The Comedians

November 20, 2022 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide, 19 November 2022 Comedy is hard. Stand-up comedy is very hard, and should be left to stand-up comedians. Alas, Mick Molloy, Sam Pang and Marty Sheargold are stand-up comedians like Ricky Gervais is a stand-up comedian: getting by, but not demonstrating a core skill. These three are well known for their amusing work on TV (‘The Front Bar’, ‘Have You Been Paying Attention?,’ ‘Fisk’) and radio. They are all likeable and funny, but somehow, one didn’t take away anything particularly witty or memorable: it seemed a parody of what was promised to be “a night (in…

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Straight Line Crazy

September 18, 2022 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Written by David Hare / Directed by Nicholas Hytner – Bridge Theatre, London, 17 September, 2022 Breaking news: Fat Book inspires Thin Play. Robert Caro’s monumental work about Robert Moses, reviewed by us in March, gave us a character of Shakespearian complexity. Alas, David Hare is not Shakespeare. Not even close. In his play he cherry-picks two episodes in the powerful public servant’s hectic agenda: an expressway cutting a line through estates of the leisured and treasured on Long Island (Moses is depicted having a slanging match with Henry Vanderbilt). The First Act, declamatory, expository, and facile, shows Ralph Fiennes,…

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This Is Spinal Tap

(Directed by Rob Reiner, 1984) (Special Screening at the Mercury Theatre featuring a Q & A with Harry Shearer, Adelaide Guitar Festival, 22 July 2022). Spinal Tap are the blond rock god David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean, who you already know well from Better Call Saul and other offerings), the bass player Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer) and Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest), who longs for St. Hubbins with big wet spaniel eyes. When Nigel learns that David’s girlfriend Jeanine Pettibone (June Chadwick aping Yoko Ono) is flying over from England to join the tour, his heart sinks. His crush on David…

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Otto & Astrid

June 24, 2022 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Adelaide Cabaret Festival, 23 June 2022) Come out, come out! In Adelaide’s cold, clear, calm, beautiful winter! And see this Festival before the tents are pitched. At the fabulous Spiegeltent on Festival Plaza (below), a large and appreciative crowd gathered to see and hear Otto & Astrid, the famous ‘dysfunctional, squabbling, co-dependent pair who are Berlin’s prince and princess of art rock and Europop, a lipstick-smeared, tantrum-loving, sonic collision between B-52s, The Pixies, Kraftwerk and early Ramones.’ Remember! What’s good or easy In your freezing sit? Come hear the music play, Life is a cabaret, you folks, Come to the…

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Every Musical Ever

June 19, 2022 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

'HOW MANY musicals?'

(Adelaide Cabaret Festival, 18 June 2022) Two Disclaimers: (1) The Varnished Culture is not really that much into musicals (bad music, good acting), preferring opera (bad acting, good music). We couldn’t fit a musical in our list of the 20 finest films. However it is a great genre we suppose, and we have previously commented on some of the outstanding examples: Singin’ in the Rain, Cabaret, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.  We have also expressed our disdain for the more toxic entries, such as Cats and The Sound of Music. (2) Musical theatre is exempt from consumer law, so no producer…

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