On the 28th and 29th of June, the Renaissance Players present the 36th Annual Runnymede Pop Festival in the Great Hall at the University of Sydney. This is a wonderful concert that takes you back to times as far back as the thirteenth century, in an accessible, humourous setting, with some modern twists.
I’ve previously seen The Renaissance Players perform, yet they never cease to amaze me. If you’ve ever considered listening to Medieval music, in fact even if you haven’t, I recommend these players. They are so on point, so talented at what they do, in can’t help but be impressed at their skills and finesse. Not only do they present a professional performance, but they also work in sync, so much so that I feel completely at ease in their hands. If you aren’t accustomed to period pieces, it’s interesting to know that most of the music is a little bit tedious and monotonous, and there little to no hummable beat or tune for the mind to latch onto for novices (like me). Yet what the Renaissance Players do is create an entertaining space with a dynamic atmosphere and personality, which in turn manages to keep your attention, if not impress you, (not to mention their incredible mastery of some period instruments I haven’t come across before).
Winsome Evans is totally engaging with her harp and Jessica O’Donoghue is an intoxicatIng soprano. Her voice echoed through the Great Hall in an ethereal a capella performance of Sa sibilla, which was followed by mesmerising organ work in Beata viscera virginis. Special mentions of Unter der linden and [Rubin] Salterello showcased how such music can be both complex and tranquil, and so perfectly balanced. The atmosphere fluctuated between Lord of the Dance-esque, to Robin Hood soundtrack, and even dreamlike. We navigated our way through the middle ages with the help of God’s Fool- a mime providing comic relief, as well as Geoff Sirmai’s theatrical poetry readings, exploring Frederick May’s linguistic emporium.
What an excellent night out. Rug up- the Great Hall can be a little chilly when sitting still for a lengthy period of time.
Image credits: http://www.weekendnotes.com/renaissance-players-runnymede-pop-festival/
Bondi Winter Magic begins this weekend as part of an initiative to spice up Bondi during the colder months. The Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with Waverly Council are celebrating their 5th Bondi Winter Magic, which brings Bondi’s beach strip, shopping district and nightlife a jazzed up vibe, encouraging Sydneysiders and tourists alike to unleash their inner child. From 9am until 10pm daily, artists and musicians light up the streets, while skaters young and old carve up Sydney’s only ice rink by the sea. The local businesses have deals for Winter Magic, in an attempt to give Bondi a winter presence, when it is so often regarded as a summer destination.
The launch of Bondi Winter Magic was a real party. Colourful lights set the Bondi Pavillion ablaze and The Bucket List was the perfect venue to host the launch. Business owners from the local area and dignitries from the Waverly Council mixed with media and beach lifeguards. Mulled Wine and warm spiced cider accompanied Ham and Cheese croquets and haloumi on polenta, to name a few canapes. We were warmly greeted and introduced to the Winter Magic social media promotion, which allowed us a direct stream of photos from the night onto our facebook profiles- something which is nothing less than an excellent marketing technique used to filter the party atmosphere into the cyber regions.
The Ice Rink by the sea was celebrated by none other than the stars of Sochi. When we were allowed on the rink, the we had a wonderful time! The skates were sharp and comfortable and there were penguins for kids who felt uneasy on the ice. The initiative is super family friendly and attracts people from all walks of life to just have a go and get involved in the buzz that is Bondi in winter.
Thursday night saw the album launch of Matty B’s Philosophical Bogan, a stand up show of hilarious comedy coming from the renowned Matty B.
The Friend in Hand, Glebe, was the perfect setting for a comedy set. I don’t often frequent the pub, so I wasn’t really aware of the Thursday routine that is A Mike In Hand- an opportunity for amateur stand up comedians to showcase their work. The Friend In Hand hotel is a quirky, offbeat pub steeped in old timey Australiana. It has the full regalia, such as mannequins in wet suits, a wall of car registration plates and complete with George, the resident Cockatoo. The Friend in Hand is a place of unique character, warmth and has an inherent sense of Australian dry, sarcastic humour anyway- so it only makes sense for the hotel to boast a live comedy night.
The line up of comedians were great. For an amateur presentation, the presenters gave all they had- some presenting successful one-liners bam, one after the other, others from an international stage with reflections on travel and Australia. The most memorable comedians managed to dish out representations of modern society with uncanny accuracy and hilarious logic. These esoteric outlooks on life left the audience massaging their cheeks from laughing too hard.
The headline act, Matty B, served his unique perspectives on life with the side dishes of dry, black humour and fragmented existentialism. His act was aptly named Philosophical Bogan and I highly recommend his act to anyone interested in stand up comedy. His humour is based in reality with real life experiences as he astutely draws attention to their inherent flaws and mocks them with dry comic timing. At other times, his experiences are so unique and esoteric that you can’t help but laugh at the level of ridiculity and outrageousness in each situation.
A great night out, I recommend both A Mike In Hand and Matty B to all.