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Making a show for kids that’s not going to bore grown-ups a challenge. Prudence Upton/Sydney Festival

Cabaret for kids: Jazzamatazz! at the Sydney Festival

The kids program for Sydney Festival has been fun and varied this year, but a highlight was Ali McGregor’s Jazzamatazz!. The cabaret singer staged her set in the Aurora Room, a mini-Speigeltent with a…
On the Harmful Effects of Tobacco is a marriage between words and music. Pascal Victor/Sydney Festival

Dissonance and relief: Chekhov at the Sydney Festival

At least four metronomes ticked away at various points on the stage as the audience seated itself for last night’s opening performance of Anton Chekhov’s On The Harmful Effects of Tobacco at the Sydney…
Neil McGregor’s history of Germany through artefacts such as this 1989 Berlin demonstration banner/placard is extraordinary. © Deutsches Historisches Museum British Museum

Know Germany through the history of its eloquent objects

Unfortunately, I will not see Germany: Memories of a Nation at the British Museum because it closes this weekend – and I live in Perth, Australia. As a result, I am unable to speak about my personal response…
UKCHUK-GA: Pansori Mother Courage. JD Woo MG/Sydney Festival

A stunning reworking of Brecht at the Sydney Festival

Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children (1941) is, alongside Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (1953), the defining dramatic text of post-war European theatre. Few, if any, theatrical images are as…
In Wot? No Fish!! Braverman made the theatre into a kind of living room, offering the audience gefilte fish with chrein sauce. Sydney Festival

Every detail counts in Wot? No Fish!! at Sydney Festival

During an artist talk just an hour before performing Wot? No Fish!! on Saturday at the Sydney Festival, English writer/actor Danny Braverman observed that as an artist he seeks “to foreground universals…
Frankie Alvarez as Agustin and O.T. Fagbenle as Frank in Looking. Foxtel

HBO’s Looking: the men on TV who just ‘happen to be gay’

Show a gay man on TV, and you immediately open yourself up to a degree of scrutiny that other artists usually have the privilege of avoiding. Representations of marginalised subjects on screen or in literature…
Perry Keyes songs about working class life in Sydney’s suburbs aren’t necessarily an easy fit for the festival setting. Photo by Johnny Barker. Sydney Festival

Review: Perry Keyes’ Tales of Sydney’s Western Suburbs

Whenever I approach mass cultural events – especially ones that seem to bear the conceit that they are “higher” and more culturally valuable than, say, a comic book fair – I am reminded of two of the 20th…
Falling Through the Clouds speaks to a future dystopic existence … and then some. Jarrad Seng/Sydney Festival

Review: Falling Through Clouds, a cautionary tale for our times

There is a flock of swallows that swoops low across the clifftop nearby. This kind of joyful flight, that windy rush of ornithological freedom, is at the heart of Perth Theatre Company The Last Great Hunt’s…
Photo: Far From Folsom. Jamie Williams/Sydney Festival

Far From Folsom: resurrecting the spirit of Johnny Cash

Tex Perkins, once upon a time lead singer of The Cruel Sea and Beasts of Bourbon, appears before his Tennessee Four band in a gentle swagger, grabs the chrome microphone, and announces: “Hello, I’m Johnny…
Selma director and co-writer Ava DuVernay has crafted a new and important vision of an oft-examined era in our nation’s history. Stanley Wolfson/Library of Congress

Selma blurs line between past and present

Hollywood films that depict American history deeply influence our sense of national identity. Films that portray Civil Rights and Black Freedom history are particularly important. Beyond entertaining moviegoers…
At Beat The Drum, announcers and musicians from the 40-year history of Australia’s youth broadcaster took to the stage. Liz Guiffre

Review: celebrating 40 years of Triple J at Beat The Drum

Today, Triple J celebrates its 40th birthday. Over four decades, the youth broadcaster has built up a proud history of outside broadcasts and regional concerts. As Double J the station staged some of the…
I Guess if the Stage Exploded … a chance to delve into the fundamentally mysterious nature of memory-making. Laura Montag/Sydney Festival

Remember this: startling memory games at the Sydney Festival

There’s a singular kind of hush that comes over an audience when the figure on stage takes off her shoes and steps into a bucket of flour. But this hush is even more apparent as the actor, now flour-footed…
In Darkness and Light, the long tradition of organ music is combined with a visual world created by Australian artist Lynette Wallworth. Sydney Festival

Evoking the sacred: Darkness and Light at the Sydney Festival

The dramatic, temperamental sound of the organ joined with the lush visuals of contemporary video is not an obvious combination. They are brought together in Darkness and Light, a work by two collaborators…
Mariaa Randall delivers an impressive performance in HA LF at the Footscray Arts Centre. Photo by Jeff Busby

HA LF’s ‘kooriography’ shines at the Wominjeka Festival

As part of the Footscray Community Arts Centre’s Womenjika Festival this weekend, Mariaa Randall (Githatbul and Gidabul) and the DubaiKungkaMiyalk (DKM) Dance Company’s moving performance HA LF places…
Nick Cave, 1973, gelatin silver photograph by Ashley Mackevicius. Gift of the artist 2006, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra

Celebrating Melbourne bohemians at the State Library of Victoria

Goths, punks and hipsters roam the streets, wilfully asserting their counter-cultures. But in an age of cultural appropriation, is this resistance just another way of fitting in? In 2015 can anyone truly…
At the forefront of a renaissance of Brazilian pop-samba - and its commercial success - is Seu Jorge. Alisson Sellaro/Flickr

Review: Brazilian star shines – Seu Jorge’s Australian debut

One evening ten years ago I was walking in pouring rain down the streets of Cidade Baixa in downtown Porto Alegre, Brazil. I went into a music store to look around and, to my surprise, the two-storey building…
Kate Mulvaney’s Masquerade is a joyous, poignant adaptation of Kit Williams’ book for children. AAP/Nikki Short

Reaching for the sun: Masquerade at the Sydney Festival

The opening night of Masquerade at the Sydney Opera House last Friday attracted a rather higher number of under-12s than might usually be expected for Australia’s theatre demographic – and it was a delightful…
James Thierrée’s Tabac Rouge - a ghoulish dreamscape “choreodrama” at Sydney Festival. AAP/Paul Miller

Theatre of disarray: Tabac Rouge at the 2015 Sydney Festival

French circus performer and director James Thierrée famously eschews comparison with his grandfather Charlie Chaplin, to whom he bears a conspicuous resemblance. But as he and his troupe stood on stage…
The movie Selma takes King – best known to Americans as an orator – and turns him into an organizer. Wikimedia Commons

How the movie Selma made MLK human again

It’s been almost 60 years since Martin Luther King, Jr. became a household name during the 1955-1956 Montgomery Bus Boycott, and some may find it astonishing that, until the recent release of Selma, he’s…

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