Things to do in Melbourne this week
Wednesday nights in Melbourne are known for one thing and one thing only: Queen Victoria Market’s legendary Night Market. With the night market finishing up for the winter months, Queen Vic has announced it will be bringing back its insanely popular Asian night market to tide you over until the warmer months. The Hawker 88 Night Market brings Asian tastes, sights and sounds to Queen Vic’s sheds. Running every Wednesday night from September 18 until October 23, over 20 stalls will be set up to sell authentic street food direct from China, India, Vietnam, Korea, Malaysia and Japan. The tasty line-up of vendors this year includes Sri Lankan curries from Drums Café; soft shell crab with wontons from Miss Wonton; authentic Filipino spit-roasted pig from Kuya's Simply Pinoy; kimchi fries from Lui Boss; grilled momo from Nepal Dining Room; and Japanese pork ribs from Kobe Jones. Thai favourite Son in Law is bringing its giant cartoon fairy floss creatures back while Durasia is serving fresh slices of the world's most divisive fruit, durian (you can also get durian ice cream from the vendor). As usual, there will be market stalls selling plenty of weird and wonderful wares, as well as live performances and music to enjoy.
Even if you don't know his name, you're almost certainly familiar with Brian Donnelly's (aka Kaws) larger-than-life sculptures and paintings. Kaws take icons from cartoons and pop culture and reimagines them in vulnerable and unexpected situations. His signature? Their hands are marked with sharp crosses. For several decades, Kaws has been one of the world's most prolific contemporary artists and his work is equally in demand with major modern art galleries as it is with brands and pop artists. He's collaborated with MTV (and redesigned their Moonman in his signature style), Nike and Uniqlo, designed album covers for Kanye West and Towa Tei, and crashed New York's Museum of Modern Art's website when they sold a limited edition Kaws action figure. This new exhibition at the NGV (which is running at the same time as the gallery's Basquiat and Haring blockbuster) features paintings, sculptures, graphic design and product design, covering the full spectrum of his creative output. Central to the exhibition is a monumental sculpture, which is his largest work in bronze so far. And which characters should you expect to see? Well, definitely his take on Mickey Mouse, probably The Simpsons (or 'Kimpsons' in the world of Kaws) and maybe even Spongebob.
The Tesselaar Tulip Festival takes over Silvan’s Tulip Farm during September and October and brings almost a million tulips in bloom to 25 acres of farmland in the Dandenong Ranges. Located an hour away from Melbourne, this tulip festival turns regional Victoria into a mini version of the Netherlands with tulip bulbs flowering in the majestic spring sunshine. While the tulips are undoubtedly the stars of the show, the festival also features live entertainment, market stalls, food offerings and themed weekend celebrations including the Turkish, Irish and Dutch weekends. The Tulip Farm is open daily from 10am to 5pm during this month-long festival.
Some come to the Show for the rides, others come to marvel at award-winning cakes, the incredible woodchoppers, the pavilions filled with baby animals and champion dogs… or maybe we’re all just united in a mutual love of show bags. Running from Saturday, September 21 until Tuesday, October 1, this year’s Royal Melbourne Show is set to take the annual festival to new heights with the promise of dinosaurs, parades and even robots. Let's start with the animals, the original stars of the show. You can get up close and personal with cows, sheep, poultry, dogs and even alpacas or rock up to one of the shows to see if you can pick the winning animal. For those just looking to cuddle a lamb or baby chicken, the petting zoo is usually heaving with families (and everyone else) looking for a dose of cute. This year, guests can visit the brand-new Jurassic Creatures pavilion where you can bring out your inner paleontologist and meet some friendly animatronic dinosaurs. There’s also the Future Pavilion where you can learn about (and play with) fun new technologies like virtual reality as well as enjoy robot demonstrations, a gaming precinct and a digital shopping experience. Foodies at the show are also well catered for. Sure, you could go for the traditional dagwood dog or cloud of fairy floss, but the Show has far more gourmet options awaiting in the food pavilions. Watch which stalls the crowds are drawn to – it's a great way to find some tasty (and often local) nosh. The show
There's a good chance you don't know Haroon Mirza's name just yet, but the London-based artist is making a huge impression overseas with his artworks, which combine installation, electricity and a frequently startling use of sound. This exhibition is Mirza's first solo show in Australia, and will utilise all of ACCA's gallery spaces as one giant musical instrument. From there, other artists will be invited into the space to collaborate. Read our interview with Mirza about all you'll experience in the exhibition.
