May 28, 2016


Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America is back sailing from her Honolulu homeport every Saturday, following a three and a half week dry-dock where she received ship-wide enhancements.

hawThe newly designed public spaces, incredible fresh dining venues and new, contemporary décor across all staterooms were undertaken as part of the US$400 million Norwegian Edge™ programme. Pride of America’s new look and feel exudes excellence, freedom and flexibility that sets a new standard for the entire passenger experience.

Some of the highlights of Pride of America’s refurbishment include new bedding, furniture and flat screen TVs in every stateroom, a refinished pool and new loungers and Jacuzzis on the pool deck, while several restaurants, bars and lounges have undergone top-to-tail renovations.

A new look has been given to the library and card rooms, including six computer stations for internet access and there is a new Perspectives Photo Studio where guests can have memorable holiday shots taken.

The popular Mandara Spa has been revitalised and expanded with tranquil wood, stone and Mexican décor, while the newly located Wedding Chapel on deck six boasts fresh flooring, furniture and wall fixtures.

Dining enhancements on board include extensive renovations to all existing complimentary dining venues. The Skyline Main Dining Room has been given a new entrance and room design; signature Italian restaurant La Cucina is now an intimate, elegant venue and upgrades have been made to specialty restaurants East Meets West, Cagney’s Steakhouse and Jefferson’s Bistro. The addition of signature gelataria Dolce Gelato and delicious new menus featuring the latest trends across all dining outlets, give passengers more freedom and flexibility to choose when and where they dine.

ncl_POA_Strm_Balcony_NEWSteve Odell, Senior Vice President and Managing Director Asia Pacific for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, said “After more than three weeks in dry dock, we are looking forward to welcoming guests aboard the enhanced Pride of America”.

Ms Nicole Costantin, Vice President Sales, Norwegian Cruise Line added “Hawaii is an incredibly popular destination amongst Australian cruisers and it’s easy to see why. Cruising is an exciting and unique way to experience Hawaii’s diverse islands and Pride of America’s seven day one of a kind itinerary, which sails year round, offers nearly 100 hours on shore, including overnight stays in Kahului, Maui and Nãwiliwili, Kaua`i; stops in Hilo and Kona, Hawaii; an afternoon cruise along the spectacular Nãpali Coast and a choice of 89 shore excursions”.

The 89 shore excursion options on Pride of America’s Hawaii sailings range from snorkelling, parasailing, zip-lining and hiking to immersive cultural and culinary experiences.

ncl_POA_Atrium_LoungeNorwegian Cruise Line is the innovator in cruise travel and has a fifty year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising, most notably with the introduction of Freestyle Cruising which revolutionised the industry, by giving passengers more freedom and flexibility.

Sandra Tiltman   Photos: John Pond


May 28, 2016

The Sydney premiere of “Far From the Madding Crowd”, based on Thomas Hardy’s 1874 novel set in rural England, is currently being performed at the Genesian Theatre in Kent Street, Sydney.

For this production, The Genesian Theatre Company has obtained the rights to use Mark Healy’s recent stage adaptation of Hardy’s novel for the English Touring Theatre.

Directed by Debbie Smith, the story of Bathsheba Everdine, the owner of a large farm left to her by a relative, is brought to life by Nicole Harwood, starring as the headstrong heroine. Bathsheba is in the enviable position of having three suitors, all wanting to marry her.

DSC09099 (1)Louis Cummings is excellent as Sergeant Troy, the cad who steals Bathsheba’s affections, while Ben Dewstow tugs at our heartstrings as Farmer Gabriel Oak.

Clever use of the minimalist stage sets helps the audience believe they are watching the daily life of workers on a farm in rural South West England, at the beginning of the industrial revolution.

This production features original music for the folk songs, as well as original choreography for the country dances that are performed.

If you have read the book or seen either of the two movie versions, you are sure to enjoy this production.

“Far From the Madding Crowd” is playing until 25th June 2016, with performances on Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm
 and a Sunday matinée at 4.30pm.

Sandra Tiltman     Photos: John Pond


May 23, 2016

DSC09073The smash hit comedy “Bad Jews”, brought to Sydney by Aleksandar Vass & Vass Theatre Group, is currently entertaining local audiences after playing in New York, London and Melbourne.

