Vale Peter Shaffer

June 8, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | THEATRE |

Playwright Peter Shaffer (15 May, 1926 to 6 June, 2016) has shuffled off the stage.  Whilst his best known play was Amadeus, he also wrought, to interesting and arresting advantage, Five Finger Exercise, The Royal Hunt of the Sun (featuring the immortal stage direction in Scene VIII, “the men climb the Andes”) and Equus. These were all rather vulgarised in film treatments, except Equus, which was superbly done in 1977. Shaffer liked to set the devout and the earthy in opposition to each other (e.g., sun-worshipper vs gold worshipper; genius vs proficient mediocrity) and his stylish settings accentuated this conflict. Here’s a cute little monologue from Equus that…

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May 15, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

'Ol' Man River...' (photo c/- Accent Photography)

Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide, May 2016 In viewing this adaptation of Tim Winton’s sprawling 1991 novel, TVC recalled Stephen Sondheim’s delineation between opera and musical theatre: with musical theatre, “people expect mediocre singing and good acting; …[while] opera house people expect mediocre acting and good singing.”  In Cloudstreet, billed as an opera, with libretto by Winton and composer George Palmer, the singing went from good to fair but it was not operatic.  Not at all, with all due respect.  The acting was good to poor, a difficult task when (as usual in opera) the text is wholly sung.  Opera fans…

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Two Gentlemen of Verona

May 8, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

A better gentleman of Verona...Diesel (Crab), photo courtesy ATG

(By Will Shakespeare) (Adelaide University Theatre Guild, 7 May 2016) (Dir. Gary George & Angela Short) Early Shakespeare – it’s a kind of Dumb and Dumber – two friends scrap over the same girl, leading to slander, exile and attempted rape, with all merrily forgiven in the wash-up: not the Bard’s best by a long chalk, but no one can resist this early emanation of two great characters, the servant, Launce, and his mischievous dog, Crab.  Let’s hear about Crab from the crypto St. Francis, Act IV, Scene IV: “When a man’s servant shall play the cur with him, look…

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Machu Picchu

April 21, 2016 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

"I swear too much" (Lisa McCune as Gabby)

(Dir. Geordie Brookman) (SA State Theatre Company, 16 April 2016) (written by Sue Smith) By Guest Reviewer Emma Machu Picchu, a destination dreamt about at Uni and never realised.   Two young architects, who are madly in love with each other and the possibilities of life ahead, see their dream shattered and their love tested. The play starts with the couple projected about 25 years forward. Conversing while driving home from a health retreat, they reveal the complacency & irritation that comes with time spent together, the competing directions of their architectural interests, and the stresses of life. The romantic beginning and…

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Humourless Cats

April 9, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | THEATRE |

I saw “Cats”,  this lame and leaden piece of kiddie street theatre, at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York, in 1995.  Incredibly, it’s still running, although probably not on Broadway.  The book was done by T. S. Eliot in a juvenile mood, and confirms what we’d hitherto suspected: that Old Tom wasn’t too flash in the humour stakes.  The poems are poor.  The ‘animation’ is becalmed.  The songs are ho-hum (at least Grizabella’s stand-out number, “Memory” is drawn from some of Tom’s good poetry).  The feline characters mooning about the body of the theatre are annoying.  If Gus, the Theatre…

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