December 10, 1986

Adelaide Christmas – One Turkey, One Scrooge

The Unley Town Hall, Troupe’s HQ, has been dark for much of this year. After Gavan Strawhan’s The Last Drive-In On Earth, the company’s crowd-pleaser from the Adelaide Festival, they offered a stylish production of Caryl Churchill ‘s Top Girls before going into recess. Then The Floating Palais, also by Strawhan, a success from last year, was resuscitated for a tour around the traps to bring Troupe’s vigorous brand of left-thinking, participation theatre to a wider audience. The …

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November 01, 1986

State Secrets and Good Works

With so many of Adelaide’s theatre companies resting between engagements my bulletin this time is focused less on what is past or passing and more on what is to come – in particular, for the State Theatre Company in 1987.

When I interviewed John Gaden for last month’s CentreStage Australia, the 1987 season was still under embargo and thus the State secrets enthusiastically outlined by Gaden had to stay under the hat.

By the time this goes to press, …

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October 01, 1986

Reviews – October 1986

While Pravda was still offering unsoothing sooth in the Festival Centre Playhouse, The State Theatre Company launched its next venture, Hannie Rayson’s Room to Move, into the Space. It’s been donkey’s years since State have used this more informal, intimate acting area, and there was maybe a touch of
truancy as the players escaped the stern proscenium of the main venue.

Rayson’s play certainly gives room to move. It is an interesting piece with bags to commend it, but …

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Street from the Heart

Street from the Heart
A Streetcar Named Desire
Harvest Theatre Co.,
The Arts Theatre

The Harvest Theatre Company wended its way to Adelaide recently for a season at the Arts Theatre of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire. In keeping with Harvest’s charter, this production has toured regional centres in Western Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, playing more than forty performances and linking with local theatre groups along the way.

It must be quite a punishing schedule but there …

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The State of Play

John Gaden, Artistic Director of the State Theatre Company of South Australia, reflects in midseason.

I first met John Gaden in October last year when the State Theatre Company was announcing his appointment as its new AD. 1985 had been a troubled year for State with a number of productions in succession hitting the wall as the local press grew more toxic and audiences more disheartened .

So Gaden’s appointment was greeted warmly from all sides. As a popular actor …

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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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