1984: the Play

May 24, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
1984-new-900x600

(Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide, May 2017) (Based on an adaptation from George Orwell by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan) THANK YOU NOTE: First, The Varnished Culture thanks the folks at Her Majesty’s for their courtesy. TVC had bought tickets for a Saturday show, foolishly overlooking it was a matinee and missed the show. After some phone calls, full of contrition and abashment, TVC was allowed to present at the box office, and, with a little grovelling, to exchange redundant tickets for a Monday night performance. It wound-up with better seats! Again, thank you guys! It is greatly appreciated. And what a…

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Henry V (Bedlam Version)

May 7, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
Nick Duddy as Henry V2

Henry V (Adelaide University Theatre Guild, 6 May 2017) (Directed by Megan Dansie) “Diagnostic criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder include a history of exposure to a traumatic event that meets specific stipulations and symptoms from each of four symptom clusters: intrusion, avoidance, negative alterations in cognitions and mood, and alterations in arousal and reactivity.” (DSM-5). This is some way from the Welsh soldier Fluellen’s reference to Henry V by analogy to Alexander the Great: “in his rages, and his furies, and his wraths, and his cholers, and his moods, and his displeasures, and his indignations…” Henry Five turfed his buddies like Henry Eight did…

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The Screwtape Letters Live

April 22, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
Screwtape Image Website 2

(The Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide, 21 April 2017) (Dir. & adapted by Hailey McQueen) The Varnished Culture has long been a fan of this brilliant little tract by C. S. Lewis. In this local staging by ‘Clock & Spiel Productions,’ Screwtape’s letters of instruction are adapted to a two-hander where we see the missives delivered by Screwtape’s assistant, Toadpipe.  These include such gems as “She’s the sort of woman who lives for others – you can tell the others by their hunted expression,” “It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is…

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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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