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Arts Reviews

Posted 12 Mar 2014 @ 4:27pm

★★★★

 

What a hoot. This show is a wonderful example of how theatre made in a pressure cooker can be. Simon Stone and partner Emily Barclay pulled together The Government Inspector licketty spit when the rights to Stone’s intended project, The Philadelphia Story, were withdrawn by the playwright Philip Barry’s widow. Instead, audiences get a musical within a play with a...

Posted 11 Mar 2014 @ 2:38pm

 ★★☆

 

It’s taken almost a decade since his first appearance, but we’re now seeing a concerted effort from co-writer/director to elevate outback serial killer Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) from chilling once-off menace to genuine, Freddy/Jason-level horror icon. 2014 sees not only the release of Wolf Creek 2, but also a couple of prequel novels that flesh out the back-story of the...

Posted 24 Feb 2014 @ 7:46pm

★★★

 

MTC’s production of Cock, UK writer Mike Bartlett’s popular play about a love triangle, sees the stage stacked with pillows, suggesting a bed or a comfort zone or a safe place to fall. The pillows provide modesty for the raunchier moments and go a little way to create the sense of intimacy this play needs.

 

One of the problems with this production of Cock is...

Posted 11 Feb 2014 @ 12:19pm

★★★

 

The Melbourne Theatre Company’s take on Noël Coward’s Private Lives dutifully recreates the glamorous, thoughtless pleasure of high society darlings drunk on freedom and choice. It is, really, the perfect theatre for post-GFC audiences; it’s crammed with enough tuxes and to-die-for gowns to make even Mad Men aficionados swoon (you can thank Set and Costume Designer Tracy...

Posted 4 Nov 2013 @ 10:08am

The Melbourne Festival goes about bringing both visitors and faithfuls a carefully rounded display of everything this fine city has to offer. The program is the unseen dichotomy of the real arts scene on offer in our looney metropolis proving that Melbourne isn’t just for the bespectacled, fixie touting, hipster artisan.
 
The festival presents as part of a three year series “...

Posted 4 Nov 2013 @ 10:07am

With a world of ear splitting amplification and all night dance parties you often forget that the origin of all rock and roll behaviour was in the classical music halls of Europe.  And the Australia Chamber Orchestra, led by Richard Tognetti, with Steven Isserlis performing as soloist for Dvořák’s Cello Concerto, played in the same program as Brahms’ 4th Symphony, is no exception.  The ACO is...

Posted 30 Oct 2013 @ 12:45pm

★★★★☆

 

Nature Theater of Oklahoma, I could kiss your ten hour long verbatim musical disco soviet barbecue locked room alien abduction arses, every last one.  Life and Times, so far in four parts and on Saturday strung together into a ten hour marathon session covering the first 18 years of a subject’s life, kicked so many goals that it’s hard to know where to start.
 ...

Posted 30 Oct 2013 @ 12:39pm

★★★☆

 

There was a lot of hype surrounding the opening night of Eddie Perfect’s debut play,The Beast. With hype comes high expectations that, more often than not, are squashed within the first half hour of the plays beginning. But thankfully, The Beast was two and a half hours of hysterical, fearless dark comedy.
 
The Beast follows the journey of three guys who have...

Posted 16 Oct 2013 @ 9:19am

★★★★

 

Once upon a time, Russia was in the grip of repressive overlords with zero tolerance for anything considered different to the norm. Hard to believe, hey? The dark days of Stalin inspired Mikhail Bulgakov to write his Soviet satire classic, The Master And Margarita.

 

In keeping with their tradition of deconstructing...

Posted 16 Oct 2013 @ 9:14am

★★★☆

 

Kneehigh Production’s Brief Encounter is a play based on a film based on a play. Noël Coward originally wrote Still Life as a tearoom-bound one-act play in the 1930s, with the action extended for the classic 1945 film version, entitled Brief Encounter.
 
The slapstick elements of Emma Rice’s adaptation hit you like a brick in the early scenes, but once things...

