Saturday, 30 June 2012

Weasel words

Something to help celebrate the end of the financial year.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Australian Society of Authors

A plug for another organisation I've joined this year, the Australian Society of Authors. Membership with them gets you access to some great content on their website, regular print and email newsletters, and copies of their regular magazine, 'Australian Author'. There's also heaps of informative, free content on their website as well, including great information on to how to get published.

Monday, 25 June 2012


Oh lordy, she just said a cotton-pickin' mouthful. I was revising chapters one and two of my novel project for college recently and – as Williams Faulkner said – 'In writing, you must kill your darlings'. Mind you, it doesn't hurt that my story is about zombies, so the killing thing is just fine and dandy ...

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Word limits

I was speaking with one of my teachers this week, who was bemused at word that one of my writing pieces was several thousand words longer than it should have been. I said: 'I can't even clear my throat in under 500 words ... ' She asked me to try ...

Friday, 22 June 2012


We few, we glorious few ...

Hello ... ?

:  )


Stephen King on book-banning:

‘Please remember that book-banning is censorship, and that censorship in a free society is always a serious matter … A proposal to ban a book should always be given the gravest consideration. Book-banners, after all, insist that the entire community should see things their way, and only their way. When a book is banned, a whole set of thoughts is locked behind the assertion that there is only one valid set of values, one valid set of beliefs, one valid perception of the world. It's a scary idea, especially in a society which has been built on the ideas of free choice and free thought.’

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Editors Vic

Following on from yesterday's plug for Writers Victoria, I thought I would also give Editors Vic a plug. I also joined them this year when I started the Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing. Like Writers Victoria, their membership rates are quite reasonable. You get regular email newsletters with heaps of interesting information and articles. They also run regular dinner meetings in the Melbourne CBD. I went to my first one a couple of weeks ago with an editor friend. They had a panel about freelancing as an editor. Very interesting discussion, and a great chance to network with other editors. For a very reasonable price they put on dinner as well. Editors Vic also keep you updated with employment opportunities, and they run training courses. Good stuff!

Writers Victoria

Plug for the good folks over at Writers Victoria. I became a member earlier this year when I started studying the Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing. Their dues are quite reasonable. You get informative, weekly email newsletters from them, as well as ten issues a year of The Victorian Writer magazine.

Thursday, 14 June 2012


Check out the Australian Standards for Editing Practice at the Institute for Professional Editors website. Sounds like dry reading? They're really not. The Standards are a great guide to help both novice editors, like myself, as well as seasoned editors, to balance their skill-sets. They're also the essential guide to preparing for the professional accreditation scheme for editors. Speaking of which, the latest accreditation exam is being held later this year, in October 2012. See the link below for information.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Life's a drag

Play –
Behind You! Behind You!
Producer/Company –
Outcast Theatre
Venue –
Mechanics Institute Performing Arts Centre
Date and time –
Sunday, 15 April 2012, 6:00pm
Cast –
Mathew Gelsumini, Mathew Dorning, Benjamin James, Iain Murton, Jessikah Brown, Tosh Greenslade
Crew –
Steven Dawson (Writer, Director, Designer), Adrian Corbett (Co-Producer)

Outcast Theatre, Australia’s only gay and lesbian theatre company, celebrates its fifteenth anniversary in 2012. This production of ‘Behind You! Behind You!’, performed as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, was a revival of the original production from 2004.

Stephen Dawson is the author of all of Outcast’s play. A theatre journeyman, Dawson also design, directs, produces and stage manages his plays. ‘Behind You! Behind You!’ was billed as ‘half panto, half comedy and half-cocked’. Act one is a performance of a deliberately, hilariously bad pantomime – complete with songs and choreography – and act two is a behind the scenes story of the cast of the panto between performances .

Most of Dawson’s plays fall into the genre of ‘dramedy’; serious issues intermixed with funny scenes and dialogue. Act one was a laugh-out-loud romp through the staple characters, scenes and storylines of panto, with some very camp twists. Act two, although still replete with humour and devastating one-liners, examined the drama in the characters’ relationships.

In the panto section, Iain Murton, an alumni of Outcast Theatre, stole the show as the grand dame of the piece. Mathew Gemsumini also took an amusing turn as the put-upon Puss in Boots. And in the backstage section, the emotional heart of the piece is effectively played out in several relationships, in particular that of the troubled couple played by Tosh Greenslade and Benjamin James.

Outcast’s plays are always entertaining, and have given myself and audiences many huge laughs over the years, with this show being no exception. I’ve often found that Outcast shows could do with more polishing in terms of dialogue and pacing. I think there’s an understanding from their audiences, though, that a certain roughness around the edges of the production doesn’t detract from a good performance.

I attended the original production of ‘Behind You! Behind You’, and have followed the theatre company’s productions for twelve years now. Outcast plays an important role in Australian theatre, producing theatre by and for a gay and lesbian audience. Outcast is based in Melbourne and, although financing their shows on a shoestring budget, tour both Australia-wide and internationally.

