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Tim Byrne

Tim Byrne

Tim Byrne is a freelance writer and theatre critic for Australian Book Review and Time Out Melbourne. He is currently working on a novel. Tim is also a bookseller and interviewer, running a series of author interviews at Avenue Bookstore. He maintains an arts blog that focuses on theatre, film, and books.

'The Inheritance: A magical transformation of Howards End' by Tim Byrne

ABR Arts 23 January 2024
We can look at the literary canon as our cultural inheritance: flawed and incomplete, maybe, but also a balm and a provocation stretching across the centuries. Part of its value lies in the connections we form between great works, the layers of meaning that build up over time like sediment in rock. American playwright Matthew López engages directly with this notion in his monumental seven-hour pl ... (read more)

Tim Byrne reviews 'Late: A novel' by Michael Fitzgerald

December 2023, no. 460 27 November 2023
Michael Fitzgerald’s new novel, Late, opens with a camera obscura, a direct reference to Christopher Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin (1939). The image is a nifty one – a portrait projected across the Pacific Ocean, as well as across time itself – and it goes some way to signalling the author’s intentions: he wants to create a novel deliberately weighted by the creative works (films, books, ... (read more)

'Julius Caesar: A play of mouths and tongues' by Tim Byrne

ABR Arts 28 August 2023
In many ways, William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (almost certainly 1599) is a director’s rather than an actor’s play. While there have been brilliant performances associated with it – from Marlon Brando and John Gielgud to Ben Whishaw and our own Robyn Nevin – it is really the directors who make sense of it on stage, and have moulded its politics to suit the times. John Philip Kemble an ... (read more)

Tim Byrne reviews 'Did I Ever Tell You This? A memoir' by Sam Neill and 'Everything and Nothing: A memoir' by Heather Mitchell

August 2023, no. 456 24 July 2023
Despite their proliferation, celebrity memoirs often seem incapable of justifying their own existence: a string of carefully curated anecdotes woven together to approximate a life already lived in the glare of the media. Perhaps because actors are on the one hand concealed by the roles they play, and on the other exposed to the prying eyes of the public, their autobiographies tend to inhabit a par ... (read more)

'The Son: Parenthood as a horror show' by Tim Byrne

ABR Arts 07 February 2023
Given the success of the film adaptation of his previous play, The Father (2020), with an Academy Award-winning lead performance from Anthony Hopkins and a slew of nominations for himself, it seems only natural that writer–director Florian Zeller should turn to another in his trilogy of plays, The Son, for his next film project. (Zeller’s play, Le Fils, had its première in Paris in 2018.) Co- ... (read more)

'Wittenoom: An elegiac work about corporate power' by Tim Byrne

ABR Arts 03 February 2023
The degazetted former township of Wittenoom, 1,420 kilometres north-north-east of Perth, stands like a dark shadow on the lungs of Australian mining, less an isolated blight than a synecdoche for the exploitation and avarice of the industry as a whole. It was named by Lang Hancock himself, created in 1947 by his company Australian Blue Asbestos Pty Ltd, and was directly responsible for the death o ... (read more)

'Cyrano: A new adaptation of Edmond Rostand's Classic' by Tim Byrne

ABR Arts 30 September 2022
In Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author (1921), a handful of people enter a stage during a rehearsal and begin to break down the very structures of theatre itself. They question not just the verisimilitude of acting but the essentialism of character, the idea that we are ever any one thing fixed in time. It is a concept that animates Virginia Gay’s free a ... (read more)

‘The Comedy of Errors: A waddling production of a breakneck farce’ by Tim Byrne

ABR Arts 18 July 2022
One thing is certain: Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors is flat out hilarious, and if it isn’t funny enough on stage, it’s the fault of the production. His only farce, it is often thought to be an early work, but it is surely far too assured to be written before 1594. It’s entirely free of the striving Marlovian rhetoric that hampers the Henry VI plays (commenced in 1591), and it is clean ... (read more)

‘The Amateurs: A medieval to modern morality play’ by Tim Byrne

ABR Arts 05 July 2022
It opens outside the tiny wooden box that is Red Stitch’s St Kilda home; the actors come towards us with torches blazing, in medieval masks. What follows is a brief pageant, a morality play that breaks down when one of the players falls victim to a mysterious pestilence – although it’s clear from the catch in the other actors’ voices that this contagion is not entirely unexpected. The acto ... (read more)

‘Come Rain or Come Shine: Kazuo Ishiguro on stage’ by Tim Byrne

ABR Arts 27 June 2022
English Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro has had several works translated into film – notably The Remains of the Day (1993) and Never Let Me Go (2010) – but Melbourne Theatre Company’s Come Rain or Come Shine is the first stage musical based on his work. One of five short stories on the theme of music and nightfall that make up the collection Nocturnes (2009), it’s an odd little tale of frien ... (read more)