Most popular reviews in 2021


Once again, it’s this time of year that we look back at the ArtsHub (and its sister publication, ScreenHub) reviews that caused the most noise, controversy or adulation in 2021. Although COVID-19-related disruptions have been frequent and have affected many states across the country. in terms of creativity, audience or touring logistics, artists from all sectors are winning somehow. So here are the most popular reviews of 2021:


Hamilton, Sydney Lyric Theater

This big, catchy musical production has become a popular cultural sensation. Despite being considered “critically proof,” our National Performing Arts Editor-in-Chief, Richard Watts, had a few negative thoughts:

“In an Australian context in particular, this lyrical celebration of the legendary Founding Fathers and the myth of American exceptionalism can at times seem a little serious, if not squeaky.”

boy swallows the universe, Playhouse Theater, QPAC

It was no surprise that a stage show based on Trent Dalton’s hugely successful novel received a lot of attention and boy swallows the universe indeed impressed the spectators. Suzannah Conway said: “Perhaps the best way to sum up this production is to emulate Brian Robertson’s demand for Eli to tell his story in three words. These become, of course,” Boy Swallows Universe. ”For this writer, it might just be a“ critical praise game. ”

Joe Klocek as Eli and Tom Yaxley as August in Boy Swallows Universe. Photo by David Kelly


GNV Triennial, GNV International, Melbourne

An extremely ambitious undertaking, there was really something for everyone in this exhibition which featured almost 90 projects from 30 countries at all levels of the gallery.

Mem Capp said:

A wonderful and immersive experience, the Triennale takes visitors on a long and devious journey through time and space.

Botticelli to Van Gogh, National Gallery of Australia

The art of European masters will always be a safe and enjoyable curatorial choice for the public and this visit was sure to impress, especially since this was Australia’s first major international exhibition. since the beginning of the border closure.

Erin Stewart said: “One of the striking elements of this exhibition is the feeling that as you move chronologically through the paintings, the artistic vision becomes more and more central, the content becomes more diverse and humanist”


Dissolve, Nikki Gemmel

A personal reflection on finding your own voice as a writer, this memoir will resonate with women who want a piece of their own in a man’s world.

Our reviewer Nanci Nott said:

Reading this memoir is like therapy for the soul. It is an anti-love story, told with compassion and without meanness. Healthy doses of sadness and anger are inherent in the narrative, as they should be. After all, the only thing more powerful than the heady pull of love, or the tragedy of grief, is the powerful pull of self-healing.

Apples never fall, Liane Moriarty

Author of eight best-selling books, there is no doubt that Liane Moriarty’s latest novel would arouse the interest of her thousands of fans. The relativity of her characters and the bourgeois environment on which she writes have been a winning formula.

That’s what I said : ‘Apples never fall is a classic Moriarty tale about the discontent and disillusionment of the suburbs (in Sydney). But against this dysfunction, bursts of hope are also allowed to shine through. There would be little surprise if a celluloid adaptation followed suit.

Liane Moriarty returns with her winning formula in her ninth book.


The books that made us

Even the alluring Claudia Karvan as the host wasn’t quite enough to lift the first installment of this three-part ABC series about how various books have shaped Australian identity beyond superficial treatment. and superficial.

George Dunford, Director of Content at ArtsHub, said:

The books that made us wants to be reductive, to simplify us into an easy multiculturalism that could be comfortably accepted in a downtown middle class reading group. Our books deserve more than a polite agreement.


An ABC series by sisters Kitty and Penny Flanagan, Fisk is a comedy about a contract lawyer trying to save her career and explores a range of issues, including sexism and ageism in the workplace.

ScreenHub reviewer Anthony Morris said: “Australian television definitely needs more series like Fisk. If we see a smarter, funnier local sitcom this year, it’s been a really great year.


Occupation: Rain

For those who love movies with explosions and intergalactic combat with aliens, you have come to the right place.

Anthony Morris loved it:

With big-budget blockbusters currently rare on our big screens, producers couldn’t have found a better time to release this epic celebration of the power of the things that explode.

Fast & Furious 9

Who can believe this franchise has hit nine iterations now? But if you’ve watched the previous ones, you’ll know what to expect: ridiculous storylines and high-action melodrama.

Anthony Morris said: “The silly gadgets remain (magnet fans will love the final hour of this movie) and the stakes and the cars are always larger than life. But for the first time in a long time, the human side of things is taken into account enough that everything is at least a little more grounded.


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