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TWELFTH NIGHT

TWELFTH NIGHT

By Diana Simmonds Review Posted on July 28 2016

WELFTH NIGHT – or What You Will, Upstairs Theatre, Belvoir St. 23 July-4 September 2016. Photography by Brett Boardman: above - Nikki Shiels and Damien Ryan; right: Keith Robinson

Twelfth Night is Shakespeare’s most divine comedy and one whose essential elements often go missing in productions that concentrate merely on laughs and silliness. Director Eamon Flack knows that, so, on the contrary, the tender threads of melancholy, love and longing that should underpin and make sense of the comedy are here as strong as you’re ever likely to encounter. The result is a sublimely human and joyous experience.

 
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BETRAYAL

BETRAYAL

By Diana Simmonds Review Posted on July 22 2016

BETRAYAL, Ensemble Theatre, 21 July-20 August 2016. Photography by Clare Hawley:  above - Guy Edmonds and Matt Zeremes; right: Ursula Mills and Matt Zeremes

“The Pinter pause” has become one of the most fetishised and (in)famous silences in modern theatre. It is often encountered in the English master’s plays – 140 times in Betrayal alone – and is one of the most studied, revered, feared and argued over theatrical instructions of the 20th and now 21st centuries, and yet [PAUSE]

Harold Pinter himself urged actors and directors to cut them “if they don’t make sense” and also said, “When I myself act in my own plays, which I have occasionally, I’ve cut half of them, actually.” So, the sparkling pace and enticing rhythm of director Mark Kilmurry’s new production of the 1978 work suggests a count of the pauses in it would be well down on the original. And all to the good.

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A HISTORY OF FALLING THINGS

A HISTORY OF FALLING THINGS

By Diana Simmonds Review Posted on July 14 2016

A HISTORY OF FALLING THINGS, Ensemble Theatre, 7 July-20 August 2016. Photography by Phil Erbacher: above - Eric Beecroft and Sophie Hensser; right: Brian Meegan and Sophie Hensser

Thirty-something Brit playwright James Graham wrote this deliciously odd comedy-weepy about two keraunothetophobes in 2009. If you think keraunothetophobia – the fear of falling things, particularly satellites and other space junk – is an unusual subject to choose, consider some of the work he’s gone on to write since then...

 
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SINGIN' IN THE RAIN

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN

By Diana Simmonds Review Posted on July 11 2016

SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, Sydney Lyric Theatre, 9 July-11 September 2016, then Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth into January 2017. Photography Jeff Busby above (the company) and Lindsay Kearney (right) Grant Almirall.

This production of Singin’ In The Rain started out at Chichester Festival Theatre as one of its director Jonathan Church’s long line of productions that habitually transferred to the West End and sometimes Broadway and beyond. In this instance, the stage version of the greatest movie musical of all time has come to Australia, which is ironic after Church – then newly appointed to the Sydney Theatre Company – was unceremoniously and stupidly lost by STC (no matter what the media release said).

The musical, with a book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, lyrics by Arthur Freed, and music by Nacio Herb Brown, actually reveals what we in Sydney have lost: a director who understands and thrives across subsidised, commercial, serious and popular theatre and whose companies have thrived too. What a pity.

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YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN

YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN

By Diana Simmonds Review Posted on July 7 2016

YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN, Hayes Theatre Co at the Hayes Theatre, 5-30 July 2016. Photography by Noni Carroll; above - Sheridan Harbridge and Mike Whalley; right: Andy Dexterity

First staged off-Broadway in 1967, this delicious show won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Production in that year and, on a Broadway revival in 1999, won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival of a Musical. This production, deftly directed by Shaun Rennie, with musical direction by the always wondrous Michael Tyack, demonstrates exactly why it’s not only been a winner but also often restaged.

Based on the legendary Peanuts comic strip characters created by Charles M Schulz, the musical’s book, music and lyrics are by Clark Gesner, with Michael Mayer and Andrew Lippa. The result is a deceptively simple and utterly charming bag of lollies.

 
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WINTER IN CANBERRA

WINTER IN CANBERRA

By Diana Simmonds News Posted on July 6 2016

Above: Diane Arbus – Mae West on bed 1965, gelatin silver photograph; and right: Woman with a beehive hairdo 1965, gelatin silver photograph, National Gallery of Australia collection, Canberra. Both purchased 1981. 

Eeeek! For the first time since 1998, Blue Poles 1952 will not be on display at the National Gallery. From July 25 our Jackson Pollock masterpiece will be undergoing cleaning and conservation work before being shipped to London on loan to the Royal Academy for their exhibition Abstract Expressionism. (The last time the painting left Australia was when it was on loan to MoMA for an exhibition in New York city.)

 
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