Susan Lever

Susan Lever

Susan Lever is the author of David Foster: The Satirist of Australia (Cambria Press, 2008) and general editor of Cambria Press’s Australian Literature Series. Her most recent book is Creating Australian Television Drama: A screenwriting history (2020).

Susan Lever reviews 'In Whom We Trust' by John Clanchy

January–February 2020, no. 418 16 December 2019
Susan Lever reviews 'In Whom We Trust' by John Clanchy
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has revealed systemic mistreatment of vulnerable children over decades. Though these crimes have not been the exclusive province of the Catholic Church, its education system has brought more children into intimate care by religious orders, and even those never abused have observed the tics of brutality in some of their teacher ... (read more)

Titus Andronicus (Bell Shakespeare)

ABR Arts 02 September 2019
Titus Andronicus (Bell Shakespeare)
What can you do with Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, a play full of murder, mutilation, and rape, culminating in a mother eating a pie filled with her sons’ ground-up body parts? For centuries it was dismissed as the early aberration of a genius, a sop to the bloodthirst of Elizabethan audiences (the play may have been performed as early as 1590). Since Julie Taymor’s film Titus (1999), it h ... (read more)

The Torrents (Sydney Theatre Company)

ABR Arts 22 July 2019
The Torrents (Sydney Theatre Company)
Anyone with an interest in Australia’s drama history is likely to have some curiosity about Oriel Gray’s play The Torrents, joint winner of a Playwright Advisory Board prize in 1955 alongside Ray Lawler’s ground-breaking Summer of the Seventeenth Doll. Unlike Lawler’s play, it was not performed at the time. According to the current producers, it has had only one other professional producti ... (read more)

I'm Not Running (National Theatre)

ABR Arts 26 October 2018
I'm Not Running (National Theatre)
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 of the main political players during the invasion of Iraq as Hare imagined Tony Blair, George W. Bush, Colin ... (read more)

Susan Lever reviews 'Richard Flanagan: New critical essays' edited by Robert Dixon

August 2018, no. 403 25 July 2018
Susan Lever reviews 'Richard Flanagan: New critical essays' edited by Robert Dixon
With The Narrow Road to the Deep North (2013), Richard Flanagan became Australia’s third winner of the prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction, leading many people to pick up his novels for the first time and to look for some critical support in reading them. After my own review of the novel in SRB, I was bailed up by friends – many of whom had read it in book groups – to report on lively d ... (read more)

Antony and Cleopatra (Bell Shakespeare)

ABR Arts 13 March 2018
Antony and Cleopatra (Bell Shakespeare)
Antony and Cleopatra (first performed circa 1607) is one of Shakespeare’s most poetic plays, full of imagery of exotic Egypt with its crocodiles and serpents, its River Nile and, of course, Enobarbus’s extravagant speech describing Antony’s first sighting of its queen: ‘The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne/ Burned on the water ...’ It also has one of the strongest and most deman ... (read more)

Susan Lever reviews 'Off the Record' by Craig Sherborne

March 2018, no. 399 22 February 2018
Susan Lever reviews 'Off the Record' by Craig Sherborne
With a regular stream of vulgar tweets from President Trump and a tsunami of sexual harassment charges against prominent men, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the nasty side of masculine privilege in our current world. The narcissistic man who manipulates others to satisfy his sense of power has become a recognised figure in public life. Craig Sherborne’s Off the Record is a satire that relies on ... (read more)

Muriel's Wedding: The Musical (Sydney Theatre Company/Global Creatures)

ABR Arts 28 November 2017
Muriel's Wedding: The Musical (Sydney Theatre Company/Global Creatures)
On Monday night I attended a performance of the Australian Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty where the audience gasped in wonder as the curtains parted on the final act: three massive chandeliers were lit then raised above a cream and gold confection of a set which put Versailles to shame. On Thursday night, I was at Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical where the sets and costumes are bright and garish, a ... (read more)

The Father (Sydney Theatre Company and Melbourne Theatre Company)

ABR Arts 25 August 2017
The Father (Sydney Theatre Company and Melbourne Theatre Company)
Florian Zeller’s play The Father (Le Père, 2012) comes to us after acclaimed productions in Paris, London, and New York, where the playwright was hailed as an exciting young talent, and one of France’s finest writers. He wrote the play for the French actor Robert Hirsch, who was eighty-eight when he first performed it a few years ago. Australian audiences now have a chance to see the play for ... (read more)

Richard 3 (Bell Shakespeare)

ABR Arts 03 March 2017
Richard 3 (Bell Shakespeare)
The stage is open – a glossy art deco drawing room with plush velvet chairs and a chaise longue, cocktail glasses, and champagne, ready for a party. An engaging young man, dressed formally in a three-piece suit steps onstage and begins the famous speech: ‘Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York ...’ Of course, the young man is played by a woman, but that ... (read more)
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