Jane Austen: Private Eye

Sense & Spontaneity are a Perth-based duo of performers, Jess Messenger & Esther Longhurst,  who normally put on an absolutely splendid and highly enjoyable self-titled improv show set in the world of Jane Austen’s fictional realm. And this is said by someone who normally detests Austen’s fiction with the fury of a thousand exploding stars.
 

Jane Austen: Private Eye is their first scripted show, although I use “their” advisedly, since it is mainly the work of Jessica Messenger, who performs the entire show quite masterfully.  It tells the story of a murder mystery, which Jane Austen is perforce forced to solve.… Read the rest

A movie can blow things up spectacularly

Ewart Shaw reviews Mortal Engines

 

“…Othello: And O you mortal engines whose rude throats
Th’immortal Jove’s dread clamors counterfeit..”
— Othello, III.ii.352

 

Mortal Engines based on the book by Philip Reeve, produced by Peter Jackson, evidently flopped badly at the box office. A film with an excellent pedigree may end up losing squillions. I loved it. I want the DVD when it comes out.… Read the rest

Loveless

A look at a brilliantly bleak russian film Jennifer rates as one of the year’s best.

Apparently the title of this Russian film comes closer to ‘Non Love’ than ‘Loveless’. There is absolutely not one speck of love. The beginning is arrestingly bleak: slow shots of a snow-covered river bank with piercingly clashing splinters of music. When will we see some life?… Read the rest

Ladies in Black

Jennifer recalls Sydney in the 1960s

A Melbourne-dweller, I visited Sydney – a family holiday – in 1960. My mother had worked there during the war and she enjoyed showing us around. We went to Coogee Beach on a tram and ate lunch at a Repin’s Coffee Lounge. So, I remember the Sydney of 1959, depicted fondly by Bruce Beresford in his recently released film, Ladies in Black.… Read the rest

The Brutal Banality of Survival

The North Water by Ian McGuire
 

Do not read this book if you are squeamish about graphic descriptions of violence, blood, gore and truly horrible men. There are murders, betrayals, seal clubbing, whale slaughter and many other grisly activities, all described in vivid detail. The characters, all men, are violent, self seeking, venal and thoroughly obnoxious.

The story is about an army surgeon in the late 19th century who, down on his luck, joins an ill-fated whaler going into the arctic ice.

Read the rest

What is it, to be Human?

Dianne DeBellis Reviews season one of  Westworld

I think it is futile to attempt to summarise this show but here goes.
At the most basic level, it is about a theme park where the ‘hosts’ are computerised human simulacra and the ‘guests’ pay loads of money to act as they please, all be it in a Wild West setting, without consequences.… Read the rest

Watt: a gem

Roman was in Melbourne recently to catch one of the offerings at the Melbourne Arts Festival.

“Watt” was the second of Beckett’s novels in English, written while he and his partner were on the run from the Nazis in France. He wrote it as a way to stay sane in the face of the trauma of war.

This hour-long production, adapted and performed by Irish actor Barry McGovern, is a mesmeric delight.… Read the rest

Rampage (2018)

I’ve been playing video games since the Atari VCS first hit the market and watching movies for even longer. I still spend way too much time on both. However, the combination of the two has not proven to be quite as appealing as I might have hoped.

The problem is, (with a few significant exceptions), video games aren’t noted for providing great cinematic plots.Read the rest

Red Sparrow: the Book.

I thought I’d read the novel before seeing the film. (Red Sparrow is just the first novel in a trilogy)

This novel is by an ex CIA agent, so we would presume the spycraft is accurately described. There’s an interesting touch: whenever some dish is mentioned in the text, there’s a recipe at the end of the chapter, should the reader wish to try and replicate the dish.… Read the rest

Will the Sparrow fall?

Red Sparrow (2017)
Director Francis Lawrence
Starring Jennifer Lawrence

This may well be the best Hollywood propaganda film made since Hitchcock’s North By North-West during the First Cold War. It comes as no surprise then that it’s based on a 2013 novel by former CIA operative Jason Mathews. Spies never retire so they say, and as a writer Mathews would appear to vindicate this saying.… Read the rest

Salvation

Salvation, a US science fiction thriller TV series filmed in Canada, is a surprisingly enjoyable yet odd show. It starts with Liam Cole (played by Charlie Rowe), an MIT student who discovers an asteroid that is due to collide with the earth, creating an extinction-level event that will destroy all of humanity.… Read the rest

The Craft Sequence, II

Roman continues his look at Max Gladstone’s Craft sequence, looking at books four to six.

Forty years after the God Wars, Dresediel Lex bears the scars of liberation—especially in the Skittersill, a poor district still bound by the fallen gods’ decaying edicts. As long as the gods’ wards last, they strangle development; when they fail, demons will be loosed upon the city.… Read the rest

Going Solo

Set before Episode 4, this is a story of a young Han Solo: how he escaped poverty in a kid gang, deserted from the Navy, met Chewy and joined in a train heist. New actors play characters we’ve met later in their  lives, and they do an excellent job.


Read the rest

Taha

Written & Performed by Amer Hlehel

Adelaide Festival 2018

David Faber reviews the performance

TAHA is the triumphant but not triumphalist story of the Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali, refracted through the experience and artistry of Haifa based actor and dramatist Amer Hlehel. The performance we saw deservedly commanded several standing ovations and not a few tears of empathy and joy.Read the rest

Memorial By Alice Oswald

Starring Helen Morse ◼︎ Direction by Chris Drummond

A review by David Faber

Director Chris Drummond has dramatically realized upon the stage poet Alice Oswald’s compelling elegy to the fallen of the Iliad. The author has succeeded in interpreting the atmosphere of the epic, by stripping it of narrative detail.Read the rest

If You Can’t Be Good Be Careful

David Faber reviews an exhibition at a collective art space 

Kate Kurucz  If You Can’t Be Good Be Careful

9th March – 1st April 2018

Floating Goose Studios Gallery 271 Morphett St., Adelaide SA 5000

The Floating Goose Studios Inc is a cooperative enterprise of a number of emerging Adelaide artists. Works displayed are for sale at reasonable prices, if you have the necessary; visiting for a look is free.Read the rest