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

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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

‘LORD OF THE FLIES’ BY BEENLEIGH THEATRE GROUP REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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Last Friday I was fortunate to attend opening night of the Beenleigh Theatre Group’s first production for the year 2018 as a reviewer for Scenestr magazine. I had interviewed Brad Chapman last month who was directing this stage adaptation of Lord of the Flies and who I had seen perform earlier in 2017 in Cosi. Chapman who is also a school drama teacher has gotten some great natural performances out of his young cast and I was impressed by the lighting and set design. I enjoyed the play and you can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/lord-of-the-flies-brisbane-review-crete-street-theatre-20182201

It remains a privilege to get to go along and see theatre put on by people who give up all their spare time to put on a show with great productions and performances.

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

CIRCA’S ‘HUMANS’ REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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What a week it was, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday I was on assignment with Scenestr to check out shows at Wonderland Festival, comedian Alex Williamson and Woody Allen’s new movie Wonder Wheel. Recuperating on Tuesday I went along to see Circa on Wednesday at Queensland Performing Arts Centre. My first assignment given to me by Scenestr magazine was to go see Queensland Ballet’s Raw in 22 March, 2017 at QPAC. As we come to the end of the year such coincidences feel appropriate to me. Karen took me to see a performance from Circa with the Brandenburg Orchestra earlier this year so I knew we were in for a treat.

As we began to watch last week, I have to admit I was genuinely enthralled. I believe contemporary circus maybe one of the great art forms going at the moment and quite simply a show from Circa is the best thing to see in Brisbane at the moment. You can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/circa-humans-brisbane-review-qpac-20171208

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years 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.

Thank you for your continued support and reading, I’m not able to blog as much as I used to including reading my fellow bloggers’ posts. It’s been one hell of ride this year getting to write for publications and share it with you all. The next day an opportunity came up to interview a contemporary circus performer which I was lucky enough to get to do so it made one heck of a busy 7 days. I look forward to sharing that story with you in the near future.

–Lloyd Marken

ALEX WILLIAMSON, NATH VALVO AND HEROISM AND SIDEKICKERY REVIEWS AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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The second and final weekend of the Wonderland Festival was a rollercoaster ride of up and downs. Having seen Love/Hate Actually on Thursday night I set off to attend a concert by stand-up comedian Alex Williamson at the Old Museum before returning to Wonderland for the rest of the weekend.

I love going to see stand-ups, in fact a lot of the shows I saw at Wonderland were comedies or comedian shows. The Old Museum in Brisbane is not far from where I used to work as hospital wardsman many years ago. I’ve been there over the years when they had the French Festival there, to see my sister in law perform as a member of Queensland Wind and Brass, it is the home of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. There were no elderly volunteers serving homemade scones with tea this night though. Karen and I approached two young women at the canteen who told us no food was available but would we like a drink. No peanuts, no chips, nothing, nada. They kindly told me where the nearest eating venue was and we ended up getting some nice truffle chips before racing back to the venue.

We found a good spot with twenty minutes to go until the allotted time of 7:30pm. I whispered to Karen that the show would most likely start at 7:45pm. As time went on I began to notice most of the audience was younger than us and Karen did not approve of all the baseball caps being worn indoors. I’ve never really cared for that absurd protocol and enjoyed the lively atmosphere of people kicking back after a hard week at work ready to laugh. A few dared each other to race out and grab another drink having already finished the one they had by 7:35pm. Sure enough the show kicked off at 7:45pm and within a minute Karen had gone stone faced. I leaned in and told her I had to stay to review the show but if she wanted to leave -she could but she didn’t.

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I was faced with a conundrum, this was the first time I had really seen a show for Scenestr and not enjoyed it. I wanted to express that but I also wanted to be fair to the comedian who had allowed us to attend his show to give an honest and fair review. Alex Williamson is extremely popular, engages with his fan base, commands attention on stage and give his all. Most of his comedy for me though lacked depth and rarely made me laugh. You can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/alex-williamson-brisbane-review-the-old-museum-20171206 I actually believe Williamson is very talented and could mature into a comedian who makes me laugh one day.

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Which brings us to Nath Valvo, a stand-up we saw at Wonderland Festival the next night. Like the puppet Randy the week before I laughed quite a lot through Nath’s routine. Valvo’s audience was full of people of all different ages, backgrounds, etc. We all laughed together in recognition of so many truths that felt familiar to all of us. Of course the key was wit, timing, delivery, pacing not just insight. Comedy is a tricky thing to review, repeat some of the jokes and you’ll spoilt them with your delivery and lack of context, over analyse too much and anything ceases to be funny. Its hard to explain what is funny but you know it because people laugh and if it isn’t funny they don’t. To that end wasn’t Alex Williamson just as funny then. Well not to me and therein lies the rub. Given I saw them one night after the other and had such different reactions it was fascinating to compare the two but in the end that’s just coincidence. I found Nath Valvo really funny and you can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/nath-valvo-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-20171204

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The next day we saw Nath again on a sunday afternoon before going to see the final show I was to attend at WonderlandA Modern Guide to Heroism and Sidekickery. Conceived and performed by Michelle Zahner with some help from the audience it was a humble intimate piece that poked fun at comic book tropes while delivering a heartfelt message of the little ways we can be heroic in our own lives. I’m curious to see how the show could expand without spoiling what makes it so special. Zahner has such a likeable engaging stage presence that I think no matter what the piece will remain charming and smart. You can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/the-modern-guide-to-heroism-and-sidekickery-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-20171205

I felt really lucky to attend all the shows I got to see and review and/or review at Wonderland and hope to get more opportunities in the future.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years 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

LOVE/HATE ACTUALLY REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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My attendance at Wonderland Festival continued last Thursday evening where I was fortunate enough to attend Love/Hate Actually put on by the Act/React theatre group. The show starred two friends arguing the merits of the classic Richard Curtis film Love Actually which has become a perennial Christmas tradition. Something I couldn’t see in 2003 but completely makes sense in hindsight. It’s a film that is relatively light, moves fast, has a lot going on and a stellar cast. As long time readers may know, I’m a huge fan of Richard Curtis, the first post made on this blog was about his film About Time. So it was impressive to find that a critical dissection of the film had a wealth of good points to be made. You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/love-hate-actually-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-20171201

The two stars Amy and Natalie are also fixtures in the group ImproMafia whom do Improvised Comedy Sketches. I was fortunate enough to review a show of theirs’ earlier in the year lampooning Games of Thrones, called Lord of the Thrones at Metro Arts. I attended Love/Hate Actually with an old friend and afterwards we went out for chips and a drink post-show. As I relayed this information to her and how great ImproMafia was I came to notice that the group seated at a table behind her were ImproMafia. As we got up to leave the two stars of Love/Hate Actually arrived to celebrate with their friends a successful opening night.

Lord of the Thrones featured the danger and joy of live improvised performing. Love/Hate Actually was a more meticulously constructed performance that still feed off the energy of the crowd. I found it funny and whip-smart and enjoyed every second. Not for the first time did it occur to me what incredibly talented people work in the arts around my city and maybe not always with it being their primary job. I am so grateful for such people.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years 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