ABR Arts Theatre

John (Melbourne Theatre Company)

Andrew Fuhrmann

What a mysterious and delightful play is American playwright Annie Baker’s John (2015), a meditative comic drama full of exquisite detail and suggested psychological insights. Sarah Goodes directs with sensitivity and imagination for the Melbourne Theatre Company, in the Fairfax Studio, and the fine cast, led by Helen Morse and Melita Jurisic, perform it ... More

Little Emperors (Malthouse Theatre)

Andrew Fuhrmann

It is often described as the world’s largest social experiment, whatever that means. In 1979, to curb the baby boom that followed the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese government officially adopted a one-child policy. Thirty-six-years later, in late 2015, this severe program, which allowed very few exceptions, transitioned into a more flexible two-child policy. The ... More

L'amante anglaise by Margaret Duras (La Mama Theatre and Fortyfivedownstairs)

Little wonder that fortyfivedownstairs is encoring Marguerite Duras’s brilliantly dialectical play L’amante anglaise, first presented in this production at La Mama Theatre in 2014, directed by Laurence Strangio. Duras wrote it first as a novella fifty years ago; the stage adaptation followed in 1968. Jillian Murray and Robert Meldrum each play two ... More

The Testament of Mary (Sydney Theatre Company)

Bernadette Brennan

The opening scene of the The Testament of Mary sets the tone of this excellent production and dramatises brilliantly Colm Tóibín’s radical reassessment of Mary as the Mother of God. Elizabeth Gadsby’s dark marble set, bordered by a red velvet rope, holds one empty chair, one empty cardboard box. Two stairs lead to a tall, seemingly solid marble arch. ... More

No Man's Land (Wyndham's Theatre)

Ben Brooker

It was in early 1974, while Harold Pinter was in America and working on a screen adaption of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon, that the originating image of No Man’s Land occurred to him:

I remember, I was sitting in this taxi and I actually saw two people sitting in a room and one of them was about to pour t ... More

Uncle Vanya (Red Stitch Theatre)

Andrew Fuhrmann

When is it useful for an Australian production of Chekhov to use Russian accents? What does it do to the music of Chekhov, the rhythm and flow of his brisk conversations and long grandiose speeches? And what is the symbolism of such a decision?

In this new production of Uncle Vanya (1899), directed by Nadia Tass, not only are the cast all decked out ... More

Speed-the-Plow (Sydney Theatre Company)

Bernadette Brennan

There has been considerable media hype about Rose Byrne’s return to the Sydney stage in the STC’s new production of David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow. When she does finally appear, as Karen, the somewhat gormless temporary secretary to the newly promoted movie executive Bobby Gould (Damon Herriman), she is a delight. But it is Damon Herriman who is the rea ... More

Tartuffe (State Theatre Company of SA and Brink Productions)

Ben Brooker

Web articles proliferate that aim to show the disparity between Donald Trump’s religious sentiments (‘I think the Bible is certainly, it is the book’) and his decidedly unholy behavior (including, but not limited to, numerous allegations of sexual harassment and assault). It is from within this space – what Martin Luther King Jr called the ‘the ag ... More

Faith Healer (Belvoir St Theatre)

Ian Dickson

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 to More

Two Dogs, Dark Chorus, and Lady Eats Apple (Melbourne Festival)

Andrew Fuhrmann

Well, it wasn’t the usual demure Melbourne Festival crowd that piled into the Merlyn Theatre for the opening of Life and Opinions of Two Dogs (★★★ 1/2): the local expat Chinese community was out in force, and the place was buzzing.

Two Dogs follows the adventures of a couple of country mutts – played by Liu Xiaoye and Wang Yin – ... More

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