Seeing the 2017 programs for Dance Massive, Midsumma, Arts House, Malthouse Theatre, The Butterfly Club and Theatreworks (just to name a few), there is something in store for everyone no matter what your interests so get on it!
I know it's going to be another busy year for me and I cannot wait, but back to 2016 and my top ten shows of the year. If I originally reviewed the show then a link to the original review is also provided.
So, without further ado, here is my list:
|Picnic At Hanging Rock Photo Credit: Pia Johnson|
Lutton perfectly captures the repressed sexuality of these private schoolgirls and the harsh landscape in which these people attempt to own and control.
The ensemble (Elizabeth Nabben, Amber McMahon, Arielle Gray, Harriet Gordon-Anderson and Nikki Shiels) are flawless in their various roles, constantly switching between characters - covering both genders and a range of ages - in the blink of an eye.
A thoughtful and inspiring set design by Zoë Atkinson - particularly the ominous 'tree' hanging over the rest of the set in the shadows - together with Paul Jackson's lighting design, Ash Gibson Greig's composition and J. David Franzk's sound design made Picnic At Hanging Rock an unforgettable example of creating horror in theatre.
Full subscription to Malthouse Theatre's incredible 2017 season has already been purchased and can't wait to see what's to come.
|Jane Montgomery Griffiths. Photo Credit: Lachlan Woods|
She perfectly captures the tone of the play and the gamut of emotions that Vivian Bearing experiences, as she accepts and succumbs to the cancer ravaging her body.
Moving and powerful theatre doesn't come much better than The Artisan Collective's production of Wit.
3. Mother's Ruin: A Cabaret About Gin
|Maeve Marsden and Libby Wood. Photo Credit: Patrick Boland|
The pair have a knack for getting audience on-side and the rapport they share on stage is genuine and fun to watch as they share the history of gin in creative and engaging ways.
They variety of songs the cover, re-written to link to important moments in gin consumption, are inventive, daring and full of flair. Marsden’s performance of Martha Wainwright’s “Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole” is possibly the best song I have seen performed in a cabaret and I wish I could hear it again (hint hint ladies).
4. Kinky Boots
|Callum Francis with ensemble. Photo credit: Matthew Murphy|
The performances by Toby Francis and Callum Francis (particularly the latter as Lola) are committed and are fortunate enough to sing some great numbers penned by Cyndi Lauper. The choreography is also brilliant, especially the pieces involving Lola and her friends.
While the musical numbers are often loud with lots of sparkles and glitter, there is still a heart to the story for both the characters and while we may have seen these stories before, Kinky Boots find its own unique and extremely fun way of telling it. Will definitely be getting to this one a second time before it closes - especially now that I know the words to the entire soundtrack.
|cast of Matilda|
The child actors are all great to watch on stage and while I have always questioned why a male is required to play Miss Trunchbull, James Millar delivers a horrifyingly beautiful performance of said monster.
Tim Minchin's lyrics are inspiring, particularly "School Song", which has some brilliant choreography and accompanying set design, and "When I Grow Up", which had me on the verge of nostalgic tears.
Now I just need Minchin to create a The Witches musical and I will be a very very happy man.
6. The Dark Chorus
It was a hauntingly hypnotic dance piece and I eagerly look forward to what Guerin comes back with to Dance Massive next year.
|BOYZ Photo Credit: Chris Curran and Paul Malek|
While the various experiences shared on stage - as the boys transition into manhood - can potentially cause harm and tragedy, they can also be viewed as an opportunity for growth and self-discovery.
Malek has created a highly thoughtful piece looking at sexuality, individuality and finding a peace within oneself.
The story is inspired by the death of gay man Scott Johnson in 1988, when his body was found at the bottom of a cliff at Manly. Deemed a suicide, there has always been speculation that he was a victim of a gay hate-crime.
In this instance, Ben Noble - in a staggeringly brilliant performance - plays Corey, a typical Aussie bloke who explains to us the moments leading up to where we are now: him sitting inside a hospital room with his son lying unconscious, seemingly fighting for his life.
There are some disturbing moments recalled by Corey, and through Noble's convincing characterisation and delivery of dialogue, it is impossible to not begin visualising what is being described. You see the fear in the eyes of the victims with every insult slurred, you hear the moment when foot connects with rib and you can almost feel the blood splatter from every strike to the face.
It's uncomfortable theatre but extremely necessary theatre. Still hoping that after its sold out season, Member gets a second breath of life in the near future.
|Trilogy Photo Credit: Bryony Jackson|
The work is divided into three parts: part one looks at how women's bodies are presented in the public eye, part two provides a historical context of feminism, and the final part is a call to arms from Green for women to reclaim their bodies and create their own "herstory".
There was nothing more powerful during the performance than having a large number of women - all members of the public from various backgrounds, ages and body types - nude on stage, singing loudly and proudly to William Blake's "Jerusalem", the official song of the suffragette movement.
Green encouraged all women to "start your own fucking movement" and if this show hasn't set those wheels in motion, not quite sure what will.
And just because rules were made to be broken, here are the shows that were pipped at the post:
11. Titanic the Musical - review
12. The Literati
13. The Late Night Sexy Show - review
14. Notorious Strumpet and Dangerous Girl - review
15. Terror Australis - review
If you're still reading, have a look at my top 10 shows of 2015