ABR Arts Performing Arts
After two hapless ventures into the world of Verdi in 2013 (his bicentenary year), Opera Australia has given us an entertaining new production of Rigoletto – one that will probably stay in the company’s repertoire for as long as its lucrative predecessor.
Elijah Moshinsky’s slick production (1991), which leaned on Fellini’s La Dolce VitaMore
Hobart is the ideal place in which to have a festival. Big enough to have other attractions but small enough so that the festival becomes a major event rather than just another diversion. A walk through Battery Point, followed by a long lunch at Salamanca Place with congenial fellow festival goers, or a trip out to MONA to wander through the psyche of David Walsh ar ... More
Stephen Berkoff has always been the bad boy of British theatre. At East’s London première in 1975, the critics howled. Berkoff’s first play was filthy, with explicit references to sex and violence. Yes, the 1950s had spawned Kitchen Sink Drama, exposing the lives of the lower classes to a predominantly middle-class British stage. But Berkoff’s c ... More
At a time when a convicted drug smuggler is rumoured to be about to collect a fortune for her remarkably unremarkable story and when we are heading into a new round of so-called ‘culture wars’, in which an extraordinary amount of heat will be generated with precious little light accompanying it, it is refreshing to be presented with another of Michael Gow’s fo ... More
With aching feet, bursting bladders, and the odd carrot for sustenance, Samuel Beckett’s famous pair of tramps have shuffled on to the stage of the Sydney Theatre for an extended run, though run is hardly the apposite word for this stationary duo. Perhaps one could call it an extended slump.
Waiting for Godot (first pe ... More
It’s a story biblical in resonance: prodigal son Hunter returns after seven years in the wilderness, to find younger brother Gordon finalising a lucrative real estate deal; the homestead’s boarded up, ageing Mum has been moved to a tiny flat, and the Utopia they knew as boys is set for redevelopment. The brothers come to blows, family secrets are uncovered, and ... More
Over the past ten years, Melbourne and Sydney have experienced a revolution in the aesthetics of theatre – perhaps only the second major one since 1945. After World War II, the British helped to get us back on our cultural feet, the high point being the establishment of the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust in 1954. Along came a bunch of Poms or Pommie-mi ... More
‘Nothing is not giving messages,’ reads a postcard wedged between the keys of a typewriter on a cluttered bedside table. As well as a nod to Edwin Morgan, the postcard is just one item in an abundance of ephemera lining a small makeshift bedroom in the basement of the North Melbourne Town Hall. This is the setting for American-born, Edinburgh-based poet Ryan Van Winkle’s one-on-one poetry ... More
When I was a teenager, I attended a theatre workshop organised by Australian Theatre for Young People. Nick Enright, who led the workshop, told a story about seeing the opening-night production of David Williamson’s The Removalists (1971) from backstage. Twenty years on, Enright’s description of the look on the audience’s faces as they contemplated the ... More
Writing to his brother in 1889, Anton Chekhov advised: ‘Try to be original and as clever as possible in your play, but do not be afraid of appearing stupid. Freethinking is essential, but to be a freethinker one must not be afraid to write nonsense.’
I thought a lot about nonsense during the Melbourne Theatre Company’s ne ... More