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Byron Shire
May 12, 2021


Latest News

How much do you know about koalas?

How well do you know your koala facts? Test your knowledge at the June 2 Koala Hard Quiz in Mullumbimby.

Other News

How full is that glass?

Cr Alan Hunter, Byron Shire Council Council Staff recommend opposing the proposed changes in the Exempt Development provisions to be considered...

Thanks for Bob

Jo Faith, Newtown I wish to thank The Echo for printing the article by Bob Morgan, First Nations academic. This...

Jonson Street bus shelter gone and an era ended

Byron Shire Council says that the wooden bus shelter on Jonson Street outside the Byron Visitors Centre is being removed today with all bus services operating from the new bus interchange on Butler Street in Byron Bay

Father and son win first sailing race

Sixteen boats competed in the Tweed Valley Sailing Club’s race day earlier this month in a 10-12 knot breeze...

Police chase ends in head-on car and truck crash

Police have declared a critical incident investigation after a car chase in Ballina ended in a crash Friday night.


Gareth Smith, Byron Bay Trade Minister Dan Tehan wants to refer China to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) because he...


Film review by John Campbell

If I could be assured that, in my dotage, I will be shunted off to an old people’s home that is anything like the one in which this cosy and endearing piece is set, I would not dread the approach of my twilight years nearly so much – being in the charge of a caring, beautiful blonde doctor (Sheridan Smith) wouldn’t be entirely objectionable either.

Beecham House (after Sir Thomas, the famous conductor), a gorgeous stone manor surrounded by what looks like a manicured Capability Brown landscape, is the last port of call for retired classical musicians. I did not believe for one minute that Billy Connolly (as Wilf) might one day have been an opera singer of renown, but it’s a piffling matter, for he, in ensemble with Tom Courtenay (Reggie), Pauline Collins (Cissy) and Maggie Smith (Jean), are all on-song and playing to type.

Wilf, the waggish Lothario (‘your music brought tears to my ears’) and the others are called upon to sing a quartet from Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto at an upcoming gala fundraiser (2013 marks the composer’s centenary). The group’s major hurdle is to overcome the recalcitrance of Jean, from whom Reggie was bitterly estranged until she arrived unannounced at Beecham.

In his directorial debut, Dustin Hoffman does not hit a false note. This is the work of a veteran who has been in a lot of movies and, aiming to please, knows unerringly how to achieve that goal. Gently paced, with just the right balance of light and shade – albeit without ever scratching very deeply below the surface of occasional despair at physical decline and the recurring melancholy that goes hand in glove with constant memory – honesty and hope prevail.

The latter virtue is underscored by a shrewd but essential inclusion of young people, including a surprisingly touching scene in which a black boy tries to explain rap to Reggie. There’s also plenty of Verdi to offer a heavenly alternative to the gunfire and bloodied corpses that we have come to unquestioningly accept as de rigueur.


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