ABR Arts Theatre

Much Ado About Nothing (Bell Shakespeare) ★★

Tim Byrne
Friday, 19 July 2019

There is much conjecture around the concept of Shakespeare’s ‘problem plays’; critics disagree not only on the strict meaning of the term – F.S. Boas saw them as works that used a protagonist’s dramatic situation to illustrate a social problem, while Ernest Schanzer insists they turn on an ethical dilemma ...

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Wake in Fright (Malthouse Theatre) ★★★★

Tim Byrne
Monday, 01 July 2019

The idea of the outsider is, of course, a concept shared by all living beings; the jellyfish and the silverback gorilla alike have trained themselves to distrust a stranger. But there is something particular about the Australian suspicion of otherness, a ruddy and avuncular mask that hides an abiding, almost pathological, wariness...

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‘Terrible rage.’ It starts as a question; rhetorical, perhaps. ‘Terrible rage.’ It grows into a statement of fact, an undeniable proof. ‘Terrible rage. Terrible rage. Terrible rage.’ Eventually – in a slow but frightening crescendo, followed by an equally slow but heart-wrenchingly pathetic decrescendo ...

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Tessa Ensler is a criminal lawyer in her thirties. Alone on a minimalist stage, in a black suit and a crisp white shirt, she begins by narrating in the present tense a court drama about an unspecified crime. Narcissistically, she considers herself the star rather than the defendant whom she represents ...

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All About Eve (National Theatre Live) ★★★1/2

Anwen Crawford
Monday, 20 May 2019

Belgian theatre director Ivo Van Hove has an appetite for bringing cinema to the stage. As artistic director of the Toneelgroep Amsterdam since 2001, he has directed stage adaptations of three Ingmar Bergman films, made work inspired by Pier Paolo Pasolini and Michelangelo Antonioni, and staged a version of John Cassavetes’ 1977 drama ...

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White Pearl (Royal Court Theatre) ★★★★1/2

Alexander Douglas Thom
Monday, 20 May 2019

An explicitly racist advertisement for a skin-whitening treatment, the eponymous White Pearl cream, has gone viral. The pastel offices of ClearDay – the Singaporean cosmetics company behind the ad – become the backdrop for a disastrous attempt at damage control. Presided over by manager Priya Singh ...

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Così (Melbourne Theatre Company) ★★★1/2

Maxim Boon
Tuesday, 07 May 2019

Louis Nowra’s much-loved play Così is often held up as the archetypal great Australian comedy, a larrikin farce in the vein of Michael Frayn’s Noises Off (1982). But as the years roll by and the play’s sensitivities diverge from contemporary standards, it increasingly seems to share more in common with Shakespeare’s ‘problem plays’ ...

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Elizabeth Taylor played Maggie to Paul Newman’s Brick in Richard Brooks’s 1958 film adaptation of Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; a more perfect sexual promise left unfulfilled was never committed to celluloid. But if you want truly pyrotechnical sexual chemistry, it’s hard to look past Taylor’s onscreen work with her real-life husband Richard Burton ...

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There are few really good plays or films about writers. Our craft, unlike those of painters or musicians, does not seem to lend itself to the visual or aural mediums. There is nothing to look at, and much less to hear. And yet the plays and films continue to be made. Writers, and writing we suppose, are important, even if we have little idea how to ...

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Slaughterhouse Five (MUST and Theatre Works) ★★

Laura Hartnell
Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time, and while time travel has its drawbacks for the protagonist of Slaughterhouse Five, it may be preferable to being stuck in this interminable adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s famous 1969 novel. Monash University Student Theatre’s (MUST) adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five was ...

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