ABR Arts

The Cape Town-based Isango Ensemble is known for its South African-flavoured reimaginings of works from the Western canon. While Adelaide Festival audiences thrill to Barrie Kosky’s Magic Flute, others may recall the Ensemble’s version, its setting translocated to a South African township, from the 2011 Melbourne Festival ...

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Salome (Opera Australia) ★★★★

Michael Halliwell
Thursday, 07 March 2019

Alex Ross, at the start of his acclaimed survey of twentieth-century music, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the twentieth century, describes in vivid detail the luminaries gathered for one of the first performances of Richard Strauss’s Salome in Graz on 16 May 1906, five months after the Dresden première ...

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The Miser (Bell Shakespeare) ★★★

Steve Dow
Thursday, 07 March 2019

At first glance, Molière’s The Miser, or L’Avare in the original French as first performed in 1668, contains the seeds of drama. Harpagon, an avaricious father, unceasingly heartless towards his grown son and daughter, and paranoid they will steal his beloved fortune, sounds like the stuff of tragedy ...

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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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