Hannah Gadsby

February 29, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | LIFE, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Hannah in 'The NGV Story' (ABC) considers the work of Mueck

(Adelaide Fringe Festival, Garden of Unearthly delights, 28 February 2016) It’s the Fringe and you gotta go to something, unless you’re saving those pennies for the stock car race Adelaide puts on to insinuate that it hosts great races and makes great cars (implications no longer true, if they ever were).  The Varnished Culture naturally plumped for Hannah, art historian and well known actress and comic.  She tends to steer clear of gynie jokes and deploy real wit, a rather radical departure.  She is also excellent in a sweet ABC show, Please Like Me.  We lined up (with our pre-paid tickets)…

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King Lear

January 5, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

"Who is it that can tell me who I am?"

(by William Shakespeare, 1606) (Dir. Neil Armfield) (Sydney Theatre Company, January 2, 2016) We offer a link to our favourite theatrical review site, Stage Noise, for the searching and wise verdict of this production (as at November 2015) by Diana Simmonds: Stage Noise review of King Lear We have little with which to disagree and little to add, except for this: Lear, in essence, might not bear proper staging.  The individuals must be larger than life, and have real gravitas, so in contemporary terms, you require superstars for 7 of the roles.  You need to treat the few jokes not as comedy, not even black comedy, but counter-comedy.  The…

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Cry Jailolo

September 25, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, LIFE, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Oz Asia Festival, “Cry Jailolo” (Dunstan Playhouse, Festival Theatre, Adelaide) (24/9/15) Jailolo, part of the Indonesian archipelago, has coughed-up a troupe of seven fit young men who (choreographed by Eko Supriyanto) present a genuinely novel dance sequence based on indigenous tribal myth from North Malaku, with modern overtones of environmental threat to a pristine local environment.  Sinuous, mesmerizing, ephemeral and fluid, involving moves that are both new and alien, this is an interpretation that intrigues and engages lovers of dance and agnostics alike.  Their unusual motion, use of light and shade, stillness, subtle use of hand and foot for percussion, and sense of space,…

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Theatre of Embarrassment

September 5, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | LIFE, THEATRE |

Brent went home for his guitar (Photo Radio Times)

A very anglo-saxon form of comedy, the Theatre of Embarrassment makes one squirm as well as laugh, and the laugh is often through gritted teeth.  It is hard to watch and even harder to believe, yet it unfolds before your very eyes, arch and formal as Kabuki, visceral as a knife-fight in an alleyway. When Norman Gunston asks Warren Beatty if “it’s true Miss Carly Simon wrote that song about you…?…The Impossible Dream…?” or mentions en passant to an interrupting Linda McCartney “It’s funny, you know, you don’t look Japanese,” you are at The Theatre. When Larry and Cheryl David,…

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The Adelaide Ring

August 23, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Opera, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WAGNER |

(2004: Recording 2012) The Varnished Culture is leery of greatest hits records.  Everyone’s CD cupboard bursts with them, especially those replenished after an insurance claim.  Yet with The Ring, one can make an exception.  Especially when this is the only record of the sublime Adelaide production seen in 2004, when little Adelaide’s gallant attempt to simulate Bayreuth was almost scuttled by a relatively new State Government (which is still the State Government) quibbling about funding.  Thankfully, a Commonwealth Grant to the Melba Foundation cleared the way. The Adelaide Ring was the first ‘ground up’ production in Australia and many feared it would be…

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