ABR Arts Theatre

33 Variations (Comedy Theatre) ★★★★1/2

Tim Byrne
Tuesday, 12 March 2019

How many variations does it take, how many iterations and transfigurations, before a work of mediocrity becomes a work of genius? And what about a life – at what point do the quotidian accretions of living come to represent a person’s entire existence? What does it actually mean to live an extraordinary life ...

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The Cape Town-based Isango Ensemble is known for its South African-flavoured reimaginings of works from the Western canon. While Adelaide Festival audiences thrill to Barrie Kosky’s Magic Flute, others may recall the Ensemble’s version, its setting translocated to a South African township, from the 2011 Melbourne Festival ...

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The Miser (Bell Shakespeare) ★★★

Steve Dow
Thursday, 07 March 2019

At first glance, Molière’s The Miser, or L’Avare in the original French as first performed in 1668, contains the seeds of drama. Harpagon, an avaricious father, unceasingly heartless towards his grown son and daughter, and paranoid they will steal his beloved fortune, sounds like the stuff of tragedy ...

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Arbus & West (Melbourne Theatre Company) ★★★★

Fiona Gruber
Monday, 04 March 2019

'Mary Pickford may have been America’s sweetheart,’ Mae West is recorded to have said, ‘but I’m their wet dream.’ At the start of Stephen’s Sewell’s new play, Arbus & West, West, in her late seventies, wisecracks sexcily with audiences around the United States and jibes with her long-suffering dresser and personal assistant ...

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Death of a Salesman (Queensland Theatre) ★★★★1/2

Bronwyn Lea
Monday, 18 February 2019

Miller’s intention in writing the play, he recalls in his autobiography, Timebends (1987), was not to put ‘a timebomb under capitalism’ – as one outraged woman accused on opening night – but rather to expose a ‘pseudo life that thought to touch the clouds by ...

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Mary Stuart ★★★

Ian Dickson
Monday, 11 February 2019

The contest between Elizabeth Tudor and her cousin Mary Stuart, providing two such meaty roles, has proved irresistible fodder over the years for actresses on both stage and screen. On film, Katherine Hepburn and Florence Eldridge, Vanessa Redgrave and Glenda Jackson, and Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie ...

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Beware of Pity (Sydney Festival) ★★★★★

Jonathan Dunk
Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Beware of Pity, the touring co-production of Complicité and Schaubühne, offers a dazzling vision of ethical crisis. Director Simon McBurney’s adaptation of Stefan Zweig’s 1939 novel (Ungeduld des Herzens) compellingly explores the social implications and consequences of individual sentiments without ... 

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Bottomless (fortyfivedownstairs) ★★★

Maxim Boon
Tuesday, 04 December 2018

Bottomless is an apt title for Dan Lee’s multifarious study of addiction, redemption, and the ever present schisms that echo from the past. Its sharply crafted and occasionally brilliant dialogue underscores a narrative grappling with cultural and emotional complexities of unplumbed depth ...

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Twelfth Night (Melbourne Theatre Company) ★★★★

Tim Byrne
Monday, 19 November 2018

Twelfth Night was probably composed in 1601, and certainly no later than 1602. Hamlet has a more doubtful provenance, possibly written before 1601 but also certainly no later than 1602. It is not inconceivable that Shakespeare worked on them simultaneously, or back to back ...

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Hedda (Queensland Theatre Company) ★★★★

Maggie Haining
Monday, 19 November 2018

One of the quandaries facing contemporary adaptations of classics is the risk of the story being lost in a translation, which can isolate the work from the original culture and text. Melissa Bubnic’s reimagining of Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler (which had itsd première in Denmark in 18769) runs no such risk ...

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