ABR Arts Theatre

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 ...

... (read more)

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 ... 

... (read more)

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 ...

... (read more)

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 ...

... (read more)

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 ...

... (read more)

The Dance of Death (Belvoir St Theatre) ★★★★

Ian Dickson
Thursday, 15 November 2018

After staggering out of a performance of The Dance of Death, August Strindberg’s turbulent portrayal of a marriage, one fervently hopes Tolstoy was right and that each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. No other theatrical couple – not Edward Albee’s George and Martha, not Eugene O’Neill’s James and ...

... (read more)

A Cheery Soul (Sydney Theatre Company) ★★★1/2

Ian Dickson
Monday, 12 November 2018

This reviewer has the unfashionable opinion, at present, that Patrick White, like Henry James, was a novelist and short story writer of genius who had an unfortunate obsession with the stage. In the 1960s, the nascent Adelaide Festival produced the one play of his that deserves repetition, The Season at Sarsaparilla (1962) ...

... (read more)

Krapp's Last Tape (fortyfivedownstairs) ★★★★1/2

James Ley
Monday, 05 November 2018

Krapp’s Last Tape was first performed in 1958, which places it towards the end of Samuel Beckett’s middle period: those fruitful postwar years during which he wrote his major plays, Waiting for Godot (1952) and Endgame (1957), and the three extraordinary novels known collectively as the ‘Molloy Trilogy’ (1951–58) ...

... (read more)

I'm Not Running (National Theatre) ★★★

Susan Lever
Friday, 26 October 2018

Anyone who saw Neil Armfield’s production of David Hare’s Stuff Happens at the Seymour Centre back in 2005 would surely look forward to a new collaboration between the director and author with keen anticipation. Stuff Happens was largely verbatim theatre, with actors speaking the words ...

... (read more)

Degenerate Art (Red Line Productions) ★★★

Ian Dickson
Thursday, 25 October 2018

In the middle of Adolf Hitler’s speech to the assembled faithful on the final evening of the 1934 Nuremberg Rally which is the culmination of Leni Riefenstahl’s film Triumph of the Will, the führer conjures up a particularly heartfelt bellow from the gathering. For a moment he looks down at the podium ...

... (read more)