Wednesday, January 22, 2014

yearly melbourne roundup - theatre

I saw 35 productions, down on last years 37, up from 24 in 2011. I would have beaten last year if I hadn't had gotten the most vile flu during Arts Festival that left me unable to walk for three days.

In date order:

Psycho Beach Party - Little Ones Theatre
Finucane and Smiths Caravan
Intermission - Matthew Day
Monster body - Atlanta Eke
Conversation Piece - Lucy Guerin
Penelope - Red Stitch
Body Poet - Sabrina D'angelo
I Know There's A Lot of Noise Outside But You Have To Close Your Eyes - I’m Trying To Kiss You
How I Learned to Drive - Mockingbird Theatre
Dance of Death - Malthouse
Menagerie - Daniel Schlusser Ensemble
Flower Children - Comedy Theatre
On The Bodily Education of Young Girls - Fraught Outfit
The Story of O - The Rabble
The Dragon - The Malthouse
Lord of the Flies - US-A_UM
Finucane and Smiths Glory Box
Persona - The Malthouse (Adena Jacobs)
The Sovereign Wife - Sisters Grimm
This Is Beautiful - The Public Studio
Dons Party Remix - The First Tuesday Club
The Crucible - MTC
The Bloody Chamber - the malthouse
Night Maybe - Stuck Pigs Squealing
The Cherry Orchard - MTC
Salome - Little Ones Theatre
Knee Deep - Brisbane Fest
Psycho Beach Party - Little Ones Theatre
The Beast - MTC
In Spite of Myself - Sans Hotel
Brief Encounter - Knee High Theatre
A Small Prometheus - Stephanie Lake/Robin Fox
Life and Times Episode 1 - Nature Theater of Oklahoma
Room of Regret - The Rabble
Super Discount - Back 2 Back Theatre
Arden v Arden - Hayloft

The Best

1. The Story of O - The Rabble

The Story of O by The Rabble was the first thing since I hard wired my sexual politics and beliefs to truly challenge them. It kicked me in my pseudo liberal face. So powerful. But it was really hard going. But that's the point. Having my background and feeling so deconstructed by it I can't even begin to imagine how others felt. Probably just disgusted with The Rabble as opposed to themselves. 

At the performance we attended people stood up in the audience and YELLED at the actors before storming out. Incredible. A million bonus points for leading the traumatised audience into a dance party to Blurred Lines as they exited the theatre. The queer theatre scene, that is getting the kudos it deserves, makes ever leaving here impossible.
2.  Flower Children - Comedy Theatre*

Musical fag reporting. It was unlikely that I was ever going to not LOVE this. But it was so much more than that. I'm also a sucker for harmonies and fat chicks so I think this musical had it all for me. But honestly the singing was extraordinary. The set looked pretty dodgy though, the performers were teetering all over it. I can't speak highly enough of this production. In a year where I saw A LOT of mind blowing theatre for this to get second spot really tells you all  you need to know. Homegrown/written and produced as well. Aussie aussie aussie.

3. The Sovereign Wife - Sisters Grimm

Any year the Sisters do a production its going to be in my top 5. Simple. But their ode to the BIG THEATRE of MTC and other gargantuan, disgusting, culturally devoid arts institutions was an acid attack to the face of Melbourne. Both psychedelically and chemically. Riffing on AUSTRALIA, Robin Nevin, did I detect a bit of BALIBO in there too?!?! Bush doofs, our Nicole... running at the appropriate 3 hours long The Sisters stepped up to and shat all over their MTC commission like the upstanding citizens they are. Thank fucking god. THANK GOD FOR YOU DECLAN AND ASH YOU MAKE THE ARTS BEARABLE.

4. On The Bodily Education of Young Girls - Fraught Outfit 

On the other end of the spectrum was my first show directed by Adena Jacobs. Stunning. 

5. Night Maybe - Stuck Pigs Squealing

This was a real find for me. I can't remember how I ended up there I'm so glad I did. This was a gem I would never have found. The set design was the best of the year. Atmospherically lulling you to sleep.. like a fist full of barbituates rocking you gently to the edge of the waters of the universe. The text/dramaturgy wasn't fully baked.. but it didn't mater... it got you... washed you away... 


There's so much more I could write but I can't be bothered. I have to say I saw A LOT of dance this year (well a lot for me) and it was all awesome. I feel like I'm beginning to understand it as a practice. It's also worth saying that 3 of my top 5 were MTC Neon commissions. If you're looking to experience independent theatre (or just any) this year I would highly recommend getting subscriptions to Neon and Helium (The Malthouse).

Did you see much theatre you liked this year? I'd love to hear about it.

*couldn't find the production company

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