Author: Julian Ramundi

Theatre Review: ‘Wake in Fright’ is an acid trip into our country’s shame

February 17, 2020

Billed as a one-woman retelling of the famed 1961 novel (and 1971 film), Malthouse theatre’s production of Wake in Fright is an ambitious undertaking – if not initially perplexing. Producing one of Australia’s most classic outback thrillers as a one-cast show is odd enough, but not least of all when you are greeted by a […]

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Flying Lotus

Live Review: Flying Lotus proves 3D is no gimmick at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre (24.01.20)

January 28, 2020

After a five year break between releases, during which he released a polarising feature film, Flying Lotus (real name Stephen Ellison) finally reacquainted himself to fans with the album Flamagra. Ever one to place visuals central to the musical experience, he has returned to Aussie shores with a new 3D live show. UK/Aussie Warp Records […]

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Bronze Lands

Sydney Festival Review: Robert Curgenven’s Bronze Lands (Tailte Cré-Umha) is building and body as instrument

January 24, 2020

Pipe organs are interesting, yet largely under-utilised beasts. Built into the grand expanse of the building, the organ at Sydney Town Hall is not an instrument in itself but rather turns the entire building into one. Ireland-based Australian composer and artist Robert Curgenven utilised this to its full extent in his immersive production: Bronze Lands (Tailte […]

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Sydney Festival Review: Anthem is a poignant yet entertaining look at Australia’s despair

January 20, 2020

An all-star collaboration of sorts, Anthem sees acclaimed writers Christos Tsolkas, Patricia Corneleus, Andrew Bovell and Melissa Reeves reunite with composer Irene Vela following their 90s-era play Who’s Afraid of the Working Class? A series of stories interweave through the backdrop of Melbourne’s train network, with a range of characters thrust together on public transport […]

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Sydney Festival Review: I’m a Phoenix, Bitch is a poignant display of the darkness and desperation of motherhood

January 17, 2020

Performance artist Bryony Kimmings is known for work centering on the personal, with prior shows exploring her partner’s depression, a show devised with her tween-aged niece and another sleuthing the source of an STD. In I’m a Phoenix, Bitch, however, things get far more raw. If one uses life experience as a platform for their […]

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Sydney Festival Theatre Review: ‘Black Ties’ is a warm exploration of Indigenous and Maori relations

January 13, 2020

The wedding comedy is common shorthand through which to explore culture. Those from different traditions are forced to navigate a new frontier, negotiate new sets of terms and decide what parts are most important. Black Ties sees this culture clash cleverly told between an Indigenous and Maori family, highlighting both the similarities and stark differences […]

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Theatre Review: Chicago is a Sexy Romp of Athletic Performance

September 16, 2019

One of the longest-running musicals in history, Chicago returns to our shores again, seemingly only a heartbeat since it’s the last production, which was in fact in 2009. As the show-to-end-all-shows, it seems interesting to have it return, in this mounting of the most recent Broadway production. However in our current era of reality and […]

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Film Review: The Nightingale is a gruesome, necessary piece of Australian cinema

August 26, 2019

With controversy preceding its release, The Nightingale has seen polarising responses from festival audiences, from walkouts to awards. The controversy stems from the film’s depiction of rape, with two gruesome examples early in the film. These however, provide the necessary bedrock for a deep look into our colonisation’s patriarchy, genocide and classism, with white (male) […]

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Film Review: The Australian Dream looks at our national shame through the lens of one of our biggest sporting heroes

August 11, 2019

The Australian Dream is one of two recent documentaries about AFL legend Adam Goodes’ playing career and his his powerful anti-racism advocacy, with Ten’s The Final Quarter already making waves. Written by famed journalist Stan Grant and directed by BAFTA-winning director Daniel Gordon, the film is an inspiring (and infuriating) exploration into the depths of […]

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Theatre Review: Made to Measure is a brave exploration in body image

May 20, 2019

An impending wedding often brings out the worst in people. Familial and societal expectations collide with capitalism at the extreme of feminine expression. The wedding industrial complex magnifies every insecurity and extracts large sums from its subjects. Where women on the larger end of the body spectrum deal with constant reminders and callouts regarding their […]

