Best things to do in Melbourne in February
At long last Melbourne muggles will be able to get a glimpse inside JK Rowling's Wizarding World with their own two eyes: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is now on at Princess Theatre. After becoming the highest selling play on both Broadway and the West End, Melbourne is the third stop on the Hogwarts Express. The official opening is set for February 23, 2019, but there'll be preview performances from January 18. If you don't know a lot about the play, then here's the lowdown: it's a sequel to the series, based on a story conceived with Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. It's presented in two parts, which you can watch on the same day or across two consecutive evenings. We won't give too much away about the plot, but audiences can expect to find the gang 19 years on from the Battle of Hogwarts. The play won a record-breaking nine Olivier Awards in London and six Tony Awards in New York. It's also received rave reviews from just about every major publication in both cities.
Set in early-1970s Harlem, If Beale Street Could Talk is a timeless and moving love story of both a couple's unbreakable bond and the African-American family's empowering embrace, as told through the eyes of 19-year old Tish Rivers (screen newcomer KiKi Layne). A daughter and wife-to-be, Tish vividly recalls the passion, respect and trust that have connected her and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt, who goes by the nickname Fonny (Stephan James). Friends since childhood, the devoted couple dream of a future together but their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit.
Mary Queen of Scots explores the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart. Queen of France at 16 and widowed at 18, Mary defies pressure to remarry. Instead, she returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne. But Scotland and England fall under the rule of the compelling Elizabeth 1. Each young Queen beholds her "sister" in fear and fascination. Rivals in power and in love, and female regents in a masculine world, the two must decide how to play the game of marriage versus independence. Determined to rule as much more than a figurehead, Mary asserts her claim to the English throne, threatening Elizabeth's sovereignty. Betrayal, rebellion, and conspiracies within each court imperil both thrones - and change the course of history.
It’s a universal feeling. It’s in the air. It lifts us up where we belong. It’s all we need. So what’s your love story? Melbourne’s Immigration Museum is putting the spotlight on love this summer with an exhibition that will combine visual art, historic and contemporary artefacts and a few personal reflections from the general public. The museum will present all kinds of Australian love stories which will cover demographics of time, gender, ethnicity, orientation, age and distance. Head into the Immigration Museum’s recently renovated Long Room, where you’ll hear first-person storytelling about love through a tailored digital guide, with an all-Australian soundtrack of love songs playing throughout. There will be purpose-built “love shacks” to hang out in, and you can commit your own love story to the exhibition’s central Heart Garden installation. The exhibition has been created in collaboration with Heide Museum of Modern Art. Love will feature works loaned from the Heide Collection including work from Aussie artists Sidney Nolan, Joy Hester, Albert Tucker, Sam Atyeo, Mirka Mora and Richard Larter.
Think you can’t see the Moon indoors? Think again. Scienceworks has announced an exciting new exhibition for December, which lets visitors take in a replica of the Moon close up. Museum of the Moon is essentially a seven-metre diameter spherical sculpture that features large-scale NASA imagery of the lunar surface. It’s shown at a scale of 1:500,000, which means each centimetre of the sculpture represents five kilometres of the Moon’s actual surface. Created by UK artist Luke Jerram, Museum of the Moon has travelled over the world in recent years. What’s cool about the installation is that it blends detailed lunar imagery, internally illuminated “moonlight” and a specially designed soundtrack created by BAFTA award-winning composer Dan Jones. Virtual reality experience and game Opaque Space: Earthlight – Lunar Hub will illuminate the way you experience the moon, as well. This 40-minute experience will feature 20 minutes in-game and uses headsets and backpack PCs to allow players to move freely around the play space. Entrance to Opaque Space will have an additional charge. There will also be an exciting range of public programs during the Museum of the Moon's residency. Entrance into the exhibition is included with museum entry (free for children and concession and $15 for adults).
The film tells an inspiring and spirited true story that follows young lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg as she teams with her husband Marty to bring a groundbreaking case before the Supreme Court and overturn a century of gender discrimination. The feature will premiere in 2018 in line with Justice Ginsburg's 25th anniversary on the Supreme Court.
Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali are masterful in this rousing period piece, alternating belly laughs with an unflinching view of a nation at war with itself. It even scored a Golden Globe.
Last winter, a pop-up museum dedicated to all things sweet landed on Smith Street. Open for only eight weeks, Sugar Republic eventually sold more than 25,000 tickets – but for those who missed out, never fear. Sugar Republic is coming back! This Instagrammable event will be headed to Myer in Bourke Street Mall in February. Several different sensory rooms will be taking over Myer's sixth floor, and we can guarantee they will satisfy every kind of candy lover. The Sugar Republic team are expecting to build on their previous pop-up with a host of new rooms and interactive installations to play with. There will be a giant bubblegum pink ball pit, a confetti shower and plenty of candy to enjoy as you wander through (including some old-school favourites including Wizz Fizz, Hubba Bubba and Arnott's biccies).
Laurel & Hardy, one of the world's great comedy teams, set out on a variety hall tour of Britain in 1953. Diminished by age and with their golden era as the kings of Hollywood comedy now behind them, they face an uncertain future. As the charm and beauty of their performances shines through, they re-connect with their adoring fans. The tour becomes a hit, but Stan & Ollie can't quite shake the specter of Laurel and Hardy's past; the long-buried ghosts, coupled with Oliver's failing health, start to threaten their precious partnership. A portrait of the most tender and poignant of creative marriages, they are aware that they may be approaching their swan song, trying to rediscover just how much they mean to each other.
In the first act of American playwright Anne Washburn's Mr Burns, a group of survivors huddle around a fireplace, attempting to retell the 'Cape Feare' episode from the fifth season of The Simpsons. It mightn't sound like the first thing you'd concern yourself with after an epic disaster that's wiped out the whole world's electricity, but so long as people gather together, there'll always be an urge to tell stories. That's the genius of this darkly funny play, drawing its inspiration from the world's most popular animated sitcom. It explores how storytelling evolves and how legends endure. And let's face it: if anything from recent decades is going to last, it'll probably be The Simpsons.
More things to do in Melbourne this month
Find all the best art exhibitions in Melbourne over the next few weeks.
Get ready to laugh, cry and sing-a-long with the best theatre and musicals hitting Melbourne's stage this month.
Guess what? Not everything in Melbourne costs a bunch of money. From art shows to coffee tastings, there are a bunch of things to do in this fine city that you can do for free – here are our favourites.
These are the best places to eat in this city right now: the freshest, most inventive and memorable venues, ranked by our expert local editors.
Here is Melbourne viewed through the bottom of a glass: from its world-beating cocktail lounges to its down-and-divey saloons. These bars represent the pinnacle of Melbourne drinking.
Borrow your nanna's tartan shopping trolley and venture out to one of Melbourne's best markets for farm-fresh produce, designer homewares, vintage fashions and tasty street food.
From food to laneways, drinking to ghosts, these tours are the best way to get to know a different side of Melbourne.
We've scoped out the best activities Melbourne has to offer kids of all ages, and even a few that will keep the whole family entertained.
If you're looking for a break from the inner-city grid, there's no better cure than a day trip from Melbourne. The state of Victoria is full of friendly neighbourhood towns, whether you're in the mood for a winery tour, a road trip or a national park to explore.
Looking for a movie to see this week in Melbourne? Check out the latest releases in Australian cinemas, all reviewed by Time Out critics.