Every year, the Melbourne Fringe Festival makes jaws drop and eyes widen across the city with their out-there line-up of theatre, comedy, art, music and events. This is Melbourne at its weirdest and one of the best ways to get a feel for the city's cultural underbelly. Past events have included a series of interactive seesaws with Siri-like intergration, drag shows, a Shania Twain a capella choir and an amateur water ballet dedicated to periods. The festival also routinely books big name comedians, including Arj Barker and Sammy J. This is just scratching the surface – there's more than 400 events each year across roughly 160 venues in and around Melbourne. For the full program, visit the website. And remember: this is your opportunity to take risks on bold new works. Jump in, and enjoy the ride. RECOMMENDED: Our top picks of the Melbourne Fringe Festival.
The Australian Ballet is ending its 2019 season with this beloved classic production of The Nutcracker. The company's artistic director, David McAllister says he first saw Peter Wright’s production, originally made for the Birmingham Royal Ballet, in the early 1990s, and considers it one of the best Nutcrackers he’s ever seen. (And he has seen a lot of Nutcrackers.) “The transformation scene is just magical,” he says. “I remember the first time I saw it, I couldn’t work out how they made the tree grow and take over the entire stage.” “It’s timeless. And I like to say: every four years there’s a new bunch of four year olds who need to come and see The Nutcracker, which is why it’s usually about four years between drinks for us.”
Calling all YouTube lovers: this year’s Vidcon is returning to Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre between September 19 and 22. The event caters to all fans of the online video streaming platform, with the classic meet and greets, live performances and more informative panels and Q&As on the agenda. The festival will be bringing some of YouTube's hottest talents to Melbourne, including comedy group The Try Guys, Vlogbrothers’ Hank Green and Australian YouTuber Georgia Productions. Other line-up highlights include local comedic duo Superwog, prankster Jackson O’Doherty and comedian Ozzy Man Reviews. More waves of talent will be announced soon so keep an eye out. For the first time ever, VidCon Australia is offering university student tickets at lower rates as well as single-day ticket options. Check out more of the line-up and purchase your tickets by clicking the 'buy tickets' button above.
If you’re a film lover in Australia then you probably owe a debt of gratitude to the Zeccola family without knowing it. Brothers Antonio and Franco Zeccola arrived in Melbourne in 1957 at age 14 and 12 and went on to open cinemas for the purpose of screening Italian films to migrants. Sixty years later Antonio is the grandee of the Palace Cinemas dynasty and one of his daughters, Elysia Zeccola, is the director of the Lavazza Italian Film Festival, which Antonio founded in the late 1990s. Palace Cinemas host the festival, which takes place over about a month and features 26 new Italian films as well as classic movies and special screenings. One of the most anticipated is director Ron Howard's portrait of world-famous tenor Luciano Pavarotti. The all-access documentary, Pavarotti, will close out the festival. Other films to look out for include The Vice of Hope (Il vizio della speranza), which stars Pina Turco as a woman striving to escape her life of crime. It is from director Edoardo De Angelis, whose 2016 hit Indivisible won a slew of awards. Love a thriller? Stefano Mordi's The Invisible Witness (Il testimone invisible) might be the film for you. It follows the story of a slick businessman who wakes up next to his murdered mistress. That film could swap titles with another murder mystery in the program, I'm Not a Killer (Non sono un assassino), which centres on a police superintendent who is the last person to see his murdered best friend alive. More of a comedy
Even in these Stranger Things-obsessed times, no one expected 2017’s It – a second adaptation of a 30-year-old novel – to become a phenomenon. A hit? Sure. Clowns, evil or not, exert a tractor-beam tug on our imaginations. But the biggest horror movie ever? To understand that, one would have to consult the dark forces trapped in Stephen King’s typewriter. Yet the hype is justified: It Chapter Two improves on its predecessor in nearly every way. King’s book was split in two: one hefty chunk going to 1950s tweens living in the fictional Maine town of Derry; the other to the characters as haunted ’80s adults. It Chapter Two follows suit 30 years on, but doubles down on the deeper, metaphorical nature of losing one’s innocence and discovering a world full of pain. Disturbingly and boldly, the film opens with a vicious gay bashing, because Derry has become a place symptomatic of today’s hate-brimming America. Those menacing red balloons reappear, and it’s up to an older, lonely Mike (Isaiah Mustafa), now the town’s librarian, to call his mates home. They include Bev (Jessica Chastain), trapped in an abusive marriage; Bill (James McAvoy, a little stiff), a screenwriter and crafter of ‘bad endings’; and self-loathing stand-up comic Richie (Bill Hader, funny and real). Returning director Andy Muschietti did an effective job with his young cast in the first It (they all appear in flashbacks or nightmares), but his work with the adults is superior.
