Tag Archives: Sterling Work

Graduate Dramatic Society



The Man from Mukinupin

New Fortune Theatre, UWA

reviewed by Neville Cohn


For those who look forward to GRADS’ Shakespearean offerings on UWA campus, there are only the leanest pickings from the Bard for 2013 – a few moments from Othello presented as a play within a play in Dorothy Hewett’s The Man from Mukinupin. Jack and Polly


Peopled by a range of often-odd citizens who live in Hewett’s imaginary town in the back blocks of W.A., the play makes for an absorbing theatre experience. And it says a great deal for director Aarne Neeme and his large cast, that momentum was so efficiently maintained in a play that, unless carefully managed, can all too easily die of inertia. Not so here. It unfolded beautifully. It hadn’t a dull moment.


Above the Mukinupin council chambers at stage rear were positioned a number of musicians who did sterling work in both mood evocation and backing of vocals, although overly repetitive keyboard figurations in music prior to the play proper were an essay in dullness.


Small country towns, just as big cities, invariably have their share of inhabitants who’ve experienced disappointment and deprivation. And who more so than Clemmy (played by Yvette Wall), a former circus tightrope walker – a small star but a star nonetheless – who survives a fall that has crippled her. She gets about with a crutch and limps badly.   Her manner cleverly evoked an aura of past glory, regret tinged by despair.

                                                         Jack, Mercy and Polly

Cameron Taylor was altogether impressive as Jack, the young grocery shop assistant clearly deeply enamoured of his boss’ daughter. When World War I breaks out, he joins up with all the enthusiasm of a young patriot doing his duty without, perhaps, the realisation of what really lies before him and so many of his generation.


As Jack’s love interest, Polly, Bonnie Coyle was entirely convincing. With the fresh-faced innocence of youth, she made of Polly a delightful personality.


Hewett calls for a large cast and some not only double up but triple up as does Kenneth Gasmier who delighted as a fussy cum pompous travelling salesman on the lookout for domestic bliss. He has an eye on Polly. He’s also an orange-robed Othello in a tiny travelling theatre troop as well as – quel horreur! – a flasher in trade-mark raincoat and very little else.


No less convincing was Rosemary Longhurst who seemed positively to relish her twin roles as Clarry and black-garbed widow Tuesday. Peter Fry, too, was beyond reproach as shopkeeper Eek – and his alter ego Zeek. And Liz Hoffmann came up trumps as Eek’s wife Edie, ear-trumpet and all.


As is often the case in remote places, gossip is a currency sometimes valued greater than gold and there’s a good deal of it, spoken in low voices, in Mukinupin – and Hewett’s touch here is faultless, her lines again and again having the stamp of sometimes uncomfortable truth.


If this production of The Man from Mukinupin is anything to go by, GRADS are likely to have a very good year.

Photos by Merri Ford and Maddy Connellan

Fremantle Chamber Orchestra



Jessica Gethin (conductor)

Rudolf Koelman (violin)

reviewed by Neville Cohn

photo by Roel Loopers

Rudolf Koelman    Jessica Gethin

Rudolf Koelman Jessica Gethin

Saint Saens: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso 09:04

Saint Saens: Havanaise                   08:40

Wieniawski: Violin Concerto No 2 in D minor, opus 22

Allegro moderato                            10:51

Romance: andante non troppo        04:26

Allegro con fuoco                           00:33

Allegro moderato (a la Zingara)     05:15


Rudolf Koelman, for many years concertmaster of Holland’s famed Concertgebaauw Orchestra, makes frequent visits to Australia. On a number of these occasions, he has fronted up as soloist with the Fremantle Chamber Orchestra. Some of this happy collaboration is now preserved on CD, recently released by the FCO.


Koelman, a formidable soloist, is featured in Saint Saens’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso as well as Havanaise in addition to Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No 2.


Unsurprisingly, Koelman sounded in his element here, adapting to the requirements of each work like fine wine to a goblet. Stylistically impeccable, tonally refulgent, he seems incapable of an ugly sound.


There is a good deal of virtuosity on the part of the soloist but it is never there purely for its own sake. Invariably, it is entirely in context. In this sense, the presentation is in the very best of musical taste and all the more to be recommended for that.


There is clearly an excellent rapport between orchestra and soloist with Jessica Gethin doing sterling work in maintaining momentum and ensuring an equitable tonal balance between soloist and orchestra – and recording engineer Thomas Wearne has come up with the most sound (no pun intended!) result. It’s a recording well worth getting excited about – and for all the right reasons. And there is an extra frisson to the performance, doubtless due to the recording being of live performances before an audience in Fremantle.