ABR Arts Theatre

Desdemona (Melbourne Festival)

Ben Brooker
Tuesday, 27 October 2015

'What's in a name?' asked Juliet. Desdemona, like the rose, might have been called anything else and retained the same meanings. But for us, as we are reminded at the beginning of Desdemona, the name has become synonymous with misery and doom. The speaker is Desdemona herself. How can this be? If we know anything else about her, it is that Othello murdered ...

The Aspirations of Daise Morrow (Brink Productions)

Ben Brooker
Friday, 16 October 2015

‘Down at the Dump’ is the final story in Patrick White’s 1964 collection, The Burnt Ones. It begins with a colloquial ‘Hi!’, marooned on the story’s first line, and ends with a short, unpunctuated paragraph, intensely poetic, that recalls James Joyce at his least opaque: ‘The warm core of certainty settled stiller as driving faster the wi ...

Australia is being overrun by a rabbit phenomenon, but not of the annoying, four-legged variety. It’s The Rabbits: the opera, the musical, the song cycle, or what? Does it matter?

Premièred to highly positive reviews at the Perth Festival in February this year, it has now reached the Melbourne Festival. Some have seen in the success of this wo ...

As I took my seat at the Heath Ledger Theatre in Perth for the Australian première of Hannie Rayson’s latest play, Extinction, I was struck by a sense of irony. Here we are, ready to feel enraged, ashamed, and then empowered about climate change and species loss by the production of a theatre company named after a threatened species (the black swan) ...

Company

Tim Byrne
Friday, 18 September 2015

Shortly, Melbourne Festival will host a theatre company from New York as part of a cultural exchange between the two cities. On first glance, it may seem an unlikely pairing. New York is often referred to as the cultural capital of the universe, and Melbourne is the cultural capital of what one former prime minister labelled ‘the arse end of the world’. Wh ...

The Tempest (Bell Shakespeare Company)

Susan Lever
Monday, 31 August 2015

Twenty-five years ago, John Bell undertook to create an Australian theatre company devoted to Shakespeare, a travelling repertory company that would give wide access to this wonderful legacy of our language. It harked back to a time when Shakespeare mattered so much to Australians that an actor could make a name performing Shakespear ...

Betrayal (Melbourne Theatre Company)

Peter Rose
Monday, 31 August 2015

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 ...

Cunningly promoted by her recording company, EMI, the Callas myth took off after her death on 16 September 1977 and continues to resonate to this day. Undeterred by Franco Zeffirelli’s excruciating screen homage to the diva, Callas Forever (2002), Callas projects starring Meryl Streep and Noomi Rapace have been announced.

Like most my ...

The Present (Sydney Theatre Company)

Ian Dickson
Monday, 10 August 2015

In 1881, armed with the confidence of youth, the twenty-one-year-old Anton Pavlovich Chekhov fronted up to the Maly Theatre in Moscow, at that time one of the foremost theatres in the world, in order to present its leading actress, Maria Yermolova, with a copy of his recently written and probably first play. The great lady promptly returned the manuscript, whi ...

Ian Donaldson reviews 'Hamlet' (Bell Shakespeare)

Ian Donaldson
Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Hamlet belongs to the final years of Elizabeth’s reign, when the system of espionage the old queen had created through her spymaster-general, Francis Walsingham – the network of ‘watchers’, as Stephen Alford calls them in a recent brilliant study of this phenomenon – had become ...

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