The Weekend Australian - Review - - Out & About - Alex Speed John McCal­lum

In death as in life, James Fair­fax, scion of the news­pa­per dy­nasty, re­mains a com­mit­ted bene­fac­tor. On his death, Fair­fax be­queathed his magnificent $18 mil­lion Vic­to­rian Ital­ianate prop­erty near Bowral to the Na­tional Trust to be open to the pub­lic as a house mu­seum. Which is why it is fit­ting, says Scott Pollock, Na­tional Trust man­ager of Ret­ford Park, that the first art ex­hi­bi­tion to be held at Ret­ford Park is ti­tled The Art of Giv­ing. The show in­cludes 18 print re­pro­duc­tions of im­por­tant paint­ings by artists in­clud­ing Fred Wil­liams, Rus­sell Drys­dale, Keith Looby, Tony Tuck­son, Fred­er­ick McCub­bin, John Olsen and Ian Fair­weather that Fair­fax do­nated to the Na­tional Gallery of Aus­tralia. Ret­ford Park, 1325 Old South Road, Bowral. Daily, 10am-4pm. Tick­ets: $15-$25. Book­ings: (02) 4861 1933 or on­line. Un­til De­cem­ber 2. Leopold and Ru­dolf Blaschka For about 70 years, hid­den away in a small col­lect­ing box, was a trea­sure trove of 48 frag­ile glass mod­els of sea crea­tures dat­ing from the late 19th cen­tury. When the box re­cently was rediscovered, it was at first un­clear when the mu­seum had pur­chased these price­less glass mod­els and even un­cer­tain who had made them. Fi­nally, in 2009, through meticulous re­search, ar­chiv­ist A Cheery Soul “The truth we know al­ready is al­ways the hard­est to bear,” says the preacher, Mr Wake­man, to the in­ter­fer­ing busy­body, Miss Docker. It is one of the cli­mac­tic mo­ments in Pa­trick White’s com­plex script and it is played su­perbly by Sarah Peirse (pic­tured above) in this new pro­duc­tion by Kip Wil­liams. Peirse is ex­tra­or­di­nary: an ini­tially mon­strous fig­ure about whom we fi­nally come to care. Wil­liams’s pro­duc­tion and El­iz­a­beth Gadsby’s de­sign, with a great score by Cle­mence Wil­liams, smooth over abrupt stylis­tic shifts. Syd­ney Opera House, Drama The­atre, Ben­ne­long Point. To­day, 2pm and 8pm. Tick­ets: $65-$108. Book­ings: (02) 9250 1777 or on­line. Un­til De­cem­ber 15. The Feather in the Web

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