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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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July 14, 2023

Adelaide Guitar Festival – The Milk Carton Kids (with special guest Vera Sola)

Filed under: 2023,Archive,Festival,Music

Whatever you want to call it – Americana, Old Timey Music, Indie Folk, The Milk Carton Kids do it. And they do it very well. Their opening night concert for the Adelaide Guitar Festival is the full bottle.

Murray Bramwell

Formed in 2011, when solo performer Joey Ryan went to a concert by Kenneth Pattengale in their home town of Eagle Rock, California and suggested they join forces, The Milk Carton Kids duo (named from a lyric of one their …

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June 19, 2023

Adelaide Cabaret Festival: Robyn Archer – An Australian Songbook.

Filed under: 2023,Archive,Cabaret,Music

Assembling an intriguing selection of Australian songs and sources, including some doozies of her own, Robyn Archer and her versatile trio return to the Cabaret Festival in fine form.

Written by Murray Bramwell

Robyn Archer is a highlight in any festival. And her appearances at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival always remind us what the best, of that rubbery term ‘cabaret’, actually looks and sounds like. With her musical prowess, her exuberant erudition, and her keen wit, she is unique. As …

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June 15, 2023

Adelaide Cabaret Festival: Edge of Reality: Elvis Presley Songbook

Filed under: 2023,Archive,Cabaret,Music

In Edge of Reality, bandleader Paul Grabowsky, and Oz music luminaries Joe Camilleri and Deb Conway brilliantly rescue Elvis from impersonators and cartoon legend and celebrate his considerable musical legacy.

Written by Murray Bramwell

It is 46 years since Elvis Presley died, aged 42. It will soon be fifty. At the time his ardent followers were inconsolable. He was the first god of Rock’n’Roll, transforming the very notion of popular music. He looked like a cross between a pouting …

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May 04, 2023

Theatre: Every Brilliant Thing

When his mother attempts suicide, a seven year old boy starts to make a list of everything “brilliant” worth living for. This insightful, funny, increasingly complex play explores the pain and complexity of mental illness.

Written by Murray Bramwell

We are often encouraged to count our blessings, to focus on the glass half full. It is a worthy aim, but it is never that simple. In Every Brilliant Thing, UK playwright, Duncan McMillan (in collaboration with comedian Jonny Donahoe) …

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