Posted 14 Oct 2013 @ 9:38am

★★

 

It’s the end of the world in this brand new venue - Norm - in Brunswick, and two time travelling detectives arrive on a desolate planet to track down Frederick, the last man on earth.  And apparently he’s to blame for this apocalypse, a fact that, after a bit of poking and prodding, Frederick is only too happy to share. Told mostly in monologue and reenactments, Frederick...

Posted 14 Oct 2013 @ 9:35am

★★★★

 

On a sunny afternoon, standing outside a shop front in Northcote, I had no idea what I was about to see. Greeted by Chamber Made Opera’s new creative director Tim Stitz (who is also the kind provider of snacks and drinks post-show), the audience is led upstairs to a small living room set up as the inside of a plane. A ‘flight attendant’ provides us with warm towels and we...

Posted 8 Oct 2013 @ 10:57am

★★★☆

 

MKA’s Kids Killing Kids took us back to November 2011 when David Finnigan, Georgie Mcauly, Jordan Prosser and Sam Burn-Warr travelled to Manila to work on a stage adaptation of Koushun Takami’s notorious Battle Royale, a Japanese novel and cult phenomenon about high school classmates pitted against one another in a gladiatorial death match. What the writers did not predict...

Posted 3 Oct 2013 @ 10:25am

★★★☆



 

Dropped is a new work from emerging playwright Katy Warner, who won the 2010 Melbourne Fringe Award for her play These are the Isolate. Set in a room rapidly filling with snow, two female soldiers offer reflections on themselves and their shared histories.
 
A dreamlike quality lingers throughout the play. There is almost a sense that the characters are...

Posted 3 Oct 2013 @ 10:24am

★★☆

 

Performing in the Loading Dock at Revolt is always a great excuse to have fun with set design and to do something different. The Millinery's Water Torture does just that.
 
Sitting on swivel chairs in the heart of the dock, the audience are all in the suggested pool at the centre of the story. They are forced to look up to see the action happening all around...

Posted 3 Oct 2013 @ 10:23am

★★★★

 

Family of Strangers is a company that haven’t produced many shows, but when they do, they are a true pleasure to watch.
 
Featuring three of Chekhov’s early one-act plays, On the Harmful Effects of Tobacco, Swan Song and The Bear, A Chekhov Triptych separates the pieces with delightful musical interludes that help move the show along (performed by Rachel...

Posted 30 Sep 2013 @ 12:26pm

★★☆

 

Not to be confused with the Haunted Melbourne Ghost Tour, the Old Melbourne Ghost Tour is heavy on the historical and light on the hauntings. If you are imagining some sort of Scooby gang scuffle through the city’s spooky spots, stop.
 
The tour kicks off from Federation Square and weaves it’s way across the brightly lit grid, past various points of vague...

Posted 30 Sep 2013 @ 11:36am

★★★★★

 

They Saw a Thylacine is a tale of two women who saw the last thylacines in Australia in the 1930s. While one is trying to track one down to sell it to a zoo, the other works in a zoo where one is being mistreated.
 
Walking into the Rehearsal Room at the Fringe Hub, one knows straightaway that they are not in for a regular piece of theatre. Seated in a cage...

Posted 27 Sep 2013 @ 9:55am

★★★★★

 

Rama Nicholas’ spaghetti western musical, Death Rides A Horse, has returned for an enchanting second season. Nicholas establishes herself as a wonderfully charismatic and versatile actress from the outset, rising to the demands of her one-woman show with ease. Switching between 15 distinct characters would normally seem a tall order for any performer, yet Nicholas...

Posted 25 Sep 2013 @ 3:30pm

★★★☆

 

The Owl & The Pussycat is one of my favourite venues in Melbourne. With its small minimal brick theatre the audience gets to be right in front of the action. There’s nowhere for the actors to hide and their ability to connect with the audience is paramount to their success. Kissing Booth definitely achieves this.
 
