ABR Arts

All Is True ★★1/2

Johanna Leggatt
Monday, 06 May 2019

There is a scene in Kenneth Branagh’s British film, All is True, where the earl of Southampton (Ian McKellen) tells William Shakespeare (Branagh) that The Bard has lived ‘a small life’. As the Southampton points out snidely, there have been no scandals in Shakespeare’s backstory, no drunken gallivanting on ...

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Elizabeth Taylor played Maggie to Paul Newman’s Brick in Richard Brooks’s 1958 film adaptation of Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; a more perfect sexual promise left unfulfilled was never committed to celluloid. But if you want truly pyrotechnical sexual chemistry, it’s hard to look past Taylor’s onscreen work with her real-life husband Richard Burton ...

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There are few really good plays or films about writers. Our craft, unlike those of painters or musicians, does not seem to lend itself to the visual or aural mediums. There is nothing to look at, and much less to hear. And yet the plays and films continue to be made. Writers, and writing we suppose, are important, even if we have little idea how to ...

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Slaughterhouse Five (MUST and Theatre Works) ★★

Laura Hartnell
Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time, and while time travel has its drawbacks for the protagonist of Slaughterhouse Five, it may be preferable to being stuck in this interminable adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s famous 1969 novel. Monash University Student Theatre’s (MUST) adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five was ...

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1985 ★★★★

Stuart Richards
Wednesday, 24 April 2019

At the 2019 Melbourne Queer Film Festival, a friend and I were discussing the work of the Texan-based, Malaysian-born filmmaker Yen Tan. Having just seen his latest film, 1985, I was struck by the subtle power of the film. Aesthetically, it might have been made in 1985. As with all his films, there is a non-sensationalist sadness that gradually builds ...

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The Update - April 23, 2019

ABR Arts
Tuesday, 23 April 2019

In this fortnight's Update: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof  performed by Sydney Theatre Company; submissions open for fortyfivedownstair's Emerging Artist Award 2019; the ABR 2020 European tour; Vicki Laveau-Harvie wins the $50,000 Stella Prize 2019; applications open for The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award; the 14th Stonnington Jazz Festival; Slaughterhouse Five reimagined by Theatre Works; The Secret River to tour UK; and more ...

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Mosquitoes (Sydney Theatre Company) ★★★★

Ian Dickson
Monday, 15 April 2019

With impeccable timing, the week the National Science Foundation published the first picture of a black hole, Sydney Theatre Company opened its production of Mosquitoes, Lucy Kirkwood’s exploration of the gulf between supposedly rational scientific knowledge and the vagaries of the human heart. Kirkwood has never been afraid of confronting big themes ...

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Burning ★★★★★

Richard Leathem
Friday, 12 April 2019

Japanese author Haruki Murakami may be one of the most revered authors alive, but his work is seldom adapted for the screen, erhaps because the internalised nature of his narratives doesn’t leap out as being easily translated to film. Until now, only Norwegian Wood (2010), an atypical Murakami novel, has seen wide exposure ...

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West Side Story (Opera Australia) ★★★

Peter Tregear
Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Some sixty-two years after its Broadway première, Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins’s musical and geographical updating of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet continues to pack a powerful dramatic punch. While not without its weaknesses, such as the reliance on now-dated street slang and ethnic stereotypes ...

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Us ★★★★

Barnaby Smith
Thursday, 28 March 2019

Popular culture is still resonating with the impact of Jordan Peele’s 2017 film Get Out, one of the most extraordinary and confident directorial débuts of recent times. Get Out cut a swath through complacency and assumptions regarding race relations. The idea of wealthy, ageing white people transplanting their brains into the bodies of young black men to ...

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