16 March, 2018 at “Jade”, Adelaide Fringe Raw, but we ate it up. This performance was one of those closest to the spirit of the Fringe, where non or semi-professionals can test their abilities, and material, in front of an Adelaide crowd, a crowd that is no pushover, albeit less querulous than Milan and less violent than Edinburgh. Co-producers Simon Coad and Adrian Nippress, in collaboration with Simon Goodes, created the gruesome conceit of a mock ‘Telethon,’ with all the forced striving to entertain and chaotic variety which that entails, and whilst The Varnished Culture had reservations (of which more…

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Hamlet Sings! We Laugh!

March 7, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, Opera, OPERA, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Hamlet, Glyndebourne Festival Opera production, Adelaide Festival Theatre, 6 March 2018 You know the story, or perhaps you can condense it into one word, as did the English stage director Tyrone Guthrie: “Mummy!”  But you might prefer to concentrate on the post-modern man Shakespeare seems to have had in mind with Hamlet: “the revolutionary whose manners and ways of life are attached to the old régime, whose ideals and loyalties belong to the new, and who, by a kind of courageous exhibitionism is compelled to tell the truth about both.”*  Bloom calls the play (which admittedly, has its own structural…

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Co-Operate! See the Barber of Seville

February 15, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, Opera, OPERA, THEATRE |

'Figaro sù, Figaro giù! Figaro quà, Figaro la!'

A Co-Opera production, Waverley House, Willunga, 21 April; Adelaide Showground, 22, 28 & 29 April. The Varnished Culture has already enthused about Rossini’s little piece – the Barber of Seville is nigh perfect, and whilst Co-Opera – the nation’s only dedicated touring Opera Company – runs on a shoestring, this production not only deserves your support but is likely to command your attention and admiration as well.

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The Cherry Orchard

January 17, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Plays, THEATRE, WRITING & LITERATURE |

Chekhov’s great sad comedy premiered in Moscow on this day (17 January) in 1904.  A devastating satire on the necessity to change and its collision with people impervious to change, it is the first great 20th century play, hugely influential in its grand theme of entropy (and we add, with as much modesty as possible, that the broken, reverberating lute string terminating Acts II and IV – “The distant sound is heard, as if from the sky, of a breaking string, dying away sadly” – inspired the champagne cork trope in The Varnished Culture‘s short play, Jenny Had it Coming.)    …

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Lettice and Lovage

October 12, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Plays, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(By Peter Shaffer) (Directed by Angela Short) (Adelaide University Theatre Guild, 11 October 2017) Though he is better known for his darker pieces, Peter Shaffer had a big hit in the 1980s with this droll dig at the decline of modern standards, and the often opaque ways of the Heritage Mafia, subjects close to The Varnished Culture‘s heart.  Once again, Shaffer sets rational Apollo in opposition to romantic Dionysus, this time to richly humorous effect. Miss Lettice Douffet is a tour guide at “Fustian House” in Wiltshire, an ancient pile so dreary and unremarkable that it wouldn’t even get a page in…

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