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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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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