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Tim Byrne

Tim Byrne

Tim Byrne is a freelance writer and theatre critic for Australian Book Review and Time Out Melbourne. He is currently working on a novel. Tim is also a bookseller and interviewer, running a series of author interviews at Avenue Bookstore. He maintains an arts blog that focuses on theatre, film, and books.

‘The Amateurs: A medieval to modern morality play’ by Tim Byrne

ABR Arts 05 July 2022
It opens outside the tiny wooden box that is Red Stitch’s St Kilda home; the actors come towards us with torches blazing, in medieval masks. What follows is a brief pageant, a morality play that breaks down when one of the players falls victim to a mysterious pestilence – although it’s clear from the catch in the other actors’ voices that this contagion is not entirely unexpected. The acto ... (read more)

‘Come Rain or Come Shine: Kazuo Ishiguro on stage’ by Tim Byrne

ABR Arts 27 June 2022
English Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro has had several works translated into film – notably The Remains of the Day (1993) and Never Let Me Go (2010) – but Melbourne Theatre Company’s Come Rain or Come Shine is the first stage musical based on his work. One of five short stories on the theme of music and nightfall that make up the collection Nocturnes (2009), it’s an odd little tale of frien ... (read more)

‘Hamlet: On the path to redemption’ by Tim Byrne

ABR Arts 13 May 2022
Back in 1991, Bell Shakespeare opened their very first season with Hamlet, starring John Polson and directed by John Bell himself; it deliberately highlighted the Australian vernacular, almost over-emphasising the flat vowel sounds and local cadences over the fruitier delivery we inherited from the British. It had a gritty contemporary setting, and garishly over-the-top costumes. It also wasn’t ... (read more)

‘An American in Paris: Adapting Vincente Minnelli’s classic film’ by Tim Byrne

ABR Arts 21 March 2022
It is called An American in Paris, but perhaps a more apt title would be The Americans in Paris. Not because the story is about two ex-servicemen who decide to ditch the victory parades back home and stay in a recently occupied city that is in desperate need of revival; but because the show itself is a triumph of the American musical as an art form, a kind of staking out of territory. It is, in it ... (read more)

‘Fun Home’: Bechdel’s touching testament to queer love

ABR Arts 14 February 2022
Vladimir Nabokov, in his exquisite autobiographical work Speak, Memory (1967), says that ‘the prison of time is spherical and without exits’. It is an idea that animates Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron’s musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Fun Home (2006), moving as it does in circular motions, enfolding its characters in an endless orbital spin through the years. Perhaps mem ... (read more)

'Into the Woods': A gorgeously homespun, radiant Sondheim

ABR Arts 24 January 2022
Great works of art speak to us regardless of circumstance, even if they have a tendency to take circumstance and fold it into their architecture. Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods (1987) is such an expansive work – ranging over ideas of parenting and childhood, moral culpability, risk and renewal, death and community – that it will always feel relevant, a grand canvas of the human condition. ... (read more)

'Coen it alone: The inimitable oeuvre of cinema’s zygotic brothers' by Tim Byrne

ABR Arts 21 December 2021
They have always been inseparable in the public imagination, the Coen brothers, a zygotic artistic collaboration with an almost primal indivisibility. While for years Joel was credited as director and Ethan as producer, this was due entirely to a quirk in the Directors Guild of America that disallowed duel directorial credits, unless members were an ‘established duo’. This became official in 2 ... (read more)

A tribute to Stephen Sondheim

ABR Arts 29 November 2021
‘See George remember how George used to be,Stretching his vision in every direction.’ I’ve often wondered what it would be like to witness the extinguishing of a genius who not only defined an era or a movement but also ruptured an art form. Virtually nothing of Shakespeare’s death is recorded, so we are left to invent the dying of that light. Mozart’s funeral was infamously desulto ... (read more)

'As You Like It': Radiant Shakespeare from the MTC

ABR Arts 22 November 2021
As is often the case with Shakespeare, theories and counter-theories about the provenance of As You Like It (probably 1599 or early 1600) have floated around for centuries. One such theory posits that the play is Love’s Labour’s Won, the ‘lost’ sequel – or more accurately second part of a literary diptych – to Love’s Labour’s Lost (1595–96) and that As You Like It is actually the ... (read more)

'Lifespan of a Fact' delves into the slippery, elusive nature of truth

ABR Arts 24 May 2021
Over the past decade or so, the centrality of fact in journalism, in political discourse, and in long-form non-fiction writing itself has taken a hit. The days are long gone when readers of The Washington Post could have confidence that the journalists who broke open Watergate had not only done due diligence but had chased every fact down the rabbit hole of governmental corruption. Now readers ten ... (read more)