September 30, 2016


The world premiere of “Dream Lover – The Bobby Darin Musical” which reveals the legendary singer, songwriter and actor’s extraordinary life, is currently exciting audiences at the Sydney Lyric Theatre for a strictly limited season.

Bobby Darin, together with his movie star wife Sandra Dee, provided the sound track to a generation.

This intimate and epic story about the Grammy award-winning singer, Oscar nominated actor and all-round entertainer, adored by his fans, begins at boyhood and follows his rise to stardom.


Based on an original concept and stage play by Frank Howson and John-Michael Howson and adapted for the stage by Frank Howson with Simone Phillips and Carolyn Burns.

The multi-talented David Campbell, one of Australia’s most popular and versatile entertainers and winner of three Helpmann Awards, is excellent in the lead role of Bobby Darin.

Hannah Fredericksen, who recently starred as Olivia Newton-John in the TV mini-series “Molly”, plays Sandra Dee.


Caroline O’Connor adds to this stellar cast playing the dual roles of Bobby Darin’s mother Polly and the ambitious Mary Douvan, Sandra Dee’s mother.

Darin’s sister Nina is played by Marney McQueen, alongside Bert LaBonte, playing Nina’s partner Charlie, who provides a father figure for Darin.

Martin Crewes plays Steve Blauner, Darin’s oldest friend, biggest fan and longtime manager.

Featuring an eighteen piece band, the musical captures the glamour and passion of the Rat Pack in Vegas era.


This production focuses on an incredible selection of songs, with some of the biggest hits from the 50s and 60s made famous by global heart throb Bobby Darin and brings his extensive songbook to life for a new generation, including Mack the Knife, Beyond The Sea, Splish Splash and the title track, Dream Lover.

John Frost, on behalf of his co-producers John and Barbara Gilbert of Gilbert Theatrical Pty Ltd, said, “Bobby Darin packed an extraordinary life into his 37 years, and wrote an incredible array of music. I think audiences will have an unforgettable experience at Dream Lover, witnessing the birth of Australia’s exciting new musical.”


Lovers of musical theatre have the opportunity to see this exciting all-Australian production, playing exclusively at the Sydney Lyric Theatre, until 27 November 2016.

Sandra Tiltman  Photos: John Pond


September 30, 2016


British Airways’ popular complimentary one-way upgrade to First is back. This limited time offer is available for bookings until 5 October 2016 and is valid to travel on flights departing Sydney on or before 31 March 2017. Passengers have the opportunity to enjoy a free one-way upgrade to First when they book return Club World business class to Singapore and to the UK and Europe on ba.com.

Each individual suite in the renowned First cabin features a bed that is 60 per cent wider, a personal wardrobe, world class dining options and an unprecedented level of comfort. Passengers in First will be entitled to a complimentary chauffeur service to or from Sydney International Airport. All premium passengers arriving at British Airways’ award winning home at London Heathrow Terminal 5 can enjoy the facilities at the Arrivals lounge, which include showers, breakfast and complimentary Elemis spa treatments. Passengers can also enjoy champagne at the exclusive Galleries Club lounges on their departure.


Nicole Backo, British Airways’ regional general manager, South West Pacific, said “We are very excited to welcome back this incredible promotion which allows customers who book a Club World business class return ticket to enjoy a one-way upgrade to First for free. For no additional cost, customers can enjoy the absolute luxurious experience in First on one sector on their next flight to London, Europe or Singapore. This promotion really is a ticket to exceptional comfort and impeccable service. Customers can dine in our exclusive first class restaurant in the sky, with a full ‘a la carte’ menu designed by leading chefs from around the world and only the finest of wines and champagne. They can enjoy a carefully selected collection of wellbeing essentials, a pair of wonderfully soft cotton pyjamas and sink into a quilted mattress and Egyptian cotton duvet for a dreamy night’s sleep. It really is the finest way to travel. Such offers are always extremely popular, so we encourage customers to book now to secure a seat.”

British Airways’ Executive Club and On Business members also have the added benefit of collecting triple Avios points through a promotion running from now until 11 December 2016.

British Airways has been flying to Australia for over 80 years and operates a daily service between Sydney and London Heathrow via Singapore. The airline operates from the award winning Terminal 5 at London Heathrow. The terminal is exclusive to British Airways’ and Iberia Airlines’ customers and is capable of handling 30 million customers a year. In March 2016, Terminal 5 was named by Skytrax as Best Airport Terminal for the fifth year running. London Heathrow also won the Best Airport Shopping award.

Sandra Tiltman


September 30, 2016


The Actors Centre Australia and 107 Projects recently launched The New Plot at 107 Redfern Street, Redfern. The aim is to bring new Australian stories to the stage by developing the talent that makes them possible.

In attendance were some of Australia’s most acclaimed and accomplished stage professionals, including international award winning director Gale Edwards, playwright Stephen Sewell and ACA CEO and Chairman of The New Plot, Dean Carey.

