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Andrew Fuhrmann

Andrew Fuhrmann

Andrew Fuhrmann reviews books and theatre. He is currently dance critic for the Age newspaper.

'Multiple Bad Things: A more muted performance from Back to Back Theatre' by Andrew Fuhrmann

ABR Arts 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. At centre stage, on a ... (read more)

'A Case for the Existence of God: Samuel D. Hunter’s portrait of heartland America' by Andrew Fuhrmann

ABR Arts 19 April 2024
It’s twilight in a small town in southern Idaho. There’s a housing crisis, widespread poverty, rampant drug addiction, and high levels of crime. Lost jobs, lost souls. Shuttered shops and hollow hearts. The sun is going down on the American dream and in the modest office of a Main Street mortgage broker there’s a man who thinks his problems will be solved by taking on more debt and still mor ... (read more)

'Vanya: A one-man version of Chekhov’s classic' by Andrew Fuhrmann

ABR Arts 08 March 2024
The dramatic energies of Uncle Vanya are basically centrifugal. As the play (first produced in 1899) rotates in its unwieldy way, the various characters – all of them dolorous creatures – are driven apart, pushed outward into the dreary wastes of private disappointment. Human relationships are of little consequence in this play; everyone is adrift in his or her own special incapacity. Maybe it ... (read more)

Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'Australia in 50 Plays' by Julian Meyrick

June 2022, no. 443 25 May 2022
For at least the first half of the twentieth century, Australian playwrights were not held in high regard by their compatriots. Popular opinion was summed up by fictional theatre manager M.J. Field in Frank A. Russell’s novel The Ashes of Achievement (1920): ‘I’ve got a play,’ commenced Philip, plunging.Field jumped from his chair, hands spread out in defence.‘Help!’ he yelped. ‘A ... (read more)

'Moulin Rouge! The Musical': A musical mashup unlimited

ABR Arts 29 November 2021
The Moulin Rouge journey has been a complicated one. The show, based on Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 movie and produced by Gerry Ryan’s Global Creatures, opened on Broadway in 2019, when it won a swag of Tony Awards, including Best Musical. In July of that year, a date for the Melbourne première was announced. A year later, of course, the world was turned upside down. Reports of the cast caroming betw ... (read more)

'Prayer Machine': A flawed but fascinating production

ABR Arts 22 November 2021
A Buddhist prayer wheel is a cylinder stuffed with sacred mantras and set on a spindle. Turning the cylinder is supposed to produce the same benefit as chanting the texts aloud. For true believers, contemplation of the endless turning of the wheel can be an aid to meditation and a way of drawing nearer to enlightenment. In nineteenth-century Europe, however, the wheel – dismissed by missionaries ... (read more)

MTC's Berlin is stylish, strange, and sombre – but it feels rushed

ABR Arts 26 April 2021
Berlin, by Joanna Murray-Smith, is an intense, very wordy, imperfectly plotted, but nonetheless stylish play. ‘Stylish’ is a strange word to describe a play about young love sabotaged by tragic secrets and the legacy of the Holocaust. Shouldn’t it also be ‘heart-breaking’, ‘harrowing’, or at least ‘poignant’? Perhaps, but ‘stylish’ is the right word for a play – a thriller, ... (read more)

Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'English Pastoral: An inheritance' by James Rebanks

November 2020, no. 426 22 October 2020
Modern mega-farms are like nothing on earth. Imagine a vast black field stretching from horizon to horizon. A driverless tractor glides across the skyline spreading synthetic fertiliser. A cluster of grain towers looms over an empty asphalt parking lot. A row of pig sheds gleams in the distance. The square blot of the manure lagoon simmers in the hot sun. There are no trees. No birds. No mess. Eve ... (read more)

Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'Vesper Flights: New and collected essays' by Helen Macdonald

September 2020, no. 424 24 August 2020
The world evoked by British nature writer and historian Helen Macdonald in her new collection of essays is haunted by no end of unsettling and shrouded presences. The sight of a flock of starlings gives her a shiver of fear. Why? Because in her imagination the flock connects with a mass of refugees. The sight of falcon eggs in an incubator makes her unaccountably upset. Then she remembers that she ... (read more)

Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'Flight Lines: Across the globe on a journey with the astonishing ultramarathon birds' by Andrew Darby

March 2020, no. 419 24 February 2020
It’s late July and high over the foggy green waters of the Sea of Okhotsk, a solitary Grey Plover beats its way south. Within sight of Sakhalin Island, the former Russian prison colony documented by Anton Chekhov, she veers west, heading for a vast tidal flat in Ul’banskiy Bay, not far from the rural settlement of Tugur Village. It’s hard to imagine a more isolated situation, and yet even he ... (read more)
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