Both music and characters stand out in Big River, the Roger Miller musical, a great story of adventure on the Mississippi with a foot-stomping country music score. There is Huckleberry Finn (Brian Pamphilon), the eternal kid Tom Sawyer (Josh Green) and the honourable runaway slave, Jim (Carl Moore).
Disrupting their journey are the outrageous pair of snake oil salesmen, the King (Graeme Speed) and the Duke (Tim Roberts), who escape an angry mob to join the raft. These two have, as Huck tells us, ‘as many schemes as a possum does ticks’. Huck is intrigued by the delinquent ‘royals’ as they find new ways to fleece ignorant townsfolk. In the song The Royal Nonesuch, they swindle locals tempted to see a fabulous made-up creature, but step up to serious fraud when they meet the Wilkes family, mourning the death of their patriarch. Hearing that a fortune is to be inherited they present themselves as the rightful heirs.
Big River is a show with great music, entertaining characters and lots of laughs, and beyond the fun it will make you think. A memorable musical experience for all the family.
Big River will be staged at the Ballina Players Theatre from November 13 until December 5. Evening performances begin at 8pm and Sunday matinees at 2pm.
Opening night patrons will receive a complimentary glass of champagne.
Book tickets on the website at ballinaplayers.com.au or at Just Funkin Music, 6686 2440.
The ’Cracker is a classic
The Byron Ballet Company once again brings the world’s most popular ballet to Byron Theatre. Tchaikovsky’s musical score is sublime and a perfect introduction to classical music for children. Young audiences will be mesmerised by this coming of age story where the Christmas party transforms into a battleground between mice and toy soldiers, and the Nutcracker Prince repels the wicked Rat King. In hundreds of towns and cities across the globe, The Nutcracker is performed annually to packed houses as it is simply the best and most accessible ballet in the world. Come to celebrate with us this masterpiece of dance and music. Special guest principal dancer Micheal Braun (ex-N.Z, WA and QLD ballets). Be dazzled at the Byron Theatre on November 6, 7 and 8.
It’s short and it’s hot
The Drill Hall Theatre Company’s biennial short play competition, Hot Shorts, is a favourite event running over two weekends from November 6, so book early. This year there are nine strong plays and the variety of styles and themes make this one of the strongest Hot Shorts ever.
Kane And Doris – that moment when you are in a public place and the person next to you has a very public meltdown; The Big One – local mayor Gordon Hunt believes he is some kind of God with a dominion stretching as far as the eye can see; Two Girls And A Box – curiosity, it lurks in all of us, and let’s face it, life would be pretty boring without it. Sometimes it can get us into trouble though… like when it trumps privacy. The Widow Maker – one day my mind did something different; Mrs Serafini – exploring the notion of dealing with loss and the reality constructed by each person that is distinctly different from the next person’s; Follow Spot – prompted by a post show discussion about a lighting operator having a run in with an actor; Dottie – I have been writing since I was 16 and now, having turned 90, my passion for writing and theatre is just as strong; Mother’s Hat – a surreal, expressionist look at the prejudices of a conservative family as they deal with an unwelcome visitor. In The Vacuum – an absurdist or horribly real look at how we frail and lovely humans tackle the big and the small…
Remember that Hot Shorts needs you, the audience, to vote for the three subsidiary prize winners after the main prize has been determined by a panel from the Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre.
Tickets ($20 & $15) are on sale at The Bookshop Mullumbimby, always worth a visit to see the great selection of books, or online at drillhalltheatre.org.au.
More faith in Catto
Jamie Catto, founding member of British electronica band Faithless and creator, producer/director of the multi-award winning 1 Giant Leap is currently visiting Byron Shire doing a series of workshops and talks. 1 Giant Leap was a global music and philosophy film and album, which was recorded as part of a seven-month journey across all five continents and received two Grammy nominations.
During his Insanely Gifted creative workshop in Mullumbimby (because, hey, aren’t we all insanely gifted in this shire) he will share the richly diverse wisdom, techniques and processes he gathered along the way. It’s a chance to tap into your own innate creative self and playfully unlock your potential to get your ideas out!
The Best of British in Byron
Retturning for its third year, the BBC First British Film Festival is thrilled to announce its full line-up of films, showcasing the best and brightest in films from the British Isles. Featuring 28 titles, the program captures the magic, unique humour, romance, traditions and new age vitality of British culture.
The festival will open with Paolo Sorrentino’s highly anticipated film, Youth, nominated for the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes film festival, and the follow up to his Academy award-winning film, The Great Beauty (2013). Following two old friends, retired composer Fred (Michael Caine) and film director Mick (Harvey Keitel), on vacation at a prestigious hotel in the Swiss Alps, the film is an introspective and thought-provoking, wry buddy comedy.
Also featured in the festival are: straight from its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, The Man Who Knew Infinity; this year’s BFI London Film Festival opening night selection, Suffragette; Queen of the Desert, from legendary director Werner Herzog; and Dare to be Wild, the true story of Irish heroine Mary Reynolds.
This is just the tip of the iceberg – The British Film Festival screens at Palace Byron Bay Cinema from October 29 to November 18. Tickets and programs available at box office or online at www.britishfilmfestival.com.au.