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)

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

(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)

(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)

      (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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The Crucible

August 7, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(by Arthur Miller) Adelaide University Theatre Guild, August 2016 ‘Desperate and hot.’  That’s how Miller wanted his Witch Trial / Cold War hysteria tale to play; stoke the fire till someone gets burnt.  Whilst at the time of debut in 1950s America the piece served a political purpose, sixty odd years later, we can appreciate the wider themes of group-think and guilt.  In this production, directed by Geoff Brittain, the essential drama is delivered in a powerful and solid fashion. Despite a few misfires in delivery, the odd uncertain accent and some overly shouty bits, the acting was generally good.  Of the brat…

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