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Rice review (Griffin Theatre, Sydney)

Reviews, Stage, Theatre |

Michele Lee’s new play Rice is a complex narrative concoction, combining broad political questions about race, power, socioeconomic classes in Australia, international food politics, and labour. But its focus is on two women who find an unlikely connection: the young Indian-Australian work-obsessed Executive Officer Nisha (Kristy Best) and the older Chinese-Australian Yvette (Hsiao-Ling Tang), who cleans Nisha’s

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Michael Ball and Alfie Boe: why we’ll never tire of singing Les Mis

Live, Music, Musicals, News & Commentary, Stage |

In 2007, tenor Alfie Boe and musical theatre star Michael Ball appeared together in an English National Opera production of the classic musical Kismet, now famous for being particularly awful. It might well have been a low point in both of their careers — the London Evening Standard declared “A terrible fate should befall this Kismet” — but it

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Is Melbourne Festival’s queer pop music marathon too expensive to be radical?

Live, Music, News & Commentary, Stage |

Melbourne Festival this week revealed its 2017 program, with one of the most significant works of live performance of the decade at its centre. Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music is a 24-hour journey through popular music and the history of America, from 1776 through to today, performed by the legendary New York cabaret artist. The Pulitzer

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Helpmann Awards: local vs foreign artists, and the other big talking points


Last night’s Helpmann Awards were thoroughly endured by all in attendance. The ceremony, which recognises live performance in almost every form (from ballet, to contemporary music, to stand-up comedy, to opera, to musical theatre), is typically a marathon event. Thankfully, the ceremony ran pretty much to time (three hours, straight through), and there were some

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Why the world will never have another pop culture phenomenon like The Simpsons

News & Commentary, Screen, TV |

There’s a significant number of people from my generation — people who grew up in the late 1990s — who are able to hold almost complete conversations through quotes from The Simpsons. There’s another handful of people who can do so with Seinfeld quotes, and many, like me, who are able to recite near-complete episodes of Friends. These three sitcoms hold

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Jan van de Stool’s insider goss: hosting the Helpmann Awards


The Helpmann Awards ceremony is the Australian live performance industry’s night of nights, and a typically star-studded event. But one star shone unexpectedly brightly last year: Jan van de Stool, a beloved Dutch musical therapist, and close personal acquaintance and mentor of cabaret and musical theatre star Queenie van de Zandt. Jan has extensive experience

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Marcia Hines: on the Golden Age of Disco, and why she doesn’t watch TV talent shows

News & Commentary, Stage |

Sometimes the brightest and most joyous of art springs out of some pretty tough times. The Golden Age of Hollywood broke through right at the end of the Great Depression, and Australia and the US were both facing difficult social tensions when disco music became a musical and cultural sensation in the mid-1970s. “When disco happened, things were pretty

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Pulse review: ABC’s new medical drama lacks spark

Reviews, Screen, TV |

The ABC has a new homegrown medical drama premiering this week called Pulse. If your reaction to this news is a decisive “so what?”, you’re probably not alone. And if you chose to stop reading this review after that first sentence, I can hardly blame you. If you’re choosing to stick by, here’s the crux of Pulse, inspired by a true

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This Much is True review (Old Fitz Theatre, Sydney)

Reviews, Stage, Theatre |

Louis Nowra’s first play in a decade — the final part of the ‘Lewis Trilogy’, following on from Cosi and Summer of the Aliens — is called This Much is True, and is inspired by the characters of the Woolloomooloo pub Nowra has frequented for the last nine years. But exactly how much of the play is actually true is hardly the point.

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