Melbourne theatre and musicals in July

From major musicals to Australian comedy legends – we've got you covered for on-stage highlights this month

Photograph: Supplied

There aren't a whole lot of musicals in Melbourne this month, but Malthouse and Melbourne Theatre Company are both very busy. Kath and Kim star Gina Riley is returning to the stage in MTC's production of Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husbandwhile the company has another major TV star, Lisa McCune, performing in Gloria, a new play from Pulitzer Prize nominee Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Malthouse has the Melbourne premiere of Nakkiah Lui's hilarious Blackie Blackie Brown and the stage version of Lars Von Trier's not-so-hilarious Melancholia.

Meanwhile, Puffs and The Wizard of Oz are still going strong and bringing in big crowds, and Mamma Mia! is just around the corner.

For circus fans, the Circus Oz big top is back in town for Precariousand there's a big treat for opera-lovers: the first Australian production of William Tell in over a century.

Recommended: How to get cheap theatre tickets in Melbourne.

Musicals

The Wizard of Oz

4 out of 5 stars

It’s well over a century since Dorothy first strolled down the yellow brick road in L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The story of the lost girl from Kansas and her unlikely companions has barely dulled in our collective imagination since then. 

Regent Theatre , Melbourne Until Sunday July 29 2018

Mamma Mia! The Musical

This new Australian production of the ABBA mega-musical stars Natalie O'Donnell as mother-of-the-bride Donna, and Sarah Morrison as Sophie. Alicia Gardiner (Offspring) is Donna's bestie Rosie, and Jayde Westaby (Dream Lover – The Bobby Darin Musical) plays Tanya. 

Princess Theatre , Melbourne Until Sunday September 30 2018
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Main stage and middle range theatre

An Ideal Husband

Recommended

Has there ever been a better time for a comedy about the hypocritical moralising of politicians, whose private lives don't quite measure up to what's going on behind the scenes? (We're not pointing a finger at anybody, Barnaby.)

Arts Centre Melbourne , Southbank Saturday July 21 2018 - Saturday August 18 2018
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Gloria

4 out of 5 stars
Recommended

Australia doesn’t really have an equivalent to The New Yorker, even if certain local literary journals would like to claim the space. From its inception in 1925, it’s prided itself on a very specific kind of cultural expression: erudite, liberal and impeccably informed. It’s a good description of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins play Gloria.

Southbank Theatre (Melbourne Theatre Company) , Southbank Until Saturday July 21 2018
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Melancholia

When Melbourne playwright Declan Greene first saw the 2011 film Melancholia by controversial Danish auteur Lars von Trier, he knew he had to bring it to the stage. “I walked out of the cinema knowing there was a version of it that’s definitely a play, particularly in the second act when the planet is approaching,” Greene says. 

Malthouse Theatre , Southbank Until Sunday August 12 2018

The Antipodes

Recommended

St Kilda-based Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre has been quietly working to bring leading American playwright Annie Baker’s plays to the Australian stage for a few years. After The Aliens (2011) and The Flick (2014), they’re now presenting the Australian premiere of her latest play, The Antipodes.

Red Stitch Actors Theatre , St Kilda Until Sunday August 12 2018
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Julius Caesar

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend us your ears: Bell Shakespeare is hoping to jolt us out of complacency with its new production of Julius Caesar. While the play mightn't be Shakespeare's most performed, it's certainly one of his stabbiest.

Arts Centre Melbourne , Southbank Until Wednesday July 25 2018

Independent theatre and/or less than $50

Preshistoric

Brisbane, Australia, 1979. Teenagers Deb, Nick, Pete and Rachel meet at a gig and decide to form their own punk band. Easy, right? Not quite. This play is based on first-hand stories of living and playing music under Queensland’s corrupt and violent Bjelke-Petersen government.

Meat Market , North Melbourne Until Friday July 27 2018

Contest

Playwright Emilie Collyer picked up plenty of accolades for her 2015 play, Dream Home, a surreal tale of the Australian Dream that quickly turned nightmarish. Now she’s back with Contest, which delves into the dog-eat-dog world of female competition in a suburban amateur netball team.

Northcote Town Hall , Northcote Wednesday July 25 2018 - Saturday August 4 2018
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Polygraph

Part metaphysical thriller, part murder mystery, questions of truth and deception are put on trial in this production by OpticNerve Performance Group, creators of 2016’s sold-out adaption of The Mill on the Floss.

Theatre Works , St Kilda Until Sunday July 29 2018

After something a little less dramatic?

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