Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

February 9, 2019

Today is Carole King’s birthday which brings back happy memories from last year.

We were in Denver with an evening to spare before joining IrrigationNZ’s tour of Colorado and Nebraska when we saw advertisements for Beautiful: The Carole King Story.

Professor Google told us we were only a few blocks from the theatre and had time to walk there before it started.

There were tickets to spare, we bought them and spent the next few hours entranced.

We didn’t know how many of her songs we knew until we heard them.

From the first song  It might As Well Rain Until September  to the last encore, it was Beautiful.

 


Windsor Davies – 28.8.30 – 17.1.19

January 20, 2019

Actor Windsor Davies has died.

Comedy actor Windsor Davies, who was immortalised as the sergeant major in TV series It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, has died aged 88.

Davies, who also topped the pop charts with sitcom partner Don Estelle in 1975, had modelled the role on men he knew on National Service.

“Apart from the brilliance of the writing, I think It Ain’t Half Hot Mum was brilliant because that is how it really was,” he told BBC Wales in 2012.


Blame this . . .

January 8, 2019

. . . for my unrequited desire to participate in a food fight:

The Great Race was released in the 1960s. All these decades later it still makes me laugh.


Untouchable Girls

June 4, 2018

The Topp Twins, Jules and Lynda, have become Dames in the Queens BIrthday Honours.

They were rebels, activists. Now they’re dames.

Entertainers Jools and Lynda, the Topp Twins, were appointed Dame Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Or as Jools – sorry, Dame Julie Bethridge Topp – puts it: “The rebels got their medals.” . . .


Alas poor Fortune I knew it well

May 1, 2018

One of Dunedin’s cultural gems, the Fortune Theatre, has announced its immediate closure:

Employees were told at 9am the theatre company would close today, with no further shows to be performed there.

Fortune Board of Trustees chairwoman Haley van Leeuwen said the board had been through an exhaustive process of reviews, and had closed the theatre because it was no longer financially viable.

According to its website it employed 11 permanent staff.

“We would like to acknowledge our staff during this difficult time who have worked hard towards the goal of securing the future of the theatre.”

“We have looked at many different avenues to avert closure, however theatres and their audiences have changed over the years, and we must now take stock, with the goal of keeping the tradition of local professional theatre alive in Dunedin.”

“Whatever future development arises it will be in a new format that represents the future model of theatre in New Zealand.

Fortune Theatre is New Zealand’s southernmost professional theatre and was established in 1974 at the Athenaeum in the Octagon.

It moved to its present location at the Trinity Methodist Church in 1978. . . 

 This is very sad for those directly affected, the arts community, the city and wider Otago.

The first play I saw at the Fortune was Roger Hall’s Glide Time (which later spawned the popular and long-running TV series Gliding On).

It was the first live play I had seen at a professional theatre and the first New Zealand play I’d seen performed.

I was a student then and continued going to the theatre until I finished university.

When I moved back to North Otago a few years later I began going down to Dunedin for plays when I could.

I returned to university about 10 years ago and for the next couple of years two friends and I would have a quick meal before going to Tuesday’s 6pm performance.

Those early evening performances worked well when I was back home, enabling a car load of us to see a play without being too late home.

But alas, in the last few years I wasn’t a regular theatre-goer and the Fortune’s fortunes show that too few others were too.

I am very sorry to read of its closure and hope that efforts to resurrect it are successful.


Stadiums don’t make profits but

April 3, 2018

Economists generally agree that stadiums don’t make profits.

I am not equipped to argue against that but, profitable or not, Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr stadium is making a huge contribution to the social life and economy not just of the city but the wider region.

South-bound traffic was bumper to bumper on State Highway 1 through Oamaru on Thursday as people from Canterbury headed to Dunedin for Ed Sheeran’s first concert.

Traffic heading north and east to the city were just as busy.

The ODT reported on a city full of people enjoying themselves, and spending up large through the weekend.

North-bound traffic was bumper to bumper as people headed home yesterday and businesses en route benefitted from travellers who stopped.

Riverstone Kitchen, north of Oamaru and a few kilometres on the right side of the Waitaki River, is always popular with locals and travellers.

But this Facebook post shows how busy it was this weekend, owing in no small part to concert goers stopping on their way to and from Dunedin.

Easter Weekend – 5 record breaking MAMMOTH DAYS!

Here’s a few stats for you:
38kg Coffee used
over 1/2 tonne of potatoes
25 staff with an accumulated 916 hours worked
2420 people eating in the restaurant ( plus many more takeaways we didn’t count)
95kg fish
312 litres milk
and 218 Hot Cross Buns (sold on just 1 day!)

We hope you all had a good weekend and got to relax a little more than we did.  . . 

The building of the stadium attracted a lot of critics, some still argue against it. They may have grounds for their criticism.

But when the stadium has a show that attracts visitors numbering more than half the city’s population and their spending benefits many businesses en route as well, the optimism of those who backed it is vindicated too.

 


John Clarke 29.7.48 – 9.4.17

April 10, 2017

John Clarke, satirist and comedian extraordinaire has died.

Born in Palmerston North, he studied at Victoria University before heading to London, where he gained a break through with a part in the 1972 Barry Humphries comedy The Adventures of Barry McKenzie.

Clarke came home a year later, and was in the cast of New Zealand’s first sitcom, the student-flat comedy Buck House.

By then, Clarke had already pioneered his iconic character Fred Dagg in short TV sketches and a Country Calendar ‘spoof’ edition. . .

Clarke moved to Australia where he continued to delight audiences as a writer and satirist.

For 25 years he and Brian Bryan Dawe poked the borax at politicians in Clarke and Dawe.

You can see some of his work at Mr John Clarke, read his bio at NZ on Screen and listen to an interview with Jesse Mulligan at RNZ.


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