The New Plot, undertaken as a joint initiative between Actors Centre Australia and 107 Projects, is a national playwriting award aimed at growing the vast amount of Australian stage talent and unearthing the next great Australian playwright.


The New Plot Ambassador, Gale Edwards’ introductory speech was particularly rousing and touched on the importance of plays and performing in maintaining the identities of both ourselves and our nation. “If a play defines our universal humanity, it also reflects our national identity. Our Australian culture is reflected back to us” Gale Edwards commented as part of an address that provided insights into the role of the playwright and the important connection between playwright and director.

Actors from Actors Centre Australia performed an original work, much to the delight of the crowd, which bought the power of the spoken word into the room.

Sandra Tiltman


September 24, 2016


Celebrity Cruises, the modern luxury cruise line, is celebrating an exciting new partnership as gold sponsor of the 2016 Lavazza Italian Film Festival, to be held at the Palace Norton Street in Italy’s Sydney home of Leichhardt.

There will be special ‘Roman Cruise Holiday’ themed activities throughout the month long festival, including presenting the closing night film, the 1953 classic Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. The new 4K restoration of Roman Holiday follows Princess Anne (Hepburn) and Joe Bradley (Peck) as they travel around Rome capturing vivid images of their adventures at notable landmarks, including the Trevi Fountain, The Colosseum, Mouth of Truth, Spanish Steps and Roman Forum. This Hollywood classic is one of the most viewed romantic comedies of all time.


Throughout the Lavazza Italian Film Festival, those attending the festival can capture and share their Italian moments on social media with a special Roman Cruise Holiday themed stage set up.


Adam Armstrong, managing director of Celebrity Cruises Australia said “It’s an honour to partner with this much loved festival, it’s no wonder this is Australia’s biggest cultural film festival. We’re extremely proud to help bring a bit of Italia to Australian audiences in whatever small way we can. Other than being there in person, I can’t think of a better way to experience the culture and passion of Italy than via the magic of film. We hope audiences are captivated by the carefully curated and beautifully modern selection, and that they’re inspired to create their own stories in Europe as a result. For those who watch the films and are inspired by the festival to travel to Italy, a European cruise with Celebrity Cruises is an effortless and beautiful way to create memories in Italy and Europe,” Armstrong concluded.

roman-holiday-movie-poster-1020258634Festival Director Elysia Zeccola Hill says, “The Lavazza Italian Film Festival is a proud tradition at Palace Cinemas which celebrates our love for all things Italian. We are thrilled to partner with Celebrity Cruises for the first time this year and showcase its luxury experiences to the movie going audience. We hope that this is the start of a long standing association between Celebrity Cruises and Palace Cinemas which continues for many more years to come.”

“Roman Holiday” will no doubt whet the appetites of those who view this iconic movie to take a trip to Rome plus visit other European destinations.

To have your own Roman holiday experience in 2017, Celebrity Cruises, with its standout “X”, the mark of modern luxury, is offering a choice of four of the world’s youngest and most sophisticated cruise ships, sailing to over 100 of Europe’s most beautiful destinations. This premium cruise line with its cool, contemporary design and world class dining, from elegant bars and lounges, to their unique Lawn Club with half an acre of freshly manicured real grass at sea, is the perfect way to travel.

One lucky movie goer who enters the Lavazza Italian Film Festival’ s People’s Choice Award will have the chance to take a ‘Roman Cruise Holiday’. To go in the draw to win a European cruise for two on beautiful Celebrity Reflection, festival patrons simply need to choose their favourite film from the Lavazza Italian Film Festival offering.

Sandra Tiltman    Photos: John Pond / Film Company


September 24, 2016


Based on the real life tumultuous romantic relationship between early 1900s legendary filmmaker Mack Sennett and accidental starlet Mabel Normand, this will be the first Sydney professional production of Jerry Herman’s “Mack and Mabel”.

Both a poignant love story and a joyous celebration of Hollywood’s golden age, this dazzling musical comedy is told in flashback from the point of view of Mack, who admits to two obsessions: movies and Mabel Normand.

Mack is a struggling director in the early 20th century, when the fun of the silent screen was dominated by the hysterical chaos of The Keystone Cops and the glamour of the Bathing Beauties, a world where heroes wore capes, girls were tied to the railway tracks and it all ended with a pie in the face. Mabel is the girl from the deli who erupts onto the set with a sandwich delivery. Mack spots potential and Mabel becomes a star. Spanning the years from 1911 to 1938, the show charts their rise and fall, both professionally and romantically.

Awarded eight Tony Award nominations, the show features an outstanding score by Jerry Herman (Hello, Dolly!, La Cage aux Folles) including classic Broadway hits I Won’t Send Roses, Tap Your Troubles Away, Movies Were Movies, Look What Happened to Mabel, Wherever He Ain’t and Time Heals Everything.

