October at the Academy



Thursday 6 October: Mamma Mia! – 7.00 p.m.
Friday 7 October: Rossini: Moïse et Pharaon – 6.30 p.m.
Friday 7 & Saturday 8 October: Chapatti –  Good Home Wanted – 7.00 p.m. N.B. At the Bulawayo Theatre
Thursday 13 October: The 39 Steps – 7.00 p.m.
Friday 14 October: Kiss Me, Kate – 6.30 p.m.
Thursday 20 October: Jurassic Park II – The Lost World – 7.00 p.m.
Friday 21 October: Chailly conducts Mendelssohn – 6.30 p.m.
Thursday 27 October: 50 Club Draw – 6.45 p.m.
Thursday 27 October: Child 44 – 7.00 p.m.
Friday 28 October: Offenbach: La Vie Parisienne – 6.30 p.m.


Thursday 6 October
Mamma Mia!
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.


Set on a colourful Greek island and with a plot whose main purpose is to serve as the background for a wealth of ABBA songs, Mamma Mia! needs little introduction. With a cast including Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Julie Walters, it tells the story of ‘bride-to-be Sophie who is on a quest to find her father before the big day. There’s just one problem… she’s just not sure who he is. After secretly reading her mother Donna’s old diaries, she discovers he is one of three past lovers and, despite knowing her mother would not approve, she invites them all…’

  • An absolutely hilarious, rousing and joyous celebration that ought to have you dancing in the aisles.  [Pete Hammond, Hollywood.com]
  • Mamma Mia! is a feel-good musical experience, pure and simple. The actors display a buoyant commitment to the material and the songs, of course, remain undeniable wonders.  [MTV]
  • … all the swing and sparkle of sequined bell-bottoms.  [Channel 4]
  • This film is an utterly joyous experience and I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone who enjoys musicals and/or Abba’s music.  [IMDb]
  • Cute, clean, camp fun, full of sunshine and toe tappers.  [Empire]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.   Beef curry, rice and tomato and onion salad: $6.00


Friday 7 October
Rossini: Moïse et Pharaon
Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.
Carriages: 10.30 p.m.

Moïse et Pharaon was Rossini’s second work for the Paris Opera and received with huge enthusiasm. One of his lesser known but most spectacular operas, it tells the familiar story of Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt

  • The production is traditional to the core, with sumptuous scenic design and elaborate costumes. Those who know Rossini only from his fizzy comic operas like The Barber of Seville or La Cenerentola will be blown away by this dramatic work. He could really write a historical spectacle. With fabulous sets, huge ensembles, a silly side love story, orgiastic dance sequences and cinematic sweep, this is Rossini gone Hollywood. But all the spectacle in the world can’t save a bad opera. Luckily, with the La Scala Orchestra and a cast of thousands (or so) led by Riccardo Muti, Rossini’s music lives up to the grandeur of the production. Touching duets, tuneful dance numbers and rousing choruses will keep even the most casual opera fan engaged until that Red Sea parts.  [Patrick Neas, KansasCity.com]
  • A vivid and well-sung performance of a work that deserves greater circulation. It is very welcome and highly recommended.  [MusicWeb International]
  • I would give 10 stars if available for this great traditional production,  [Amazon.com]
  • …an impressive staging of one of Rossini’s opera masterpieces. This production emphasises the dramatic moments of the biblical account beautifully and also demonstrates the composer‘s mastery of the French tradition: solos and choral work are superb compositions, the duets are expressive and touching. This recording brings a Rossini experience of the highest rank onto the screen.  [arthaus-musik.com]
  • Muti leads his forces with conviction in this 2003 La Scala production that has enough of the requisite grandeur and a cast that manages the score’s difficulties well enough to show the work’s strength and validity…The whole production gives a welcome sense of the grand style. [Ballet Review]
  • With Riccardo Muti leading a stellar cast, you can experience Moïse et Pharaon in all its uncut, grand-opera glory.  [Opera News]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00):
Classic buttermilk chicken, sautéed potatoes and vegetables. Chocolate cake.


Friday 7 & Saturday 8 October
Chapatti – Good Home Wanted
N.B. Bulawayo Theatre at 7.00 p.m. – NOT at the Academy!

