REVIEW OF ‘ODE TO MAN’ AT BRISBANE FESTIVAL AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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Scenestr put the call out for shows running as part of the Brisbane Festival and I was lucky enough to attend with Karen, Ode to Man on the second of its four night run at my old campus Kelvin Grove at QUT. The hills remain steep as I chose to park from the opposite end of where the show was playing. Describing Ode to Man as a one woman play written and performed by the whip-smart and talented Emma Mary Hall feels limiting and fails to reflect the contribution behind the scenes in dressing the stage and proving audio visual projections throughout. However you would describe it, it was thoughtful and insightful and perfectly fit the setting of a university theatre with many students in attendance too. There was a Q&A afterwards with Ms Hall too. You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/ode-to-man-review-brisbane-festival-2018-20180913

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and now Victoria! every month too.

-Lloyd Marken

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REVIEW OF ‘DINNER WITH LAUREN WEISBERGER’ AT THE BRISBANE WRITERS FESTIVAL AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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As previously mentioned I did a work elective in my final undergrad year at QUT where I was part of a group of students who wrote the newspaper for the Brisbane Writers Festival in 2004. Until the past couple of years it was one of the proudest moments of my short aspirations of being a writer and it still remains important to me. It may be coincidence but I suspect not that I never really went back to the writers festival in subsequent years until the call went out from Scenestr for interest in reviewing events at this year’s BWF. I consider myself very lucky as a result to have been able to attend the Dinner with Laura Weisberger at Gerard’s Bistro.

I was in attendance by myself and so was pleased when I saw an old friend Karen B arrive. As you maybe aware Karen set me up with my wife Karen. We stood and chatted while delicious entrees were served on trays around us and bubbly was sipped. Karen had a far greater knowledge of not only Weisberger and her work than I did but it turned out the Brisbane Writers Festival was a big deal for her and something she regularly attended much like the Brisbane International Film Festival is important to me.

As we made our way indoors for the main event we were directed to allocated seating but I was lucky enough that my friend was only two people away at the next table. I was not sure of the format and wondered if I was at a press table and was expected to ask questions of the famous author on behalf of my publication. As I sat waiting, the current news anchor for Channel 10 in my home state, Georgina Lewis introduced herself and her friend Elissa to me as they sat down opposite. Another beautiful woman wearing a star necklace and long blonde hair said hello to me by name as if we were old friends. This was Mary Dickinson who amongst other things runs her own blog site and regularly contributes to various publications including Style Magazine. That was enough for me, I dashed over to the gentleman who had directed me to my table and asked if he could confirm the format of the evening. He mentioned what I was most familiar with, there would be an interview followed by questions open to the audience but I would not be called upon as a reviewer to say anything which is what I had been expecting would be the case but had wanted to confirm given the wattage at my table. Perhaps sensing a little nervousness he assured me “Don’t worry you’ll be sitting next to Johnny the owner who is very approachable.”. Terrific. The thing though was that this was quite true.

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The evening began with Marie-Louise Theile who used to be the Channel 10 news anchor and now runs her own company interviewing Lauren Weisberger in front of the bar while we all listened. Those attending had shelled out $165 a ticket for a three course meal at one of Brisbane’s trendiest restaurants with the author. Weisberger in town to promote her new book When Life Gives You Lululemons did not disappoint. You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/dinner-with-lauren-weisberger-review-brisbane-writers-festival-20180907 of the dinner but suffice to say it was fun. I found the décor of the fashionable James Street eatery appropriate to the event with a panelled wall of various wood evocative of books on a shelf and intimate reading areas you find in grand old libraries.

Afterwards I kept my mouth shut I hope for the most part and just quietly listened during dinner and took my notes for future reference when writing the review later. However there were little moments when me and my fellow diners talked a little about ourselves, I remember talking about my marriage and my interview with Ali McGregor. Mostly I listened and talked to Karen at one point but appreciated the generosity and friendliness of my fellow diners who walk in different circles to me but were treating me no differently. I even got an old fashioned out of the mix which hit the spot nicely. The meal was super impressive including possibly the best pork I’ve ever had. I went to buy a copy of Lululemons and get it signed by Lauren who kindly did and posed for a picture. While everybody else was eating she was taking one table of guests at a time and doing this. Karen left and I took my queue to follow, after all as I had a review to write and a day job to get to in the morning. I gave my leave to everyone at the special table I had gotten to sit at and stole off into the night with some pretty cool memories and a brand new book. Lauren Weisberger, the Brisbane Writers Festival and Scenestr have kindly provided me once again with another highlight I am grateful for.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and now Victoria! every month too.

-Lloyd Marken

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Posing with best selling author Lauren Weisberger after she signed a copy of her book. Copyright Lloyd Marken

A CONVICT’S HOPE REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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Last Saturday I went to the Museum of Brisbane to attend the launch of a new interactive game they are showing there called A Convict’s Hope. The interactive performance is produced by Folly Games and is inspired by MoB’s latest exhibit Life in Irons: Brisbane’s Convict Stories. Think part escape room/part live performance but with a larger crowd and venue, it certainly was interesting to attend with Karen to review the show for Scenestr magazine.

