The perpetual warfare of the Middle East inspires MTC's new Macbeth
When Simon Phillips tackled Richard III for Melbourne Theatre Company, in 2010, he was inspired by George Bush; when he took on Julius Caesar, in the ’90s, it was Thatcher’s Britain. So one shudders to think of what might inspire him to stage Shakespeare’s most brutal and bloody tragedy, Macbeth. As it happens, his Macbeth has nothing to do with contemporary America and its preposterous President. “It’s ludicrous to say that America today is like Macbeth’s Scotland,” Phillips demurs. “[America] is fucked, but it isn’t that.” Instead, Phillips turned his attention to the perpetual battlefield of the Middle East for inspiration. “I saw a fantastic photograph early on when I was conceiving this, of a whole force of army trucks and soldiers on the ground with guns – all red – and this woman, swathed in black, stopping and talking to them. It was such a potent image, somehow.” It led him to a conception of the ‘weird sisters’ as people “who are disenfranchised, un-homed. I wanted them to be against the established order, a force for chaos.” Director Simon Phillips (centre) in the rehearsal room for Macbeth Photograph: Deryk McAlpin A world of endless warfare, of a bloodlust that can never be sated, does brilliantly describe Macbeth’s Scotland, and when it came to casting the brutish Thane, Phillips wanted someone who could convincingly play a soldier. Enter Hollywood heartthrob Jai Courtney: “Have you met him? He’s massive. He’s over six foot, built like a brick
Mamma Mia! is coming to Melbourne
We knew it was coming, but the full tour details for ABBA jukebox Mamma Mia! have just been announced by producers Michael Coppel, Louise Withers & Linda Bewick – and yes, you'll have to head to Canberra this November if you want to see the premiere. Melbourne will have to wait until July 2018, when it opens at the Princess Theatre. The new Australian production will star Natalie O'Donnell (who sung lead in indie show Next to Normal at the Hayes in 2015) as mother-of-the-bride Donna, and Sarah Morrison (who was superb in the lead role of precocious teenager Lesley/Lisa in Ladies in Black) will star as Sophie. Alicia Gardiner (Offspring) will play Donna's bestie Rosie, and Jayde Westaby (Dream Lover – The Bobby Darin Musical) will play Tanya. The three potential fathers will be played by Ian Stenlake, Philip Lowe (currently starring in Big Fish at the Hayes) and Josef Ber (Savages). Stephen Mahy (Jersey Boys) will play Sophie's fiancé, Sky. Gary Young (Georgy Girl) will direct. Mamma Mia! last had an outing in Australia in 2009, and before that in 2001 (where Natalie O'Donnell played Sophie, and Alicia Gardiner played Ali). On sale dates for the Melbourne season are yet to be announced, but you can jump on the waitlist here. Check out our hit list of current and upcoming musical theatre in Melbourne.
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Five hidden secrets of Victoria Harbour
Melburnians like to think we know everything about the city in which we live. We know where to find the cheapest coffee or the best dumplings in the city, but there are certain things that even a life-long Melburnian may not have an index of knowledge about. Case in point: Victoria Harbour. Victoria Harbour is a precinct of Docklands, located where Collins and Bourke streets meet beside the picturesque harbour. With its direct connection to the CBD via Collins Street, Vic Harbour is a mix of residential, office, retail and community spaces. It’s ready to be explored, so hop on the tram and make a day of it. Find out even more about Victoria Harbour on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Here's what happened at Little Creatures Live at GABS Beer Cider and Food Fest
What do jugglers, can-can dancers and drummers have in common? They all wowed crowds at GABS Beer, Cider and Food Fest in Melbourne last weekend (May 19-21), thanks to a certain West Australian brewery who are known for being more than a little bit quirky. Last week, Little Creatures took their travelling roadshow series to Collingwood pub the Gem. This time, they went from cosy pub to the big stage, setting up a huge pop-up beer and performance space at one of the largest beer festivals in the southern hemisphere. It was hard to miss the red and white-striped umbrellas, Kombi van, and elevated stage smack bang in the middle of the Royal Exhibition Building. Thirsty beer-lovers gravitated to the bar, where friendly Little Creatures brewers served up six of Creatures’ tasty beers, including a Festoon White IPA brewed specially for GABS, as well as the winter seasonal Fire Falcon Hoppy Red and their new single batch Dreadnought Foreign Extra Stout. (Praise be to whoever invented tasting paddles!). Suddenly, all eyes rose to the stage on top of the bar. A team of marching band-style drummers erupted into a thunderous performance, lighting a fire under beer-lovers in even the farthest corner of the room. Throughout the day and night, performers seemed to suddenly appear on the stage, each one completely different from the last. Minds were blown when a team of acrobats lifted each other in increasingly difficult positions, and when a bevvy of colourful can-can dancers whipp
Blanc de Blanc
After sizzling hot runs in Sydney, London and Adelaide, Blanc de Blanc is finally making its way to Melbourne for a season of Champagne-fuelled cabaret. The evening of adults-only circus, dance, acrobatics and other antics will be heating up the Spiegeltent at Map 57, a brand new arts precinct in St Kilda. This winter cast of quirky performers – comedians, models, show girls, singers, contortionists and aerial artists – will turn the night into a mad romp that begins in a sophisticated Parisian cabaret venue and slowly transforms into a crazed nightclub party. Expect bubbles, burlesque, balloons, sequins and tops off, for a hands down good time. "If Baz Luhrmann made a nightclub it'd be like this" – Time Out Sydney Find out more about Blanc de Blanc.
Lunch like Van Gogh at No35
Taking inspiration from the National Gallery of Victoria’s latest exhibition Van Gogh and the Seasons, this gastronomical adventure will see you getting creative with your lunch at Sofitel Melbourne on Collins' No35 restaurant. Sofitel’s executive chef John Savage has prepared a menu that is equal parts creative and delectable. On arrival you'll receive three tubes of edible 'paint' sauces. The amuse-bouche will transform into an artistic endeavour, in which you can make your very own edible work of art on housemade bread. To follow, you'll enjoy French dishes such as warm egg salad Lyonnaise; beef bourguignon with braised beef, potato purée, sautéed mushrooms and red wine sauce; followed by crème caramel with Cognac-soaked raisins. So whether you're a Van Gogh fan, a creative foodie or just looking for a sensory food adventure the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins has a lunch you'll want to try. Bookings are essential. Find out more about Lunch like Van Gogh at Sofitel on Collins' No35.