Eleanor’s Story

March 2, 2015 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | THEATRE, WW2 |

Hitler promised a chicken in every pot and a VW in every garage but failed to add that soon there would be no pots or garages...(Photo c/- German Federal Archives)

This review comes from our Guest Reviewers – thank you Denise and Margaret!  Guest reviews are always welcome. “Eleanor’s Story: An American Girl in Hitler’s Germany”. (The Fringe, Rymill Park, Adelaide, 19 February 2015) Denise writes: A stellar performance by Ingrid Garner, adapted from her grandmother’s autobiography.  Performed on a small set all but bare of props, and with some intermittent sound effects and voice-overs to enhance the sounds of conflict, this young actress drew us deeper and deeper into the daily business of survival in a foreign country at war.  She showed us how a family unit can remain strong…

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No Man’s Land

February 13, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Plays, THEATRE, Ulalume, WRITING & LITERATURE |

(Harold Pinter) Adelaide University Theatre Guild, 2014 Clive James described this piece as akin to “a chess game being played out long after a draw should have been declared, since there are only two knights and two pawns left on the board.”  Whilst this could not describe a real game, you get his point. It’s another psychodrama but with enough keen sense of modern discourse to give us (pardon us for this) pause… Pinter’s stronger characters can never resist the chance to crush their weak or shifty (usually self-delusional) adversaries.  Here, two men with literary pretensions, watched and ‘waitered’ by…

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Der Freischutz

February 5, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, Opera, THEATRE, Ulalume, WAGNER |

(By Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber, premiering in Berlin on 18 June, 1821) It is good news that Melbourne Opera staged this neglected gem not so long ago – bad news that TVC couldn’t get there to see it, and at the Athanaeum what’s more!  It was reviewed by Peter Burch in ‘The Australian’.  Quite daring when first staged in 1821, as much for the lower class characters as the ghostly theme that enchanted a young Wagner, Weber’s music is accomplished and highly accessible (touches redolent of Beethoven, and even, in overture, AIbioni) with effects used to great advantage, especially in the…

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Black Swan

January 24, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Dir. Darren Aronofsky) (2010) Natalie Portman is no Divine Zucchi as she samples various vices in an attempt to turn Odette into Odile.  A heroic attempt by all concerned to synthesize the struggle and sacrifice of art looks and even feels impressive but, alas, is artless, a cliché, and ludicrous.

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Don Giovanni

January 22, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, Opera, THEATRE, Ulalume |

Image courtesy of Barcex

English National Opera, London Coliseum (Autumn 2004) Oh Dear: what have we here?  Don Giovanni is driven on stage in a clapped-out Ford Consul (or something – not good on cars, TVC will use Pam Ayres’ phrase) and out spills Donna Anna and Don Giovanni, covering up their junk.  And downhill from there.  This Calixto Bieto production was touted as “Mozart meets Reservoir Dogs” .  It was more a case of ‘Salieri meets The Panic in Needle Park meets Cruising’.  David Parry conducted.  Eventually, some of the good bits floated back into our cerebral cortex, helped by wine chugged at…

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