September 16, 2017

IMG_5845.jpgFast paced dialogue plus a convoluted story full of intrigue, keeps the audience alert and on the edge of their seats, while watching the Genesian Theatre’s latest production. Charles Morey’s “Figaro”, is an adaptation of “Le Mariage de Figaro”, based on the play written in 1778 by Beaumarchais, which was initially banned by the censors due to criticism of the French aristocracy and gave voice to the growing revolutionary thinking of the era.

Directed by Shane Bates and with costumes designed by Susan Carveth, “Figaro” is set in late 18th century Spain and highlights the difference in the class structure of the day. The action evolves around Figaro, Count Almaviva’s man servant, who is engaged to Suzanne, the maidservant to the Countess. The mayhem arises when the Count, who has been married for three years, will not sign the marriage contract allowing Figaro and Suzanne’s marriage to go ahead, as he has his own plans for Suzanne.

Suzanne and the Countess are dubious of the Figaro-ian scheme to persuade the Count of his love for the Countess and decide to take matters into their own hands. Mistaken identities and broken promises follow, along with a love sick page, a birthmark in the shape of a spatula and plenty of doors and letters.

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Ted Crosby as Figaro plays the role with a gifted comedic touch, while Yasmin Arkinstall as Suzanne is the perfect foil to carry off the madcap happenings.

“Figaro” is currently playing at the Genesian Theatre, 420 Kent Street, Sydney until 14 October 2017. Friday & Saturday nights at 7.30pm with a Sunday matinée at 4.30pm.

Sandra Tiltman


September 5, 2017


After a record breaking season last year, the 60th anniversary revival of Lerner & Loewe’s “My Fair Lady” is now playing at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre for a limited return season.

Directed by Julie Andrews, this beloved musical, which took the world by storm, tells the tale of Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle, whose world was forever changed by the brilliant and demanding phoneticist, Professor Henry Higgins. The clash of cultures sparks some of theatre’s most witty dialogue and wonderful songs such as “I Could Have Danced All Night”, “Get Me to the Church on Time”, “On The Street Where You Live” and “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?”.


Helpmann Award winning Anna O’Byrne, is absolutely superb as Eliza Doolittle, playing alongside acclaimed stage and television performer Charles Edwards as Professor Higgins.

The outstanding cast includes the delightful Reg Livermore in the role of Alfred P. Doolittle and Robyn Nevin (who also won a Helpmann Award for this role) playing Mrs Higgins with such elegance.


The role of Colonel Hugh Pickering is played with aplomb by Tony Llewellyn-Jones as is the role of love struck Freddy Eynsford-Hill by Joel Parnis.

Associates of the original design team have worked with this production to bring to life once again the stunning sets by Oliver Smith and the glorious costumes by Cecil Beaton.  It’s hard to imagine another production that can equal these incredible sets and magnificent costumes.


Contributing to the creative team is Tony award winning choreographer Christopher Gattelli, musical director Guy Simpson, lighting design by Broadway and West End legend Richard Pilbrow and sound design by Michael Waters.

This award winning production is an experience not to be missed.

Sandra Tiltman   Photos: John Pond




August 13, 2017


A touch of European winter has arrived in Darlinghurst at the East Village Hotel where over 4,000 fairy lights adorn the Winter Garden themed rooftop restaurant located on the hotel’s Terrace Bar, which also offers an added bonus of magnificent views of the Sydney city lights.

Don’t let the chilly winter nights deter you from dining at this unique venue as diners can wrap themselves in snowflake printed blankets while basking under the warm glow of the lanterns and heaters, as they sip Martel cognac hot toddies, warm mead and mulled wine.


On our recent visit, Yolanda immediately made us feel welcome and was so helpful offering suggestions as we read the menu. I’m certainly glad I followed her recommendation when choosing from the list of eight cocktails as The Queen Bee, a delicious mix of vodka, vermouth, elderflower liqueur and honey, proved to be a winner.


To begin, from the Grazing menu we shared the Spanner Crab Roll, a brioche style bun crammed full of crab meat which made me want to order seconds, plus the Crisp Free Range Pork Belly, cut into bite size pieces. A good start as we could not go wrong with these selections.


For mains we chose from the Pub Classics menu. The Chicken Parma, served with salsa and melted cheese was hard to go past as was the Porterhouse Steak, mashed potatoes and broccolini. Beer Battered Fish & Chips and Shepherds Pie were two other options that made the decision difficult.

Who can resist dessert? Not us. Even though we no longer felt hungry, we decided to share Hot Doughnuts which were so good.


The Winter Garden also serves traditional treats of Currywurst, Beef Bourguignon and a Honey Glazed Ham Board to enhance the European atmosphere.

Located at 234 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst, East Village Hotel, formerly known as the Tradesman’s Arms Hotel, is part of the area’s rich history when the notorious razor gangs roamed the neighbouring streets and laneways. Times change and Darlinghurst has become “gentrified” and is now home to a trendy generation of residents.


East Village Hotel has a friendly vibe and is a great place to enjoy dinner. The evening we visited the Rooftop Restaurant tables of twos, fours and sixes dined harmoniously alongside a large group of young ladies celebrating an engagement.

Sandra Tiltman     Photos: John Pond


July 30, 2017


VELVET, billed as “A Divine Discotheque Circus” is currently exciting Sydney theatregoers at the Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay. This ARIA nominated and award winning hit show has announced that due to popular demand, its Sydney season will be extended for a further two weeks and will run until Sunday 20 August.

VELVET lets the audience experience a funky, fun and sexy night at an upbeat disco, complete with glitterball and a non-stop exhilarating disco soundtrack, that never lets up from the opening moment.