This is a Reps Theatre production, a story of love lost and hope rekindled, delving into the human emotions of two people who meet by chance. Starring Mike Blackburn and Betty Hobb, the play is directed by Graham Crutchley who was responsible for the recent hit ‘The Pianist’. Word from Harare is that this is a ‘highly recommended as a piece of theatre not to be missed, with excellent feedback on the story, the set and the performances.’

Tickets: $7.00.  Booking at the Bulawayo Theatre


Thursday 13 October
The 39 Steps
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.


The year is 1914 and Richard Hannay, a mining engineer who is visiting Britain for a short time before returning to South Africa, is shocked when one of his neighbours, Colonel Scudder, bursts into his rooms one night and tells him a story that Prussian ‘sleeper’ agents are planning to assassinate a visiting foreign minister to provoke an international crisis. However, Scudder is murdered and Hannay is framed for the death by the ‘sleepers’ so flees to Scotland as he attempts to clear his name and to stop the agents …

  • …a ripping yarn with a splendid cast of British character actors, good use of locations and a spiffing climax.  [IMDb}
  • I always thought Hitchcock’s version could not be beaten but…..I was wrong. For sheer all-round excitement, good performances, excellent script and superb set pieces you need look no further.  [Amazon,co.uk]
  • For a film released in 1978, it sure zips along and is ridiculously entertaining with action scenes straight out of a modern blockbuster starting with the Lost Boys style steam train/railway bridge sequence and the James Bond style ambush with the guys with some of the most unique weaponry in film history. This all builds to the frankly mind-blowing Houses of Parliament set piece finale.  [davidwarnerfilm.co.uk]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.   Pasta with a bacon, tomato and cream sauce: $7.00.


Friday 14 October
Kiss Me, Kate
Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.
Carriages: 9.55 p.m.


Based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, Kiss Me, Kate is Cole Porter’s best-known musical and features some of his greatest songs including Another Op’nin’, Another Show, Why Can’t You Behave, Wunderbar, So In Love, I Hate Men and Too Darn Hot, not to mention Brush Up Your Shakespeare.  This London revival won the 2001 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Musical and the 2001 Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best Musical, and was filmed live in front of the Victoria Palace Theatre audience in August 2002. The cast includes Brent Barrett and Rachel York, veterans of the multiple award-winning North American production, as well as Colin Farrell.

  • I suspect this may be just the tonic that London’s commercial theatre desperately needs: an almost flawless revival of Cole Porter’s Shakespeare-based musical… There may be greater musicals than Kiss Me, Kate: there are few that provide such constant, time-suspending pleasure.  [The Guardian]
  • The show tops its personal best so often that, by the end, the audience floats out of the theatre on a wave of unalloyed joy.  [The Independent]
  • The whole thing is a tremendous treat from a golden era.  [The Express]
  • With its blissfully tuneful score, superbly witty lyrics and great charge of Broadway energy, this blazingly confident show shines like a beacon.  [Daily Telegraph]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00):
Pork schnitzels, stuffed potatoes and vegetables. Chocolate éclair.


Thursday 20 October
Jurassic Park II – The Lost World
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

Four years after the failure of Jurassic Park, John Hammond reveals that there was another island on which dinosaurs were bred before being transported to Isla Nublar. Left alone since the disaster, the dinosaurs have flourished, and Hammond is anxious that the world see them in their ‘natural’ environment before they are exploited. He assembles a team to visit and document the area but when they reach the island, they soon discover the presence of another group of people who are not there for biological data but instead have something more sinister in mind.

  • A remarkably underrated film that’s actually improved with age. The effects are still dazzling, the film-making is top notch… [ChrisStuckmann.com, 26 May 2015]
  • The Lost World is a movie that takes the viewer on one of the most pleasurable rides you’re ever likely to embark upon, without insulting your intelligence in the process.  [Urban Cinefile]
  • Spielberg amply delivers the goods with The Lost World, a beautifully crafted series of nightmarish set pieces with no other goal in mind than to scare and delight the audience.  [Boxoffice Magazine]
  • Not as good as the original perhaps, but, as sequels go, it’s way, way above average.  [Empire Magazine]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.  Bacon steak, egg and chips: $7.00 


Friday 21 October
Chailly conducts Mendelssohn
Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.
Carriages: 9.30 p.m.

