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Ben Brooker

Ben Brooker is a writer, editor, critic, playwright, essayist, and former bookseller. He has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Flinders University and an Advanced Diploma of Professional Writing from Adelaide College of the Arts. His work has been featured by Overland, New Matilda, New Internationalist, Australian Book Review, RealTime, The Lifted Brow, Witness, and Daily Review.

The Rivers of China (Don't Look Away)

ABR Arts 03 June 2015
Australian plays good or simply fortunate enough to make it from page to stage have historically tended to meet one of two fates: canonisation or, much more likely, limited production when still new and utter neglect thereafter. Independent Melbourne theatre company Don’t Look Away, established in 2013 under the artistic direction of Phil Rouse, specialises in exhuming the dead plays with which ... (read more)

Ben Brooker reviews 'Black Diggers' (Queensland Theatre Company) and 'Rotunda' (New Zealand Dance Company)

ABR Arts 11 May 2015
Black Diggers (), written by Tom Wright, directed by Wesley Enoch, and produced by the Queensland Theatre Company, received its world première at the 2014 Sydney Festival in January. Then, the full clamour of Australia’s more than $400 million centennial commemorations of World War I was not yet audible; by the time the play reached Adelaide in March 2015 – a few weeks shy of the centenary of ... (read more)

Ben Brooker reviews 'Reflections on Gallipoli'

ABR Arts 20 March 2015
It is, of course, one hundred years since almost 9,000 Australians died on a small Turkish peninsula during a campaign that, despite its localised failure as a military operation and futility in influencing the overall course of the war, has been unalterably woven into the fabric of our national mythos. Commemorative presentations are frequent. Orchestras, television producers, and performing arts ... (read more)

Ben Brooker reviews 'The Impulse Society: What’s wrong with getting what we want?' by Paul Roberts

January-February 2015, no. 368 01 January 2015
Paul Roberts’s The Impulse Society is the latest entry in a now familiar subtype of polemic: that of the society in decline, the symptoms of which run the gamut of Western post-industrialist ills from childhood obesity to the meltdown of global economic markets, and the syndrome of which is, at root, advanced capitalism. The lineage can be traced back through, among many others, Chris Hedges’ ... (read more)


ABR Arts 28 October 2014
A play in which two characters metaphorise the complex relationship between China and Australia does not sound very promising. We have seen this sort of thing before, not always happily – in the blue corner a lovably cantankerous professor representing ‘science’, in the red corner a cheery troglodyte who is ‘faith’ incarnate, and so on and on into the worst dinner party you have never be ... (read more)

Ben Brooker reviews 'The Suit' (State Theatre Company of South Australia)

November 2014, no. 366 01 November 2014
Adapted and directed by Peter Brook in conjunction with Hélène Estienne and Franck Krawczyk, The Suit was first staged in a French-language version (Le Costume) in 1999. In English, fifteen years on, and with significant changes having been made (including the replacement of recorded music with a live trio), The Suit remains vitally alive, showing none of the signs of the lethal malaise Brook de ... (read more)