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Showing posts from December, 2017

My Favourite Theatre of 2017

I saw theatre in Melbourne, Sydney, Seattle and San Francisco this year. There was a superb line-up of work at the Malthouse Theatre and Theatre Works this year, as well as some tough comedy at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.
Here’s my list of highlights, not ranked except the first.

1. HAMILTON by Lin-Manuel Miranda (San Francisco, North American Tour)
I didn’t write a review of this show after I saw it in San Francisco in August because I wasn’t sure what else needed to be said about this astonishing musical about Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers. I knew the songs backward; I had even seen a bootleg video recording. Nothing could have prepared me for what I witnessed in that theatre. The direction is superb; the choreography enhances the lyrics and the story in surprising and moving ways.
The first North American tour cast was refreshingly different than the original cast, whose voices I knew so well from the cast recording. I am so used to seeing replica produc…

WE ARE LIGHTNING! - Arts House, North Melbourne

Welcome to the final night of the Town Hall, a live-music venue that’s about to be replaced by an apartment building or a hotel or some kind of progress that feels more like the loss of art and soul.
WE ARE LIGHTNING! was standing-room only at Arts House last night; the opening night of this new work by Joseph O’Farrell and Sam Halmarack. It’s a communal experience for the audience, as well as the many, many performers who help to celebrate the end of an era through a night of singing and dancing.
It’s a sad phenomenon that has infected many cities across the world; live music venues closed to accommodate burgeoning populations and to appease noise complaints. The show itself is a celebration of how live experience builds a community and the loss they feel when a pub, a club or a space closes down.
JOF and Sam welcome us to the final night, the bouncers scan us and stamp us as we’re ushered in and we stake out a place to watch a series of performers play and sing and rock out and prot…

Sydney: Theatre & Exhibitions

I was in Sydney last weekend for a few days to see theatre, catch up with friends, have a meeting and visit a couple of galleries.
Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium – Art Gallery of NSW
“Don’t miss the XYZ room,” said the woman at the ticket box. “It’s near the flowers.” “The XYZ room is near the flowers,” said the woman checking the tickets at the entrance.
In a world where we are given lots of warnings for films and theatre and exhibitions, as cautions to avoid things, it was refreshing to be encouraged to look at Mapplethorpe’s most challenging works. 
On the other hand, isn’t that what people visiting a Mapplethorpe exhibition are looking for? Do people go for his work with flowers?
Some of Mapplethorpe’s imagery is iconic, most of it is beautiful and very little of this exhibition was confronting; but the XYZ room was still kept off to the side, housing works from three compendiums of Mapplethorpe’s interests – erotica, flowers and black men.
There was also a selection of hi…