Reviews & Editorials

Miss Julie – “by Simon Stone after August Strindberg” @ Belvoir Theatre

Photo by Ellis Parrinder

Simon Stone’s Miss Julie, playing at the Belvoir Theatre, brings us a shrilly precocious, teenage Julie (played by Taylor Ferguson in a stage debut) who wields her nymphet sexuality like a lightsaber she can’t quite get a grip of, and a likeable rogue, Jean, (Brendan Cowell), whose dreams of social mobility turn him into bumbling predator at the mercy of his own lust.

Stone’s adaptation shifts details to create a highly-strung tension relevant to a modern Australian audience. In the original Strindberg play from 1888, Julie is a nobleman’s 25 year old daughter whose tryst with “the help” (namely the socially ambitious servant, Jean) poses the threat of a scandal she fears she cannot live with. Stone seemingly deemed this suicidal Miss Julie scarcely believable in the 21st Century.

In this version, the moral danger is crafted by lowering Julie’s age to 16 and captures the very essence of the original story’s power struggle, which at the heart is about class and sex. The female lead’s father is ever-absent, having charged Jean, his driver, with the responsibility of minding his adolescent daughter and keeping her rebellious mischief out of the media spotlight.

Unapologetically contemporary, the audience is kept amused by references to Snapchat and online ordering, along with the delightfully coarse Australian lexicon. The glow of the Apple Mac icon is onstage almost as much as the characters are, beaming from Julie’s silvery laptop on which she checks the newspapers for reports on her or her high-profile politician father, or watches French films.

Cowell’s lechery is not quite of the Humbert Humbert calibre, and is almost (disturbingly) excusable. This could be because Julie’s virgin 16 seems threatening only in as much as it is illegal, a fact that Jean’s fiancé, Christine (Blazey Best) reminds him of, “I’ve looked it up, Jean. She was under our special care and you could get 8 years for this.”

Blasts of ominous fanfares composed by Pete Goodwin, engulf scenes at key moments with retro, cinematic high-drama. The climax mounts as troubled Julie’s desire to be loved clashes with her self-realisation of social status, and Jean’s inability to resist the under-aged temptress finally meets his dawning realisation that he’s bitten off more than he can chew. Then Strindberg fans can settle in for the classic character shredding of the second half.

“The moral of the story is, it shouldn’t be this easy for a dog to f*** a princess,” Jean snarls at Julie, but there’s got to be more to it than that.  Are the creators asking us to consider the psychic world of the Abbott girls?

As it all unravels, Stone steers the story so that it grazes the original ending and then hurtles into a very different kind of self-destruction for Julie. This might not please Strindberg diehards but director, Leticia Caceres, certainly works up a crowd-pleasing, bloodlusty finale.

Cast

  • Miss Julie (Taylor Ferguson)
  • Christine (Blazey Best)
  • Jean (Brendan Cowell)
  • Composer Pete Goodwin (aka, the Sweats)
  • Director: Leticia Caceres

Article Written by Estelle Pigot

05.09.13. filed under Reviews & Editorials. No Comments →

Easing Slider Lite

As WordPress dudes, we often need the use of a plugin (or 50) to make a website, and on quite a few sites we have been using a slider to give a bit of sexyness to a homepage. Having tried most of them and found they aren’t much chop, we stumbled upon one of the easiest to use called Easing Slider Lite which is coded by Matthew Ruddy. After an IE8 issue (surprise) we emailed Matthew asking for a few tips expecting no reply, but he replied quickly with a page full of help, so we just wanted to tip our hats to another in the WordPress community helping others for no reward.

Easing Slider “Pro” is an extremely easy to use slideshow plugin for WordPress. It is built to be lightweight and simple, with absolutely no bloat. It comes with many great features such as unlimited slideshows, touch support, responsive resizing, video links, HTML content and more. The built in customizer allows you to create your perfect slideshow without having to touch any code. It is fully mobile optimized and developed to be as light as possible. It seamlessly integrates into the admin area too. You wouldn’t even know it was a plugin!

Free at WordPress Plugins

Profressional version on Easingslider.com

08.04.13. filed under Reviews & Editorials. No Comments →

Kandos You Are Cementa

Kandos – quirky, country Kandos. Not your obvious host for a biannual Australian contemporary arts festival. Previous claims to fame have been the hotrod show and the now-defunct cement works.  But on February 2nd this post-industrial NSW township played host to a flock of artists who swooped upon the quiet village’s two pubs, wide streets and quaint churches for the much-hyped inaugural Cementa_13. Read the entire Kandos You Are Cementa by Estelle Pigot →

21.02.13. filed under Reviews & Editorials. No Comments →

Hell Is Empty & All the Devils Are Sidetracked in Marrickville

I’ve written before about the fact that I’m a closet steampunk sympathiser. I have travelled to Oamaru, NZ – capital of steampunk in the southern hemisphere – to pose for Facebook pics with oversized busts of Queen Victoria, and bid on eBay for all manner of corsetry, bustles and eye-glasses. For the uninitiated, steampunk is a postmodern aesthetic which loosely defined, looks like a mash-up of science fiction cyberpunk and Victoriana. Though, alas, this scruffy sub-culture so rarely has its day and is so scarcely done right.

