Monthly Archives: April 2019

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Cult to crowd pleaser

THE title characters in Heathers: The Musical are three 17-year-old girls with the forename Heather who, while attractive, use bullying tactics so they can rule the roost in and out of high school.

The story is drawn from a 1988 film, Heathers, which initially was not a box-office success but has become a cult classic because people see themselves and others in the school final year characters. And Heathers: The Musical has been acclaimed for its rock-style songs by Laurence O’Keefe (Legally Blonde) and Kevin Murphy.

ROCK STYLE: From left, Zoe Walker (as Heather Chandler), Conagh Punch (J.D.) and Konstanze Koedam (Veronica Sawyer) in Heathers: The Musical.

Since its initial staging in New York in 2014, Heathers: The Musical has been an audience pleaser. The Sydney premiere production in 2015 was so popular that it was restaged in 2016 for seasons in Brisbane and Melbourne, plus a return booking in Sydney.

Newcastle’s WEA Academy of Creative Arts is now staging the first Australian regional production, with performances at the Civic Playhouse from September 7 to 9.

ALL IN THE NAME: The Heathers, standing from left, Sarah Graham, Shelby Lincoln and Zoe Walker, with Conagh Punch and Konstanze Koedam.

The cast is headed by Konstanze Koedam, as Veronica Sawyer, a brainy and beautiful school misfit, Conagh Punch as a confident student known by his initials, J.D., and the girls playing the determined trio: Zoe Walker, as Heather Chandler, a hot but cruel girl; Sarah Graham, as Heather McNamara, who combines beauty and meanness; and Shelby Lincoln, as Heather Duke, initially the least powerful, but whose nature changes in line with circumstances.

Konstanze Koedam sees Veronica as a sweet girl who relies too much on showing naivete and initially finds herself used by the Heathers, and Conagh Punch notes that J.D. is very complicated, increasingly becoming a protagonist and more sinister in his behaviour. The Heathers likewise have very different personalities. Zoe Walker envisages the Chandler girl as knowing how to get what she wants; Sarah Graham views Heather McNamara as having a bit more soul than the other two, despite being a mean girl; and Shelby Lincoln notes that Heather Duke moves from being second rate to becoming a fierce power wielder.

The other characters include two cocky young football players, a large girl whose size leads to her surname Dunnstock being changed to “Dumptruck” by other students, parents and teachers who make very different demands on the youngsters, and kids who are regarded as geeks, studs, dorks and chicks.

The large cast also features Jessica Wilkinson, Jamahla Lardner Barron, Christopher Shanko, Jack Twelvetree, Kane Saunders, Andrew Wu, and a notable ensemble of young performers.

Lia Bundy directs, with Matt Bundy as musical director and Lauren Handsaker as choreographer.

Heathers: The Musical has performances nightly from Thursday, September 7, to Saturday, September 9, at 7.30pm, plus a 2pm Saturday matinee. Tickets: $26.55. Bookings: 4929 1977.

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Melbourne winter auctions up 24 per cent on last year

Melbourne’s auction market has ended winter with another healthy clearance rate for sellers with a vibrant spring selling season anticipated in what has emerged as the nation’s strongest housing market.

Melbourne reported a solid clearance rate of 74.8 per cent at the weekend, which was lower than the previous weekend’s season-high 78.3 per cent result and also lower than the 77.9 per cent reported over the same weekend last year.

A surge in listings may have contributed to this weekend’s lower clearance rate, providing sellers with more competition and buyers with more choice. A total of 936 homes were listed for auction in Melbourne at the weekend, well head of the 821 auctioned the previous weekend and also higher than the 878 auctioned over the same weekend last year. Auction numbers, however, will be down next weekend with about 850 homes set to go under the hammer.

Melbourne recorded a median auction price of $880,000 on Saturday, similar to the $882,150 reported over the previous weekend but 7 per cent higher than the $822,500 recorded over the same weekend last year. A total of $467.2 million worth of property was reported sold at auction in Melbourne at the weekend.

