Andrew Fuhrmann

Andrew Fuhrmann

Andrew Fuhrmann reviews books and theatre. He is currently dance critic for the Age newspaper. He was an ABR Ian Potter Foundation Fellow in 2013 and is writing a book on the plays of Patrick White.

Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'Australia in 50 Plays' by Julian Meyrick

June 2022, no. 443 25 May 2022
Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'Australia in 50 Plays' by Julian Meyrick
For at least the first half of the twentieth century, Australian playwrights were not held in high regard by their compatriots. Popular opinion was summed up by fictional theatre manager M.J. Field in Frank A. Russell’s novel The Ashes of Achievement (1920): ‘I’ve got a play,’ commenced Philip, plunging.Field jumped from his chair, hands spread out in defence.‘Help!’ he yelped. ‘A ... (read more)

'Moulin Rouge! The Musical': A musical mashup unlimited

ABR Arts 29 November 2021
'Moulin Rouge! The Musical': A musical mashup unlimited
The Moulin Rouge journey has been a complicated one. The show, based on Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 movie and produced by Gerry Ryan’s Global Creatures, opened on Broadway in 2019, when it won a swag of Tony Awards, including Best Musical. In July of that year, a date for the Melbourne première was announced. A year later, of course, the world was turned upside down. Reports of the cast caroming betw ... (read more)

'Prayer Machine': A flawed but fascinating production

ABR Arts 22 November 2021
'Prayer Machine': A flawed but fascinating production
A Buddhist prayer wheel is a cylinder stuffed with sacred mantras and set on a spindle. Turning the cylinder is supposed to produce the same benefit as chanting the texts aloud. For true believers, contemplation of the endless turning of the wheel can be an aid to meditation and a way of drawing nearer to enlightenment. In nineteenth-century Europe, however, the wheel – dismissed by missionaries ... (read more)

MTC's Berlin is stylish, strange, and sombre – but it feels rushed

ABR Arts 26 April 2021
MTC's Berlin is stylish, strange, and sombre – but it feels rushed
Berlin, by Joanna Murray-Smith, is an intense, very wordy, imperfectly plotted, but nonetheless stylish play. ‘Stylish’ is a strange word to describe a play about young love sabotaged by tragic secrets and the legacy of the Holocaust. Shouldn’t it also be ‘heart-breaking’, ‘harrowing’, or at least ‘poignant’? Perhaps, but ‘stylish’ is the right word for a play – a thriller, ... (read more)

Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'English Pastoral: An inheritance' by James Rebanks

November 2020, no. 426 22 October 2020
Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'English Pastoral: An inheritance' by James Rebanks
Modern mega-farms are like nothing on earth. Imagine a vast black field stretching from horizon to horizon. A driverless tractor glides across the skyline spreading synthetic fertiliser. A cluster of grain towers looms over an empty asphalt parking lot. A row of pig sheds gleams in the distance. The square blot of the manure lagoon simmers in the hot sun. There are no trees. No birds. No mess. Eve ... (read more)

Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'Vesper Flights: New and collected essays' by Helen Macdonald

September 2020, no. 424 24 August 2020
Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'Vesper Flights: New and collected essays' by Helen Macdonald
The world evoked by British nature writer and historian Helen Macdonald in her new collection of essays is haunted by no end of unsettling and shrouded presences. The sight of a flock of starlings gives her a shiver of fear. Why? Because in her imagination the flock connects with a mass of refugees. The sight of falcon eggs in an incubator makes her unaccountably upset. Then she remembers that she ... (read more)

Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'Flight Lines: Across the globe on a journey with the astonishing ultramarathon birds' by Andrew Darby

March 2020, no. 419 24 February 2020
Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'Flight Lines: Across the globe on a journey with the astonishing ultramarathon birds' by Andrew Darby
It’s late July and high over the foggy green waters of the Sea of Okhotsk, a solitary Grey Plover beats its way south. Within sight of Sakhalin Island, the former Russian prison colony documented by Anton Chekhov, she veers west, heading for a vast tidal flat in Ul’banskiy Bay, not far from the rural settlement of Tugur Village. It’s hard to imagine a more isolated situation, and yet even he ... (read more)

Wild (Melbourne Theatre Company)

ABR Arts 14 May 2018
Wild (Melbourne Theatre Company)
How curious that British playwright Mike Bartlett’s dark comedy inspired by American whistle-blower Edward Snowden’s escape to Russia after leaking thousands of top-secret NSA documents should open with a joke brazenly filched from The Importance of Being Earnest. The larceny, of course, is unconcealed; one assumes that Bartlett is just letting us know the sort of show we’re in for. Yes, Wi ... (read more)

Waiting for Godot (Wits' End / Eleventh Hour Theatre)

ABR Arts 27 November 2017
Waiting for Godot (Wits' End / Eleventh Hour Theatre)
Estragon: And if we dropped him? [Pause.] If we dropped him?Vladimir: He’d punish us. [Silence. He looks at the tree.] Everything’s dead but the tree. The original French version of Waiting for Godot was written in Paris between October 1948 and January 1949. This was a time of mass migration in Europe, when a flood of displaced humanity washed across the continent. It was a time of refugees, ... (read more)

Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'A Long Saturday: Conversations' by George Steiner and Laure Adler

December 2017, no. 397 24 November 2017
Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'A Long Saturday: Conversations' by George Steiner and Laure Adler
In the late 1950s, when he was a fellow at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Learning, George Steiner overheard the legendary J. Robert Oppenheimer, at that time head of the Institute, dressing down a young physicist outside his door: ‘You are so young,’ boomed the father of the atomic bomb, ‘and you have already done so little!’  The story appears most recently in A Long Saturday, a ... (read more)
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