A boarding house, late evening. Two elderly men pace fretfully, unable to settle. They are, we learn, waiting for their landlady to return home. She goes out rarely and tonight is later than usual. Should they play cards? No, says one of the men, I always lose. I’ll let you win, says the other. Then there’d be no point in playing, rejoinders the first.... (read more)
Conversations on a train, scene one: we’re on Eurostar and a white woman and a black man, both young, begin to talk. We know immediately that they are middle-class and have prospects; the clothes and reading matter proclaim it. He identifies himself as an Australian resident in France; she’s an English student.... (read more)
'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 ...... (read more)
Floating in the dawn skies above the Yarra Valley on November 22, Patricia Piccinini’s Skywhale had her first outing in Victoria. It allowed early risers in the vicinity a brief glimpse of the gas-filled aerial sculpture, a work of art that is rarely seen and that, due to its pendulous appendages and $350,00 price-tag ...... (read more)
Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman’s humanistic, wheeling manifesto of the American destiny underpins Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith’s one-man play, American Song, and the collection of poems form the credo and frame the questioning of its central character, Andy. The poems’ exploration of a world of natural ...... (read more)
Fair Game: The incredible untold story of Scientology in Australia by Steve Cannane
To highlight Australian Book Review's arts coverage and to celebrate some of the year's memorable concerts, operas, films, ballets, plays, and exhibitions, we invited a group of critics and arts professionals to nominate their favourites – and to nominate one production they are looking forward to in 2016. (We indicate which works were reviewed in Arts Up ...