Written by Joshua Harmon and directed by Gary Abrahams, it’s now Sydney’s turn to laugh at the antics of three young Jewish cousins, Daphna, Liam and Jonah plus Liam’s non-Jewish girlfriend, Melody, during an evening of mayhem in a Manhattan apartment.

Jonah, the wealthy young occupant of the apartment, played so believably by Matt Whitty, is spending the evening lounging around bantering with his fanatically religious, overbearing and bossy cousin Daphna, played by Maria Angelico.

To add to the chaos, Jonah’s brother, Liam, played by Simon Corfield, returns to the apartment from a skiing trip, accompanied by his girlfriend, Melody, delightfully played by Anna Burgess.

Their beloved grandfather has died and Daphna feels that an item of his jewellery, with religious significance and great sentimentality, should go to her. Liam, has other ideas as he is already in possession of the item and decides to give it to his non-Jewish girlfriend Melody. Jonah does not want to get involved in the ensuing argument as Daphna gives vent to her feelings.

The stage set for this production is one of the best I have seen in a long while, especially in these times of minimal sets, often dressed down with just a chair. This particular setting gave an authentic atmosphere to the production, as a totally believable home environment for the wealthy young occupants.

“Bad Jews” provides a hilarious and sometimes serious night of theatre that will have you identifying with all the characters, as they argue their way through the evening.

“Bad Jews” is currently playing at the Everest Theatre, Seymour Centre, Corner of City Road & Cleveland Street, Chippendale until 4 June 2016.

Sandra Tiltman     Photos: John Pond


May 23, 2016
Anna Jahjah, Artistic Director of Théâtre Excentrique

              Anna Jahjah, Artistic Director of Théâtre Excentrique

Théâtre Excentrique’s current production “7 Days in the Life of Simon Labrosse” is a splendid comedy with plenty of laughs from start to finish.
Brought to Australia for the first time, this humourous play is written by award-winning French Canadian playwright Carole Fréchette and directed by Anna Jahjah, Artistic Director of Théâtre Excentrique.

Steve McGrath, Cassady Maddox & Gerry Sont

                 Steve McGrath, Cassady Maddox & Gerry Sont

“Don’t know how to handle your angry partner?” – “Struggling to express yourself?” – “Do you wish people noticed you more often?” are just some of the questions Simon Labrosse has the answer to. For a reasonable price, he offers his services as an emotional stunt man, a finisher of sentences or your very own audience. All guaranteed to help you bear the emptiness of your existence.

Gerry Sont, in the title role of Simon Labrosse, keeps the audience entranced, as does Steve McGrath and Cassady Maddox who are drawn into Simon’s crazy world. The actors perform in the front, side and back of the space, keeping the audience totally engaged.

“7 Days in the Life of Simon Labrosse” is currently playing at Creative Space 99-Backstage, 99 Crown Street (entrance via Crown Lane), Darlinghurst until 29 May 2016. Performance times are 7pm Tuesday-Saturday and 5pm Sunday.

Sandra Tiltman     Photos: John Pond


May 16, 2016


DSC08977 (1)Premiering in Sydney after an award winning Off-Broadway season is the classic coming of age story, “My Name Is Asher Lev”, written by Aaron Posner and based on the novel by Chaim Potok.

Under the direction of Moira Blumenthal and starring Annie Byron, Tim McGarry and John O’Hare, this award winning play explores the tensions people often feel between tradition, art, family and self.

DSC08971Asher Lev is a young Hasidic Jew growing up in Brooklyn in the late 1940s. His considerable artistic talent draws opposition from not only his own strict sect, which believes art is a waste of time, but also from his parents.

Asher is willing to challenge the expectations of his community and the unhappiness of his family, but will have to pay a terrible price for the right to use his gift.

“My Name Is Asher Lev” won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play and the prestigious John Gassner Award. Described by Huffington Post as “One of the best plays of the year” and New York Magazine advised “You should see it, your children should see it, everyone should see it”.

John O’Hare is excellent in the title role of Asher Lev and both Annie Byron and Tim McGarry each put in splendid performances playing multiple roles.

