Theatre

Ian Donaldson reviews 'Hamlet' (Bell Shakespeare)

Ian Donaldson
22 July 2015

Hamlet belongs to the final years of Elizabeth’s reign, when the system of espionage the old queen had created through her spymaster-general, Francis Walsingham – the network of ‘watchers’, as Stephen Alford calls them in a recent brilliant study of this phenomenon – had become ... More

Mother Courage and Her Children (Belvoir St Theatre)

Ian Dickson
15 June 2015

As our government prepares to increase our involvement in a Middle Eastern disaster we should never have taken part in, Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children seems more pertinent than ever.

The theatre of Bertolt Brecht has always pr ... More

Reading Australia: 'The Floating World' by John Romeril

Susan Lever
11 June 2015

Late in 2013, the Griffin Theatre in Sydney revived John Romeril’s The Floating World as its annual production of an Australian classic. The play is now forty years old, and unfamiliar to contemporary audiences who would have been lucky to see its first performances in the tiny Pram Fa ... More

North by Northwest (Melbourne Theatre Company)

Doug Wallen
09 June 2015

In Saul Bass’s title sequence for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 film North by Northwest, diagonal and vertical lines intersect to form a grid that eventually dissolves to the façade of a New York City office building. Bringing the classic spy caper to the stage for the first time, Melbourne Theatre Company uses that visu ... More

Desley Deacon reviews 'Double-Act' by Brian McFarlane

Desley Deacon
28 May 2015

Although many attempt it, writing the biography of an actor of a previous era is fraught. They consist mainly of lists of movies or plays long forgotten. The reception of their art is recorded by critics, once all-powerful, but now unknown. Their personal life and personality are hidden behind a screen of studio publicity. Writing the lives and careers of two stars ... More

Brian McFarlane reviews 'Eugene O'Neill' by Robert M. Dowling

Brian McFarlane
29 April 2015

It seems unlikely that anyone ever emerged from the performance of an O’Neill play saying happily, ‘Laugh! I nearly died.’ Robert M. Dowling’s fine biography helps to account for this: the life behind the writing of those plays was not conducive to a hilarious outcome. To have survived the life he lived would have been remarkable enough, let alone turning ou ... More

Ian Donaldson reviews 'Lost Plays in Shakespeare's England' edited by David McInnis and Matthew Steggle

Ian Donaldson
29 April 2015

‘The art of losing isn’t hard to master,’ Elizabeth Bishop once famously wrote; ‘So many things seem filled with the intent / to be lost that their loss is no disaster.’ Much modern technology seems designed specifically to counter this natural human propensity towards loss. We have key rings that respond obediently to their owner’s whistle, immediately ... More

Carol Middleton reviews 'Hello, Beautiful' by Hannie Rayson

Carol Middleton
30 March 2015

Apart from a brief stint as an actor, Hannie Rayson has spent her professional life writing plays, fourteen of them. Now she has shone the spotlight on her own life and brought her sense of dramatic conflict, emotional range and laugh-out-loud humour to her memoir, Hello, Beautiful!

... More

Chinese Brecht

Fiona Gruber
01 May 2014

I was asked to interview the Chinese theatre director Meng Jinghui recently. He’s a cult figure in China, an associate director of the Beijing-based National Theatre and has over two million followers on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

Meng Jingui holding a  ... <a href=More

Jay Daniel Thompson reviews 'Circus and Stage'

Jay Daniel Thompson
19 January 2014

In Circus and Stage, Mimi Colligan revisits the careers of stage performers Rose Edouin and and her husband, George Benjamin William Lewis, who were significant figures in nineteenth-century Australian theatre but are now ‘largely forgotten’.

... More
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