THEATRE REVIEW: THE CLIMBING TREE

  When you’re a teenager you often feel like the world is against you. You’re too mature to be a child but not yet independent enough to be an adult. This is often a period associated with angst and growing pains. The Climbing Tree examines these existential problems while framing them around a nation’s past and the…

LIVE REVIEW: NEW WORLDS FEATURING BILL MURRAY, JAN VOGLER & FRIENDS

  Bill Murray and Jan Vogler could be the odd couple except that that name was already taken. Okay, “odd” is probably too strong a word. An unlikely pairing seems more appropriate because Murray is a Hollywood actor, comedian and occasional bartender, and Vogler a world-renown cellist. New Worlds saw both men making their Sydney Opera House debuts and this…

THEATRE REVIEW: MADIBA

  History is a complex beast and this is certainly apparent in Madiba. This musical weaves together the late Nelson Mandela’s story and the history of South Africa’s apartheid. The show is ambitious and tries to cover a lot in its two-hour runtime. This is a celebration of the long road to freedom for Mandela and his followers, in…

BOOK REVIEW: SANDER L. GILMAN – STAND UP STRAIGHT! A HISTORY OF POSTURE

  Sander L. Gilman has become an authority on the human body. The professor has written and edited over 90 books, including ones that examined our attitudes towards obesity and cosmetic surgery. Stand Up Straight! A History of Posture does what it says on the tin and covers elements of anthropology, medicine, theology and culture. It is…

FILM REVIEW: LADIES IN BLACK

Ladies in Black could have been named “Shopgirl”, but that title was already taken. The film, set over the summer of 1959 in a Department store like David Jones, is a gentle story about some Australian women who are standing on the precipice of change; but often feels like the entrée before the main. This film…

FILM REVIEW: THE INSULT (L’INSULTE)

  Ziad Doueiri’s Oscar nominated film, The Insult (L’insulte) could be called Pride & Prejudice. This isn’t because this Lebanese drama has anything to do with Jane Austen. Rather, it is because this film is all about how one minor conflict between two men escalates because of a combination of hubris and hatred. It seems that even in a modern…

BOOK REVIEW: MICHAEL ATHERTON – A COVETED POSSESSION

  A Coveted Possession documents the popularity of the piano in Australia. Once a treasured member of the household, the piano fell out of favour once people became switched on to the likes of radio and television. Michael Atherton’s highly readable and intriguing book explores the rich cultural history behind this, at times, beloved instrument. Atherton, a professor,…

BOOK REVIEW: KATRINA LAWRENCE – PARIS DREAMING

  Some people dream of New York. Others find London calling. For Australian beauty editor and journalist Katrina Lawrence, Paris is all that, as she writes in a book that is part memoir, travelogue, beauty manifesto and history lesson. The result, Paris Dreaming, is a good idea in theory but it’s one that overreaches in terms…

BOOK REVIEW: SHELLEY DAVIDOW – SHADOW SISTERS

  Shelley Davidow is an author and academic who grew up in South Africa during the apartheid era. Davidow is white, and looking back she knows that during her formative years she experienced privilege and certain allowances due to her skin colour. This theme of race relations and how one family negotiated this oppressive arrangement is…

BOOK REVIEW: DAVID CRYSTAL – SOUNDS APPEALING

  When you stop and think about pronunciation it’s very easy to break into a verse of “You sing potato and I sing potahto.” The academic, linguist, author and broadcaster, David Crystal certainly appreciates this. He has after all released the informative and scholarly guide: Sounds Appealing: The Passionate Story of English Pronunciation. Over the years Crystal has…