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Dina Ross

The Love of a Bad Man by Laura Elizabeth Woollett

November 2016, no. 386

Throughout history, women have been seduced by men who are mad, bad, and dangerous to know. Many of the world’s most notorious murderers and con artists have attracted ...

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Ethel Livesey was a piece of work. By the time she stood trial in 1946, she had already served several terms in prison. The serial fraudster had accumulated more than ...

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Middletown (Red Stitch)

23 November 2015

'Middletown. Population: stable,' says the cop on patrol, addressing the audience. 'The main street is called Main Street. The side streets are named after trees ... Things are fairly predictable. People come, people go. Crying, by the way, in both directions.' Middletown. Muddletown. Everytown. The cop's monologue sets up the premise for this play. For the next few ...

To highlight Australian Book Review's arts coverage and to celebrate some of the year's memorable concerts, operas, films, ballets, plays, and exhibitions, we invited a group of critics and arts professionals to nominate their favourites – and to nominate one production they are looking forward to in 2016. (We indicate which works were reviewed in Arts Up ...

When Red Stitch premièred Tom Holloway’s Red Sky Morning a few years ago, it was clear that Australian theatre was witnessing the birth of a significant dramatic voice. Here were a series of interlinked monologues rich in poetic intensity, mixing Aussie vernacular with a haunting lyricism that sung of the earth and was roo ...

The Flick

Red Stitch
04 May 2015

It is ironic that Annie Baker’s 2014 Pulitzer-Prize winning play about one of the last American cinemas to use a 35-millimeter projector is being revived by Red Stitch, whose theatre is opposite The Astor, the classic Melbourne cinema that was recently sold and will soon be transformed into a twenty-first century digital ‘palace’.

Red Stitch first perf ...

Leading arts critics and professionals nominate some of their favourite performances for 2014.

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In the world of Australian popular entertainment, few personalities are more prominent than Bert Newton. Since the 1950s he has been a presence on radio and television, as announcer, talk show host, compère, interviewer, and musical comedy star. Love him or loathe him, ‘Old Moonface’ has impressed as much for his ability to survive the ups and downs of showbiz politics as for his body of work. Whatever fate has thrown at him, he has risen, phoenix-like, from the ashes until the expiration of his Channel Nine contract earlier this year. Graeme Blundell’s biography attempts to reveal the man behind the flashing smile and famously quick wit. He draws on news reports, personal interviews with Newton’s colleagues and friends, as well as extracts from articles and television programs, to build a composite picture of a media celebrity.

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The last photographs taken of Jean Galbraith show a wrinkled woman in her eighties, with wispy hair pulled back in a bun, wearing round tortoiseshell spectacles, thick stockings, and sensible shoes – the kind of person you might expect to see serving behind the counter of a country post office early last century, or pouring endless cups of tea at church fêtes. Yet her unprepossessing appearance belied the extraordinary woman within. For Australian nature lovers and botanists, Jean Galbraith was an icon. Over the seventy years of her writing career (her last article was published when she was eighty-nine), she turned botanical writing into an art form, branched into television and radio scriptwriting, wrote children’s books, lectured tirelessly on the beauty of Australia’s native flora, and became a fierce advocate for conservation. When she died in 1999, aged ninety-two, she had earned many awards and accolades, including the prestigious Australian Natural History Medallion.

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The concert pianist Alfred Brendel is one of the leading twentieth-century interpreters of music, with a special interest in the German repertoire. When he retired in 2008 after six decades of performing, he did so not through loss of stamina, but because of crippling arthritis in his hands. Brendel continues, at eighty-three, to teach, lecture, and write. (His poetry collection, Playing the Human Game [2011] contains one of the most damning attacks on that well-known pest, the concert cougher.) A Pianist’s A–Z explores his personal relationship with the piano. It covers the classical repertoire, offering insights, asides, reflections, and the occasional and excruciatingly corny joke.

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