Snow White dwarfs the others: pantomime loads of fun

THE APPLE OF THE EYE: Magda Szubanski as the evil Queen GrismeldaMANY years ago, whilst living in the UK, I had the pleasure of performing in a pantomime.
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Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood featured all of the hallmarks of this classic theatrical format: a “dame” (a man in drag); cheesy pop songs; a spooky forest (he’s behind you); sweets being thrown to the audience; a moustache twirling villain; and audience participation (booing and hissing).

It was great fun and the audience lapped it up.

Unfortunately, pantomime is not a theatrical staple in Australia. We’re trained to sit in our seats and behave.

Luckily for Sydney audiences, this hasn’t stopped Bonnie Lythgoe (UK based producer and director, and former judge on So You Think You Can Dance Australia) from bringing Snow White Winter Family Musical to the State Theatre, just in time for the school holidays.

Pantomimes classically feature a celebrity cast hamming it up and Lythgoe has managed to snag one of the big guns of Australian stage and screen comedy in Magda Szubanski, as the dastardly Queen Grismelda.

Also starring are Jimmy Rees (TV’s Giggle and Hoot), Peter Everett (Ready Steady Cook), Andrew Cutcliffe (Underbelly: Razor) and US based Aussie musical theatre star Josh Adamson.

For the titular role, Lythgoe ran a country-wide talent search in a non-specific shopping centre chain and unearthed Erin Clare, a blue eyed brunette whose looks just scream Snow White.

Oh, she can sing and dance too.

Lythgoe has also somehow managed to convince Sir Cliff Richard (the ultimate real life Peter Pan) and radio shock jock Kyle Sandilands to prerecord their parts as the split personalities of the magic mirror.

Rounding out the cast are two troupes of way too talented kiddies who alternate performances as the dancing ensemble and then don some rather creepy heads to portray the seven dwarves.

I was accompanied by two friends who were reasonably unfamiliar with panto, but egged on by Rees’ court jester Muddles, it didn’t take long for them (and the whole audience) to adapt to the concept of audience participation.

We hissed the villain. We cheered for the handsome prince.

We groaned at the opening chords of the obligatory One Direction songs.

I booed at Kyle Sandilands (his onscreen cameo is further proof to my theory that he isn’t actually human).

The cast is uniformly fantastic with Rees particularly amusing (minus his owl) and Szubanski able to make a fluffed line into a memorable opportunity for hilarity.

Everett was appropriately camp and new discovery Erin Clare is as beautiful as she is talented (but should stay away from poisoned apples to avoid typecasting and endless slumber).

Despite a rather clunky script, some underwritten characters and a flat second act, I had a great time. Worth the entry price alone is the best onstage flying illusion I have every seen, and I’ve seen a lot. Forget Mary Poppins, this is the real thing.

Let’s hope Snow White Winter Family Musical is a hit so Lythgow can make her panto an annual highlight on the rather ho-hum Sydney theatrical calendar. Next time, I’m going to take the kids.

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“Best behaviour for ‘beautiful game’

Eye on the ball: St Marys player Riley Jamet gets a kick away against Lowland Wanderers on Saturday. Officials have been concerned about behaviour at Nepean football matches this season. Picture: Geoff JonesNEPEAN Football Association has conceded that there’s been too many unsavoury incidents at football matches this season, and has called on clubs to ensure that the environment at matches is better.
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Nepean Football manager James Rankine sent a letter to all clubs asking to remember they’re involved in “the beautiful game”.

“We are receiving too many reports of bad behaviour, both on and off the field,” Rankine wrote.

“We have players being injured badly enough to lose jobs.

“We need to take ownership of this problem.”

Despite the problems, St Clair United Soccer Club president Mark Nelson said the situation wasn’t out of control.

“There’s been no more problems this year compared to previous years. There’s been incidences that shouldn’t have happened but it’s just a small minority ruining it for everyone else,” he said.

Nelson also didn’t think the incidents had anything to do with the controversial new referees association, controlled by Nepean.

“The new refs are a breath of fresh air,” he said.

St Marys Soccer Club president Joe Youssef has mixed feelings about the new Nepean Referees Group, which replaced the Nepean District Soccer Referees Association this season after a 50-year relationship with Nepean.

“The coverage is much better, but the standard isn’t,” Youssef said.

“From the feedback I get from my players and managers I’d give the new referees a 4/10 compared to last year’s who got about 7/10.

“One referee red-carded a player who hand-balled when the last line of defence, but wouldn’t send him off.”

But Youssef said it would be wrong to say the new group had failed considering it was just months old.

“I’m still happier this year because we’re getting more coverage, but I’m hoping they improve next year,” he said.

“I’m backing them subject to them improving and I’m confident they can.”

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Tall order

Chelsea D’Angelo and Nathan Catherwood will represent Victoria Country at the nationals. photograph samuel darrochBASKETBALL
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TwoTraralgon T-Birds will take flight at the Australian Junior Championships this week in Geelong.

Nathan Catherwood and Chelsea D’Angelo were selected for their respective Victoria Country under 16 sides for the tournament, and are keen to impress on the national stage.

“(We’re) playing against really good competition, kids from all over Australia. I think it will be a real tough challenge against all the people, and the audience as well… there’ll be a lot of pressure, but I think I’ll get through it and it will help me out with my confidence and probably my game as well,” Nathan said.

Both have ambitions to join the Australian Institute of Sport, and someday play in the United States, with plans to showcase their talent at the championships.

“Hopefully there’ll be someone watching and I’ll get scouted or something,” Chelsea said.

“But I’m just hoping to improve my game and really enjoy it.”

The pair has been involved with the National Intensive Training Program this season, a development program which took Nathan to the US in 2012.

Chelsea had previously played with School Sport Victoria sides, while Nathan was a Victoria Country emergency last season.

Breaking through this season for their highest representative honours to date has been closely tied to the ‘practice makes perfect’ mantra.

“I think just what I’ve been practicing over and over again, just repetition, doing the same thing over and over again and I think that got me through; just playing the way I play,” Nathan said.

Chelsea too cited hard work, while a few extra inches in height and “a lot of intensity in my game and really trying hard”, did no harm to her credentials.

As “the shortest guy in the team”, point guard Nathan relied on ball handling, passing and “a bit of shooting” to break through a three-phase trial process, which involved competing at the Australian Junior Country Cup in January.

Chelsea’s patented one-on-one drives to the basket were on show through her selection camps, and the duo were both quietly confident of selection.

“There was a couple of really good kids that were there that certainly have a lot of skill, but I felt really comfortable with where I was at,” Nathan said.

“You just don’t know what the coaches are looking for though, you think ‘I’m doing really well but are they going to pick me?” Chelsea said.

Inspired by the example of Australian representative Jack White, who is also a Traralgon local, the T-Bird twosome are optimistic about their representative futures.

“He grew up in the same area so I could follow him and do the same things he’s done,” Nathan said.

The Australian Championships are on until Saturday.

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Lunchtime fun to hit new levels: PHOTOS

Lunchtime fun to hit new levels: PHOTOS ESSCI volunteers (standing, from left) Geoff Swane, Mike McCrae, Ken Traise, John Mutch, Harry Weatherman, (sitting, from left) Mick Wood, John Bowles and Jim Chenhall donated their time to install fitness equipment surrounds at Eden Public School on Saturday.
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ESSCI volunteers install fitness equipment surrounds at Eden Public School on Tuesday.

ESSCI volunteer Harry Weatherman lets his shovel do the talking as ESSCI install fitness equipment surrounds at Eden Public School on Saturday.

Mike McCrae sands back the equipment surrounds during the ESSCI working bee at Eden Public School on Saturday.

ESSCI volunteer Geoff Swane puts in a nail as the group installs fitness equipment surrounds at Eden Public School on Tuesday.

A jungle gym is among the fitness equipment being installed at Eden Public School.

Fitness equipment is being installed for students at Eden Public School.

The balance beam is sure to be a crowd favourite at Eden Public School

You’ll be hard pressed to find a student who doesn’t want a go on the monkey bars at Eden Public School.

Jim Chenhall hard at work during the ESSCI working bee at Eden Public School on Saturday.

Fitness equipment surrounds are installed at Eden Public School on Saturday.

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Shellharbour residents rally to keep library:Videos

Shellharbour resident Patricia Wickham gathered with other residents at the Shellharbour Village library on Friday last week to rally against any proposals to move it to Shell Cove. Picture: Eliza WinklerJackson Calverly. By Eliza Winkler
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Jill Boothman. By Eliza Winkler

Paul Hockey. By Eliza Winkler

MORE than 30 residents joined together last Friday for the Save the Village Library Rally.

Councillor Kellie Marsh hosted the rally in response to Shellharbour City Council proposals to relocate the Shellharbour Village Library to Shell Cove.

A council spokesperson said there was a current strategy in place that explored the concept of moving the library to The Waterfront, Shell Cove development in 2018, however plans were only conceptual at this point and any changes would involve further community consultation.

Shellharbour resident Patricia Wickham said her main concern was accessibility and cost if the service was to be removed from the area.

“The library is used by a lot of the aged who live in the village, and most of them don’t drive,” Ms Wickham said.

“It worries me that we would have to rely on public transport.

‘‘It is an extra cost and also not easy using buses with walkers or other things some of us rely on to get around.

“It would be shame to see it go because it’s a real asset to this community and for the older people it is a way we can all keep our minds active.”

A council spokesperson said that if the library was to be relocated, current village library users would still have access to the service with expansions to the library’s home service.

The library is managed under a Libraries and Museums strategy 2024, which was adopted by council in March.

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Abbott meets Lambie after she calls him a ‘political psychopath’

Senator Penny Wong congratulates PUP Senator Jacqui Lambie during the swearing-in of new Senators in the Senate, at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday. Photo: Alex EllinghausenTony Abbott has met the Palmer United Party’s Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie, just days after the new senator labelled the Prime Minister a “political psychopath”.
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The meeting is the latest in a series between Mr Abbott and the incoming senator crossbench, most of whom are expected to back the government’s long-held desire to repeal the carbon and mining, taxes but who could block billions of savings outlined in the budget.

Senator Lambie has also accused Mr Abbott of “parading his daughters around” during the election campaign, potentially risking their personal security.

The meeting took place before Senator Lambie was formally sworn into her role along with other senators, including 11 new arrivals. Liberal Senator Stephen Parry was voted in as Senate president in a secret ballot.

Mr Abbott and Senator Lambie met for about 30 minutes and discussed areas of concern to the Tasmanian senator, including the needs of her home state, veterans and defence issues.

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said the meeting was a chance for the pair to compare notes on issues of concern to Senator Lambie.

Mr Abbott has held meetings with Motoring Enthusiast senator Ricky Muir, Palmer United leader Clive Palmer, Family First senator Bob Day, Liberal Democratic senator David Leyonhjelm, Democratic Labor Party senator John Madigan and independent Nick Xenophon.

Senator Richard Colbeck (left) and Senator David Bushby (right) “drag” the new President of the Senate, Senator Stephen Parry to the chair, at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

He is expected to meet Palmer senators Glenn Lazarus and Dio Wang in the coming weeks.

The new senate is sitting for the first time on Monday, with senators being sworn in and Tasmanian Liberal senator Stephen Parry to be named the chamber’s new president.

Beginning the process of repealing the carbon tax will be the first order of business for the new senate.

Labor Senate leader Penny Wong said the government should wait until a Senate committee report into the carbon price repeal is delivered on July 14 before reintroducing legislation to scrap it.

Ms Wong said the government was rushing the new crossbenchers to score a “political win”.

On being described by Senator Lambie as one of her political heroes, Ms Wong told ABC radio: “It’s very kind of her. I was going to say to Jacqui when I see her in person: it’s not often I’m on the same list as Margaret Thatcher. Women in politics, as we know, have to hold their own and I think Jacqui demonstrates her capacity to do that and good on her.”

Just three of those taking their seats on the red benches for the first time ran the media gauntlet outside Parliament House on Monday.

Senator Leyonhjelm told reporters that his new role, ”scares the crap out of me”.

And Matthew Canavan, flanked by his Nationals colleagues, said it all felt rather like the first day of school.

”It’s a bit better here though because I get along much better with these teachers than I did with my actual teachers,” he said.

The more experienced senators had plenty of advice for the newcomers.

”Take a breath, learn your surroundings and don’t make rash statements,” said Senator Madigan.

Labor’s Doug Cameron advised them not to panic when they didn’t understand what was going on, while iSenator Xenophon urged them not to be forced into gagging debate on the carbon tax repeal.

Labor senator Sam Dastyari had similar wisdom to share: ”Don’t let them bully you, don’t work on their timetable.”

Senator Day said his fellow debutants were eager to prove their critics wrong.

The Family First senator noted the crossbench had been called ”a mish-mash, flotsam and jetsam, bunch of barnyard (animals), licorice all-sorts, Star Wars aliens”.

”All those things we think are hilarious,” he deadpanned. ”We’re all committed to doing a good job.”

with Matthew Knott and AAP

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Call for poppy makers in preparation for Anzac centenary

Interested people are asked to come and help make poppies in preparation for the Anzac centenary.TO commemorate the Anzac centenary, a morning tea is being held on July 19 from 9am-4pm at the Northam Memorial Hall.
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Attendees are asked to bring along red wool, needles, hooks and any green and black buttons.

Knitted and crocheted poppies will be made during the day.

Some wool will be provided and knitters will be on hand to help.

This is a Northam RSL Sub Branch Women’s Auxiliary Project in conjunction with RSLWA.

If those attending wish to have lunch, at the cost of $5, contact Donna Prytulak on 0409 290 972 before July 18.

Thanks to the companies providing wool.

Collection points for the poppies will be at the Northam Memorial Hall on any Friday morning from 9-11 until September, or give Donna a ring for pick up.

For further information and patterns for the poppies visit 5000poppies.wordpress南京夜网, or contact RSL Women’s Auxiliary secretary Donna Prytulak on 0409 290 972.

5000 Poppies is a group based in Melbourne which is looking to place 20,000 fabric poppies in Federation Square in Melbourne next Anzac Day.

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Tea and company kill chill at post-seeding get together

Ideas flourish: Southern Brook Community Association committee members back Paul Antonio, Cheryl Lawrence, Carmel Sands, Mike Vincent, front Dennis Saunders, Allen Lawrence, Dianne Dwyer and John Dwyer (absent Johnno den Hollander).DESPITE the cold it was pleasing to see a good crowd turn up at the annual post-seeding casserole tea night at the local Southern Brook Hall on June 20.
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Southern Brook Community Association president John Dwyer welcomed the gathering and made special acknowledgement to the Shire of Northam for the recent maintenance and repairs to the historic 105-year-old hall.

A sign-posted disabled set down area making easy access to the hall and surrounds was well noted and accepted along with hall maintenance to walls and flooring.

The hall soon warmed up with much chatter and the smell of country casserole dishes and plenty of rice that tempted taste buds.

Dessert followed with tasty cheesecake and home-made apple tart.

It was great to have the company of Kerry and Barbara Saunders, Craig and Fiona Hitchcock and Carmel Sands, all who travelled up from Perth to attend.

Families mingled throughout the evening and included Paul Antonio, Johnno den Hollander, Joan, John and Dianne Dwyer, Angela and Jacob Fitzgerald, Allen and Cheryl Lawrence, Ted and Lorna Leeming, Dennis and Kathy Saunders, Mike Vincent and Mark Wilding.

Congratulations to the parents and siblings of new babes in the area over the past six months.

Nathan and Kylie Lawrence with the arrival of their first born, a son Veejay Nathan. Warren O’Neill and Louise Holder on the birth of their first child, a boy Hamish George.

Jarrod and Allison Street (nee Lawrence) on the arrival of their second daughter Sophie Rose.

Well wishes to local resident Robyn MacMillan who is recovering in hospital after an unfortunate fall on her property.

The catch up at the social event spurred committee members to meet at the hall early this month to discuss, progress and action events and projects for the next year.

The next Southern Brook community calendar event for members and friends is the annual spring picnic to be hosted by Ted and Lorna Leeming at Ullaring on October 20, from midday onwards.

Association enquiries should go to 9622 3494.

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Drivers to choose Hunter’s worst roads

HUNTER drivers are being urged to vent their frustrations on the region’s worst roads.
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The NRMAis asking all drivers to complete the fourth annual survey voting for the worst roads in the area after BrokeRoad, the New England Highway and the Pacific Highway topped last year’s list.

The Seeing Red on Roads campaign will allow drivers to flag frustrating roads on an interactive map.

NRMA President Kyle Loades said the state budget commitments would help, there was still a lot of work to do.

“The NSW Government has committed to several major projects in the Budget, including Stage 5 of the Newcastle Inner City Bypass, the Pennant Street Bridge/Glendale interchange and the extension of the M1 Pacific Motorway to Raymond Terrace,” Mr Loades said.

“However, the Government has also extended the deadline for the completion of the Pacific Highway to 2020, and motorists need to let them know that they will be accountable for their commitments.’’

To vote go to mynrma南京夜网.au/redflag. Voting closes on August 31.

Tippety, tap, whack

SERBIAN tennis ace Novak Djokovic summed it up best when he declared his latest Wimbledon victory as the best grand slam win of his career.
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For those who call tennis as just being tippety, tap, tippety, tap, then footage of the 2014 Wimbledon final between Djokovic and Swiss legend Roger Federer may just sway those views.

This contest between Djokovic and Federerwas not just all about brute force.

There were sublime drop-shots, incredibly accurate serves, and stunning volleys .

This five-set thriller had it all and showed what’s so great about sport.

Never knowing what will happen draws thousands to the court and millions more to tune into the telecast match after match, year after year.

Not just to tennis, but sports of all sorts.

Leading two sets to one and holding a match point in the fourth, Djokovic was on the cusp of victory.

Federer showed the mental toughness and skilll that has netted 17 slams, including seven at Wimbledon, by fighting back to win the fourth set.

Momentum was suddenly back with Federer, who had won the first set, before Djokovic started smashing winners from the baseline.

Over the years I have watched many Wimbledon finals and marvelled at Federer’s play to capture the trophy seven times.

In the early hours of Monday morning it looked like he would rule centre court at Wimbledon once again.

But it was not to be as Djokovic won the fifth and final set, 6-4, and duly celebrated a remarkable victory.

In doing so Djokovic regained the world No.1 ranking and netted a seventh slam.

A four-time Australian Open champion, dual Wimbledon titleholder, and one US Open title, Djokovic has all the court-craft to add to the tally.

Novak’s support team includes Boris Becker as a coach.

Although Novak has overtaken him in terms of grand slam victories, Becker holds a record that’s unlikely to be beaten.

At just 17, Becker won the Wimbledon final in 1985.

Yours truly was a year 12 student at Bendigo Senior Secondary College, but still found time to watch most of Becker’s incredible run to win the most cherished prize in tennis.

The epic battle between Djokovic and Federer capped another remarkable fortnight of tennis-watching.

Canberra’s Nick Kyrgios showed he could be the next “big thing” as his run to the quarter-finals included beating Rafael Nadal.

The victory by Petra Kvitova in the women’s final was one of the most complete performances I have seen in any tennis match.

Kvitova’s play brought back memories of the years when Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf reigned supreme.

Wimbledon, there’s no tennis tournament quite like it.

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