The ABR Podcast

The ABR Podcast 

Released every Wednesday, the ABR podcast features our finest reviews, poetry, fiction, interviews, and commentary.

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Tim Byrne on Australian theatre after the pandemic


 Current episode:

Tim Byrne on Australian theatre after the pandemic

Over the past year the pandemic has devastated the performing arts in Australia. Theatre especially has been adversely impacted. In today’s episode, theatre critic and ABR regular Tim Byrne looks at how theatre organisations are coping now that venues are beginning to reopen. He interviews a range of artistic directors spanning Melbourne Theatre Company’s departing Brett Sheehy, Queensland Theatre Lee Lewis, Malthouse Theatre’s Matthew Lutton, and many more.

 

 

   

 

Recent episodes:


Over the past year the pandemic has devastated the performing arts in Australia. Theatre especially has been adversely impacted. In today’s episode, theatre critic and ABR regular Tim Byrne looks at how theatre organisations are coping now that venues are beginning to reopen. He interviews a range of artistic directors spanning Melbourne Theatre Company’s departing Brett Sheehy, Queensland Theatre Lee Lewis, Malthouse Theatre’s Matthew Lutton, and many more.

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In the wake of Brittany Higgins's startling allegations of sexual abuse in Parliament House, Beejay Silcox revisits her review of Witness by award-winning journalist Louise Milligan. Witness (recently shortlisted in the 2021 Stella Prize) is an interrogative critique of the criminal trial process. It is the culmination of five years of research into how witnesses are treated (and often intimidated or worse) in court rooms.

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This week our subject is Cy Twombly, one of the most celebrated artists of the twentieth century. A new major exhibition of his work, Cy Twombly: Making Past Present, organised by the MFA in Boston and the Getty Museum in LA, surveys Twombly's immense debt to antiquity. Patrick McCaughey reviews the related catalogue for our upcoming April issue. In this wide-ranging conversation with Peter Rose, he also talks about the plight of US museums during the pandemic, the vexed question of de-accessioning, and the diaries of Fred Williams, which he is currently editing.

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This week we turn to My Octopus Teacher, a documentary that has proven controversial since its publication on Netflix in late 2020. As Anne Rutherford discusses in her luminous review, My Octopus Teacher follows the descent of Craig Foster, naturalist and filmmaker, into the briny world of a particular octopus. The documentary captures the burgeoning affinity between free-diver and cephalopod, prompting questions of anthropomorphism and to what extent humankind can establish a meaningful connection with the animal kingdom.

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In 2017, Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his masterful novels, which, in the judges’ words, uncover 'the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world'. His new work, Klara and the Sun, is his first novel published since winning the Nobel Prize. In today's episode, Beejay Silcox discusses the novel and our expectations of the author, and reads in full her review which appears in ABR's March issue.

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Australian universities are doing it tough – hit hard by the pandemic, compelled to find new ways of teaching during lockdown, and confronted by a federal government ostensibly unsympathetic to much of their work, especially in the humanities. International education – formerly one of Australia’s most lucrative export industries – is haemorrhaging. In today's episode, Peter Tregear – academic, author, critic – reads his review of Australian Universities: A history of common cause by Gwilym Croucher and James Waghorne, published by UNSW Press. 

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Paul Kildea is a man of many parts – author, musician, new artistic director of Musica Viva – and a regular contributor to ABR. In this week’s podcast, he talks to Peter Rose about the challenges of programming Musica Viva’s season during a pandemic and about Benjamin Britten, whose opera A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a highlight of the 2021 Adelaide Festival. Paul Kildea – who will conduct the opera – is the author of a biography of Britten.

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In today’s episode, Naama Grey-Smith reads her review of At the Edge of the Solid World, the second book of fiction by the Australian writer Daniel Davis Wood. The novel follows the breakdown of the lives of a man and wife in the aftermath of the death of their firstborn. Naama Grey-Smith, an editor, publisher and critic based in Fremantle, Western Australia, reviews the book for ABR’s January-February issue – describing it as ‘a masterclass in wedding form to content’.

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In today's episode of the ABR Podcast Tim Byrne discusses his review of Mark Mordue's new biography of Nick Cave with ABR Digital Editor Jack Callil. 

Tim Byrne’s review of Boy on Fire appears in the January-February issue.

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The events of January 6 shocked the world. In this episode of the ABR Podcast Samuel Watts reads his article 'This Is America' and offers a historical perspective. As Watts notes, 'To view the assault on the US Capitol as the climax of a dramatic, but brief, period of authoritarianism in the US is a potentially dangerous mistake. This attack was just the latest iteration in a long-lasting tradition of anti-democratic, white supremacist violence that has plagued the Republic since, at least, the Civil War.'

Samuel Watts’s article ‘This Is America’ is one of a series of commentaries funded by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.

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