Tag Archives: frank howson

“THE ACTRESS” by Frank Howson at Cracked Actors Theatre

I first met Frank Howson back in 2013 whilst he was working on “Chopper the Musical.” He had partnered up with long time collaborator and musical virtuoso Warren Wills to produce film clips of four songs written by Frank. I was there performing paparazzi duties for a Diva friend of mine and was warmly welcomed by all. 

Over what appeared to be about a week (perhaps longer)  I had witnessed, photographed and filmed Frank and Warren pull together vocal and performance pearls from a cast of about 10 seasoned professional singers. From first meet rehearsal, to recording studio, to the film set, to live performance for media at Old Melbourne Jail.

Job done, video clips in circulation.

It was extraordinary and very inspirational to witness what appeared to be streamlined coordination, co-operation and collaboration. 

Looking at his wikipedia profile and various articles in public circulation I feel perhaps Frank Howson has achieved most of what a writer, actor, painter, poet, director and producer would want to achieve in a life.  Yet life still goes on.

Darcy Taylor, Kristen Condon & Frank Howson at Cracked Theatre Company
Darcii Taylor, Kristen Condon & Frank Howson on the set of “THE ACTRESS’  at Cracked Actors Theatre

When I think of Frank Howson I think artist. He presents as an unbridled, complex and Interesting fella to say the least. 

So, I was easily lured to a preview performance of  ”THE ACTRESS” starring Kristen CondonDarcii Taylor.  A reading of a new short play from Frank Howson at Cracked Actors Theatre, Level 1 , 34 Lakeside Drive Albert Park. And, of course I was on photography duties. 

“THE ACTRESS” is a brutally forthright exchange between two driven souls. The ambitious producer and the potential star of her first self budgetted feature film.

It is a very entertaining short, sharp insight into the intoxicating and coercive realms of show biz.

The except of this scene is set in an empty, poorly serviced cafe somewhere…in imagination land.


Now, Mildred, tell me about my character in your film. 


She’s a very confused woman, bored with the world and everyone in it. Vain…Arrogant…Rude…Self-Obsessed…Calculating…Manipulative…Chip-on-her-shoulder…Angry…Self-Destructive…Very beautiful…and a slut. 


Well it’s going to be a stretch but I’ll give it a go. 




Wow to you too. 


I’m so excited! 


I can tell. Well, let’s not waste all that unbridled excitement huh? Listen, we’re not going to be served here. What’s say you come back to my place and go down on me? 





David Campbell starring as Bobby Darin in Dream Lover image by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com

Dream Lover has hit Melbourne like a dazzling and magnificent tsunami of entertainment.

From subject matter in the late, great Bobby Darin through to the original concept and stage play by John Michael Howson and co-writer Frank Howson, adapted for the stage by Frank Howson, Simon Phillips and Caroline Burns through to all the outstanding production team and performances.

The dynamics and genius that fuel this years stage extravaganza in Dream Lover will continue to reverberate.

Hannah Fredericksen starring at Sandra Dee in Dream Lover image by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com

I was fortunate enough to be at the second dress rehearsal before opening night.

From beginning to end my body pulsated with toe tapping glee to Bobby Darin’s iconic and  heart warming songs from the fifties and sixties, arranged and conducted by legendary musical supervisor Guy Simpson and performed so beautifully by his amazing orchestra.


Amon Prete as the young Bobby Darin and Marina Prior as Polly image by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com

The synchronicity between the flawless performances by the actors, the music, the sound design by Michael Waters, the oh so effective and atmospheric lighting design by Paul Jackson, the razor sharp costume design by Tim Chappel and choreography by Andrew Hallsworth; all showcased within one of the most versatile and  sophisticated set designs by Brian Thompson.

The collective genius played me like a Stradivarius emotionally.  I was transported back to my early childhood where Hollywood’s magic and romance reigned.

Needless to say, I really enjoyed the show and would like to thank producers John and Barbara Gilbert from Gilbert Theatrical, the legendary John Frost of GFO and last but not least Director Simon Phillips along with the cast and crew, all of whom received a deserving standing ovation.

By Kerrie Pacholli

Dream Lover’ is on until 1 March 2018 at Arts Centre Melbourne.




Black Pearl Studios


Chopper the Musical team: Warren Wills, Frank Sablotny, Frank Howson and Yury Kogan at Black Pearl Studios.
Chopper the Musical team: Warren Wills, Frank Sablotny, Frank Howson and Yury Kogan at Black Pearl Studios.

When orchestrating a music or sound project the difference between mediocracy and brilliance lives within the realms of ‘sound staging and vision’, quotes sound maestro Yury Kogan from Black Pearl Studios.

Yury’s finely tuned senses for the art of sound and staging first began when he was four years old living in St Petersburg, Russia. Aware they would be migrating to Australia in the not too distant future his parents purposely introduced Yury to all the artistic majesty and grandeur that ‘the world’s most beautiful city’ had to offer.

Ignited and cultivated at an early age Yury’s explosive passion for sound and excellence has manifested in the creation of Black Pearl Studios. Also a musician, Yury lovingly designed his studios under the guidance and advice from a couple of the best sound architects in the world with the end result allowing for fantastic natural acoustics.

Yury has always been a dedicated collector and since the 1980’s he has amassed one of world’s best collections of musical instruments including 140 prestigious guitars, loads of drum kits and over 370 specialist microphones to suit any voice.

Being a stickler for sound Yury likes to be prepared and oversees projects the ‘old way’ as they did back in the 1970’s when the cost of an album was about $3000. To ensure excellence and for less than half the price he incorporates preparation time a week in advance with setup the night before, allowing for musicians to be able to come in and get straight into it. This way he can pull a choice instrument out of the vault if he feels it will enhance the sound and provide a selection of 4 to 5 microphones for each particular voice type.

My introduction to Black Pearl Studios, Yuri and his wife Galina was while photographing the recording of the first four songs for Chopper the Musical, all of which were cut in record time with fantastic results.

Now attracting some of the best sound engineers in the business including multi-award winning Julian Mendelsohn there is no doubt in my mind that Black Pearl Studio’s natural progression is to become known as one of the best recording studios in this country if not the world.

Vered Harel, Lucy Gale and Mick Pealing recording songs for Chopper the Musical at Black Pearl Studios.
Vered Harel, Lucy Gale and Mick Pealing recording songs for Chopper the Musical at Black Pearl Studios.