ABR Arts Theatre

Children of the Sun

Ian Dickson
Monday, 15 September 2014

By now we know what to expect from an Andrew Upton adaptation of a Russian play – brisk, overlapping dialogue with anachronistic turns of phrase and use of four-letter words. With the Sydney Theatre Company’s Uncle Vanya (2010), this approach, in combination with Támas Ascher’s brilliant production, worked superbly to blow away the miasma of gloom and ...

Macbeth

Jonathan Dunk
Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Of Shakespeare’s tragedies, Macbeth seems the most prescient, apposite to a species rapidly running out of world. Upon hearing of the Witches’ prophecy, and resolving her course with chilling alacrity, Lady Macbeth invokes the nether realm of her potentialities:

Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
...

Hedda Gabler

Ian Dickson
Monday, 07 July 2014

Hedda Gabler (1890) occupies a somewhat schizophrenic position in Henrik Ibsen’s work. On the one hand, it is normally seen as the apotheosis of Ibsen’s realist period, his sardonic homage to the fashionable ‘well-made play’ of the time. But, on the other hand, from early in its theatrical life there have been productions which have reacted against ...

The Good Person of Szechuan (Malthouse Theatre)

Dina Ross
Friday, 04 July 2014

When Brecht wrote The Good Person of Szechuan (1939–42), he had been influenced by the colour and brashness of Chinese theatre, whose archetypal heroes and villains underpinned his concept of the Alienation Effect. Brecht, ever the political theorist, wasn’t interested in characters with whom the audience empathised, or of employing Stanislavski-based a ...

Night on bald mountain

Andrew Fuhrmann
Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Goats are ubiquitous in the work of Patrick White. Start looking for them and they appear everywhere, staring out, page after page, with wise, tranquil eyes, pellets scattering like secrets into dust.

White bred goats, of course, Saanen goats, or tried to, while living at Castle Hill, and it is clear that the goat-mind made a profound impression. ‘One day ...

Wolf Hall on Stage

Brian McFarlane
Thursday, 22 May 2014

Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novel Wolf Hall has now been dramatised, along with its sequel, Bring up the Bodies. Brian McFarlane, a regular ABR film and theatre critic, caught the new Royal Shakespeare Company production in London.

If, like me, you were not a fan of Hilary Mantel’s historical doorstops, Wolf Hall (2009) ...

'Strictly Ballroom'

Jonathan Dunk
Thursday, 17 April 2014

When culture worships youth, what does an ageing artist make of his myth?

Most viewers of Strictly Ballroom: The Musical will enjoy themselves to a certain extent and for a certain duration. While my own misgivings were frequent, the large audience received the show warmly and rose, albeit half-heartedly, at the curtain call. The show rests on the s ...

East

Dina Ross
Wednesday, 05 March 2014

Stephen Berkoff has always been the bad boy of British theatre. At East’s London première in 1975, the critics howled. Berkoff’s first play was filthy, with explicit references to sex and violence. Yes, the 1950s had spawned Kitchen Sink Drama, exposing the lives of the lower classes to a predominantly middle-class British stage. But Berkoff’s c ...

Once in Royal David’s City

Ian Dickson
Thursday, 27 February 2014

At a time when a convicted drug smuggler is rumoured to be about to collect a fortune for her remarkably unremarkable story and when we are heading into a new round of so-called ‘culture wars’, in which an extraordinary amount of heat will be generated with precious little light accompanying it, it is refreshing to be presented with another of Michael Gow’s fo ...

Waiting for Godot

Ian Dickson
Wednesday, 27 November 2013

With aching feet, bursting bladders, and the odd carrot for sustenance, Samuel Beckett’s famous pair of tramps have shuffled on to the stage of the Sydney Theatre for an extended run, though run is hardly the apposite word for this stationary duo. Perhaps one could call it an extended slump.

Waiting for Godot (first pe ...

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