Safe

August 31, 2020 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | FILM, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Written and directed by Federico Maria Giansanti of FMG, an Italian independent theatrical producer) (2020) (A one-woman performance, filmed play, link below) At an indeterminate time, in an isolated mountain hospice a young nun (Valeria Wandja) is alone, taking care of two people.  The other characters, – a man Paul (“a pure soul” who “takes a bit longer sometimes”) and a bedridden, terminally ill patient, Mrs Parker – are neither seen nor heard.  We know them through the nun’s responses to them.  The three are the final survivors of a larger community.  The nun (“Sister Daisy”, although her name is…

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The Doctor

March 8, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | RELIGION, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Adelaide Festival Theatre (5 March 2020) (Written and Directed by Robert Icke; adapted from the play “Professor Bernhardi” by Arthur Schnitzler) This piece is a playground for ethicists, a sociologist’s paradise, and a nod to Lord Melbourne, who said of Macauley, “I wish that I was as sure of any one thing, as Tom Macaulay is sure of everything.”  Whilst a contemporary adaptation of a 1912 play, set in the antisemitic and ferociously Catholic Austrian Empire, takes hostages to anachronism, the dilemmas raised remain fresh and probably insoluble. Dr Ruth Wolff (Juliet Stevenson) is the founder and head of the…

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Requiem

Adelaide Festival Theatre, Friday 28 February 2020 (Directed and designed by Romeo Castellucci) Mozart thought he was being poisoned by instalments, so that his death would adjoin completion of the Requiem in D minor (K.626). In other words, he was commissioned by the Next World to write his own funerary music. He was obviously paranoid by then, but the ‘anonymous’ commissioning of the work (by an agent of Count Walsegg, who knocked on Wolfgang’s door), and his own serious illnesses, may have informed the beauty and brilliance of the piece: a hotchpotch to be sure, and an incomplete one, but…

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David Sedaris

January 20, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Sedaris signing prior to curtain

(Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide 18 January 2020) The Varnished Culture initially knew David Sedaris as the brother of Amy Sedaris, the author of the most sublimely hilarious hospitality book of all time, I Like You. David has shot ahead of his precocious siblings through sheer output, and a rather endearing sensibility. Open one of his books at random – Calypso, say, or the funny-sad Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk (we’ll never try to be rude about Jazz again), and you can see a humour that is gentle and yet sharp, generous and yet angry.  (In Calypso, he recounts how his partner and he…

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The Dark Master

November 3, 2019 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Oz Asia Festival Space Theatre, Adelaide, October 29, 2019 (Director: Kuro Tanino) Japanese rural inns are a mainstay of horror films and video games.  The Dark Master merges these genres when a hapless young backpacker (Koichiro FO Pereira) is bizarrely inveigled into running a once popular bistro in an undefined area of Japan (possibly Osaka).  The former proprietor (Susumu Ogata), who may or may not have operated the inn for the last 30 or 35 years, disappears upstairs and issues instruction to his apprentice, via earpiece. The young traveller, who has never so much as boiled an egg, learns quickly…

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