Ian Dickson

Ian Dickson reviews 'James Merrill' by Langdon Hammer

Ian Dickson
25 February 2016

To his critics, James Merrill was at best a petit maître, a composer of exquisitely manufactured lyrics that reflected his privileged life and over-refined sensibilities. When he won Yale's Bollingen Prize for Poetry, the editorial writer for The New York Times wearily deplored the judges' preference for 'literary' poets. This prompted a sharp res ... More

The Golden Age (Sydney Theatre Company) ★★★★

Ian Dickson
25 January 2016

The reappraisal of Australian plays from that great explosion of theatrical creativity in the 1970s and 1980s which has been in train for the last few years continues with the Sydney Theat More

Ian Dickson reviews 'Orlando' (Sydney Theatre Company)

Ian Dickson
17 November 2015

Virginia Woolf's early impression of the aristocratic, free-loving woman of letters Vita Sackville-West was not exactly complimentary: 'Not much to my severer taste – florid, moustached, parakeet coloured, with all the supple ease of the aristocracy, but not the wit of the artist.' Her opinion soon changed, however, and she found herself falling in love with the p ... More

Arts Highlights of the Year

Robyn Archer et al.
26 October 2015

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 ... More

Letter from Milan

Ian Dickson
21 October 2015

Spurred on by Expo Milan, La Scala is having a busy couple of months. Entitled Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, the Expo is supposed to stimulate ideas for sustainable nutrition in a world with a rapidly expanding population and an equally rapidly diminishing arable area. However, the report from those who have braved the enormous crowds and endless que ... More

Ian Dickson reviews 'Master Class' (Left Bauer Productions)

Ian Dickson
13 August 2015

Cunningly promoted by her recording company, EMI, the Callas myth took off after her death on 16 September 1977 and continues to resonate to this day. Undeterred by Franco Zeffirelli’s excruciating screen homage to the diva, Callas Forever (2002), Callas projects starring Meryl Streep and Noomi Rapace have been announced.

Like most my ... More

The Present (Sydney Theatre Company)

Ian Dickson
10 August 2015

In 1881, armed with the confidence of youth, the twenty-one-year-old Anton Pavlovich Chekhov fronted up to the Maly Theatre in Moscow, at that time one of the foremost theatres in the world, in order to present its leading actress, Maria Yermolova, with a copy of his recently written and probably first play. The great lady promptly returned the manuscript, whi ... More

Mother Courage and Her Children (Belvoir St Theatre)

Ian Dickson
15 June 2015

As our government prepares to increase our involvement in a Middle Eastern disaster we should never have taken part in, Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children seems more pertinent than ever.

The theatre of Bertolt Brecht has always pr ... More

Ian Dickson reviews 'Endgame'

Ian Dickson
10 April 2015

The fact that two of Australia’s major theatre companies are performing Endgame concurrently is, one hopes, merely a coincidence and not a reflection on the national Zeitgeist, for the play is one of the bleakest works in Samuel Beckett’s not exactly sunny canon. If Vladimir and Estragon in Waiting for Godot cling desperately to some hope, their co ... More

Ian Dickson reviews 'Tennessee Williams' bu John Lahr

Ian Dickson
25 November 2014

For a man who has repeatedly been described as America’s greatest playwright, Tennessee Williams’s reputation has fluctuated as wildly as his notorious mood swings. In the decade after the war he was celebrated. ‘Mr. Williams is the man of our time who comes closest to hurling the actual blood and bone of life onto the stage,’ wrote Walter Kerr of the first ... More

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