Belvoir St Theatre

Light Shining in Buckinghamshire 

Belvoir St Theatre
by
20 April 2022

Caryl Churchill’s Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, first performed in 1976, is a dense and difficult play set during the English Civil War. The period may be distant in time but Churchill, working in a broadly Marxist tradition, sees it as an era when fundamental questions of governance were tested by a mass of ordinary people. From whom does the state derive authority, and is a person bound to obey laws they find unjust? Does the existence of private property – those enclosed lands cultivated for the profit of a few – offend against the common good? Do the rich offend God? ‘For a short time when the king had been defeated anything seemed possible,’ Churchill wrote in a 1978 introductory note. The possibilities included, for some, Christ’s return and with it the instigation of an earthly Paradise.

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Opening Night 

by
04 March 2022

Although America produced other alternative filmmakers of his generation like Kenneth Anger and Maya Deren, John Cassavetes (1929–89) would have to be considered the doyen of the movement. Directors as diverse as Martin Scorsese, Jim Jarmusch, Peter Bogdanovich, and Pedro Almodóvar have acknowledged his influence. Technically rough though they may sometimes be, Cassavetes’ films have a raw power that, in the words of Amy Taubin, ‘catch you up, turn you around, bore you a little, startle you, and throw you out upset and confused’. Opening Night (1977), a film that was undervalued when it first appeared and is now perhaps somewhat overvalued, is no exception.

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The Cherry Orchard 

Belvoir St Theatre
by
03 June 2021

What did Anton Pavlovich Chekhov ever do to Sydney theatre that Sydney theatre should treat him as it does? Since Tamas Ascher’s superb STC production of Uncle Vanya hit the stage in 2010, Sydney has been subjected to performances of The Seagull, Ivanov, The Present (aka Platonov), and Three Sisters that, in their attempts to be ‘relevant’, have ridden roughshod over the subtle, devastatingly acute dissections of humanity with which Chekhov presents us.

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Stop Girl 

Belvoir St Theatre
by
26 March 2021

Picture this: it’s 7pm. The news begins. There’s the jingle, a few stories about Australian political goings-on, then a piece about a war-torn country overseas. What do you see? A foreign correspondent, flak jacket on, standing in a bombed-out street or a hospital ward full of bloodied bodies. They speak for a few minutes, describing the horror. The news moves on. We go back to our lives. But what happens next for the reporter?

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My Brilliant Career 

Belvoir St Theatre
by
14 December 2020

My Brilliant Career may not be Belvoir’s first post-pandemic show, but it’s surely the most joyous. Hot on the heels of a government exemption raising audience numbers to seventy-five per cent capacity, the mood on opening night was exuberant – almost as exuberant as Sybylla Melvyn, My Brilliant Career’s impossible yet impossible-not-to-love protagonist.

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Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam 

Belvoir St Theatre
by
11 February 2020

I made the mistake of rereading Peter Goldsworthy’s 1993 novella before seeing Steve Rodgers’ adaptation of Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam at Belvoir St Theatre, so I knew the play’s advertised surprise ending and may have been resistant to its emotional charge. At its première production for National Theatre of Parramatta at the Riverside Theatre in 2018, it was said to reduce audiences to tears. Some audience members could be seen wiping their eyes after the opening night performance at Belvoir.

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Packer & Sons 

Belvoir St Theatre
by
21 November 2019

You would have to be living under a rock the size of Uluru not to be aware of the reassessment of the masculine sense of dominance and entitlement that is sweeping the Western world at the moment. From an American president who has openly boasted of assaulting women to a member of the royal family who, in an interview about his relationship with a notorious paedophile, blithely ignores the damage that this man and his cohorts inflicted on young women, we have seen a stunning lack of empathy towards the less powerful and well connected. In the business world, some consider this to be a requisite for success. It has become something of a truism to claim, as does Jon Ronson in his controversial book The Psychopath Test, that a high percentage of CEOs have psychopathic tendencies.

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You plan to present a new radical production of Hamlet. But it’s a long play and you only have a small cast. It will need a fair bit of pruning and you’ll have to lose some characters or at least reduce their importance. You will leave in the soliloquies of course, but Rosencrantz and Guildenstern can go, as can the players ...

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Parallel importation

Dear Editor,
I’d like to thank Colin Golvan QC for his intelligent, articulate, and well-argued response to the Productivity Commission report’s proposed changes to parallel importations and fair use, published as both a podcast and a brief commentary by ABR (November 2016 ...

Brian Friel’s play Faith Healer is now considered to be, if not his masterpiece Translations (1980) probably takes that distinction at least one of his most successful works, but it took a while before its sneakily subverted approach to truth and illusion was appreciated. Its 1979 Broadway première ...

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