Director Craig Ilott has created a hedonistic world, pitting dazzling acrobatics against disco divas as this sparkling show channels the original Studio 54 nightclub. This international ensemble of circus, cabaret and music includes muscle man Stephen Williams, hula boy extraordinaire Craig Reid, acrobatic wunderkind Mirko Köckenberger, sizzling aerialist Emma Goh, Kaylah Attard and Rechelle Mansour as the two sassy sirens plus actor/singer Tom Oliver who plays the young ingénue who slips behind the red velvet rope at the glamorous nightclub that is VELVET as well as musical director and mix master Joe Accaria, alongside the legendary diva Marcia Hines.

Sandra Tiltman   Photos: John Pond



July 29, 2017


new-dmitry-header.jpgA magical evening of music which had the audience clamouring for more was performed at the City Recital Hall in Angel Place recently when The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra welcomed back Russian violinist, Dmitry Sinkovsky, one of the world’s most dynamic young baroque music stars, for a return season.

With a program that included Italian, German and French music by baroque masters Vivaldi, Locatelli, Telemann, Leclair and Aubert featuring violins and horns, I thought the evening could not get any better until Dmitry Sinkovsky wowed the audience with his singing.

A star student of the iconic Moscow Conservatory, where Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich once taught and Rachmaninoff studied, Dmitry was groomed for an international career on modern violin but changed focus in 2005 and pursued specialised early music training in Moscow, Montreal and Holland. He is now a highly regarded laureate in many European violin competitions, including first, audience and critic’s prizes in the coveted Music Antiqua Competition in Bruges and is in great demand as a soloist and director, not only for his musical prowess, but also his charisma on the concert stage.

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Dmitry performs on an exquisite Francesco Ruggeri violin that was made in Cremona in 1675 and made available to him by the Netherlands based Jumpstart Jr Foundation, which identifies the world’s leading young and gifted musicians and provides them with precious gut-string period instruments crafted by the old masters.

As guest director and soloist on baroque violin, Dmitry will be touring with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra in Sydney and Melbourne, plus making his debut in Brisbane.

Sydney: City Recital Hall, 2 Angel Place on 2 & 4 August at 7pm.

Melbourne: Recital Centre on 5 August at 7pm & 6 August at 5pm.

Brisbane: QPAC on 8 August at 7.30pm.

Sandra Tiltman


July 23, 2017


Prior to the announcement of the Archibald Prize winner each year, I always look forward to learning which painting receives the honour of being awarded the Packing Room Prize. A cash prize of $1500, the Packing Room Prize is awarded to the best entry in the Archibald Prize, as judged by the Gallery staff who receive, unpack and hang the entries.


Steve Peters, the head packer at the Art Gallery of New South Wales for 35 years, pleased the crowd when he announced his final year judging choice for the Packing Room Prize was a portrait of journalist and television personality Lisa Wilkinson AM, painted by New South Wales Central Coast artist Peter Smeeth.

With 51% of the vote, Steve maintains that the Packing Room Prize should be awarded to a portrait, “that’s good and looks just like the sitter.” Steve said “I looked at the painting and thought, that’s a great likeness. It’s how Lisa looks every morning on the telly. She looks like she’s laughing at something Karl said!”


An Archibald finalist three times, artist Peter Smeeth, who won the Sulman Prize in 2011, is a regular entrant to the Archibald Prize, having entered for the past 34 years, which is almost as long as Steve Peters has been awarding the prize.

Lisa Wilkson said she was thrilled that Peter Smeeth had won the Packing Room Prize and humbled that she was the subject of his work. “I love the Art Gallery of New South Wales, adore the Archibald and as a big fan of portraiture I was taken with Peter’s portrayal. He got me. A particular thank you to head packer, Steve Peters, who picked this portrait, and who, I am told, is retiring after 40 years on the job. Go well,” Lisa commented.

In 2018 the Packing Room Prize mantle will be handed to installation officer Brett Cuthbertson who replaces Steve Peters as head packer.

Sandra Tiltman      Photos: John Pond

Photo Titles:

Peter Smeeth’s Winning Portrait

Steve Peters & Brett Cuthbertson in front of Lucy Culliton’s portrait of Steve and Peter Smeeth’s winning portrait of Lisa.

Lisa Wilkinson


May 22, 2017

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There’s nothing like a good Agatha Christie to make people leave the comfort of their homes on these cold evenings. Judging by the packed house at the performance I attended of the Genesian Theatre’s current offering, I would have to conclude that Miss Marple is a crowd pleaser.

Each year the Genesian season includes an Agatha Christie play and their current showing of “A Murder Is Announced”, adapted by Leslie Darbon, does not disappoint. In typical Christie style, there are many red herrings thrown around to keep the audience guessing, but as usual, the guilty person is the least likely and is not revealed until the last moments of the performance.


Genesian Theatre 10 May 2017 - Homepix Photography - 0372.jpgThe action takes place in a very English drawing room inhabited by the very English characters one associates with a typical Christie play. This time there is no immediate body to be found, but the anticipation of one soon to appear is what keeps everyone guessing after a murder, which is to occur in Miss Blacklock’s house, is announced in the local paper.

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Directed by John Grinston, the play is fast paced and the performances from the large cast are excellent, that one sometimes forgets this is amateur theatre.

“A Murder is Announced” is currently playing at the Genesian Theatre, 420 Kent Street, Sydney until 24 June 2017. Friday & Saturday nights at 7.30pm with a Sunday matinée at 4.30pm. Running time is 2 hours 40 minutes, with a 20 minute interval.

Sandra Tiltman