During the September school holidays, treat your kids (and yourselves) to a Minnie Mouse-themed high tea. Hosted at the Langham's Aria Lounge, this limited edition high tea will be held on weekdays from September 16 until October 4. Feast your eyes on some delightfully themed goodies including Minnie Mouse shortbread ears, flower-shaped honey joys and chocolate raspberry flavoured soft cookie sandwiches. Classic savoury options such as chicken goujons and sausage rolls will also be served. Kids will also be given a glass of cordial or hot chocolate plus a Minnie Bow-tique Why Hello Cell Phone toy to take home. Adults, on the other hand, have a choice of an espresso coffee, leaf tea and a glass of premium sparkling wine. There are two sessions available, the first from 10 to 11.30am, and the later from 12.30 to 2pm. From September 23 to October 4, an additional session will be held from 3 to 4.30pm. Be sure to come dressed in polka dots and Minnie Mouse ears for a complete experience. Advance bookings are highly recommended, and it costs $59 per person.
Coskun Uysal will be climbing into the kitchen at Massi on Monday, September 23 to join forces with Joe Vargetto and cook dishes from his new cookbook, Tulum. Four of the five courses will be lifted from the book, like the Turkish bread bazlama, Tulum cheese, butter and dukkah; icli kofte (bulgur crusted meatballs stuffed with ground meat, nuts and spices); and a dessert of semolina, hazelnut and tea sorbet. Joe Vargetto will lend his hand to the second course (a dish of celeriac cooked in orange and quince) to add a touch of Sicilian flair into the dinner. Each course will be matched with Turkish wines, and all profits from this dinner will be donated to William Angliss to support the catering students. Bookings are essential and tickets are $88 per person (including the matched wines), with cookbooks available for purchase on the evening.
Showtime Attractions and Silver Circus are bringing all the colourful characters of Sesame Street to Melbourne for the Sesame Street Circus Spectacular. Starting on Thursday, September 11, this Sesame Street extravaganza will run for about a month until Sunday, October 13 at Burnley Oval. This 90-minute spectacular features classic Sesame Street characters like Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, Bert, Ernie, Super Grover and Big Bird. To make it even more special, the show will feature the voices of the original Sesame Street cast with all the music produced locally. As well as the Sesame Street characters, there will also be performances by circus acts from across the globe, including Columbia, Argentina, Switzerland, Australia, Ethiopia, Brazil and Morocco. Kids can learn how to draw Sesame Street characters on interactive drawing boards before the show. And when the show ends, Big Bird will be hanging around to meet and greet electrified fans and pose for photos. Tickets are available now and start at $25 for children and $30 for adults.
White Night is lighting up Ballarat once again this year, with the after-dark arts festival headed to the regional city on Saturday, September 21. Between 7pm and 2am there will be 44 artworks to discover across Ballarat. The works have all been created around the theme of 'lighting a spark', with 22 of the works made by local artists. This year the line-up features a mix of installations, exhibitions, music events, performances and of course dazzling projections onto Ballarat's heritage buildings. Look out for 'Action Reaction' (a Rube Goldberg machine); 'Spidergoat and the Insect Electro' (an eerie, glowing installation that mimics walking through spider silk); and Stuart Walsh's 'Cherubim on a Sunday Drive Through Hell' (a projection work that makes grim allusions to the Garden of Eden). The festival will also bring 12 works from White Night Melbourne to the city (including some of our program highlights like 'The Guardian' and 'Iris'). This isn't the first time that Ballarat has hosted the glittering event, with the 2018 iteration of White Night Ballarat drawing 60,000 people out into the streets (15,000 of which came from out of town). Visit the White Night Ballarat website for more information.
