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.

The Real and Imagined History of the Elephant Man (Malthouse Theatre)

ABR Arts 11 August 2017
The Real and Imagined History of the Elephant Man (Malthouse Theatre)
It’s a provocative idea: disability as superpower. Can we imagine Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, as some sort mutant hero whose disfigurement is a gift? This is what the latest Malthouse production seems to be suggesting in its variation on the true story of a man with severe deformities who became a minor celebrity in Victorian England. And what does this superpower consist of? Why, simply t ... (read more)

Macbeth (Melbourne Theatre Company)

ABR Arts 13 June 2017
Macbeth (Melbourne Theatre Company)
This is Macbeth reimagined as a supernatural-themed action movie for the stage, a high-speed entertainment with explosions and gunplay and plenty of special effects. Macbeth and his fellow Scots scamper about in fatigues, flak jackets, and modern full-dress uniforms, accompanied by relentless blaring music. Battles are waged in the foyers of derelict office towers. Prisoners are tortured according ... (read more)

Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'The Legacies of Bernard Smith: Essays on Australian Art, history and cultural politics' edited by Jaynie Anderson, Christopher R. Marshall, and Andrew Yip

May 2017, no. 391 30 April 2017
Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'The Legacies of Bernard Smith: Essays on Australian Art, history and cultural politics' edited by Jaynie Anderson, Christopher R. Marshall, and Andrew Yip
A persistent fascination attaches to those who help break the new wood, and so it is with Bernard Smith (1916–2011). His contribution is foundational to the study of the arts in Australia. Smith was for more than sixty years the country’s leading art historian, but he was also an educator, curator, newspaper critic, collector, memoirist, and biographer. Even as an artist his work has acquired ... (read more)

Three Little Words (Melbourne Theatre Company)

ABR Arts 24 April 2017
Three Little Words (Melbourne Theatre Company)
There is something more than a little ersatz about Three Little Words, the latest play by Joanna Murray-Smith. It has all the usual parts, but it doesn’t feel like a real play. It opens – you’ll never guess – in a suburban living room. Tess and Curtis (Catherine McClements and Peter Houghton), a convivial middle-aged couple, are celebrating their twentieth wedding anniversary. To celebrat ... (read more)

Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'No Way but This: In Search of Paul Robeson' by Jeff Sparrow

April 2017, no. 390 30 March 2017
Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'No Way but This: In Search of Paul Robeson' by Jeff Sparrow
Is it surprising that Jeff Sparrow should write a book on Paul Robeson, the great American singer who was also a civil rights activist, a man of the left, and the most celebrated Othello of the twentieth century? Sparrow is a broadcaster and columnist, but he is also the immediate past editor of Overland, a literary journal dedicated to a mixed diet of – as Billy Bragg might say – pop and prog ... (read more)

John (Melbourne Theatre Company)

ABR Arts 20 February 2017
John (Melbourne Theatre Company)
What a mysterious and delightful play is American playwright Annie Baker’s John (2015), a meditative comic drama full of exquisite detail and suggested psychological insights. Sarah Goodes directs with sensitivity and imagination for the Melbourne Theatre Company, in the Fairfax Studio, and the fine cast, led by Helen Morse and Melita Jurišić, perform it with much grace and expert comic timing ... (read more)

Little Emperors (Malthouse Theatre)

ABR Arts 16 February 2017
Little Emperors (Malthouse Theatre)
It is often described as the world’s largest social experiment, whatever that means. In 1979, to curb the baby boom that followed the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese government officially adopted a one-child policy. Thirty-six-years later, in late 2015, this severe program, which allowed very few exceptions, transitioned into a more flexible two-child policy. The Chinese government is even offe ... (read more)

Shakespeare: The Complete Works (Decca)

ABR Arts 24 January 2017
Shakespeare: The Complete Works (Decca)
It was a job worthy of William himself: not only the ambitious scale of the project, but the speed with which it was completed. In just seven years, between 1958 and 1964, Argo Records, with the Marlowe Dramatic Society, released the complete works of Shakespeare in forty box-set LPs, unabridged and fully dramatised with a cast of hundreds. This remarkable venture was led by George Rylands (1902 ... (read more)

Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'Quicksilver' by Nicolas Rothwell

December 2016, no. 387 29 November 2016
Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'Quicksilver' by Nicolas Rothwell
Quicksilver begins in magniloquence, like the prophet Isaiah. It was the cold midwinter season, we are told, when Nicolas Rothwell began his days of journeying, driving west from Papunya in the Northern Territory towards Marble Bar in Western Australia. ‘The roads were empty: for the best part of a week I saw no trace of man and his works.’ As he drove, he thought about the last expedition of ... (read more)

Uncle Vanya (Red Stitch Theatre)

ABR Arts 21 November 2016
Uncle Vanya (Red Stitch Theatre)
When is it useful for an Australian production of Chekhov to use Russian accents? What does it do to the music of Chekhov, the rhythm and flow of his brisk conversations and long grandiose speeches? And what is the symbolism of such a decision? In this new production of Uncle Vanya (1899), directed by Nadia Tass, not only are the cast all decked out in nineteenth-century costumes and gathered aro ... (read more)
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