Ian Dickson

Miracle City

Ian Dickson
27 October 2014

As I sat through the standing ovation that greeted the performance of the Nick Enright/Max Lambert musical Miracle City that I attended, I wondered why it is that some productions seem to get a free ride. Few regular theatre-goers would disagree with the contention that we are at present in Australia living through a golden age of acting talent. The huge boos ... More

Children of the Sun

Ian Dickson
15 September 2014

By now we know what to expect from an Andrew Upton adaptation of a Russian play – brisk, overlapping dialogue with anachronistic turns of phrase and use of four-letter words. With the Sydney Theatre Company’s Uncle Vanya (2010), this approach, in combination with Támas Ascher’s brilliant production, worked superbly to blow away the miasma of gloom and ... More

Santa Fe Opera House 2014 Festival Season

Ian Dickson
14 August 2014

The Santa Fe opera house has a location as dramatic as Sydney’s. Perched on the top of a hill overlooking the town, it looks across the valley to the Sangre de Cristo mountains. What started out in 1957 as an open-air theatre has over the years grown a roof which covers the stage and auditorium, but the sides of the auditorium and back of the stage are still open ... More

Hedda Gabler

Ian Dickson
07 July 2014

Hedda Gabler (1890) occupies a somewhat schizophrenic position in Henrik Ibsen’s work. On the one hand, it is normally seen as the apotheosis of Ibsen’s realist period, his sardonic homage to the fashionable ‘well-made play’ of the time. But, on the other hand, from early in its theatrical life there have been productions which have reacted against ... More

Ian Dickson revisits the Chelsea Hotel

Ian Dickson
28 May 2014

In the heyday of Manhattan hotels, the Chelsea Hotel had its own special niche. The Pierre exuded wealth and exclusivity, the Plaza a sort of bourgeois glamour as the place where the bridge and tunnel crowd would throw caution to the wind and rent a corner suite for big occasions, and the Algonquin, with its round table and Hamlet the cat, radiated intellectual chic ... More

Hobart Baroque

Ian Dickson
01 May 2014

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

Ian Dickson on the many obsessions of Leonard Bernstein

Ian Dickson
28 March 2014

There once was a boy named Lenny
Whose talents were varied and many
So many that he was inclined
Never to make up his mind
In fact he was so gifted
He never felt uplifted
Just undefined.
Poor Lenny – ten gifts too many
The curse of being versatile.
To show how bad ... More

Once in Royal David’s City

Ian Dickson
27 February 2014

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

Waiting for Godot

Ian Dickson
27 November 2013

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

The Perfect American (English National Opera)

Ian Dickson
24 June 2013

English National Opera audiences are notable for their complete lack of bling. On opening nights they ostentatiously dress down, in opposition to their social butterfly Covent Garden counterparts, as if to state that they are there for the opera alone. The London opening of The Perfect American, Philip Glass’s opera based on ... More

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