There are few TV shows that have a soundtrack quite as memorable as Mark Frost and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. During its short original run in the early ‘90s, Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti’s eerie pop and jazz compositions were an essential part of the show that had us all asking: who killed Laura Palmer? In 2018, five Melbourne musicians joined together under the name Beautiful Dark to perform the soundtrack. They’ve now developed their own cult following and have even caught the attention of several original cast members. The band is returning with a new show at Melbourne Fringe in which they’ll recreate the score live on stage, taking audiences on a journey through the series using projections, lighting and surprises.
Melbourne is home to some of the most daring and fabulous drag and cabaret talent on the planet. Local drag queen and dancer Valerie Hex (James Welsby) has brought together several of our faves, and with their powers combined, they are Yummy. The show is part cabaret, part circus, part drag show, part dance show, part performance art, but 100 per cent party. It’s been touring the world since 2015, wowing audiences with its electrifying soundtrack and spectacular performances, with queens serving looks that hit the perfect balance between ultra-glam and fabulous trash. After winning the Green Room Award for Best Production (Cabaret) in 2018, the crew is back with an all new show, featuring new solos and group numbers. Yummy Deluxe is playing for the entire Melbourne Fringe at the Fringe Hub at Trades Hall. But if your taste tends towards the darker and naughtier side of cabaret, head along to their two shows of Yummy Up Late at the Spiegeltent in Federation Square.
Bittersweet and maturely witty, director Lulu Wang’s Chinese-American family drama The Farewell beats with an immigrant’s split heart. Featuring a thoughtful, career-revising turn from Crazy Rich Asians scene-stealer Awkwafina, Wang’s autobiographical story is “based on an actual lie” (as an intro title tells us), though not the comforting kind of white lies shared at the start: walking through a wintry New York City on a long-distance call, the unemployed writer Billi (Awkwafina) reassures her concerned granny back home in Changchun, China, that she’s wearing a hat. (She isn’t.) In turn, “Nai Nai” (Zhao Shuzhen, adorably commanding) casually claims that she’s at her sister’s house. (She’s actually at the hospital for a scan.) Now comes the real lie: in what is commonplace practice in China, Nai Nai’s family elects to withhold a grim diagnosis of cancer from her, saying the news is good. The clan comes together in Asia under the false pretext of a sudden wedding between Billi’s cousin and his confused Japanese girlfriend, setting the stage for a gathering that’s outwardly celebratory but secretly devastated (a mood beautifully supported by Alex Weston’s vocal-heavy score). Wang expertly plays these scenes to both comedic and heartbreaking effect, while the unruffled but bossy Nai Nai proudly throws together the trimmings of a full wedding, complete with a photo shoot and an over-the-top, colorful banquet.
