ABR Arts

Tessa Ensler is a criminal lawyer in her thirties. Alone on a minimalist stage, in a black suit and a crisp white shirt, she begins by narrating in the present tense a court drama about an unspecified crime. Narcissistically, she considers herself the star rather than the defendant whom she represents ...

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Moby-Dick ★★★★ and Billy Budd ★★★★

Ian Dickson
Thursday, 23 May 2019

Given his towering position in the pantheon of American authors, it is surprising that the bicentenary year of the birth of Herman Melville, born on 1 August 1819 in New York, is passing with such little fanfare. However, this reviewer recently managed to catch performances of opera versions of his two most famous creations ...

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The Stonnington Jazz Festival

Des Cowley
Tuesday, 21 May 2019

It was a bold move by Stonnington Jazz to program an all-female/non-binary performance for the Festival’s opening concert: War Cry. Jazz, like much else, has come in for its fair share of criticism in the #MeToo era, its historical icons – bar a few exceptions – made up mostly of male musicians ...

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The Update - May 21, 2019

ABR Arts
Tuesday, 21 May 2019

In this fortnight's Update: Monash launches new Ian Potter Centre for Performing Arts; the year of Anchuli Felicia King; Tim Munro and Ten Thousand Birds; The Wheeler Centre and the $150,000 Next Chapter writers project; and a giveaway!

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All About Eve (National Theatre Live) ★★★1/2

Anwen Crawford
Monday, 20 May 2019

Belgian theatre director Ivo Van Hove has an appetite for bringing cinema to the stage. As artistic director of the Toneelgroep Amsterdam since 2001, he has directed stage adaptations of three Ingmar Bergman films, made work inspired by Pier Paolo Pasolini and Michelangelo Antonioni, and staged a version of John Cassavetes’ 1977 drama ...

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White Pearl (Royal Court Theatre) ★★★★1/2

Alexander Douglas Thom
Monday, 20 May 2019

An explicitly racist advertisement for a skin-whitening treatment, the eponymous White Pearl cream, has gone viral. The pastel offices of ClearDay – the Singaporean cosmetics company behind the ad – become the backdrop for a disastrous attempt at damage control. Presided over by manager Priya Singh ...

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Dr Johnson famously defined opera as ‘an exotic and irrational entertainment’, and so it proved on the opening night of Opera Australia’s autumn season – at least until the curtain went up. Lights down, photography admonition underway, conductor due any moment, we became aware of a strange incident in the gloom, as a solitary figure ...

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The Golden Age on St Kilda Road

Patrick McCaughey
Thursday, 16 May 2019

A shift in the European mind is taking hold. The stable democracies of Germany and the Netherlands contrast sharply with an unstable France and a demagogic Italy. The northern tier has an increasing authority, politically and culturally. Art historically, the Amsterdam–Berlin axis challenges the hegemony of the Paris–Rome accord ...

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Juno Gemes: The Quiet Activist, A Survey Exhibition 1979–2019

Alison Stieven-Taylor
Wednesday, 15 May 2019

In some ways, the title of this forty-year survey is at odds with Juno Gemes herself. There is nothing quiet about Gemes’s vision or her passion for telling stories that challenge preconceptions and cultural norms. Perhaps where the notion of ‘quiet’ comes from is in her subtle narratives, which are wrapped in concepts of the ordinary ...

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Little Woods ★★★

Anwen Crawford
Monday, 13 May 2019

‘I’m starting to see why Canada is so appealing,’ says Deb (Lily James) to her older sister Ollie (Tessa Thompson) as the two of them sit on the kitchen floor of their mother’s house trying to figure out their lives. Their mother has died after an unspecified, difficult illness; Ollie was her live-in carer and still sleeps on the sofa, out of habit and grief ...

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