June 13, 1986

Wagner’s Depths Explored

The Flying Dutchman by Richard Wagner; director Bernd Benthaak; with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. conducted by John Matheson; at the Opera Theatre. Adelaide, until June 21. Cast: Malcolm Donnelly, Beverley Bergen, Arend Baumann and Thomas Edmonds.

Commentators have often been swift to chide and slow to bless The Flying Dutchman when comparing it to the consummate accomplishment of Wagner’s later work.

Certainly its mechanical division between aria, recitative and ensemble is typical of operatic form which Wagner himself was later …

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June 01, 1986

Potent cheap music

The Real Thing, by Tom Stoppard; co-directed John Gaden and Gale Edwards; designer Roger Kirk; at Adelaide Festival Centre Playhouse until June 28.

Cast: Lynette Curran. John Gaden, Deborah Kennedy, Anna Lee, Andrew Tighe, Paul Williams, Ross Williams.

In dealing with the veerings, predations and yearnings of the human heart, Tom Stoppard’s play, The Real Thing; is indisputably about real things but his penchant for Chinese boxes has turned the play into a set of dodgy refractions which make complexity …

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March 28, 1986

Anderson shows the essence of pop amid hi-tech legerdemain

Very few performance artists have made the leap to pop with such spectacular success as Laurie Anderson whose concert in Adelaide’s Festival Theatre opened her Australian tour and coincides with the release of her newest album, Home of the Brave.

All of the paradoxes of Anderson’s achievements are evident in her opening monologue, Progress. The eclectic, hi -tech relativism of her work exactly mirrors the processes she rails against as heartless progress. Anderson’s is a triumph of style …

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March 21, 1986

First day at school

Magpie Theatre Company’s production of David Holman’s new play The Small Poppies has opened at Theatre 62 in Adelaide.

Directed by Geoffrey Rush with music composed by Moya Henderson and recorded for performance by the Australian String Quartet, The Small Poppies is about three little tackers on their first day at school.

Typically of David Holman’s work -and this is his 70th play – The Small Poppies makes its intentions very clear. It is for five-year-olds and all who want …

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March 07, 1986

Audacity carries the day

Adelaide’s State Theatre Company has premiered Stephen Sewell’s Dreams in an Empty City, directed by Neil Armfield, as its Festival offering in the Playhouse.

Ever since State’s and Armfield’s production of Sewell’s earlier play, The Blind Giant is Dancing, astonished admiring audiences in 1983 there has been great anticipation of this new work.

Stephen Sewell’s dramatic writing is extraordinary both in its scope, which is almost hubristically epic, and in the appalling risks he takes …

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January 17, 1986

Guys and Dolls

Filed under: Archive,National Times

1986 has begun in fine form with the opening in Adelaide’s Festival Theatre of the Festival Centre Trust’s big lettuce production of Frank Loesser’s Guys and Dolls. Staged by David Toguri, it is a transplant of the National Theatre of Great Britain production originally directed by Richard Eyre.

It is agreed by one and all that this Guys and Dolls is one of the best ever musicals and I personally for one am not disagreeing that this Frank Loesser …

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September 20, 1985

Jumble of disparate elements

The State Theatre Company production of Tom Stoppard’s On the Razzle, directed by Peter King, has opened at the Festival Theatre Playhouse in Adelaide.

Its unscheduled appearance follows a late scratching by the commissioned play The Horizon Papers which, it was announced, will now be held over for the SA Sesquicentenary celebrations next year.

On the Razzle is based on a 19th century Viennese play by Johan Nestroy which was a source also for Thornton Wilder’s The Merchant of Yon

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August 28, 1985

Journey to the future

Too Young for Ghosts, by Janis Balodis, is being performed by Adelaide’s Stage Company in the Festival Centre Space.

This play uses displacement both as theme and technique. It describes seven Latvian emigres following their arrival in Australia in 1945 and interweaves the narrative with a speculative account of Ludwig Leichhardt’s ill-fated expedition from the Gulf of Carpenteria southwest to Perth in 1847.

The play is audacious and assured in its use of flashback and narrative shifts which, though complex, …

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August 16, 1985

A Sense of Amiably Drifting

Filed under: Archive,National Times

Troupe’s latest production, The Floating Palais by Gavin Strawhan (at the Old Unley Town Hall Adelaide) is another of the company’s everybody-join- in ventures in the style of the Kelly Dance and the Centenary Dance.

This time the setting is the late 1920s when a dance hall called The Floating Palais was a popular venue located on Adelaide’s River Torrens.

The occasion is a works outing for friends and employees of the Shiny Shoe Company with music provided by the …

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July 19, 1985

It wasn’t only a weak end

The Weekenders, by Ray Harding is the Adelaide Stage Company’s latest production in The Space.
Harding has had TV successes including the recent tele-movie, I Cant Get Started. Unfortunately he writes less effectively for the more precise requirements of the stage.

The play concerns three couples each of whom believes they have the exclusive use of a shack on the river for the weekend. Complications arise when it transpires that a divorced couple and their new lovers, …

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