Performed without an interval, this play is one not to be missed.

The exclusive season of “My Name Is Asher Lev” is now at the Eternity Playhouse, 39 Burton Street, Darlinghurst until 29 May 2016. Evening performances on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 7.30pm with matinees on Wednesday and Thursday at 11.00am and Sunday at 2.00pm.

Sandra Tiltman     Photos: John Pond


May 16, 2016

DSC08968 (1)

The programme for the 63rd Sydney Film Festival has been officially launched by Troy Grant, the New South Wales Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts.

Nashen Moodley, Sydney Film Festival Director said “Sydney Film Festival has gone from strength to strength in recent years, with attendances increasing by over 59% to 176,000 since 2011. In 2016 the Festival will present 244 films from 60 countries including 25 World Premieres, representing hundreds of fresh perspectives and new stories from across Australia and around the world.”

DSC08964 (1)The 2016 Festival will open with the world premiere of ‘Goldstone’, from acclaimed Indigenous writer-director Ivan Sen, whose stellar Australian cast includes Aaron Pedersen, Jacki Weaver, David Wenham and David Gulpilil. The film sees Pedersen reprise his role as Indigenous detective Jay Swan, who audiences first met in Sen’s ‘Mystery Road’, which opened the Festival in 2013.

Whit Stillman’s ‘Love & Friendship’, an adaptation of Jane Austen’s comical early novella Lady Susan, starring Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Australian actor Xavier Samuel and Stephen Fry will close the Festival.

The Festival will screen at a wide selection of venues across Sydney from the State Theatre, Event Cinemas George Street, Dendy Opera Quays, Dendy Newtown, Skyline Drive-In Blacktown, Art Gallery of NSW, Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace Cremorne, Casula Powerhouse, SFF Outdoor Screen at Pitt Street Mall, the Festival Hub at Sydney Town Hall to the Apple Store Sydney. Newly added locations at the University of New South Wales and Carriageworks, expand on the Festival Hub’s program of new immersive screen experiences.

The Festival Hub will return to Sydney’s Town Hall for a fourth year. Open to the public all nights, and select days from 9-19 June, The Hub is a multi-disciplinary pop up complete with a contemporary screen-based gallery, a sophisticated bar, a designer lounge and is now a home for the Festival’s extraordinary virtual reality film collection.

Words & Photos: Sandra Tiltman


May 16, 2016
Max Markson, Morris Iemma, Executive Chef, John Lanzafame

Max Markson, Morris Iemma, Executive Chef, John Lanzafame

Morris Iemma, the 40th Premier of New South Wales and freshly appointed by NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes as one of six district commissioners on the Greater Sydney Commission, the powerful new agency with the potential to shape the future structure of the city, recently hosted a special dinner to welcome Executive Chef, John Lanzafame, to MaZi Restaurant at the Lantern Club.

Foodies were excited to meet the multiple award winning Chef and taste his spectacular new menu. The alfresco Mediterranean inspired dinner matched with fabulous wines provided the first taste of John Lanzafame’s brand new menu for MaZi Restaurant. “Being an Italian-Australian you can expect modern Australian food with a strong Italian influence, perhaps visiting Greece along the way!” said John Lanzafame.

Known as the “pizza champion of the world”, thanks to his Sicilian heritage, master chef and cookbook king, John Lanzafame is an expert on all things Italian – food, drink and lifestyle. He has appeared on Masterchef Junior and cooked for a wide range of celebrities such as Bono, Princess Mary, The Rolling Stones, Pat Rafter and many more.


MaZi Restaurant provides a contemporary, warm, welcoming atmosphere, where one can enjoy an intimate dinner or gather family and friends for a memorable feast or celebration at Lantern Club. The Mediterranean inspired, modern Australian menu features delicious combinations of the freshest seasonal ingredients, balanced flavours and taste. An extensive beer and wine list has been designed to complement the menu.

Open for lunch and dinner, seven days, MaZi Restaurant at the Lantern Club brings friends and family together in the luxurious and beautifully styled club facilities at 21 Roseland Avenue, Roselands.

Sandra Tiltman     Photos: John Pond