Riccardo Chailly’s inaugural concert as Conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra captures the full atmosphere of a unique musical occasion in a feast of Mendelssohn from the orchestra the composer founded. The concert includes an overwhelming performance of the Second Symphony, the Hymn of Praise, with its celebratory choral last movement as well as the ever-popular overture A Midsummer Night’s Dream with outstanding vocal soloists including Anne Schwanewilms and Peter Seiffert.

  •  A really wonderful recording. The orchestra responds perfectly to the conductor’s wishes.
  • Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang is done very well by the Leipzig orchestra and the Gewandhauschor under Chailly’s inspired direction. It features distinguished soloists as well as first-rate vocal and orchestral work in Chailly’s enthusiastic, glorious reading.
  • This is a tremendous performance. The orchestra and chorus have this music in their blood – and they really sound right for it.  [Amazon reviews]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00):
Beef fillet kebabs, savoury rice and vegetables. Scones with jam and cream.


Thursday 27 October
Child 44
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.


Based on the best-selling novel by Tom Rob Smith Child 44 is the story of an idealistic security officer, Leo Demidov, who decides to investigate a series of child murders in Stalin’s Soviet Union, a country where supposedly this sort of crime doesn’t exist. The state will not hear of the existence of a child murderer let alone a serial killer and Demidov is demoted and exiled but decides, with just the help of his wife, to continue pursuing the case.

  • Child 44 grows in stature and suspense as it gains focus, eventually revealing itself as a dark depiction of desperately unjust, fearful times.  [Radio Times]
  • Once it gets going, it becomes gloweringly compelling.  [Daily Telegraph]
  • Espinosa (director) manages to engineer some standout moments and Tom Hardy delivers a cruelly believable portrait of a good man trapped between a hammer and sickle.  [Sky Movies]
  • A tense thriller set in Soviet Russia in 1953…tightly directed with surprisingly good pace…fine performances, especially by Hardy, Rapace, and Oldman with exceptional dark and forbidding cinematography enhanced by understated music.  [Tolucan Times]
  • Pretty underrated film with two of the best working actors we have today: Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace.  [Metacritic]
  • A brave, slow-burn of a thriller.  [Total Film]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.  Cold meats and salad: $7.00.


Friday 28 October
Offenbach: La Vie Parisienne
Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.
Carriages: 9.45 p.m.


La Vie Parisienne was Offenbach’s first full-length piece on a contemporary subject, a satirical portrayal of Parisian life in the Second Empire, and it became one of his most popular operettas.  It was conceived as an entertainment for and about the hordes of tourists visiting Paris for the 1867 Exposition Universelle but this production updates it to the present, so that instead of waiting for the train at the opening, for example, the two heroes are in the arrivals section of an international airport.

  • Director Laurent Pelly brought to the operetta all the gusto and humour the subject calls for – his staging is wild and frenzied and it’s all performed with such vigour and vaudevillian élan that it’s hard to resist the appeal.  [Presto Classical]
  • A popular hit …. It is good to see Pelly on such sparkling form. Aided and abetted by his usual high-octane team, he convincingly updates this satire on hedonistic Second Empire morals to the present day.  [Financial Times]
  • The sheer energy of the dancing and the whole spirit of irreverence is so well caught that one feels like joining in the applause. Sébastian Rouland leads the orchestra and chorus of the Lyon Opéra in a performance that is true to the spirit, if not the letter, of the work.  [Gramophone Magazine]
  • A stylish production from Lyon Opéra, the music and the libretto are allowed to speak for themselves as loud and clear as they always have done…  [BBC Music Magazine *****]
  • This is a brilliant performance of Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne. The director Laurent Pelly, orchestra and cast provide us with a superb production. The updating of the story is in excellent taste and the production positively fizzes with tremendous energy musically and dramatically.  [amazon.co.uk]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00):
Roast leg of lamb, roast potatoes and vegetables. Lemon cheese cake.       


November (provisional)

  • Thursday 3 November             Silver Streak (Gene Wilder)
  • Friday 4 November                   Verdi: Otello
  • Thursday 10 November           A Chorus Line
  • Friday 11 November                 A Bridge Too Far
  • Thursday 17 November           The Madness of King George
  • Friday 18 November                 Mozart: La Finta Giardiniera
  • Thursday 24 November           Our Mutual Friend – Part 1
  • Friday 25 November                 Bernstein conducts Brahms
  • Wednesday 30 November       Academy end-of-year concert

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