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My Brilliant Career

"it is hard to imagine anyone else inhabiting the role ..."

What the critics say: Nikki Shiels dominates the stage in Kendall Feaver's adaptation of Miles Franklin's novel.

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Category: Theatre
Company: Belvoir
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My Brilliant Career

Date: 14 Dec 2020

“Uniformly excellent” writes Kate Prendergast in Limelight, but she reserves special praise for the production’s star Nikki Shiels.

“Witnessing Shiels, it is hard to imagine anyone else inhabiting the role. A great mass of resolute life seethes around her – you can almost see it crackling in her wild, strawberry curls.”

The Sydney Morning Herald‘s John Shand notes that “Nikki Shiels’ Sybylla dominates the stage to the extent that she seems to be surrounded by phantoms rather than characters: line-delivering apparitions who don’t inhabit the same plane of flesh-and-blood existence.”

An “old-fashioned tale is rejuvenated by playwright Kendall Feaver, who manufactures engaging scenes for her stage version. Although frustratingly conservative in style and vision, it is nevertheless a compelling portrait of a radical young woman from our fabled past.,” writes Suzy Wrong in her review, adding that “Shiels … is adept at playing with irony, as she successfully bridges the many decades, between the original conception of the protagonist and our modern times, with a memorable sass and confidence.”

Feaver’s writing is as ambitious as Sybylla, writes Cassie Tongue in the Guardian, “with sparkling wit and steady emotional build. While the staging (designed by Robert Cousins) and direction (by Kate Champion) keep it all admirably minimal and mutable, you can’t help but wish for a little more richness onstage to support Feaver’s world-building.”

Julian Ramundi, writing for aureview, concludes: “The story washes over you with warmth and humour and within moments, you can’t help but fall in love with Sybylla’s grit and dogged determination in the face of it all.”

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