The play starts off with students Sharna...

Posted 25 Sep 2013 @ 9:53am

★★★

 

Simon Taylor’s Fringe Festival show is fairly straightforward: it’s an hour of all-new stand-up comedy, perfectly funny and satisfying from start to finish. In fusing sharp observational comedy with true-to-life offbeat tales, Taylor proves his credentials as an accomplished comic performer.
 
Crucially, he exudes a certain cool, seemingly in his element before...

Posted 24 Sep 2013 @ 10:28am

★★

 

Side Effect is four short, sharp stories that transport the audience into the tacky underbelly of Brisvegas. Clad in a sparkling gold jacket, director Tobias Manderson-Galvin unlocks the gates to a lane way set and the Fortitude Valley of the mind.
 
The first section captured all the energy of the ice addict one encounters on an early morning pilgrimage home. It...

Posted 24 Sep 2013 @ 10:18am

★★★★

 

In The Yeti, comedy veteran Tony Martin - a hapless crazy-character-magnet - recalls a mind-boggling tale of domestic lunacy. It’s a story taken from Martin’s book Lolly Scramble, transformed into a funny and memorable monologue fit for anyone craving light-entertainment.
 
Martin is the level-headed voice of reason, lifting the lid on an extraordinary boarding...

Posted 23 Sep 2013 @ 10:40am

★★★

 

Lisa Skye’s Songs My Parents Taught Me warmly weaves reflections on her own transition to adulthood through the narrative of '70s couple Bunny and Mad Dog. It is a love story set in Melbourne’s inner north in a simpler time, when sex and music reigned and marijuana was ‘legal’. She combines the second hand anecdotes and reminiscences of her parents with her own experiences...

Posted 15 Aug 2013 @ 4:25pm

★★★

 

The Bloody Chamber And Other Stories, an anthology of short-stories written by Angela Carter and published in 1979, is regarded as a masterpiece of storytelling that captures the true violent and perverted nature of folk tales, which won Carter the Cheltenham Prize for Literature in 1979. Therefore, when playwright Van Badham (Octopus, Burnt Snow) decided to adapt the first...

Posted 13 Aug 2013 @ 11:24am

★★★★

 

Although the very realistic setting and subject matter of The Rocket is unsettling, you still walk out of this with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Eccentric characters and situational humour shine through without deterring from the overall impact of the film.
 
Based in Laos, where children live and play in proximity of active landmines and dormant bombs, it’s a...

Posted 13 Aug 2013 @ 11:21am

★★★★

 

The Moo Man is a documentary that follows the day-to-day life of struggling dairy farmer Steve Hook and his herd of cows. It may not sound like a film for the masses or that it could be enjoyed by anyone not in the agriculture business – but this film is an unassuming gem.
 
The documentary, which was shot over four years on the Hook family farm, quietly...

Posted 13 Aug 2013 @ 11:16am

★★★★

 

Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin’s Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer follows three members of the Russian feminist art collective Pussy Riot as they stand trial for “disrupting social order by an act of hooliganism”. Nadia, Masha and Katya were arrested in February 2012 after a balaclava clad performance of their ‘punk prayer’ on the alter of Moscow’s Christ The Saviour Cathedral...

Posted 13 Aug 2013 @ 11:15am

★★★★

 

Antoine Bourges has made an admirable attempt to capture the pathos of the worst neighbourhood in all of Canada. East Hastings Street is Vancouver’s equivalent of the Tenderloin in San Francisco or Chicago’s south side – a great place to suck dick for crack, not so much for raising a middle class family or avoiding Hep C. Bourges explores this jaundiced and browbeaten...

Posted 13 Aug 2013 @ 11:14am

★★★★☆

 

Australia owes Haydn Keenan a debt of gratitude for six painstaking years of work in unearthing the intrigues of this country’s most secretive organisation. Since its birth in 1949, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation has been used as a blunt instrument against political opponents, intimidated peaceful protestors and damaged the livelihoods of both its...

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