My Favourite Theatre of 2019

The cast of A View from the Bridge
at the Melbourne Theatre Company

This year I saw some amazing theatre in Melbourne, as always, and I was lucky enough to visit London for the first time, where I saw some wonderful West End theatre and some really inventive off-West End and independent theatre.

The thing about the theatre in London is that is really seems to be working toward the ideal of diverse casting, even if behind-the-scenes (writers, directors) are still male-dominated. And it’s not just in reinventions of shows like Death of a Salesman, which was a mostly black cast; a lot of shows I saw there were female-focused with racially diverse casts.

That said, I did see a show that was ostensibly about race, which was all white.

I saw some shows again this year, which were as great as when I originally saw them, but they have been on previous year-end lists, so sorry to Hamilton, Muriel’s Wedding and Cock – you’re not on my list again this year.

The lists are in alphabetical order and links in titles to review where available.


Gillian Anderson in All About Eve on the West End

All About Eve – West End

Gillian Anderson and Lily James. Directed by Ivo Van Hove. A stunning adaptation of the film.

This rock show about pain and anger was superb. Elaine Crombie and Ursula Lovich were incredible.

Black is the New White – Melbourne Theatre Company

This play is so smart, playing on so many levels, that I was in awe of it from start to glorious finish.

Keziah Warner’s fantastic script under Julian Meyrick’s subtle direction with that cast. Stunning.

Death of a Salesman – Young Vic, London

A majority black ensemble with a production that made it feel like Arthur Miller wrote it for this cast. A revelation.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Melbourne

I never found the words to write about this epic experience, but I loved this production so much. The fact it’s actually about something (trying to overcome the past) and it wasn’t just a spectacle was very, very pleasing.

I called this “a collaboration for the ages” with The Rabble creating one of their best shows from Alison Croggon’s stunning text.

SIX – West End

Sure, it’s Henry VIII’s six wives singing to prove which one he loved the most, but it’s also an epic concert and an ode to re-writing history with the truth. Go see it when it tours Australia next year.

A bold, frank, transgressive satire that still shakes me every time I think about it.

A View from the Bridge – Melbourne Theatre Company

Sometimes I see a production of a play that is so perfect, I don’t think I will ever need to see it again. This is one of those.


Emily Goddard in Australian Realness

A very Zoey Dawson play about how the theatre that affirms our beliefs is more dangerous than the kind that challenges us. Incredible cast.

Cloudstreet – Malthouse Theatre

Classic Australian novel has been on stage before, but I missed that legendary production. Matt Lutton’s take was suitably vast with a stunning cast and a heartbreaker of an ending.

How can you not love a musical that is so life-affirming, set on a day that was one of humanity’s darkest?

The pain of puberty and the pain of dance; an insightful script with passionate direction from Maude Davey.

Christopher Bryant’s almost-musical ode to being a millennial, being online – and the fraught nature of that combination. Is the internet good for us? Fuck yes and hell no.

Emilia – West End

A wildly diverse cast brings the story of Emilia, a muse of Shakespeare and a writer in her own right, to the stage in a thrilling piece of feminist theatre, nurtured at The Globe and taken to the West End. Burn the patriarchy to the ground and start again.

Andi Snelling’s very personal show about her own invisible illness that opens up a discussion disability and the arts. Beautifully theatrical.

Grimy, distasteful and repulsive – but I could not look away. Gary Abraham’s visceral, energetic production with a faultless cast.

Monologues for butches, transmen and gender rebels, this was both comforting and eye-opening and yet another strong argument for representation on stage: show me the stories of people I have rarely or never seen on stage.

A truly hilarious satire with a very sharp script. Alberto di Troia is a writer to watch out for.


Mr Burns: A Post-Electric Play – Fortyfive Downstairs,
Thigh Gap – La Mama,

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