

More info:
Email: [email protected]

We Will Rock You
April 18, Calendar, March 18, Musical theatre, Performing arts

We Will Rock You

23 March – 7 April @ His Majesty’s Theatre ·
Presented by Platinum Entertainment WA ·

Since 2002, over 16 million theatregoers in 28 countries have been thrilled by this awe-inspiring production, based on the songs of Queen with a book by Ben Elton (The Young Ones, Blackadder, Popcorn).

WE WILL ROCK YOU reflects the scale and spectacle that marked Queen’s live performances, with more than 24 hit songs including We Are The Champions, Radio Gaga, Somebody to Love, Bohemian Rhapsody, Under Pressure, Killer Queen and I Want to Break Free.

Starring Normie Rowe, Chris Murphy, Courtney Murphy, Dean Misdale (AKA Feminem as Killer Queen) with a cast of amazing local musicians, singers and dancers. WE WILL ROCK YOU brings a global show to the Perth stage, set to rock His Majesty’s Theatre in March & April 2018.

More info: