Robin Williams ‘resented having to do Doubtfire 2’

Robin Williams resented having to work on films such as the second Mrs Doubtfire but felt compelled in order to keep money coming in, a


Ballet with a mature rating

It’s sexy, half-naked, mattress-using ballet and it’s coming to Wellington this weekend.

Mattress Suite is part of the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Allegro showcase.

The dancers wear underwear and the six segments include solos, duets and an all-male dance Threeway. All action is centred around one main prop – the mattress.

The ballet explores sexual identity and relationships, which has meant Allegro comes with a “for mature audiences” warning.

But rehearsal director Ashley Browne said that while the theme of the piece was mature, it was one that should be talked about.

“It really explores relationships, whether that’s with yourself, another person or multiple people,” she said.

“There’s a lot of excitement and anticipation.

“It’s definitely more of a mature theme, but it doesn’t mean that this shouldn’t be talked about.

“How do people become mature They tackle mature issues. Bodies are bodies.

“We move in space with people everyday. Most of the time teens I talk to and perform with are way more game to tackle it than adults.”

Mattress Suite is the creation of New Yorker Larry Keigwin. The Allegro tour is the first time it has been performed outside the United States.

Browne, a member of Keigwin’s ballet company, said despite the obvious sexual overtones, it was not risque.

“The only thing that makes it risque is that it’s performed in underwear,” she said.

“But we all wear underwear and we get the lucky job of sitting there and watching beautiful, toned dancers.

“I don’t think risque is the right word. It is in the conservative setting of it being about personal relationships, but these are all feelings that people have everyday.

“The underwear just makes it identifiable to everybody.”

Teaching it to the Royal New Zealand Ballet dancers had been great, she said.

“Every dancer’s a little treasure chest of talent.

“Technically they can do whatever I want.

“But the biggest gift is their willingness to take direction and to let me push them further than they have gone before.

“I’ve worked with them a lot on the acting part of it. I’m seeing a great depth to the piece, because they’re open and willing to go there with me.”

The emotion of the dances made it fun to watch, she said.

“It’s a lot of fun to perform and it’s been fun to work with the dancers and coach them on how to be playful with each other.

“Ballet can be very formal and I’m asking them to roll around and giggle on stage.

“Dance is fun and should be fun for the audience as well.”

Her favourite part of the piece was the last female solo.

“It really breaks it down in such a way that it becomes about self love. If you can’t, at last, love yourself, then can you love anyone else. You have to bring a real honesty to that.”

– Royal New Zealand Ballet presents Allegro, St James Theatre, Courtenay Place, August 15 and 16, 7.30pm, August 16 and 17, 1.30pm, tickets from or the box office.

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– The Wellingtonian


Did North West say mama or dada first?

Recently Kim Kardashian West sent her stepfather, Bruce Jenner, a text because of something she read online.

“I text(ed) Bruce, ‘I saw on TMZ that you got pulled over. Are you OK'” she recalled during a recent interview.


Review: The Hundred Foot Journey

Directed by Lasse Hallstrom

A couple of years ago, stuck for something to read on a flight, I picked up a book called How I Became a Famous Novelist.


Cancel your appointments, it’s film festival time

The New Zealand International Film Festival is heading to Hamilton next week, bringing with it an intensive three-week schedule of award-winning local and international films.

Hamilton’s Lido Cinema is being praised for making the country’s leading film festival a success.

Festival director Bill Gosden said the festival has been “re-established” since the arrival of the Lido Cinema.

Opened in 2009 in the home of the former Rialto complex, the Lido is the only theatre in Hamilton to screen festival films.

“Since the Lido has become the home of the festival, it has fared very well in Hamilton,” Gosden said.

“Per capita in each city, the support we receive for the festival is very strong, even outside of Auckland and Wellington.”

Gosden said the Hamilton festival comprises a “good selection” of the most popular films from Auckland’s programme.

Films include hits from the Cannes Film Festival including a documentary about a Brazilian photographer Salt of the Earth and Argentine comedy Wild Tales.

Others will be shown in Hamilton before people in New York have the opportunity to view them, he said.

Lido Cinema manager Richard Dalton said he always got “very excited” at festival time.

“It went very well last year and the festival seems stronger this year, so we’re fairly optimistic,” he said.

“The festival brings a different crowd to the cinema. There’s people coming day in and day out, all bringing a different dynamic.”

The New Zealand International Film Festival will open with a screening of The Lunchbox on Wednesday, August 20 at 7.45pm, with refreshments from 7pm.

The festival runs until September 14. For more information and session times, see



Greens want every TV show captioned

The Green Party has released its disability policy, calling for 100 per cent captioning on all television programmes.

It would also increase job support funding for people with disabilities by $6.8 million, and boost the Total Mobility scheme by $3.5m.

The party’s disabilities spokeswoman, Mojo Mathers, made the announcement today.

Mathers is New Zealand’s first deaf MP. Her election triggered Parliamentary TV to be captioned from next term.

“We know that there are still significant barriers for disabled people to fully participate in our society, including access to work and popular culture,” Mathers said.

“Internationally, New Zealand lags behind on captioning. On average only 25 per cent of New Zealand TV is captioned compared to 85 per cent in Australia and 99 per cent in the United Kingdom and United States of America.”

No on-demand TV was captioned in New Zealand.

Mathers also said disabled people were under-represented in the work force and the Greens would improve their “pathways to employment” as well as to home ownership.

“In government we will work with the State Services Commission, in conjunction with the Office for Disability Issues and Disabled Persons Organisation, to identify pathways to employment and retention for disabled people.

“We will open up access to our Progressive Home Ownership package to disabled people to help them into a home of their own.”

Speaking to the New Zealand Disability Support Network awards function last night, Minister for Disability Issues Tariana Turia said the Government had placed a strong emphasis on developing a disability action plan.

“It is about having a framework to prioritise resources, to be able to say this is what we want to do, and how we want to do it,” Turia said.

The focus areas of the Government’s action plan had been to increase access, improve disability supports, promote employment and ensure personal safety.


Review: The Expendables 3

Directed by Patrick Hughes

Back in 2010, Sly Stallone, always an underestimated creative force, had the idea of bringing a bunch of underemployed 1980s action icons back to form an ensemble cast that would have given the 80s studios a collective wet dream: Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis, Rourke, Lundgren.

Men who don’t need much in the way of dialogue, or even first names.


Original Seekers promise chart-topping show

About 50 years after they began performing together, The Seekers will find themselves in Hamilton’s Claudelands Arena on November 28.

The near-original lineup of Australian folk pop supergroup – Judith Durham (vocals, piano and tambourine), Athol Guy (double bass and vocals), Keith Potger (12-string guitar, banjo and vocals) and Bruce Woodley (guitar, mandolin, banjo and vocals) – have reunited for the aptly-named Golden Jubilee Tour. The five-date New Zealand tour also takes in dates in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and New Plymouth and follows sold-out shows in Australia and the United Kingdom, including two concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The Seekers are the latest well-known act to make a date at the arena, and follow fellow 1960s musical luminary Bob Dylan and announcements that Ricky Martin and Kenny Rogers will play there in April and February respectively.

The quartet, famed for their distinctive four-part harmonies, have created a show intended to take their fans down memory lane.

As well as the group’s enduring songs, the concerts will feature stories, memorabilia, messages of congratulations from music industry contemporaries and video clips projected onto a big screen.

The group originally hailed from Melbourne – Woodley, Guy and Potger had all been pupils of Melbourne Boys’ High School.

Later, after stints in separate bands, they joined forces in 1962 and formed The Seekers, with Ken Ray as lead singer. When Ray got married and left the band, they recruited Judith Durham, 20, who sang traditional jazz standards and had recorded an EP.

Her powerful, bell-like voice added a new dimension to the group, and with the release of their album Introducing The Seekers in 1963, their swift rise to stardom began.

The Claudelands audience can expect to hear chart-topping hits such as I’ll Never Find Another You, A World Of Our Own, The Carnival Is Over, Morningtown Ride, Someday One Day and Georgy Girl.

Having now sold more than 60 million records globally, they were also the first group ever to reach the number one in the UK charts with their first three singles – a feat not even matched by the likes of Michael Jackson or Madonna. Durham, 71, suffered a brain haemorrage following a concert last year, but made a full recovery soon after.

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– Waikato Times


Vector’s Tuning Fork hosts Americana Fest in October


INXS: Still haunted by Michael Hutchence’s death

Australia is being gripped by a wave of INXS nostalgia, more than three decades after the band exploded on to the music scene.

Michelle Duff speaks to Kirk Pengilly and Tim Farriss about the miniseries that has propelled them back into the charts.

Yes, Michael Hutchence’s death still haunts them.

On November 22, 1997, the four other members of the rock band were in a Sydney studio, on the cusp of a highly anticipated Australian tour.

Reeling with disbelief at the news, the next hours and days passed in a blur.

“It was shocking, and we were actually rehearsing in the ABC studios and all of a sudden journalists were appearing at the door to the rehearsal room because it broke on the news, that’s how we found out, the ABC news,” guitarist Pengilly says.

“So we had to go into an escape plan and get out of town.”

Hutchence’s death was ruled a suicide; the coroner said he was severely depressed, and under the influence of a cocktail of drugs. But there has always been speculation his death was as a result of auto-erotic asphyxiation.

Tonight, a two-part miniseries INXS: Never Tear Us Apart, kicks off on TV3.

It doesn’t try to solve the mystery of Hutchence’s death, because as guitarist and founding band member Farriss says “we still don’t really know”.

“We left it up to the production company and the writers as to how we told the story … Michael’s death is somewhat ambiguous and to this day we still don’t really know what happened, so how could we make it any other way

“The most important thing to us was there’s a little girl out there who’s now a young woman, Tiger Lily, and our main concern was that she got something out of it as opposed to putting what we think may have happened. He was going through a hard time and that’s really that.”

He pauses.

“It’s a shame because I always think where would he be now if he was still here, and what he’d be doing. It’s just so sad to think she missed out on having a father and he missed out on a daughter.”

The series was shown in Australia in January. By midyear, INXS had topped the ARIA top 100 charts with their greatest hits album, and at least six of their albums were charting elsewhere.

While the band had been repeatedly approached to make a film, they hadn’t been ready until now.

“We could have done it a while ago but the time didn’t feel right, it does now. I think we needed the space for it to be history,” Farriss says.

As executive producer, Farriss was a conduit between scriptwriters and the band and helped to advise actors.

Their manager, Chris Murphy, was also a producer. The band-vetted story traverses the heady rise of the young musicians to playing at sold-out stadiums worldwide surrounded by groupies to Hutchence’s death.
Pengilly watched the film with friends in his Sydney home, and was taken aback when they all started “interviewing,” him in the ad breaks.

“It was kind of weird. It was very emotional watching it in a way – it sort of conjured up all sorts of emotions.”
Farriss watched it at home, alone.

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His wife, Bethany Anne (Buffy) Reefman, who had been with the band from the beginning, refused to see it – then sneakily watched the first part in the bedroom, sticking her head around the door to yell at Farriss “I never had my hair like that, ever”, he said.

They are now considering making a follow-up rock musical, and wouldn’t rule out touring again.

While the series is billed as as “the ultimate story of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll”, Farriss takes exception to the suggestion their story is a cliche.

“At the end of the day we’re still here, we’re not doing drugs any more, and I don’t think there are many people like us. We’re still here.”

– Stuff