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Film Review: Thunder Road (USA, 2019) is a genius arrival from a rogue independent filmmaker

April 26, 2019

Thunder Road opens with one of the more profound opening scenes in recent memory. Police officer Jim is giving a eulogy at his mother’s funeral somewhere in the American heartland. He’s completely unprepared and grief-stricken and – in one 12-minute shot – flips from humourous nostalgia to all out hysterics, finishing the awkward performance with […]

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Live Review: Basement Jaxx vs. The Metropolitan Orchestra bring the Baroque Bangers to the Sydney Opera House

April 15, 2019

Contemporary act-plus-orchestra shows aren’t a new phenomenon in rock, with arena-size bands churning out orchestral projects since the 80’s; an attempt at legitimising corporate rock, re-selling already existing albums and making mums proud. With dance music reaching maturity, EDM acts and DJs are beginning to jump on the bandwagon as their audiences age and new […]

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Live Review: Matt Corby bears his soul to the Hordern in Sydney

April 2, 2019

Matt Corby is on a home run in support of last year’s long awaited Rainbow Valley, with a national tour booked a little later than the album’s release and following a run through Europe. Melbourne singer Eliott opened the show with a brand of electro soul and a huge voice, while second support Blessed turned […]

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Album Review: Devin Townsend’s Empath is an observation on the weight of genius

March 31, 2019

Devin Townsend is a mainstay in metal circles, with an almost three-decade long career spanning industrial, speed metal, rock, ambient and even novelty projects. Empath, his 25th album and the 13th under his own name, sees him solidify the presence he has built up in the progressive metal genre over his last few projects. Epic is often […]

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Live Review: Cog + Osaka Punch + The Omnific, Max Watt’s Sydney (15.02.19)

February 16, 2019

Sydney’s Cog have remained incredibly active since returning from a six-year hiatus in 2016, finally releasing new music last year and launching into 2019 with new song Drawn Together. Taking the single on a national tour before heading to Europe, the three-piece played a completely packed Max Watt’s. Opener, Melbourne’s The Omnific surprised the early arrivers […]

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Sydney Festival Review: Counting and Cracking is a highly important celebration of culture

January 23, 2019

Counting and Cracking was Belvoir and Sydney Festival’s lead production for 2019, launching with much fervour and excited rumour. A stadium worthy theatre piece purpose-built into Sydney Town Hall. A global casting call for 17 performers playing over 50 characters. Five languages on stage. A Sri Lankan meal awaiting each audience member as they arrive. […]

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Live Review: Good Things proved a great day out for punk and metal in its Sydney debut

December 10, 2018

The trek to Parramatta Park seems to have become a regular occurrence for Sydney festival goers, with almost every large-scale day-long music event being held there nowadays. With Good Things the newest addition to this list and with more coming (looking at you Download and Ultra), the parklands might do a job of keeping the […]

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Live Review: The Bronx give their adopted home another riot at the Metro Theatre, Sydney (25.10.18)

October 26, 2018

The Bronx swept into Sydney’s Metro Theatre last night as part of their current Australian tour, which sees them playing in intimate venues across the country. Melbourne’s High Tension are a welcome addition to any show. Playing songs from their new album Purge, the post-hardcore band showed a deeper, heavier more metallic sound. Though they […]

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Live Review: Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto take experimental minimalism to new heights at the Sydney Opera House

October 22, 2018

A legend across contemporary classical, electronica and experimental music, Ryuichi Sakamoto has had a long an illustrious career. Spanning a number of collaborations, it’s his sixteen year partnership with German composer Alva Noto that has stuck, garnering five albums, along with the soundtrack to the movie The Revenant. A largely improvised affair, the duo meshed sparse […]

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Film Review: Alpha (USA, 2018) is an ancient story of Man’s best friend

October 6, 2018

Set in Europe “20,000 years ago”, a tribe of hunter-gatherers is preparing to hunt before winter. Keda (Kodi Smit-McPhee), is learning the ropes from his father, the tribe’s chief Tau (Johannes Haukur Johannesson). Quiet and sensitive, the young Keda is having issues in coming to terms with killing animals, with father gently guiding him unto […]

