from the edi­tor

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Contents - Deb­o­rah Jones

NOT long ago The Aus­tralian ran a fun story not­ing the baring of flesh in Opera Aus­tralia’s new pro­duc­tion of La bo­heme and Syd­ney Theatre Com­pany and Malt­house’s Baal. In the Next Room, or the Vi­bra­tor Play got a men­tion too, but that one was re­ally, re­ally tame com­pared with Baal, where ac­tors re­peat­edly get their kit off (Syd­ney au­di­ences have un­til next Satur­day to catch it if they wish). This clus­ter is very likely a co­in­ci­dence rather than a trend, and one cer­tainly hopes so. Be­cause, par­tic­u­larly in the case of the Baal crew, one has to ask when bold di­rec­to­rial vi­sion turns into man­ner­ism. Baal was di­rected by the lav­ishly tal­ented Si­mon Stone, whose work I first en­coun­tered when he adapted Ib­sen’s Lit­tle Ey­olf into the com­pelling The Only Child. Much drama took place in a bath. Naked­ness was in­volved. Then I saw the bril­liant Thyestes, a con­tem­po­rary riff on the gory old le­gend. Nu­dity was in­volved. And now Baal. The thing is, nu­dity is quite mem­o­rable on stage. It is still, even in these seen-it-all times, a big ges­ture. So when the ges­ture is re­peated and re­peated, its force can be weak­ened. Ditto when Benedict An­drews gives us yet an­other vi­sion of a world dom­i­nated by in-your-face elec­tronic me­dia and-or sur­veil­lance cam­eras (his forth­com­ing Mar­riage of Fi­garo is set in a gated com­mu­nity, so it’s a fair bet CCTV will come into play). I liked Baal more than many friends did and have deep ad­mi­ra­tion for Stone and An­drews, but I am prob­a­bly not the only reg­u­lar the­atre­goer hop­ing to see not what they will do again, but what they will do next.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.