Category: Reviews

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The Handmaid’s Tailspin

See The Saturday Paper (26 July – 2 August) for my review of The Handmaid’s Tale. Click here to read.

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Making the private public: ‘The Seventies’ by Michelle Arrow

As the 1970s began, homosexuality was illegal, and women couldn’t drink in many public bars, secure home loans or easily divorce. There were no refuges. In her new book, Michelle Arrow makes the powerful argument that it was only when ordinary, private voices were heard publicly that the social ground shifted. You can read my review of Arrow’s fascinating book The Seventies: The personal, … Read More Making the private public: ‘The Seventies’ by Michelle Arrow

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Blackie, Blackie Brown (Wharf 2, Sydney)

This review was first published on Daily Review on 19 May 2018 Performer Ash Flanders kicks off Blackie Blackie Brown in a hilariously high camp mode with his portrayal of a pink jacketed, chino short-wearing theatre luvvie home from a show, waxing sentimentally on the phone to his friend about Indigenous theatre that is “powerful, so powerful” (all those “orange lights”!). As the lights in his own … Read More Blackie, Blackie Brown (Wharf 2, Sydney)

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Top Girls (theatre review)

This review was first published on Daily Review on 18 January 2018 My mother used to tell me a story about women who would come into the emergency departments where she worked as a nurse. Complaining of agonising stomach pains, staff would have to break the news they were in labour and would soon be giving birth. The story always made me think about the … Read More Top Girls (theatre review)

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Sami in Paradise (Belvoir, Sydney)

This review was first published on Daily Review on 7 April 2018 Poor Sami. He’s lying in bed at the UNNHCR (sic) refugee camp, craving sausages and dreaming of learning the tuba. He wants to perform concerts and earn enough money to escape to Germany with his wife and mother-in-law. Miraculously the hapless Sami (Yalin Ozucelik) finds a tuba: the saucy madam in the … Read More Sami in Paradise (Belvoir, Sydney)

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RIOT cabaret review (Sydney Festival)

This review was first published on Daily Review on 12 January 2018 If the Wooster Group’s The Town Hall Affair appeals (reviewed here), so will Emmet Kirwan’s spoken word – passionate and rapid fire monologues about teen pregnancy, loneliness, alienation and the need for socialist revolution. If the voice of the Beats can still be heard in his delivery, Kirwan also looks back to the Irish poets and then back across … Read More RIOT cabaret review (Sydney Festival)

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Antony and Cleopatra (Sydney Opera House)

This review was first published at Daily Review on 11 March 2018 The cast of Bell Shakespeare’s production of Antony and Cleopatra spend much of their stage time languidly posing in shifting configurations amongst the set’s simple luxe elegance – oversized velvet seats that suggest the lobby of an exclusive international hotel. Designer Anna Cordingley has dressed the cast in stylish and sharply tailored suits, expensive … Read More Antony and Cleopatra (Sydney Opera House)

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The Town Hall Affair and Riot (reviews)

These reviews were first published on Daily Review on 12 January 2018 (Riot review here) Writer Norman Mailer was no Milo Yiannopoulos. But his attack on the women’s movement in a 1971 issue of Harper’s Magazine (which became the book The Prisoner of Sex) led Kate Millett and Gloria Steinem to no-platform themselves from a panel Mailer hosted on ‘Women’s Liberation’ at New York’s Town Hall the … Read More The Town Hall Affair and Riot (reviews)

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Lethal Indifference (Wharf 1, Sydney)

This review was first published on Daily Review on 23 February 2018 A woman steps off her balcony into her bedroom and starts listing the kinds of things women living in fear of violence routinely do to stay safe. What is your escape plan? Have you hidden a knife in the cake tin? Has he put a tracking device in my child’s teddy bear? … Read More Lethal Indifference (Wharf 1, Sydney)

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Mamma Mia! (Capitol Theatre, Sydney)

This review was first published on Daily Review on 16 February 2018 ABBA are too often dismissed as those comely Nordic popstars who defined Eurovision camp while singing of heterosexual love and heartache. To do so forgets the group’s music has only been outsold by those other four megastars of pop, The Beatles. And ABBA arguably left an even greater imprint on pop. Madonna, Kylie, Taylor … Read More Mamma Mia! (Capitol Theatre, Sydney)

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Tribunal (Carriageworks, Sydney)

This review was first published on Daily Review on 18 January 2018   A didgeridoo plays, a dark ceiling is lit with starry effects, a simple Afghan mat is laid out, a few chairs sit either side. Tall stacks of brown filing boxes are neatly lined up backstage. Aunty Rhonda Dixon Grovenor, a Darug/Yuin elder, walks on stage and maps out the peoples of … Read More Tribunal (Carriageworks, Sydney)

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My Name is Jimi (Sydney Festival)

This review was first published on Daily Review on 16 January 2018 “No. No, they still remain in Europe.” They are seven of the most powerful words spoken in My Name is Jimi, and they are spoken quietly by the grandmother of the show’s star, Jimi Bani. You might know Bani from characters he plays in Redfern Now, The Straits or Mabo (where he played the title role of … Read More My Name is Jimi (Sydney Festival)

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