The city’s auction market has ended with clearance rates still positive for sellers despite auction numbers remaining significantly higher than recorded over last winter.

Melbourne weekend auction clearance rates averaged 75.1 per cent over winter, lower than the 78.1 per cent averaged over autumn and the same rate as recorded over last winter.

During winter 10,046 weekend auctions were held, which was lower than the 11,804 auctioned over autumn but well ahead of the 8073, or 24.4 per cent higher, that were held last winter. Related: Toorak tennis court nets $7.8 millionRelated: Click here for Saturday’s auction resultsRelated: Click here for the Market Snapshot

Although Melbourne auction numbers will continue to rise through spring and likely remain ahead of last year’s totals, weekend clearance rates are set to remain above 70 per cent despite the waning impact of the lower interest rate energy driven by last year’s rate cuts.

Higher numbers of first home buyers and investors, and surging migration will keep demand ahead of supply with Melbourne still offering affordability advantages particularly compared to the high-priced Sydney market.

Melbourne sellers overall will continue to hold the upper hand with outer suburban markets doing best but all areas maintaining the positive results of winter.

Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs took over the top spot for regional results at the weekend, although all areas recorded healthy results for most sellers in what was another remarkably consistent regional performance by the Melbourne market.

The strength of the outer-suburban, lower-priced markets may reflect increased activity by first home buyers keen to take advantage of the recent cuts to stamp duty for this group.

The south-east produced a strong result at the weekend with an 85.3 per cent clearance rate, with the outer east also strong at 81.5 per cent. Next highest was the inner city with 77.8 per cent followed by the west 77.3 per cent, the north-east 73.2 per cent, the inner east 71.7 per cent, the north down this weekend to 71.4 per cent and the inner south also down to 70.7 per cent.

Notable sales reported at the weekend included: A four-bedroom home at 16 Bailey Avenue, Armadale, sold for $4.06 million by Marshall White,A three-bedroom home at 2 Thanet Street, Malvern, sold by Kay and Burton for $3,610,000,Another-three bedroom home at 88 The Esplanade, Maribyrnong, sold for $3,400,000 by Jas Stephens Real Estate,A four-bedroom home at 6 Carson Street, Kew, sold for $3.3 million by Jellis CraigAnd another four-bedroom home at 707 Toorak Road, Kooyong, sold for $3,080,000 also by Jellis Craig.

The most expensive property reported sold at auction was a five-bedroom home at 1 Anthony Street, Glen Iris, sold for $5,770,000 by Marshall White. The most affordable property reported sold at the weekend was a one-bedroom unit at 1/202A Pascoe Vale Road, Essendon, sold for $277,000 by Nelson Alexander.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Job seekers to be drug tested

Job seekers to be drug tested Drug testing: Social Services Minister Christian Porter and Canning MP Andrew Hastie announce random drug testing of Mandurah job seekers. Photo: Kate Hedley.

Drug testing: Social Services Minister Christian Porter and Canning MP Andrew Hastie announce random drug testing of Mandurah job seekers, with City of Mandurah Mayor Marina Vergone. Photo: Kate Hedley.

Drug testing: Social Services Minister Christian Porter and Canning MP Andrew Hastie announce random drug testing of Mandurah job seekers. Photo: Kate Hedley.

Drug testing: Social Services Minister Christian Porter and Canning MP Andrew Hastie announce random drug testing of Mandurah job seekers, with City of Mandurah Mayor Marina Vergone. Photo: Kate Hedley.

Random tests: Mandurah job seekers will be tested for drugs in a trial of a controversial new measure. Photo: Chris Hondros.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter in parliament. Photo: Photo: Andrew Meares.

Random tests: Mandurah job seekers will be tested for drugs in a trial of a controversial new measure. Photo: Patrick Fallon.

TweetFacebookHAVE YOUR SAY:Mr Porter said Mandurah and the region was struggling to tackle the problems of drug abuse in the community and cited statistics suggesting 23 per cent of the population was drug-affacted.

