The Secret River

March 15, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
Heidrun Lohr

Heidrun Lohr

(Dir. Neil Armfield) (Anstey Quarry, 12 March 2017) [Memo to the traditional custodians: “How annoying, when you’ve got the place looking right, some great floating vector retches into view, bone in her teeth, lusting for dry land and croaking with violent anticipation. White folks revise and revise; you, in your pleasant way, make no objection. Naturally, the latecomers take it for granted that you know your place in this new world.”] This is the scenario of imperialism and it has played out (variably) on every inhabited continent from time immemorial.  It is a powerful but overworked theme. In the capable…

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Götterdämmerung

December 8, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, Opera, OPERA, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WAGNER |
There's nothing like wrapping-up a series with a wedding (even if it's a double-wedding from Hell)

There's nothing like wrapping-up a series with a wedding (even if it's a double-wedding from Hell)

(Opera Australia, Melbourne, December 7, 2016) (Dir. Neil Armfield) With Götterdämmerung, Wagner closes his monumental circle, and not in a particularly happy way. Or does he?  Why, after their interminable love play concluding Siegfried, does Brünnhilde send her lover off to do good deeds, a la Lucy and Ricky?  Why are the Norns just catching-up with the imminent fall of Valhalla, which Wotan and Erda would have told them about already?  Why, after drinking a Brangäne-inspired potion that moves him to marry Gutrune and kidnap Brünnhilde for Gunther’s convenience (an infamous act that he compounds by slapping her around and stealing…

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Siegfried

December 6, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, Opera, OPERA, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WAGNER |
Sieg2

(Opera Australia, Melbourne, 5 December 2016) (Dir. Neil Armfield) In this third spoke of the cycle, the plot becomes simple, but radical; in a sense, confined, more a matter of fairy-tale than myth.  Siegfried goes from boy to man; with the newly forged hand-me-down sword, ‘Nothung’ he slays the gold-hoarding dragon, and when he sees that his guardian, Mime, has played him for a sucker, he deals with him too.  Then, with newly-acquired powers of comprehension, he heads up the mountain to find the sleeping Brünnhilde. During that ascent, he confronts on old fella (who turns out to be his…

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The Effect

October 10, 2016 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
(Image c/- US Dept. of Health)

(Image c/- US Dept. of Health)

(written by Lucy Prebble) (Adelaide University Theatre Guild, 8 October 2016) A  man and a  woman – an experienced experimentee and a first timer – sign on as subjects in an anti-depressant trial at Raushen Pharmaceuticals.  Who would have thought that two young, flaky people left virtually alone in a closed environment with nothing to do might engage in a little forbidden hanky-panky? Sigh.  Unfortunately this rather juvenile play is full of such predictable developments and unsurprising attempts at surprise.  Connie and Tristan, the guinea-pigs, escape to a moonlit former insane asylum and bang on about whether unnatural upsurges in dopamine cause…

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The Norman Conquests

August 23, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
(A marriage made in hell - Norman and Ruth)

(A marriage made in hell - Norman and Ruth)

      (1977) (Written by Alan Ayckbourn; Directed by Herbert Wise) This three-part dance about a weekend in the country, set at parallel times in different rooms of a large house, is not everyone’s cup of tea by a long urn, but it satisfies in its neat construction, its gentle humour, and several rollicking performances. “Table Manners” revolves around the dining room; “Living Together” the lounge and the conclusion is “Round and Round the Garden.”  The episodes stand alone but we recommend that you watch all three consecutively, over a few nights (or one long rainy afternoon). Kudos to the…

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