Melbourne Theatre Company
When attempting to cajole a compulsive hoarder into cleaning up, it’s advisable to start with the things are worth worth keeping, but it shouldn’t distract us from taking out the trash. Ubiquitous television and print personality Benjamin Law’s first foray into playwriting, Torch the Place, is one of four new works appearing in NEXT STAGE Originals, Melbourne Theatre Company’s new commissioning endeavour, the only one that doesn’t come from an established playwright. While there are several things to like in this début, there are a number that should be consigned to the skip.... (read more)
Judy and Johnny live a blissful 1950s life. While he readies himself for a day at the office, she twirls around the kitchen preparing his breakfast. They are, they declare, ‘sickeningly happy … utterly content’. The twist that comes at the end of the first scene of Home, I’m Darling has been heavily signposted in pre-publicity, so it’s not giving anything away to say that we are not in the 1950s at all.... (read more)
Argentine writer Manuel Puig’s 1976 novel Kiss of the Spider Woman seems to have shed most of its cultural specificity with each new iteration. Most people know it from the 1985 film that transposed the action to a Brazilian prison, for no conceivable reason other than the fact that the director was Brazilian (Héctor Babenco). The 1992 musical, with a book by Terrence McNally and music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, goes a step further, and sets it in an undisclosed South American country – as if all political hells were the same, as long as they were subcontinental.... (read more)
The great Spanish novelist Javier Marías includes a scene in A Heart So White (1992) where a translator deliberately mistranslates a conversation between two characters who obviously stand in for Margaret Thatcher and Felipe González. He does this to send a coded message to the other translator in the room, his future wife ...... (read more)
The plays of William Shakespeare have the dubious honour of being the most reinvented, reimagined, dressed-up, dumbed-down, and generally meddled-with works ever staged. To a less prolific extent, the same is true of the Classical canon of ancient Greece. In unskilled hands, countless injustices have been ...... (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)
Twelfth Night was probably composed in 1601, and certainly no later than 1602. Hamlet has a more doubtful provenance, possibly written before 1601 but also certainly no later than 1602. It is not inconceivable that Shakespeare worked on them simultaneously, or back to back ...... (read more)
Strindberg. How do you solve a problem like August? In his own time he was considered extreme. When Strindberg (1849–1912) gave Miss Julie to his publisher, Joseph Seligmann, in 1888, Seligmann insisted it be cut to make it more palatable for the Swedish public. The play wasn't published ...... (read more)
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 ...
The gestation of Harold Pinter’s fearsome, hilarious plays was often as interesting as his celebrated dramatic pauses. Betrayal, from 1978, is a good example. Though Pinter was then engaged in an affair with Lady Antonia Fraser that would end his marriage to Vivien Merchant – Pinter’s muse and the creator of many of his ...