“There is clearly a problem here with the consumption of illicit drugs, particularly the drug ice, which needs to be dealt with in an honest and clear-minded fashion,” he said.

“What we have seen in internal data that we keep at the Department of Human Services is a massive increase in the number of people who are excused out of turning up to important appointments – like job interviews – because of drug problems.

“This drug testing trial is designed to achieve one very important outcome and that is to move more people more quickly from welfare dependency into employment.”

RELATED: Will the federal budget help young job seekersCanning MP Andrew Hastie welcomed the announcement and said his constituents wanted action on illicit drugs.

“Our community has really struggled with the impact of drugs and this initiative is a practical step to help address that,” he said.

“We all know the devastating impact drugs have on individuals, families and communities.

“We need to try new things to help people overcome substance abuse so they can get clean and get a job.

“Employment provides individuals with the stability and self-worth they need to be healthy functioning members of their family and community.”

Mr Hastie said he had surveyed 45,000 households in his electorate over winter and conducted 28 community forums over the last eight weeks with drug use highlighted as a key concern.

On Tuesday, Mr Porter announced a site in Sydney’s western suburbs had also been chosen as a trial site.

“It is not about penalising or stigmatising people who have a barrier to employment which is as serious as drug abuse,” Mr Porter said.

“We want to help people in this situation.

“Failure to do so simply leaves people at risk of a cycle of welfare dependency.”

When the measure was announced in May as part of the federal budgetMr Porter said the trial would “ensure taxpayers’ money is not being used to fund drug addictions for dangerous substances such as ice and that people in these situations are given every assistance to improve their lives”.

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Rice Owls refuse to blame hurricane fears for Sydney loss

Rice Owls were hit by a Stanford storm in Sunday’s 62-7 college football loss at Allianz Stadium, and now must safely navigate Hurricane Harvey which is pounding Texas before returning to Houston.

Their week in Sydney was abruptly ended by a red-hot Cardinal outfit, led by running back duo Bryce Love and Cameron Scarlett, who combined for four touchdowns apiece, but greater challenges await the travelling party of 200-plus, which will likely be forced to bunker down in Los Angeles before returning home.

Stanford and Rice both fly out of Sydney on Monday, with the latter contemplating a second flight to Dallas later in the week before taking a bus back to hurricane-lashed Houston, which is facing a week of flooding.

Coach David Bailiff said his side wouldn’t use the hurricane as an excuse for their season-opening thumping, but admitted it was impossible not to think about family and friends back home.

“You try to tell them [the team] you let me worry about that thing and you go and play football, we did the best that we could with what’s going on back home,” Bailiff said.

“We’re not going to use that as an excuse.

“Are we worried about our families? Yes. We’d like to let everybody in Houston and Texas know we’re with them…and will get your kids home safe too, I promise.

“I just talked to our president and our athletics director and the plan right now is getting to Los Angeles, getting to Dallas and then re-evaluate what’s happening at home.

“You pull together during these hard times and that’s how the band of brothers are made, it’s made during the hard times, it’s made during the difficult times.

“We can’t use this game as a setback, we’ve got to use this game, even though we lost, as something that ignites us into greatness.”

Hurricane Harvey took the shine off what was another successful Sydney Cup showcasing American football in NSW for a second consecutive season, in front of 33,181 fans.

Stanford is the 14th-ranked college in the USA, and expected to challenge for the Pac 12 Conference this season – one of college football’s most prestigious divisions.

This one was over almost before it began, with superstar Love running for 62 yards on his first touch of the ball.

“We studied them on film and knew coming in that would be a big play for us,” Love said.

“The O [offensive] line did a great job with the calls, downfield blocking from the receivers was there and I just took what I saw.”

Returning quarterback Keller Chryst threw two touchdown passes, the first coming less than a minute into the contest, while Stanford’s bruising defence proved it was going to be as robust as ever this season.

All up the Cardinal produced a whopping 656 yards of total ‘offense’, compared with Rice’s 241.

Cardinal coach David Shaw said the week had been a huge success for his university.

