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Bell Shakespeare
03 March 2023
There is a moment often conveyed in romantic films (and it was certainly the case with Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet) when fresh eyes meet across a crowded room and become fixated, unable to stop ‘looking’, searching for more and more of the alchemical fire that triggered an intense magnetism. ... (read more)


Malthouse Theatre
20 February 2023
‘What do vampires mean?’, asks playwright Keziah Warner in the writer’s notes for her new show, Nosferatu. It’s not a rhetorical question, Warner has already provided some options: ‘Love, death, sex, money, power.’ Her iteration of F.W. Murnau’s 1922 classic at Malthouse Theatre has all options in mind. While ambitious and technically spectacular, it is a show that struggles to get a read on its source material. ... (read more)

Prima Facie 

Melbourne Theatre Company
13 February 2023
Since first being produced at Sydney’s Griffin Theatre in 2019, Suzie Miller’s play Prima Facie – a legal drama about consent and sexual violence – has become something of a phenomenon. Awarded Griffin Theatre’s playwriting prize in 2018, the subsequent production was enthusiastically received by audiences and critics alike. A 2022 West End production – propelled by the star power of Killing Eve’s Jodie Comer – garnered international acclaim, the National Theatre’s live screening of the production becoming one of 2022’s highest grossing British films. ... (read more)


Red Stitch Actors' Theatre
03 February 2023
The degazetted former township of Wittenoom, 1,420 kilometres north-north-east of Perth, stands like a dark shadow on the lungs of Australian mining, less an isolated blight than a synecdoche for the exploitation and avarice of the industry as a whole. It was named by Lang Hancock himself, created in 1947 by his company Australian Blue Asbestos Pty Ltd, and was directly responsible for the death of more than 2,000 people. It is a potent and ghostly setting for Mary Anne Butler’s play of the same name. ... (read more)


Red Line Productions
30 December 2022
Amadeus is English playwright Peter Shaffer’s most resilient work. Antonio Salieri’s battle with both his god and his rival Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has been frequently performed and revived, with actors of the calibre of Paul Scofield, Ian McKellen, and David Suchet as Salieri, and Simon Callow, Tim Curry, and Michael Sheen as Mozart. It says a lot for the play’s durability that so much of its power and pertinence can survive a production as basically misguided as the one at present in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House. ... (read more)

The Tempest 

Sydney Theatre Company
05 December 2022
The Sydney Theatre Company’s staging of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, directed by Kip Williams, is centred around a large rock set on a revolving mechanism that assists with scene changes and helps to animate this rather static play about characters shipwrecked on a tropical island. The rock is reminiscent of the story of Prometheus, chained forever to a large rock by Zeus, but this is the ‘hard rock’ to which Caliban (the only character native to the island) is banished by the lordly Prospero, which reminds us that the island (and perhaps even the play) is Caliban’s domain. ... (read more)


Malthouse Theatre
02 December 2022
Is there any trope more ubiquitous to the horror genre than the jump scare? A sudden scream cuts through a loaded silence; a flitting shadow hosts a monstrous threat. It’s a trope often traced back to 1945’s Cat People. In the film, a scare comes in the form of an errant bus. Known as the ‘Lewton Bus’ after producer Val Lewton, the term is now a kind of genre shorthand, referring to a sequence that gleefully teases its audience with the possibility of an approaching shock. A character, face barely lit, walks down a dark street flinching at shadows. The sound of their rushed footsteps increase in volume and pace before the roar of a bus breaks the tension. Suspense results from the harmony between lighting, mise en scène and sound. We never see our monster, nor do we need to. A bus is scary enough. ... (read more)

William Shakespeare is hiding behind a set of drapes. Wearing baggy black breeches, he is a buffoon, waggishly stalking his prey. His prey is Emilia Bassano, the young and (unusually for the times) educated daughter of a musician at the court of Elizabeth I, a woman who longs to be recognised for ‘how brilliant [her] mind is’. She wants to write and be published ...

RBG: Of Many, One 

Sydney Theatre Company
07 November 2022
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933–2020), the late and great associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America, was notoriously difficult to decipher. She was shy, enigmatic, and unused to clamour. Her career was distinguished by her sharp arguments and belief that due process – not reactivity – is the route to a fairer society. How, then, do you represent the interiority of a person who made herself inscrutable; understand why she made the choices she did? According to RBG: Of Many, One, the new play by Suzie Miller, author of the acclaimed Prima Facie, it is hidden emotion – a deep well of quieted outrage – that propelled Ginsburg’s life work. ... (read more)


Melbourne Theatre Company
30 September 2022

In Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author (1921), a handful of people enter a stage during a rehearsal and begin to break down the very structures of theatre itself. They question not just the verisimilitude of acting but the essentialism of character, the idea that we are ever any one thing fixed in time. It is a concept that animates Virginia Gay’s free adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac (1897): this is a tragic hero who pushes at the confines of their assigned role, daring to imagine not just an alternate ending but an entirely new way of being Cyrano.

... (read more)