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Somewhere, Everywhere, Nowhere

White Pearl

This modern dance is the creation of the two performers, Adelaide based Alison Currie and Japanese, but Berlin based, Yui Kawaguchi and is intended to reflect the connect and disconnect, similarities and differences that the modern world creates.

With just two mobile steep ramps and a mass of light tubes that appeared like a mess of wires for props the two dancers / choreographers moved separately but together, manipulating the props to meet the needs of the work. In doing so they convey the notion that in this digital world, whilst we are able communicate over vast distances, we are not really together.

In many ways this is a true reflection of the artists themselves as the pandemic meant that the work was all the more difficult to create due to  the distance and time tyranny imposed upon them.

The dance opened with Yui largely immobile on the ramp, slowly becoming freer and showing much skill and physical strength in being able to move with ease on a very steep slope, something both dancers displayed during the performance. Alison appeared inside the other ramp
and moved with grace within the confines of this small space before
emerging.

The minimalist industrial soundtrack gave context to the movement
onstage, making the message that much clearer. This included a multitude
of sound effects, for example traffic noise and ultimately chatter,
which seemed to be concerned with mental health as they both become
enmeshed in the tangle of optic cables.

Given the circumstances in which this work was created and developed
the end result is a testament to both of them and a thoroughly enjoyable
dance.

Michael Prescott

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The writer of White Pearl once described it as both a black comedy and a corporate play. It is both of these things but I would add, more than a slice of satire, and as the story unravels, themes and threads which stay with the audience long after the lights have faded.

Like so many dramatic presentations it does not start at the beginning but at the point where the thriving cosmetic skin whitening business has crashed ignominiously, due to an advertisement  which was thought to be funny until it clearly was not.

With this disaster comes the desperate unraveling of the ‘we are all one family here’ atmosphere which had prevailed while the business was developing into a successful enterprise.

All the cast, apart from the sleazy ex-boyfriend who is French, are from Asia with English as a second language. Obviously they are fluent but with the odd confusion which lends to the humour. The concept of Asian  as a single  entity is clearly inadequate when you have a group whose members come from China, Japan, Philippines, South Korea and India, and the differences between them become more and more apparent as their sales plummet, and blame is to be attached, but to whom?  The ‘all one family’ becomes a fight for individual pride and survival. In moments of extreme stress one or another will retire to the ‘loo’ which becomes a kind of confessional. This allows a different side to the characters to be revealed.

The cast (Kristy Best, Cheryl Ho, Mayu Wasaki, Nicole Milikov, Lin Yun and Mathew Pearce) are uniformly excellent in this slick, modern, fast moving modern morality play, aided by the lightning and music. They play to their ethnic characters, to just the right side of stereotype.

Underlying the action is a sense of unease; why is white skin better? can you ever be too white? does the Australian colonial past blind us to the fact that we are not only geographically in Asia, but have strong ties with the region through contact, migration, trade and travel?  Is all fair in business, if it leads to profit? These thoughts  follow the laughs, of which there are plenty.
It’s a play that stays with you long after the lights come up and the audience heads for home, or the nearest watering hole. That, to my mind, is a play worth seeing.

Emily Sutherland

The 5MBS Young Virtuoso Award concert was held on Sunday 24th October in St John’s Church, Halifax St at 2:30 pm.

About:

The Young Virtuoso Awards program is part of the commitment of community radio station 5mbs to the development of live music and musicians in Adelaide. Through this program, 5mbs encourages young South Australian musicians in their development as budding professionals, in their artistic development and in helping them to reach for the pinnacle of their abilities. Donate here.

We’re delighted to announce that the Young Virtuoso Award was presented by the new Governor of South Australia, Frances Adamson AC.

Eight outstanding young musicians were selected through the Adelaide Eisteddfod competitions to be contestants for the Young Virtuoso Award.

Phillipa McAuliffeHarp
Maria ZhdanovichFlute
Jenny SuPiano
Mitchell LloydPiano
Cherie SurmanVoice
Macintyre Howie ReevesVoice
Connor WhyteGuitar
Giulio MucciGuitar

This year’s prizes:

Vocal:$750
Instrumental:$750
Piano:$750
Overall winner:$2,000

Adjudicators for this year:

Gil Sullivan


One of Australia’s resident full-time concert pianists, Gil Sullivan tours extensively both around Australia and overseas, performing each year throughout Asia, Europe, the U.K., and the United States. He is also a teacher and a regular adjudicator of the Julian Cochran International Piano competition. Read more.

Lachlan Bramble

Lachlan is Associate Principal 2nd Violin of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and violinist with the Benaud Trio. He has also been a guest musician with the Melbourne and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, Orchestra Victoria and the Australian String Quartet. A passionate educator, Lachlan has tutored violins of the Australian Youth Orchestra, the Adelaide Youth Orchestra and at many National Music Camps. and was Director of the Elder Conservatorium Chamber Orchestra from 2011 – 2015. Lachlan also enjoys teaching violin privately.

Brian Chatterton

Brian Chatterton co-founded Co-Opera and was its Musical Director from its inception in 1990 until 2017. He was formerly Head of Performing Arts at the South Australian College of Advanced Education, Director of the Elder Conservatorium and Dean of Performing Arts at the University of Adelaide. From 1973 to 1978 he worked with State Opera of SA as repetiteur, chorus master and musical director for many productions. He regularly adjudicates at music Eisteddfods.

Remembering Robert Brown.

This year, 5MBS is remembering the work done in past years by Robert Brown, OAM, for his work with the Adelaide Eisteddfod, organizing the Young Virtuoso Award as well as being a music teacher and President of the Flute Society. He was a regular presented of the Flute Society program on 5MBS.
Sadly, Robert died recently after an illness. Robert was a tireless worker in the support of young up and coming classical musicians and will be greatly missed.
5MBS is dedicating this year’s Award to his memory.

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