That’s why John Galea’s steampunk adaptation of The Tempest at this year’s Sydney Fringe Festival was such a delight. The contemporary recreation does plenty for Shakespeare and more for steampunk than anything I’ve seen to date. The costuming was a spectacular of glittering burlesque corsets, aviator goggles, eyeglasses and Victorian safari suits. Elizabeth Elwell-Cook  of Notable Design Solutions designed the 18 costumes with Jasmine Leong. Read the rest of Hell Is Empty & All the Devils Are Sidetracked in Marrickville →

10.09.12. filed under Reviews & Editorials. 2 Comments →

Why Oh Why? – The High Cost of Design Software in Australia

With all the excitement about the high cost of products in Australia compared to the US, how does it really affect the creative industry here?

As designers, we all need software to create.  According to this old news story that did the rounds a while back,  Adobe doesn’t mind slugging Australian designers with hefty price-tags, “Every two years, when Adobe releases a new version of Creative Suite, the cost is around 50% or more higher across the board for the same software when sold in Australia”

But Adobe isn’t the only international software company taking advantage of our good nature (or plain ignorance) down under.  What other brands are denying us a fair shake of the sauce bottle when it comes to software?

Design Federation’s research found that Extensis (the maker of font management software Suitcase Fusion) are charging Australian customers $US131 for the “international version” versus $US100 for our Yankee counterparts.

QuarkXPress 9 happily claims $US999 from users outside of the States who must purchase the Pacific, Asia, and Africa Edition, but USA users save themselves almost $US150.00 for the Americas Edition which goes for $US849. 

It’s the same story with CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X6 who ask us for $US629.00 and sell for $US499 to USA citizens.

So what can we do about it, folks? Well, Design Federation knows a few of you will have your sneaky suggestions around such a dilemma but our official suggestion is to refuse to suck it up and start making some noise about it. We know times are tough for The Home of the Brave but we’re not all characters from TV (horror) show The Shire over here, some of us can count… and it’s starting to add up.

Written by David Goldberg | Edited by misspigelle

24.08.12. filed under Reviews & Editorials. No Comments →

Fashion Palette Launch Party

How do you know Fashion Week is just around the corner in Sydney? The answer is easy – by quaffing champagne and looking a gorgeous outfits at the first collaborative fashion event of the season, the launch of Fashion Palette.

This event was held earlier in the week to give media a sneak preview of what we could expect coming into this weekend’s action packed event. With many familiar designers showcasing their wares, including Nicola Finetti & Bettina Liano, there are also some of the up and coming names that should definitely be on your radar coming into the new A/W season.

One of the highlights from the evening was emerging designer Wanni, whose ethereal creations combined with bold colour are both feminine and eye catching. With a real emphasis on draping, and an eye for embellished details, this will no doubt be the first of many collections from this young designer.

If this launch experience was anything to go by, this weekend’s events at Carriageworks are not to be missed.

www.fashionpalette.com.au

27.04.12. filed under Reviews & Editorials. No Comments →

A Shining Moment in Darkness – The Earth Hour Awards

If there’s one thing guaranteed to get you thinking about how much you are really doing for the environment, it’s finding out how much a group of 4 year olds are doing, and that it’s totally swamping your efforts. And this was the very situation I managed to find myself in last night at the launch of the inaugural Earth Hour Awards.

Earth Hour is coming into an interesting space at the moment that many not-for-profit event days find themselves in at the 5 year mark: the need to stay relevant and not just be a novelty. So it was with interest that I came along to the awards, which for me does seem to be a genuine effort to keep Earth Hour momentum moving at a grass roots level as well as genuinely recognising overall environmental effort. Read the rest of Carolyn Millers' - A Shining Moment in Darkness →

27.03.11. filed under Reviews & Editorials. No Comments →

Ned Kelly: The unlikely muse

“Would the real Ned Kelly please stand up?” This unfamiliar face is the real Ned Kelly.

Ned Kelly was a zeitgeist, an Irish Catholic rebel born of a convict who died in incarceration, who galvanised his community’s anti-establishment sentiment when he wrote a manifesto of sorts after his mother was unfairly sentenced to three years imprisonment. Ned Kelly, a freedom fighter, Australia’s Robin Hood, and now a well established figure of Aussie mythology. He’s a familiar subject for image makers; a likely representative of rebellion, independence and a muddled icon in the cultural psyche of Australians.  Many see him as a wronged victim of the empire, but however you view ‘Our Ned’ his influence is certainly felt across an entire spectrum of artistic tributes. Read the complete Ned Kelly - The unlikely muse article by Estelle Pigot →

29.11.10. filed under Reviews & Editorials. 1 Comment →

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