A definitive biography of Shakespeare’s great rival

Lisa Gorton
23 January 2012

‘O Rare Ben Jonson’

Lisa Gorton


Ben Jonson: A Life
by Ian Donaldson
Oxford University Press, $48.95 hb, 552 pp, 9780198129769


Ambitious, arrogant, talented, brave, learned, truculent, and convivial: Ben Jonson was too outstanding, too odd, and ... More

Fiona Morrison (ed.): Selected Prose of Dorothy Hewett

Bruce Bennett
20 January 2012

Romantic modernist

Bruce Bennett


Selected Prose of Dorothy Hewett
edited by Fiona Morrison
UWA Publishing, $32.95 pb, 282 pp, 9781921401626


Best known for her poetry and plays, Dorothy Hewett was also the author of novels, short stories and numerou ... More

Michael Keane: Views From the Balcony

Desley Deacon
20 January 2012

The price

Desley Deacon


Views From The Balcony: A Biography of Catherine Duncan
by Michael Keane
Macmillan Art Publishing, $39.95 pb, 224 pp, 9781921394577


Catherine Duncan looks like becoming the poster girl for Australian women playwrights of the ... More

Jonathan Croall: John Gielgud

Brian McFarlane
21 October 2011

One man in his time

Brian McFarlane


John Gielgud: Matinee Idol to Movie Star
by Jonathan Croall
Methuen Drama, $75 hb, 688 pp, 9781408131060


As the dust settles on twentieth-century acting giants, and reputations are appraised, it is at least argua ... More

Brian McFarlane reviews 'On Shakespeare' by John Bell

Brian McFarlane
27 September 2011
Others abide our question. Thou art free.
We ask and ask: Thou smilest and art still,
Out-topping knowledge.
(Matthew Arnold, ‘Shakespeare’)

When Arnold wrote his famous sonnet, he could have been anticipating John Bell’s book, which repeatedly asks provocative questions about the man and the work that have been his ... More

Richard Eyre: Talking Theatre

Michael Morley
04 May 2011

Symphony of histrionic voices

Michael Morley


Talking Theatre: Interviews with Theatre People
by Richard Eyre
Nick Hern Books (New South), $49.95 hb, 349 pp, 9781848420465


One of many dangers lying in wait for the writer (and reader) of theatre-insi ... More

Stephen Sondheim: Finishing the Hat; and Mark Eden Horowitz: Sondheim on Music

Michael Morley
21 April 2011

Backstage promenade with Stephen Sondheim

Michael Morley


Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954–1981), with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines, and Anecdotes
by Stephen Sondheim
Virgin Books, $69.95 hb, 472 pp, 9780753522585



Ross Honeywill: Wasted

Murray Waldren
07 December 2010

The prisoner–playwright who overdosed on opportunity

Murray Waldren


Wasted: The True Story of Jim McNeil, Violent Criminal and Brilliant Playwright
by Ross Honeywill
Viking, $32.95 pb, 312 pp, 9780670073955


Jim McNeil was a two-bit thug. A liar, ... More

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