‘I’m starting to see why Canada is so appealing,’ says Deb (Lily James) to her older sister Ollie (Tessa Thompson) as the two of them sit on the kitchen floor of their mother’s house trying to figure out their lives. Their mother has died after an unspecified, difficult illness; Ollie was her live-in carer and still sleeps on the sofa, out of habit and grief ...... (read more)
Louis Nowra’s much-loved play Così is often held up as the archetypal great Australian comedy, a larrikin farce in the vein of Michael Frayn’s Noises Off (1982). But as the years roll by and the play’s sensitivities diverge from contemporary standards, it increasingly seems to share more in common with Shakespeare’s ‘problem plays’ ...... (read more)
In this fortnight's Update: Bill Henson + the Sydney Art Quartet; Nicholas Carter conducts the ANAM Orchestra; the 2019 Archibald Prize finalists are announced; Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton sweeps ABI Awards; SBS releases new free-to-air movie channel, and some giveaways!
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 ...... (read more)
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 ...... (read more)
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 ...... (read more)
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 ...... (read more)
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 ...... (read more)
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 ...
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 ...... (read more)