Theatre

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!

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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’.

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Brian McFarlane reviews 'Stage Blood'

Brian McFarlane
19 January 2014

Anyone lucky enough to have read Arguments with England (2004), the first volume of Michael Blakemore’s memoirs, will be eager to read the second, Stage Blood, in which he traces the tumultuous history of his years at London’s National Theatre. Further, anyone as lucky as I was to see such productions of his as Long Day’s Journey into Ni ... More

Ian Donaldson reviews 'Shakespeare Beyond Doubt'

Ian Donaldson
28 November 2013

It was not until the middle years of the nineteenth century, so far as we can tell, that anyone seriously doubted that the man from Stratford-upon-Avon called William Shakespeare had written the plays that for the past two and a half centuries had passed without question under his name. In the early 1850s, however, a private scholar from Connecticut named Deli ... More

Boy out of the country

Dina Ross
26 November 2013

It’s a story biblical in resonance: prodigal son Hunter returns after seven years in the wilderness, to find younger brother Gordon finalising a lucrative real estate deal; the homestead’s boarded up, ageing Mum has been moved to a tiny flat, and the Utopia they knew as boys is set for redevelopment. The brothers come to blows, family secrets are uncovered, and ... More

John Rickard reviews 'My Old Man'

John Rickard
31 October 2013

Many years ago, when I was struggling to make a living as an actor–singer in England, I spent six months in the chorus at the London Palladium, in a show breezily titled Let Yourself Go, whose star was former Goon Harry Secombe. It was hard work: two performances nightly, plus a matinee on Saturday. Years later, I realised that this demanding regimen ... More

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