ABR Arts

Roger Ballen’s art is not for the faint hearted; it is confronting, haunting, and at times repellent. It is also fascinating, brilliant, and jaw-dropping. These images seethe with malodorous discontent, menace, and psychosis. The best way to experience his photographs is to surrender and resist the desire to read the images literally ...

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Arbus & West (Melbourne Theatre Company) ★★★★

Fiona Gruber
Monday, 04 March 2019

'Mary Pickford may have been America’s sweetheart,’ Mae West is recorded to have said, ‘but I’m their wet dream.’ At the start of Stephen’s Sewell’s new play, Arbus & West, West, in her late seventies, wisecracks sexcily with audiences around the United States and jibes with her long-suffering dresser and personal assistant ...

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The Magic Flute (Adelaide Festival) ★★★★1/2

Steve Dow
Monday, 04 March 2019

Mozart’s final opera, The Magic Flute, is a staple of Germany’s opera houses, and continues to be frequently produced in theatres internationally. Melbourne-born Barrie Kosky found himself under pressure to deliver a production of the 1791 Singspiel – comic opera with spoken dialogue ...

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Two Feet (Adelaide Festival) ★★★★1/2

Lee Christofis
Monday, 04 March 2019

This year’s Adelaide Festival opening night was one for standing ovations, and the revival of Meryl Tankard’s Two Feet, danced by internationally acclaimed Russian ballerina Natalia Osipova, certainly earned one. Commissioned for World Expo 88 by former festival director Anthony Steel, Two Feet ...

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The Update - February 26, 2019

ABR Arts
Tuesday, 26 February 2019

In this fortnight's Update: the Alliance Française French Film Festival; the 2019 Peter Porter Poetry Prize awards ceremony; Nina Stemme and Wagner at the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra; the 2019 Newcastle Writers Festival; I'm Not Running broadcast live at Cinema Nova; the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards open for entry; and giveaways ...

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Ned Kelly (Lost & Found Opera) ★★★

Humphrey Bower
Monday, 25 February 2019

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Sadly, this might serve as a motto both for Ned Kelly himself and for Lost and Found Opera’s recent production of Luke Styles and Peter Goldsworthy’s interesting new opera. Personally, I’ve always found the national obsession with Kelly somewhat cringe-worthy ...

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Stan & Ollie ★★★

Richard Leathem
Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Comedy is a fickle business and a biopic on almost any successful comic act would surely include a section on the inevitable falling out of favour with public tastes. Laurel & Hardy were no exception, and Stan & Ollie, a BBC Films co-production, ostensibly focuses on the latter part of the duo’s career, when the film roles had dried up and a theatre tour of ...

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Heavenly (Queensland Symphony Orchestra) ★★★★★

Gillian Wills
Tuesday, 19 February 2019

In last year’s opening Maestro concert, the young Scandinavian conductor Daniel Blendulf made his début with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Alondra de la Parra, the orchestra’s chief conductor, was to have directed this year’s introductory concert, but as she was invited to replace the indisposed Franz Welser-Möst in Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) in Berlin ...

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Death of a Salesman (Queensland Theatre) ★★★★1/2

Bronwyn Lea
Monday, 18 February 2019

Miller’s intention in writing the play, he recalls in his autobiography, Timebends (1987), was not to put ‘a timebomb under capitalism’ – as one outraged woman accused on opening night – but rather to expose a ‘pseudo life that thought to touch the clouds by ...

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Karl V (Bayerische Staatsoper) ★★★★

Peter Tregear
Friday, 15 February 2019

The corpulent form of Henry VIII understandably dominates our own historical imagining of the turbulent first half of the sixteenth century. From the perspective of continental Europe, however, other figures loom just as large. Indeed, even the English Reformation has the actions of another monarch at its epicentre ...

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