ABR Arts Theatre

King Lear (STC) ★★★★★

Peter Rose
Monday, 30 November 2015

It opens with a deep black-walled stage devoid of props, but for a spotlit microphone. Instead of the feared cast change or sponsorial fealty, on walks Marilyn Monroe at Madison Square Garden, with her sequined dress and curvaceous glamour. We recognise Robyn Nevin, defying the years. Funny as Blossom Dearie, she sings 'Happy Birthday' to 'Nuncle Majesty' before yan ...

Middletown (Red Stitch)

Dina Ross
Monday, 23 November 2015

'Middletown. Population: stable,' says the cop on patrol, addressing the audience. 'The main street is called Main Street. The side streets are named after trees ... Things are fairly predictable. People come, people go. Crying, by the way, in both directions.' Middletown. Muddletown. Everytown. The cop's monologue sets up the premise for this play. For the next few ...

Ian Dickson reviews 'Orlando' (Sydney Theatre Company)

Ian Dickson
Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Virginia Woolf's early impression of the aristocratic, free-loving woman of letters Vita Sackville-West was not exactly complimentary: 'Not much to my severer taste – florid, moustached, parakeet coloured, with all the supple ease of the aristocracy, but not the wit of the artist.' Her opinion soon changed, however, and she found herself falling in love with the p ...

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 ...

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