October 2011

Arts & Letters

Stand-up comedy masterpiece

By Tim Ferguson
Justin Hamilton - ‘Circular’, 2011

Justin Hamilton is the stand-up comedian of the decade. His latest one-man show Circular is the masterpiece towards which this most dynamic and daring comedian has been building since beginning his stand-up career in 1994. Of all his work, Circular takes the biggest risks, and the gags are hilarious.

Receiving a message on his phone from an unknown number, Justin hears a voice he doesn’t recognise tell him that a friend he’s never heard of is dead. To solve the mystery, Justin goes to the funeral. He finds that everyone he meets has mistaken him for someone else. The show’s theme regards connection versus dislocation; despite our ability to communicate with anyone anywhere anytime, we’re each struggling to project a unique identity. In every story Hamilton tells, people are being mistaken for someone else. Their confusion turns to terror.

Hamilton’s shows eschew traditional structures and standard subject matter. His work consistently challenges his audiences, asking important questions about history, truth, death and identity. It reveals a razor-sharp intellect and fearless questing heart. His humour is dangerous, offering perspectives that can be frightening in scope and intent. He may well be Australia’s own Bill Hicks.

Tim Ferguson

Cover: October 2011

October 2011

From the front page

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The looming training overhaul will need to be watched closely

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Richard Ford delivers an elegant collection of stories of timeworn men and women contemplating the end

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The former PM’s memoir fails to reckon with his fatal belief that all Australians shared his vision

Child's illustration

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In This Issue

Scene from 'The Theft of Sita'. Image courtesy of Melbourne Festival.

Music theatre masterpiece

An Australian–Indonesian production - ‘The Theft of Sita’, 2000

Words: Shane Maloney | Illustration: Chris Grosz

Robert Helpmann & Anna Pavlova

Theatre masterpiece

Tom Wright & Benedict Andrews - ‘The War of the Roses’, 2009

The incendiary Meow Meow, 2011. © Magnus Hastings

Queen of the night

Meeting Meow Meow


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Melbourne-born, New York–based filmmaker Kitty Green’s powerfully underplayed portrait of Hollywood’s abusive culture

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Jennifer Maiden - ‘Friendly Fire’, 2005

© Sergio Dionisio/Getty Images

Design masterpiece

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Fiction masterpiece

JM Coetzee - ‘Summertime’, 2009

© Chris Harvey

Architecture masterpiece

Lindsay & Kerry Clare - ‘Gallery of Modern Art’, Queensland, 2006


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