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Theatre Review: The Sugar House is the missing soul of Sydney (at Belvoir until 3rd June)

May 16, 2018

Narelle (Sheridan Harbridge) skirts across a converted factory floor, all brushed concrete and industrial chic, flanked by an eager estate agent (Nikki Shiels). It’s an all too common scene as Sydney’s working class havens make way for heritage apartment conversions, hip cafes and pet-owning professionals. Narelle however stalks the space with a touch of melancholy, […]

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Theatre Review: Martin McDonagh’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore arrives at the New Theatre (Sydney until May 26)

May 1, 2018

Padraic’s long been away from his home of Inishmore, fighting with the Irish National Liberation Army. Too mad even for the IRA, he’s built an epic thirst for murder and torture, picking small-time pot dealers and bombing chip shops in his spare time. His father Donny calls to inform him his beloved cat is ill, […]

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Theatre Review: The Wolves treats theatre as team sport in Sydney

March 21, 2018

America has an interesting and contentious relationship with soccer. Where the world game has been at the centre of global sports (and often politics) for centuries, Americans sidelined the sport during the depression years, only to resurrect it in the 1960s as a high school game. With many young boys choosing American football (the nation’s […]

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Theatre Review: Single Asian Female is a celebration of all of us (Sydney’s Belvoir Theatre to 25 March)

February 21, 2018

The Chinese restaurant is a bastion of our urban culture. Birthdays in the suburbs spent with red lanterns, lazy susans and honey chicken dot our collective memory. While contemporary Australia’s lust for foodie culture and an ever refining palette may have moved away from the Red/Golden Phoenix/Centuries in the 00s, they still form culinary centres […]

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Review: Sydney Festival’s Aquasonic is an exercise in extreme music

January 8, 2018

Danish group Between Music’s Aquasonic was one of the more intriguing inclusions in this year’s Sydney Festival program. Billed as the ‘world’s first underwater band’, the group performs with purpose-built instruments while completely submerged. The team apparently developed the show for over a decade, generating optimal conditions for water acoustics and creating the soundscapes. The […]

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Theatre Review: Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical is a neon-coloured explosion through our culture

November 29, 2017

A question commonly asked in arts circles is where all the new Australian musicals are. Surely, they do exist, but grand-scale, blockbuster song-and-dance shows isn’t something we’re generally known for. Hot Shoe Shuffle – arguably Australia’s first hit musical – premiered only 24 years ago, and since then only Pricilla and Strictly Ballroom have made […]

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Theatre Review: She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange is a biting take on gender and power through the GFC

November 7, 2017

The GFC hit 10 years ago, yet it’s wave still lingers on. In a post GFC world, wages are stagnant, jobs are threatened, house prices skyrocket and global warming’s dark cloud hangs in concert. 10 years on, we’re still asking questions; how did this happen? Can it happen again? And, if so, who’s best equipped […]

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Vivid Ideas Game Changer Shepard Fairey talks early days of street art, comsumerism and ‘selling out’ as festival comes to a close

June 18, 2017

With a career spanning close to 30 years, Shepard Fairey is a veteran of world street art. In Sydney to talk as part of Vivid Idea’s Game Changers program as well as unveil a new mural work (his largest to date) and exhibition, he spoke of his early days building the now iconic Obey project […]

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Theatre Review: I Love You Now is a funny and complex portrait of love and infidelity – Eternity Playhouse in Sydney until 9th July

June 16, 2017

June is married to Leo, but she’s also having an affair with his twin brother Rob, and her personal trainer Hellmut. And a Catholic priest, John. Leo, meanwhile, is sleeping with Rob’s sister Michelle, his therapist Dr Shaw, as well as the family au pair Melissa. On top of all of this, June and Leo […]

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Theatre Review: Chimerica delivers on high visual and performance quality (at Roslyn Packer Theatre until April 1st)

March 19, 2017

Beginning in 1989, Chimerica brings us Joe Schofield, an American Photojournalist stationed in Beijing. Sitting in his hotel room during the Tiananmen protests, he manages to snap the all-famous photograph of Tank Man – a young student standing defiantly in the way of a line of tanks. Fast forward to 2012 and Joe, now back […]

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