News / Theatre & Performance

Time Out Melbourne's alternative Helpmann Awards

Merciless Gods 2017 Little Ones Theatre at Northcote Town Hall production still 01 feat Paul Blenheim and Charles Purcell photographer credit Sarah Walker
Photograph: Sarah Walker Paul Blenheim and Charles Purcell

Another year, another Helpmann Awards, the nation’s most prestigious prize-giving celebrating the year’s best live performances. Last week, the great and good of Australia’s arts scene came together to toast this year’s crop of winners. And while we’re not suggesting that any of that bright bunch were undeserving, it has to be said that the Helpmanns is not without its shortcomings.

A lack of comprehensive judging, a dearth of diversity amongst the nominees, and the dominance of major – and richly funded – productions, means some seriously accomplished work never gets a look in.

Until now that is. Following the lead of Time Out Melbourne’s esteemed colleagues in Sydney, we’ve compiled a list of local luminaries, along with a few alternative gongs, to plug the gaps in the Helpmanns existing categories. And the winners are…

Biggest Bragging Rights For Having Attended
24 Decade History Of Popular Music – Taylor Mac, Melbourne Festival

Best Hat
Jonathan HollowayThe Inauguration, Melbourne Festival

Most Inspiring Arts Leader
Liz Jones, La Mama Theatre

Breakout Artist Of The Year
Jean Tong – Romeo Is Not The Only Fruit, Hungry Ghosts

Most Shamelessly Multi-Talented Artist
Declan Greene – playwright, director, adaptor

Best Use Of Celine Dion’s Face
Discordia

Best Use Of Rob Mills
Puffs – Alex Theatre

Best Melbourne-Premiered Play
Merciless Gods (pictured above) – Dan Giovonnoni

Most Underrated Production
Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again., Malthouse Theatre

Best On Stage Romance
Alex Aldrich & Zoe Boesen, The Moors, Little Ones Theatre, Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre

Most Affecting Performance
Dion Williams – Brothers Wreck, Malthouse Theatre

Most Egg-cellent Comedy Show
Natalie Palamides – Laid

Most Talented Idiot-Savant
Sam Campbell

Best Use Of A Sarong
Joint Winner:
Anne Edmonds/Helen Bidou – Enter The Spinakker Lounge
Ash Flanders – Blackie Blackie Brown, Malthouse Theatre, Sydney Theatre Company

Most Innovative Cross-Over
Mama Alto – Only A Paper Moon, MoMA at NGV

Best Devised Work
Joan – The Rabble

Most expectation-busting use of child actors
Joint winner:
Lone – The Rabble
Book Of Exodus: parts 1 & 2 – Fraught Outfit

Best Coup De Theatre
Wild – MTC

Best Ensemble In A Play
Joint winner
Angels In America – fortyfivedownstairs
Merciless Gods – Little Ones Theatre

Best Programmed Season
Malthouse 2017 Season – Matt Lutton

Best (Unintentional) William Shatner Impression
Paulini – The Bodyguard

Best Use Of Orifices On Stage
Joint Winner
Wild Bore – Zoe Coombs Marr
Love & Anger – Betty Grumble

Best After Show Party Tucker
Australian Ballet

The Show Must Go On Award
Emily Tomlins – who dislocated shoulder during a performance of My Sister Feather at La Mama, and still completed the show.

The “It’s About Fucking Time” Award
Patricia Cornelius, MTC mainstage debut, The House Of Bernarda Alba

Need more theatre in your diet? Check out our hit-list of the best plays, musicals and opera in Melbourne this month. Or  head to a gallery for one of these killer exhibitions.

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