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Recent reviews

Film  |  Theatre  |  Art  |  Opera  |  Music  |  Television  |  Festivals

Welcome to ABR Arts, home to some of Australia's best arts journalism. We review film, theatre, opera, music, television, art exhibitions – and more. Reviews remain open for one week before being paywalled.

Sign up to ABR Arts and receive longform arts criticism to your inbox every fortnight on Tuesdays. And if you are interested in writing for ABR Arts, tell us about your passions and your expertise.

 


Recent reviews

Stolen 

Sydney Theatre Company
by
14 June 2024

On its face, Stolen presents as simple storytelling. Five characters, five distinct journeys, five personal narratives, bound together within an overarching story: that of the stealing of Indigenous children from their families, their culture, their land, a shameful, reprehensible blight on our national history, a blight that continued into recent history, the impact of which is still being lived and experienced.

... (read more)

Paul Grabowsky: Solo Piano 

Woodend Winter Arts Festival
by
11 June 2024

I recall the first time I saw pianist Paul Grabowsky play. The occasion was the launch of his debut album Six by Three, recorded with his then trio of bassist Gary Costello and drummer Allan Browne. The recital took place on a Sunday afternoon, in 1989, if memory serves, in a downstairs gallery in Flinders Lane.

... (read more)

Schubert and the Viennese Masters 

Woodend Winter Arts Festival
by
11 June 2024

Since its first iteration in 2005, the annual Woodend Winter Arts Festival has grown to become one of the more successful regional arts events in Victoria. The picturesque town of Woodend is less than an hour away from Melbourne, and now also has a significant and growing population of tree-changers and retirees.

... (read more)

Blackout Songs 

Red Stitch Actors' Theatre
by
07 June 2024

Addiction is the third wheel in many a stage relationship. Plays such as Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1956), J.P. Miller’s Days of Wine and Roses (1958), and Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962) examine the ways in which addiction – whether to alcohol, morphine, or even love – offers a heady sense of ‘something’ where once there seemed to be nothing at all.

... (read more)

Dido and Aeneas 

Pinchgut Opera
by
03 June 2024

A powerful sense of irony accompanies the poignant final words sung by Queen Dido of Carthage as she contemplates her imminent death in Henry Purcell’s compact three-act, hour-long opera Dido and Aeneas. ‘Remember me, but ah! Forget my fate’, has echoed down the ages since the late seventeenth century, but little is known, never mind remembered, about the actual performance of the opera in Purcell’s time.

... (read more)

Multiple Bad Things 

Back to Back Theatre
by
03 June 2024

The setting is described in the program as a workplace at the end of the world – but what kind of workplace? Well, imagine that a multinational technology company has bought up Valhalla for warehouse space and a new fulfilment centre. Above and behind the stage is a kind of elongated portal through which we see billowing clouds, purple and pink, shot through with lightning.

... (read more)

The Test, Season Three 

Amazon Prime
by
28 May 2024

The cricket-lover knows that a Test match – let alone a Test series – lasts long enough for the full sweep of human comedy to be on show. Ambition; petulance; perfection all too fleeting; horrible failure; hilarious pratfalls; selflessness and honour: it’s all in a day – or in five day’s play.

... (read more)

The Cherry Orchard 

Donmar Warehouse
by
27 May 2024

Anxiety and agitation failing to translate into action as an exhausted and exhausting world faces an uncertain future – the contemporary relevance of The Cherry Orchard requires no special pleading. Retaining the characters and narrative trajectory of the play written by Anton Chekhov in 1903, Australian director Benedict Andrews employs music and contemporary diction in an ambitious production that takes the humour in Chekhov’s final play seriously.

... (read more)

Festival of Outback Opera 2024

Opera Queensland
by
23 May 2024
Black kites wheeling above parched plains, big hats, rattling road trains, and vast skies form the backdrop for the Festival of Outback Opera in remote ‘Waltzing Matilda country’ – a place studded with cattle stations and opal mines. Here, Banjo Paterson penned his jolly swagman opus. ... (read more)

The season of giving

Close readers of our Patrons page will note many new additions to this month’s listing, including several substantial donations. Some of these followed a Melbourne function on 1 May, at which ABR Editor Peter Rose, ABR Chair Sarah Holland-Batt, and ABR Laureate Robyn Archer all spoke. This was an opportunity for ABR to thank its many supporters and to highlight new developments and opportunities.

... (read more)