“Number one, honestly was to come out and get a win, start the season 1-0; number two, we had an opportunity that is potentially a life-changing experience for our entire staff and team,” Shaw said.

“Forget about foreign policy, forget about politics, forget about all those things. When people can cross an ocean and commune together, our world’s a better place.

“We’ll take a little bit of Sydney with us when we leave and we hope we’ve left a little bit of Stanford here in Sydney.

“The more people that do that, we communicate better, we see each other as people and not just a circle on a map and hopefully we’ve accomplished that this week.”

Stanford and Rice both have next weekend off before returning to action. The Cardinal face University of Southern California in a west-coast blockbuster, while Rice heads to University of Texas El Paso.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Beale says defeat to All Blacks ‘cuts the heart’ but team remaining upbeat

Kurtley Beale says Australia’s narrow loss to the All Blacks “cuts the heart” but is a manifestation of a belief within the Wallabies set-up they can match it with any team in the world.

After opening up a 17-0 lead in the first 15 minutes, the Wallabies then had to deal with the rampaging All Blacks who scored the next three tries.

Beale was almost Australia’s hero, scoring a try in the 76th minute with blood pouring down his face, before New Zealand finished the job from the ensuing kick-off thanks to a match-winner from No.10 Beauden Barrett.

The Wallabies No.12 had one of his best games in a gold jersey, highlighted by a dogged defensive effort, where he outshone All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams.

To be two minutes away from keeping the Bledisloe Cup alive and on the cusp of breaking a 16-year drought on New Zealand soil is something Beale said cut the group to its core.

“That one really hurts, heartbreaking stuff, huge effort from the lads, couldn’t ask anything more,” Beale said. “Both teams played to the very end and it’s just unfortunate that we were put in that position in the end and that one really just cuts the heart.

“After that second-last try, there was still a long time to go, so it was a matter of just trying to exit from our half and that was our focus. They changed the point of attack to kick to the right side and we just got caught off-guard and they made that kick into a contestable … it was the luck of the bounce for them.

“Just got to try and soak it in and try and remember this one so when we come back next time, we’ll be playing with a lot to prove.”

One of the main talking points out of Dunedin was Bernard Foley’s wayward kicking. Australia’s No.10 missed four of six kicks (three conversions and a penalty in the first half).

A more precise kicking game from Foley could have been enough to get the Wallabies over the line but Beale has defended his Waratahs teammate, saying Australia had chances to put the result beyond doubt earlier.

“It’s just unfortunate that it hit the post [three times],” Beale said. “Obviously he’s gone through his own processes and he’s striking the ball very well.

“We gave ourselves plenty of opportunities, we took them when we did and we probably left a couple out there as well, but that’s rugby. What do you say? Just a tough way to end a big performance from our boys.”

Before the match, almost nobody gave the Wallabies a chance.

There was a prediction they could concede 100 points, a headline in a Kiwi newspaper to “Tell ’em they’re dreaming” and fanciful odds from bookmakers that if anything, proved to be perfect motivation for Michael Cheika’s men.

Early break: Israel Folau scores for the Wallabies in the second Bledisloe Test. Photo: AAP

The Wallabies left Dunedin on Sunday with the respect of not just the Australian rugby public, but the admiration of rugby watchers all over the world.

It seems all the chat in the lead-up to the match about them building towards something great might not have been false hope after the shellacking they copped in Sydney.

“We still believe that we’re growing into the team that we want to be,” Beale said. “We want to be up there and be amongst the best.

“We’ve all got a lot of respect and love for each other and that’s going to help us build into a great team. People won’t believe anything that I’ll probably say now but I think there is a lot of self-belief in our group at the moment. These young guys are standing up to the plate and the senior guys are directing the team … down a really good path.

“Obviously there’s a new generation of players coming through and there’s a lot of hope, a lot of skills that can help us get there. I think after tonight’s performance, we’ll definitely take a lot from that and build into a strong week against the Africans in a couple of weeks.

“I’m proud of the boys for sticking at it.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.