Originated by Robert Preston and Bernadette Peters, the roles of Mack and Mabel in the Australian production will be played by Scott Irwin (Helpmann Award nominee for Hairspray, High Society) and rising star Angelique Cassimatis (Little Shop of Horrors, The Rocky Horror Show).

Directed by Trevor Ashley and presented by Working Management in association with Hayes Theatre Co, “Mack and Mabel” will be playing at Hayes Theatre Co, 19 Greenknowe Ave, Potts Point from 18 November 2016 for a strictly limited season.

Sandra Tiltman


September 24, 2016


Internationally acclaimed Australian pianist Sarah Grunstein will be performing J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations next month at concerts in Sydney and Melbourne. These two concerts, which are a rare opportunity to hear one of Australia’s finest international pianists, will be held at the Melbourne Recital Center on Thursday 20 October and the Sydney Opera House, Utzon Room on Tuesday 25 October.

The Melbourne Recital Center concert is presented by the Australian Bach Society and the Australian Friends of the Tel Aviv University (Victoria) whilst the Sydney Opera House concert is presented by the Australian Bach Society.

Praised by the New York Times for her “penetrating musical intelligence”, her performance “tempestuous” and “imbued with a luminous calm, Sarah has performed in the United States, Austria, Hungary, Italy, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and her homeland.

Many will remember Sarah Grunstein as the pianist who, as a young teenager, performed the soundtrack for Bruce Beresford’s early Australian film, “The Getting of Wisdom”. Soon after she moved to New York, graduating from The Juilliard School, where she was later appointed as a Teaching Fellow and earned her doctorate at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Sarah is passionate about performing Bach. From her early studies with Australian pedagogue Nancy Salas, she learned about 18th century styles, character, dance, emotion, and improvisatory performance. This was at a time when most people were still performing Bach in a very “rigid” way. Sarah remarks, “People ask me how I do what I do. I’ve studied and played a lot of Bach and have read much about 18th and 19th century style, not only musical style, but compositional style, improvisation, improvisatory performance and the language of various arts genres including dance, visual arts, and literature. Even though I am playing music that was composed for the harpsichord, I treat the piano as a piano and let my ‘pianist-voice’ speak. Keeping in my mind and heart Bach’s compositional language and what I believe was his creative intent, I go to town with it.”

In its demands of musicianship, keyboard technique and stamina, Bach’s Goldberg Variations is perhaps one of the most challenging works in the keyboard literature. Composed for a two-manual harpsichord, the work demands more of the pianist than even the harpsichordist. The pianist must negotiate the various “hand-crossings” (sometimes one hand directly on top of the other), a physical intricacy and contrapuntal overlapping of which the harpsichordist who would be playing on two manuals, is spared.

Sarah’s career has been marked by her magnetic charisma, musical intelligence and sublime expressivity. Passionate about engaging with audiences, her concerts will include her introductory talk with audiences about the Goldberg Variations.

A longtime Steinway Artist, Sarah’s career has included concerts at New York’s Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and London’s Southbank Centre.

Sandra Tiltman


September 16, 2016


4c130471-fbcc-46fa-8314-865f3367077fAfter a 28 week closure and a reinvestment in excess of AUD13.5 million, Fiji’s VOMO Island has now re-opened. A full renovation was completed in 2015, but further works were needed after Tropical Cyclone Winston struck.

More than AUD6.5 million has also been invested into two brand new palatial residences. This new three and four bedroom beachfront accommodation offers private swimming pools and the lavish interiors one would expect from Fiji’s most sought after island address.

All meals are included in the nightly rates for up to 8 people. Rates start at FJD5620 per night if staying 7 nights or more for 6 people including meals and non-alcoholic beverages. (around AUD3,600 per night).

Renovations to the main resort include changes to roofing, joinery, air conditioning, the main kitchen and landscaping as well as a makeover of the reception.


The gardens have been transformed with fresh, vibrant plants, bursting with colourful and fragrant blooms by landscaping specialist ‘Meli’, originally from New Zealand. The results are stunning and this island paradise is glowing. New flowers are blooming everywhere, which have enticed species of bird-life not seen on VOMO before plus native species that were removed over the years have been added.

Mark Leslie, General Manager said, “It has been a challenging time for all concerned, however you have to experience a little rain to receive a rainbow and the enhancements we’ve been able to make during this closure have become our blessing.  We have two of the most amazing private homes ever built in Fiji that we can now rent on a nightly and weekly basis to guests, a fresh resort with so many new areas and facilities and an extremely experienced and talented team on the island to deliver the VOMO experience.  This is such a tremendous accomplishment for everyone who has not just brought VOMO back, but enhanced the resort in so many ways.”

VOMO is offering up to two nights on a complimentary basis in all villa and private residence categories when staying from 10 October to 23 December 2016, 9 January to 31 March 2017, 1 May to 23 June 2017. Book a stay of seven nights and only pay for five or book a stay of five nights and only pay for four.

Sandra Tiltman