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 Husband, while 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.
Recommended: How to get cheap theatre tickets in Melbourne.
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.
Main stage and middle range theatre
Is there anything Nakkiah Lui can’t do? Now she’s taken the superhero genre – and melded it with the tropes of revenge thrillers and blaxploitation flicks – for a play posing difficult questions about how black and white Australia can move forward.
A world of wonder and whimsy, where ordinary children are gifted extraordinary powers and sent to a fantastical school where they can master all manner of mystical talents. Yes, the universe of Harry Potter truly is a magical place. Unless you spend just a few seconds really thinking about it.
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.
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.
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.
Independent theatre and/or less than $50
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.
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.