Peter Craven
is a literary and culture critic.

By this author


Culture June 01, 2019

Actress Kat Stewart’s realms of possibility

Although Kat Stewart is well known for playing dark, in-your-face characters, her life experience has led her to a greater appreciation of hope and contentment. Her latest stage role is in Melbourne Theatre Company’s Heisenberg. “The idea I really love is that we spend all this energy trying to control our lives and take comfort in that … but we have very, very, very little control and what this play confronts you with is: What if that is not a bad thing?”

Culture May 18, 2019

Malthouse Theatre’s Cloudstreet

Although the Malthouse Theatre’s production of Cloudstreet is flawed, its failings cannot overshadow the fundamental power of Tim Winton’s novel.

Culture April 06, 2019

Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical

With the transformation of Muriel’s Wedding for the stage, some of the film’s winsome ugly-duckling charm has been lost, and along with it the story’s emotional reality.

Culture March 09, 2019

Ellen Burstyn variations

Ellen Burstyn, in Melbourne to star onstage in 33 Variations, has a film career spanning six decades and including such cinematic touchstones as The Exorcist and The Last Picture Show. She talks tabout Beethoven, spirituality and recruiting Scorsese to direct her in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. “I asked that he be the director. He had already made Mean Streets, but it hadn’t been released and he was deeply grateful that I wanted him. This doesn’t mean that I gave him his start. And there was no stopping him, anyway – he would have got there in any case. But, you know, there was never any sense with Marty of working with a monster, with a master in the nasty sense. He’s marvellous, he’s an original. He’s smart and fiery and rough and excitable and alive.”

Culture March 02, 2019

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child succeeds in furthering J. K. Rowling’s remarkable canon, with a greater dramatic thrust than the films but all the heart of the books that seduced young and old alike.

Culture February 09, 2019

Antony and Cleopatra

The National Theatre’s modern, militarised take on Antony and Cleopatra – ‘the greatest of Shakespeare’s history plays’ – offers a flat production but fine performances from Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo.

Theatre December 08, 2018

MTC’s Twelfth Night

Simon Phillips’ MTC production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night may lack a little of the comedy’s melancholy, but in Tamsin Carroll and Richard Piper it has performances as good as seen anywhere.

Theatre November 09, 2018

Astroman and Krapp’s Last Tape

MTC’s childish ’80s romp Astroman – unsuccessfully transplanted from New Zealand to Geelong – is unlikely to appeal even to schoolkids, but more adult audiences will revel in Max Gillies’ masterful turn in Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape.

Theatre October 13, 2018

Barry McGovern’s Watt

Barry McGovern’s one-man adaptation of Samuel Beckett’s novel Watt is a masterpiece of poignant, pratfalling absurdity

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