July 01, 1986

Le Carre’s Spies Past, Present and Perfect

Filed under: Archive,Books

It always seems churlish to compare a writer’s new book unfavourably with earlier works and literary history is full of instances of apparently purblind hostility to writers who had left their own straight and narrow paths to experiment, enlarge their vision, chart new territory and so on. But it is also true that authors can become fixated on projects which serve their own needs more than that of any reader. Take Finnegan’s Wake for example- Joyce spent seventeen years and …

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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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April 01, 1986

Fringe Things

Filed under: Archive,Fringe

The Adelaide Festival Fringe really exceeded itself this year. More than 240 events were programmed in nooks and crannies all over Adelaide in a remarkable showcase of performing, visual and community arts. Much of the action was at the Living Arts Centre, the former Fowler’s Lion factory in Morphett Street which despite some well-meaning CEP sprucing still looked like a particoloured abattoir. However, regardless of the spartan venues and the inevitable difficulties of determining which part of the catacombs was …

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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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March 01, 1986

Billie Rocks

By Samuel Beckett
Billie Whitelaw
Union Theatre

“This,” Billie Whitelaw announced pointing to the bright blue cover of her script folder, “is the most cheerful thing you’ll see all evening.” Maybe it was meant to be disarming to the audience but it momentarily short-circuited the possibilities of the evening by reinforcing Beckett’s popular reputation, or rather his notoriety, as a joyless nihilist who wrote those now rather old hat plays about loitering tramps and people in rubbish bins.

The …

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Filed under: Archive,Music

Kate and Anna McGarrigle
Festival Theatre

Kate and Anna McGarrigle first gained attention as songwriters in the early Seventies when Maria Muldaur recorded Kate’s “The Work Song”, and Linda Ronstadt used-Anna’s “Heart like a Wheel” as the title song for her 1974 album.

The McGarrigles began recording their own material in 1975, rapidly gaining attention for their fetchingly artless vocals and whimsical arrangements. On this tour, eleven years later, the McGarrigles are still being whimsical and fetchingly artless and …

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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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