Wish We’d Said That

Photo of Wilde by Napoleon Sarony (1882)

Oscar Wilde (16 October 1854 to 30 November 1900) The Divine Oscar is recalled daily by defamation lawyers, cautioning their prospective clients.  But we prefer to recall his playfulness, his essential kindness, and gargantuan wit. Richard Ellmann, in his biography of Wilde (1987), said of him that he “had to live his life twice over, first in slow motion, than at top speed. During the first period he was a scapegrace, during the second a scapegoat…His language is his finest achievement. It is fluent with concession and rejection. It takes what has been ponderously said and remakes it according to…

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Three Tall Women

August 10, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, Uncategorized |

(By Edward Albee) (Adelaide University Theatre Guild premiere, 9 August 2017) Albee’s slices of New England life, where families light up and tear each other down, succeed on the whole because he was a master of exteriors that demonstrated the angst within. With this unsatisfactory work of his later period, however, he is working from within and as such the play never catches fire. An act of ‘exorcism’ to help the playwright debride the memory of his domineering adoptive mother, the first part has a bedridden old lady (aged 92? 91?) attended by her former self and misunderstood by her younger…

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Burning Bright

April 8, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, LIFE, Uncategorized |

Round One vs Port @ The G (7 April, 2017)     Indian Summer: a warm afternoon and night, just the time to have a shot at the Olde Enemy. Your correspondent was feeling as fragile as the Sparkes stand, now touted as a crumbling ruin and monument to feelings of dilapidation at the Club. What would Henry Yorke Sparkes have made of the decision to craft a mound out of the historic grandstand? Evidently the Council, in an excess of zeal, has now also banned members from the back stairs of the Rix Stand, on health and safety grounds (we can’t recall any…

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The Next Night Manager

March 31, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, Uncategorized |

The Night Manager (Episode 2) The Varnished Culture‘s verdict is already in regarding the first instalment of this mini-series.  Hence we settled-down for the next chapter with all the zest of one summonsed for tax evasion.  It ran pretty much to script: nasty Mr. Roper’s girl whispers enigmatically, and then we see Roper and his gang settle down to a nice meal on the sea in Mallorca. A family affair – Roper – his girl – his tousle-haired boy – his goons – a few hangers-on and sycophants – the usual retinue. Suddenly there’s an incident – robbery and kidnapping, yet….

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Vale Edward Albee

September 16, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Uncategorized |

(12 March 1928 – 16 September 2016) “It’s just a quirk of the brain that makes one a playwright,” Albee said.  Maybe so, and growing up, precocious, adopted and gay, he had plenty to think and write about.  But only Albee had the discipline, perseverance and talent to write excoriating and personal dramas that broke social taboos, without (unlike much contemporary drama) descending to platitudinous speeches or moral grandstanding.  The characters he adopted to his dramas were treated with respect and understanding, and yes, even love. Most of his plays were set amongst the bourgeoisie, but were never complacent nor reliant on…

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