Verdict? – Gay as.
(The Abusicals two-word summary is, of course, tongue-in-cheek.)

Monday, 11 June 2012

Friday, 8 June 2012

It’s astounding …

Concert –
The Horror of the Inch
Producer/Company –
All That Glitters
Venue, Date and Time –
Order of Melbourne
Sunday, 22 January, 8pm
DnM Night Club
Sunday, 29 January, 7.30pm
Cast –
Jess Barlow, Joel Bow, Leela Thompson, Dinesh Mathew
Crew –
Musically directed by Shanon Whitelock

The Midsumma gay and lesbian carnival always has some gems tucked away in its program each year. One of the slightly less polished ones this year was this concert, which included a program ranging from ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ to ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’, with plenty of glam rock and/or roll in between.

A talented cast headlined ‘Horror’, with Jess Barlow being quite a find. Barlow’s amazing vocal range effortlessly scaled the heights of her songs. The boyishly handsome Dinesh Mathew provided plenty of bare-torsoed eye candy. And Rach Collins belted out her several numbers, while Joe Bow did his best David Bowie.

I attended ‘Horror’ twice; initially at the Order of Melbourne, after I received free tickets from a friend, and then at DnM Night Club. Neither venues was entirely appropriate to the show, though: Order of Melbourne had a very curious seating design, although its atmosphere and d├ęcor certainly suited the production; and while DnM’s atmosphere was appropriate for the show, the small-ish audience at this performance was a little lost in the large room.

‘Horror’ was a fun, stylish evening of rock and roll, but it was let down by a lack of polish and rehearsal. The show would have greatly benefitted from a director to smooth out the technical elements of the show. The band was in great form, but the sound design was such that the singers’ vocals were often overshadowed. Bearing these comments in mind, the audience on both nights I attended accepted the limitations of the production and still enjoyed the great rock and/or roll on offer.

Verdict? – Enjoyably bad.
(The Abusicals two-word summary is, of course, tongue-in-cheek.)

Thursday, 7 June 2012

'All that glitz and grammar'

Great article from the redoubtable Charles Wright – aka Bleeding Edge – in 'The Age', 6 June 2012, extolling the virtues of good writing, editing and proofreading in the digital age. I look forward to the foundation of the 'Bleeding Edge Institute for the Protection of Spelling, Grammar and Syntax'.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012


Anthony Warlow to take on Broadway ... at last! Great article in 'The Age' from 4 June 2012. Coincidentally, I passed him in the street just yesterday on the way to dinner with friends. He's a handsome man. ; D

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Friday, 1 June 2012

The Lady in Question

Play –
The Importance of Being Earnest
Producer/Company –
Melbourne Theatre Company
Venue –
Sumner Theatre, MTC Centre
Date and time –
Tuesday, 10 January 2012, 6:30pm
Cast –
Patrick Brammall, Bob Hornery, Toby Schmitz, Geoffrey Rush, Christie Whelan, Jane Menelaus, Emily Barclay, Tony Taylor
Crew –
Simon Phillips, Tony Tripp, Richard Roberts, Tracey Grant Lord, Matt Stone

For over one hundred years, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ has endured as one of the great comedic works for the stage. The 2012 MTC production certainly confirmed this reputation.

The play began with a gorgeously rendered storybook, opening out to reveal the backdrop. Each set change was performed in a similar way, undertaken by one of the two butlers, humourously performed by Bob Hornery. Separate set elements – chairs, tables and the like – were minimal, allowing the actors full range of the stage. The play’s period costumes were suitably sumptuous, in particular those belonging to the female characters.

The great hype for this production was the casting of Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush, and he certainly didn’t disappoint. His delivery and diction, including that of the whole cast, was diamond sharp. Rush’s Lady Bracknell was a comic tour-de-force, by turns hilarious and devastating. Rush and his partner Jane Menelaus – as the wonderfully understated Miss Prism – have graduated from the romantic leads of the original MTC production of this play, and they were the bedrock of the new version.

Praise goes to director Simon Phillips for his focus on the language of the piece. Having the cast play the roles ‘straight’ allowed the humour of the piece to beautifully unravel. The great danger with ‘Earnest’ is merely playing it for laughs and allowing the comic situations to take precedence.

Patrick Brammall was a stand-out in the role of Algernon Moncrieff. Fighting vocal problems at the performance I attended, Brammall overcame them and wooed the audience with a winning, highly physical interpretation of the role. Not to be outdone by their experienced forbears, all the younger members of the cast – without exception – did great credit to the material and to their roles.

This production of ‘Earnest’ was an inspiring start to the 2012 theatre year. It was a masterclass in articulation and enunciation, ensuring that none of the dialogue was lost for the audience. Rush’s radiant stage presence was a reminder – not merely of his star power – but of the depth of his talent.

Verdict? – Disappointingly excellent.
(The Abusicals two-word summary is, of course, tongue-in-cheek.)