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February 23, 2024

Another Stroll in the Park

As WOMADelaide 2024 draws closer, Murray Bramwell talks to Director, Ian Scobie, about bringing in the new and keeping the familiar .

“Things are going pretty well. Touch wood” As always Ian Scobie is taking early soundings in late January. He has been involved with WOMADelaide for all of its 32 years. Right back to 1992 when APA was formed and Festival director, Rob Brookman negotiated with WOMAD UK’s Thomas Brooman to bring World Music artists to a weekend festival …

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February 15, 2024

Adelaide Fringe Theatre: The Portable Dorothy Parker

Filed under: Archive,Current,Fringe

Written by Murray Bramwell

With her acid wit and memorably wicked aphorisms, Dorothy Parker is a rich subject for the stage, and playwright Annie Lux has seized the chance. The Portable Dorothy Parker draws its title from the writer’s first collection, garnered from works published in Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and literary magazines.

It is 1943, and an emissary from Viking Press is visiting Parker to hasten the selection process. The setting is her apartment – a chair …

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Adelaide Fringe Theatre: England & Son

Filed under: Archive,Current,Fringe

Written by Murray Bramwell

When a play begins with a man screaming in a dumpster we know this is a story of the lower depths. England & Son is a corrosive account of the degradation and insecurity of working people in the UK, escalated by the Thatcher years and even more pervasive today.

We don’t know the man’s first name but his surname is England and so was his father’s. At one point in his childhood, England the younger is …

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Adelaide Fringe: Grav

Filed under: Archive,Current,Fringe

Written by Murray Bramwell

You don’t have to know about rugby to enjoy Grav. But if you do, this one-hander, performed memorably by Gareth J Bale, really kicks it out of the park.

Ray Gravell played more than 400 games for his Welsh club Llanelli, earned 23 caps for Wales and played for the British Lions in 1980.

He described himself as “just a minor cog, quite an ordinary player to be honest.” Fellow players, opponents and his loyal …

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February 09, 2024

The Best of 2023

Filed under: 2023,Archive,Current

As I look over my year’s attendances, I saw less of the festivals – the Cabaret Festival and OzAsia in particular. State Theatre Company South Australia had a strong year with outstanding attendances but the second-tier independents remained fairly quiet. After a long and accomplished stint Chris Drummond announced his departure from Brink and the promising projects coming from RUMPUS came to an untimely end with the termination of the Bowden lease. Windmill and Slingsby featured in the Festival program …

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February 07, 2024

Theatre: The Children

In just over 100 minutes, with a splendid, often funny, script and three excellent actors, The Children explores the grim legacies of the past and the uncertainty and dangers of the future, without driving us to despair.

Written by Murray Bramwell

The State Theatre Company has again opened its season with an excellent production of an outstanding and intriguing play. Last year it was Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia ? This time it is, first performed in …

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January 06, 2024

Musical Theatre : Miss Saigon

Filed under: Archive,Current,Music

Miss Saigon has landed once again. This now classic musical is well served with a splendid production more spectacular, captivating and accomplished than ever. It is not to be missed.

Reviewed by Murray Bramwell

The return to Adelaide of Miss Saigon is a significant event for many reasons. First seen here in 1995 and then in 2007, we are seeing the London revival from 2014, a further ten years on. When it premiered in 1989 it marked the end of …

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October 20, 2023

2024 Adelaide Festival program launched

Filed under: 2023,Archive,Festival

The program for the 2024 Adelaide Festival has been unveiled and it is a first for incoming Artistic Director Ruth McKenzie and general manager Kath Mainland. It promises excellence, continuity and a showcase for emerging works that may prove to be future classics.

Written by Murray Bramwell

“We were both here for the 2023 festival, “says Ruth McKenzie, “but that was the last one for Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield – which went incredibly well, as all of their festivals …

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October 13, 2023

Theatre: The Garden

Written by Murray Bramwell

With thrift and wit and unnerving candour, Theatre Republic’s intriguing new play examines in microcosm the inescapable reality of discrepant worlds and insufficient good intentions.

“This play has never been comfortable,“ Emily Steel writes in her program notes for The Garden. “It was uncomfortable to write and if I’ve done it properly it will be uncomfortable to watch.”

And she has done it properly. In a compact sixty minutes she has produced a crowded hour …

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August 30, 2023

Music Theatre: Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill

In State Theatre Company’s newest co-production, with Belvoir Street and Melbourne Theatre Company, the brilliant Zahra Newman and her band recapture and celebrate the vibrant life, loves, torments and timeless music of Billie Holiday.

Murray Bramwell

There can be few singers as mercurial as Billie Holiday. Biographer John Szwed says of the more than forty books written about her – “All those who have attempted to write about her have discovered there are many Billie Holidays: one lively and joyful, …

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