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December 01, 1988

Harsh but Reasonable

Filed under: Archive,Books

Mars Peter Porter
Illustrated by Arthur Boyd
Andre Deutch

Mars, hoodlum son of Hera and Zeus, liked more than a malenky bit of ultra-violence, so the sources say, and Thracian deity that he was – the more gratuitous the better.

In Mars, Peter Porter, in his fourth collaborative volume with artist Arthur Boyd, has written his most pungent verses since Annotations of Auschwitz. Mars is a splenetic jeremiad against twentieth century warfare alongside which Boyd’s stumpy, perfunctorily daubed …

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Book Reviewers’ Choice

Filed under: Archive,Books

Book Reviewers’ Choice

Best reading for 1988 would have to include Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping (King Penguin). It was turned into a sublime film by Bill Forsythe, but the novel, first published in 1981, is even sublimer. Beautifully written, eerie and strangely consoling, it is a rare work.

Julia Voznesenkaya’s The Women’s Decameron (Methuen) is a cycle of stories told by ten women quarantined in a present-day maternity hospital in Leningrad. The hundred stories tell, among other things, of First Love, …

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November 01, 1988

Crowning Achievement

The Wars of The Roses
History Plays by William Shakespeare
English Shakespeare Company
Directed by Michael Bogdanov
Festival Theatre

“And if you crown him, let me prophesy/ The blood of English shall manure the ground/ And future ages groan for this foul act.” The words of the Bishop of Carlisle went unheeded and the rest is history – Shakespeare’s history of a decimating brawl which began in 1398, when the hollow crown of the last Plantagenet Richard II was snatched …

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August 13, 1988

A Mid-Winter Night’s Comedy

Murray Bramwell talks with director Geoffrey Rush and actors Paul Blackwell and Tony Taylor about The Popular Mechanicals, which opens for funny business in the Playhouse tonight.

They have become known as the Rude Mechanicals. They are the artisans led by the redoubtable Peter Quince who perform The Most Lamentable Comedy and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisbe for the royal court in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Their play is theatrically preposterous, hilarious, endearing and contains some …

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July 01, 1988

Bronx Cheer

Filed under: Archive,Books

The Bonfire Of The vanities
By Tom Wolfe
Jonathan Cape

The Difference between the old journalism and the New (as Tom Wolfe himself called it) is that the New Journalism is writ large – in the Upper Case Apt Phrase – and writ often, with hyperactive syntax, repetitions of the key word and triple pause dots stringing together gauds of aphoristic wit.

So when it is announced that Tom Wolfe, an author of ten books which make the word best-seller …

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June 01, 1988

Relative Success

Filed under: Archive,Music

Clannad
Festival Theatre

As their name suggests, Clannad is a family affair. Paul, Ciaran and Maire, the Brennan siblings, combined with their twin uncles Noel and Padraig Duggan in 1970 to form one of Ireland’s foremost folk outfits.

A lot has happened to Clannad since they first started winning the battle of the bodhrans back in Gweedore, Donegal. Maire’s husky vibrato lead vocals, harmonised with the choral voices of her near and dear, have made the Clannad sound distinctively, sepulchrally …

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Miles Ahead

Filed under: Archive,Music

Miles Davis
Thebarton Theatre

Miles Davis is unique. His forty year career in jazz has been spent at the most avant part of the vanguard. As a teenage prodigy he was, after Dizzy Gillespie, the most distinctive trumpeter in New York, or Paris, or anywhere. At the age of sixty-one he still presides over a band which is bursting with invention.

Inexplicably, on his first Australian tour, Davis attracted a less than full house for his one Thebarton concert. But …

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May 01, 1988

Tricky

Dizzy Spells
Devised by Doug Tremlett and Terry O’Connell
Space Cabaret Club

The Legerdemain business has been losing its magic lately. It is either in the hands of TV hucksters with Dickensian eponyms and nylon hair or fading roues covered in dove crap. But now comes the New Wave – Doug Tremlett’s Dizzy Spells, a vertiginous blend of rock and roll, comedy and classic conjuring.

After five months in Melbourne and beyond, this four-figure show is as neat as …

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April 01, 1988

Flighty

A Flock of Flamin’ Galahs
Troupe Theatre
Centralia Hotel

Despite their “extensive and detailed” research into the life and times of five Australian eccentrics, Troupe have not managed to gather any semblance of unity or purpose into A Flock of FlaminGalahs, their Festival show at the Centralia Hotel on North Terrace.

They seem to hope that a collection of tableaux, some hoary old audience participation numbers and an over-long serve of inferior G-and-S will charm …

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Combing the Fringe

Filed under: Archive,Fringe

The Festival Fringe is always a bit of a chook raffle. With hundreds of events programmed, many with bizarre titles and uncertain provenance, it is difficult to know which is the best investment for the hard-earned rouble.

Daily reviews and colosseum star-ratings both hinder and help but more often it is the halitosis, or otherwise, of word-of mouth which decides. It is an unpredictable business, full of surprises – some delightful, some excruciating beyond measure.

This year’s range has been …

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