Although we were on our feet for well over two hours and at some point I wondered how much longer we had to go. Essentially you go over clues in one room and then use those to help you look for clues and put together puzzles in the exhibit. By the time we were doing this for the 3rd or 4th time I was good. So it has to be said that kids attending, encouraged to engage by the performers straight away, overcame their initial shyness and as some of us began to flag they become more and more involved which I think is a strong testament to Folly Games getting the important things right. Building on their excitement the game finished strongly for all. The actors we saw perform too worked very hard to keep the energy up. If the point of the show is to bring to life the hopes and dreams of people who lived long ago and some of the struggles they had to have any sort of personal freedom then the show is very effective. You can read my published review here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/a-convict-s-hope-review-museum-of-brisbane-20180711

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland every month.

-Lloyd Marken

KISS OF THE VAMPIRE SQUID REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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The Anywhere Theatre Festival is currently running throughout my hometown of Brisbane. Act/React Theatre were doing their new show Kiss of the Vampire Squid as part of it at the Queensland Maritime Museum onboard HMAS Diamantina. HMAS Diamantina was the last World War II era ship to leave RAN service in 1980. The quarterdeck where the show was performed is where high ranking Japanese officers took part in surrender ceremonies of islands in the Pacific. This was such a unique setting for a venue from a group of performers I respect so much that I was really hoping I would get a chance to see the show.

I was even luckier than that, I got a chance to review it for Scenestr magazine attending the night of the final performance. I have seen shows from Act/React before including Love/Hate Actually and earlier this year one of the Convince Me comedy debates. I have also attended two shows by ImproMafia who share a lot of their same talent. In fact Kiss of the Vampire Squid was more similar to the comedy improv performances of Lord of the Thrones and Animated! from ImproMafia than say the thoughtfully prepared brilliance of Love/Hate Actually.

However you define it though, the show was excellent and Karen and I really enjoyed ourselves. You can read more of my thoughts here  http://scenestr.com.au/arts/kiss-of-the-vampire-squid-brisbane-review-anywhere-theatre-festival-20180521

I don’t want to belabour the point, some performances are better than others when it comes to improv but I really do marvel at what these people do and how well they consistently pull it off. To have them part of the Brisbane cultural scene means a lot and they travel too so keep your eye out for them appearing in your neck of the woods.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. I feel very fortunate to get to write for them.

-Lloyd Marken

RACHMANINOV SYMPHONIC DANCES REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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I was lucky enough to score another gig with Scenestr magazine going along to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre Concert Hall last Saturday to see the Queensland Symphony Orchestra perform. Karen’s sister performed in Queensland Wind and Brass for many years which I always enjoyed going to, so I was looking forward to this performance. However I do have to admit I am not well versed in these matters so set out to do some homework and was lucky enough to attend a pre-concert talk that was held. QSO was performing Intermezzo from Notre Dame by Franz Schmidt, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra Op. 14 by Samuel Barber and Symphonic Dancers by Sergei Rachmaninov. There was also a special guest in the form of violin soloist Chad Hoopes. I enjoyed the performance and you can read the review here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/rachmaninov-symphonic-dances-brisbane-review-qpac-20180516

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. I feel very fortunate to get to write for them.

-Lloyd Marken

CONVINCE ME! COMEDY DEBATE REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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I was fortunate enough to review four shows at the Brisbane Comedy Festival for Scenestr Magazine. They were Animated! by ImproMafia, Rich Hall, Tom Gleeson’s Sure Thing and Act/React Theatre Company’s final in a series of Convince Me debates. Having run them for the whole of the Festival every Sunday I went along to one on the very last day of the Comedy Festival. I am huge fan of Act/React and ImproMafia which has artists involved with both and was looking forward to it. While good the show was not everything I believe it can grow into being. You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/convince-me-review-brisbane-comedy-festival-2018-20180328 In any event I was very grateful to see the hard work of so many talented people and really enjoyed my time at the Brisbane Comedy Festival. It has been run for years but I’ve never attended until 2018 working for Scenestr and also my wife also got free tickets for Paul Fenech’s show there as well.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. I feel very fortunate to get to write for them.

-Lloyd Marken

‘ANIMATED!’ BY IMPROMAFIA REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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Impromafia have to be one of the hottest tickets in town when they come up with a new show. An Improv Comedy Sketch Troupe they’re now firmly established in my hometown and still touring around the country and competing in International Comedy Sketch competitions. I was lucky enough to review their latest show Animated! at the Brisbane Comedy Festival for Scenestr Magazine. I had previously seen them last year at the Metro Arts Theatre with their Game of Thrones parody Lord of the Thrones. Some members have also formed Act/React Theatre Group whom I saw perform Love/Hate Actually at the Wonderland Festival in December. In fact some of the performers were different this time but just as good. You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/animated-an-improvised-musical-fairytale-review-brisbane-comedy-festival-2018-20180316 I believe Metro Arts is a better venue for sketch comedy than the Brisbane City Hall and a Saturday night a better time but these guy and gals never fail to put on a first rate show that makes you laugh. All the more impressive for the fact that they come up with the entire thing on the night and no performance is ever the same. I look forward to their next show.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. I feel very fortunate to get to write for them.

-Lloyd Marken