Sian Prior

Writer, Broadcaster, Singer, MC & Teacher

Stage, Screen and Gallery update [February 24]

For a long time now I’ve been planning to watch the Australian drama series ‘Love My Way’ on DVD. Having just seen the new adaptation of Moliere’s play Tartuffe at the Malthouse Theatre, written by the creator of ‘Love My Way’ – Louise Fox – i’m heading straight to the video store. Fox handles the English language like a Harlem Globetrotter handles a basketball – immense skill hidden behind delicious playfulness. This modern-day Tartuffe (Marcus Graham) has been transformed into a bling-wearing, Bible-bashing Don Juan. His victim, Orgon (Barry Otto) is a Toorak toady and the co-conspirator of a fictional fraudster called ‘Vizard’. It’s loud, it’s sexy, and it’s really really funny.

The Victorian Opera recently celebrated Puccini’s 150th anniversary with a concert that mixed some operatic ‘greatest hits’ with his less well-known religious work, the Messa di Gloria. There were some exhilarating solos from bass Paul Hughes, tenor James Egglestone and soprano Rosamund Illing, but the highlight for me was the Victorian Opera chorus, a thrilling sound en masse, and proof that there are many more excellent singers in this country than there is work for them.

You might like to check out the Sidney Nolan retrospective at the Ian Potter Centre (National Gallery of Victoria). I saw the same show at the Art Gallery of NSW over summer, and though i confess to not being a passionate fan of this Australian artist’s work, the exhibition does show you the full arc of his career as a painter. Keep an eye out for an exquisite early painting called ‘Luna Park in the Moonlight’. Takes your breath away.

So many good films out there at the moment! The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is directed by Julian Schnabel and is based on the autobiographical book of the same name (in French – Le Scaphandre et le Papillon) by Jean-Dominique Bauby. It’s an intensely visceral re-creation of what it would feel like to be completely paralysed by stroke, with the exception of one eye-lid. Somehow Schnabel creaties lyricism out of claustrophobia. Max von Sydow, who plays Bauby’s elderly father, will make you weep.

And if you’re in a book club, go and see The Jane Austen Book Club. Robin Swicord has made a charming chick flick for the literary-minded, and there is a bunch of great roles for women ‘d’un certain age’ in this film – enough reason to support it, i say!