The Barber of Seville

January 21, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, Opera, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Opera Australia) (2007) Another can’t-miss piece, perhaps the greatest opera buffa of all, with typical Rossini touches – beautiful young lady, thwarted passion, a nasty guardian, identity confusion and a comically manipulative mastermind – was staged by OA over the country in 2007. Rossini’s score is uneven but joyous, featuring many popular melodies (e.g. the smash cavatina Largo al Factotum Della Citta – “Figaro sù, Figaro giù! Figaro quà, Figaro la!”).  TVC saw the production in Melbourne (14/4/07), when there was last minute shuffling of the cast, Figaro being laryngeally inflamed, and replaced by his servant.  The key role of…

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We Really Like the Theatre Guild

January 21, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | THEATRE, Ulalume |

Whilst TVC is dubious as to artistic awards, the Theatre Guild of the University of Adelaide  was justly honoured at the Adelaide Critics Circle Awards on 8th ultimo: Best Group Award (for Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land), which also took out best individual performance (Michael Baldwin).  TVC saw this production, which it liked to a degree over the source material.  At the risk of being a Sally Field, “We like you! We really like you!”

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The Illusionists 1903

January 16, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Adelaide Festival Theatre, 15/1/2015 In The Wanderings of a Spiritualist (c. 1921), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has this to say: “There is an excellent clairvoyante in Paris, Madame Blifaud, and I look forward, at some later date, to a personal proof of her powers, though if it fails I shall not be so absurd as to imagine that that disproves them. The particular case which came immediately under my notice was that of a mother whose son had been killed from an aeroplane, in the war. She had no details of his death.” On asking Madame B., the latter replied,…

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Birdman

(Dir. Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu) (2014) This is an interesting and well-made film that suffers from an empty space about its heart.  The 1990s star of “Birdman 1, 2 and 3”, Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton – get it?) spurned Birdman # 4 when at the top of the Hollywood pile, and is now a penniless has-been with substance abuse issues and an uncertain relationship with reality, as evidenced by his schizoid exchanges with the alter-ego Birdman character, who comes and goes, alternately revving and razzing Thomson in a voice reminiscent of Frank in Donnie Darko.  His comeback (or if you hate…

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Kata Kabanova

January 13, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, Opera, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Palais Garnier. Image by P. Giraud

Palais Garnier (2 November 2004) A beautiful production of this sad tale of adultery and recrimination, with the set a series of flats that would be at home in The Bill, including an appropriately atrocious print of bison at a waterhole (just to rub in Kabanicha’s horrendousness) and leaf-swept patio – incongruous in the gilded truffle of this particular opera house.  Angela Denoke and Jane Henschel, as Kata and mum-in-law respectively, take on the white and black hatted key roles magnificently.  Peter Burian conducted.

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