Melbourne Fringe is known for being the festival where we can see new work from independent artists. Polygamy, Polygayou is a new musical created, without a cent of funding, by some of Melbourne’s best indie cabaret artists and comedians. It might continue to develop and change until it becomes an international cult hit, which will be described as “Hedwig meets Book of Mormon meets Showgirls.” Or this will be your only chance to see it. Either way, you’ll get the bragging rights of “I saw the very first season” or a great story about how “I once saw a super camp, super queer, super feminist musical about polygamist sister wives becoming a superstar group called the Spouse Girls”. Alice Tovey, Margot Tanjutco and Hayley Tantau have each won adoring fans, award nominations and critical raves for their solo work in cabaret and comedy. Each confront ideas of what women are expected to be on stages, in relationships and in life, and refuse to accept the limitations of these expectations. Charity Werk was a 2018 Raw Comedy competition finalist and is already questioning expectations about how women are represented by drag. Evelyn (Werk) was Edgar’s first wife and somehow never got pregnant. But they lived in Mormon(ish) Old South Wales where polygamy’s cool and the problem could be solved by Catherine (Tovey), whose dad who was happy to give her away to be wife number two. She also didn’t get pregnant. Then along came Brandi (Tanjutco) who knew her skill was in being a sugar baby
The mysterious and macabre works of Edgar Allan Poe are scary enough when they're just on a page, but what happens when they burst to life across 36 rooms in a two-storey abandoned North Melbourne warehouse? That's what audiences will experience at A Midnight Visit, a large-scale site-specific theatre work encouraging visitors to choose their own adventure and encounter unusual characters across a number of surreal environments. The show premiered in Sydney last year in a former furniture factory to stellar reviews. Its Melbourne season is currently playing at 222 Macaulay Rd, North Melbourne. Time Out Sydney wrote: "With A Midnight Visit, it’s okay to let the story be second to the experience – to the simple pleasures of finding yourself in an unexpected crawlspace, of carefully looking through a doorway with bated breath, of suddenly looking at a beach in the middle of an old, repurposed building. It won’t be like any other night out." There are four to six sessions a night, with performances running from Wednesday to Sunday. Tickets range from $44 (for previews) up to $79 for Friday and Saturday nights, and you'll need about 70 to 90 minutes to explore the building at your own pace.
Peninsula Hot Springs is Victoria’s first geothermal mineral springs and day spa. It’s here you’ll find more than 50 bathing experiences, including shared thermal mineral pools, wet and dry saunas, a hydrotherapy pool, Turkish and Moroccan hammams and the frequently Instagrammed hilltop pool, which boasts 360-degree views over the farmlands of Fingal. Naturally, it’s very popular. One event that’s going to drive its popularity even higher is the Bathe in Cinema. This cinema lets you watch a film from the comfort of your own hot spring, spread out among the Bath House Amphitheatre, which is located on the Peninsula Hot Springs property. The Peninsula Hot Springs Bathe in Cinema runs every Friday night at 7.30pm. Guests can lay under the stars and stay warm with the heat of the hot springs. On the big screen will be a selection of family-friendly films, including The Dish, Whale Rider, The Castle and more. The film screening is complimentary with bathhouse bathing (which starts from $25). Head in early to score a good spot in the amphitheatre as there’s no reserved seating.
It’s pretty common to get caught in the rain while walking around Melbourne. What’s less common is to get caught in the rain while walking around indoors in Melbourne – and even weirder when you realise that the rain is inexplicably falling everywhere except on you. This August Melbourne will be the first city in the southern hemisphere to host ‘Rain Room’, an immersive artwork by London-based collective Random International. ‘Rain Room’ is one of Random International’s most famous works and has previously shown at the Barbican in London, MoMA in New York and at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai. Guests are invited into a darkened room filled with continuous rain. No need to bring an umbrella though because this rain won’t dampen your clothes or spirits. Thanks to motion sensors in the ceiling ‘Rain Room’ detects where visitors are and ensures a dry six-metre radius around guests. The artwork is being brought to Melbourne thanks to a collaboration between the currently closed ACMI and uber-luxe hotel Jackalope. For at least seven weeks (tickets can currently be purchased for dates between August 9 and September 29) you can experience the installation for yourself at the Jackalope Pavillion, a pop-up space on the corner of Acland and Jackson streets in St Kilda. Tickets are available to the public from July 4.
New York artist Kaws (aka Brian Donnelly) is bringing his larger-than-life sculptures and paintings to the NGV this summer for Kaws: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness. Alongside this mega exhibition will be something for the littlest art fans. Kaws: Playtime is a free and immersive exhibition for kids that includes a number of hands-on activities that draw inspiration from Kaws’ work, especially his BFF character which is inspired by popular cartoon characters (including a certain blue-furred cookie-munching larrikin). The exhibition is on display from September 20 until April 13 at NGV International and it’s free to attend.
We mightn't all be art critics, but everyone has an opinion about who and what is most deserving of the $100,000 top gong at the Archibald Prize. The annual exhibition of finalists (this year there are 51 paintings) offers plenty to argue over, featuring faces familiar and not, by big name, mid-career and emerging painters. The top gong for 2019 has gone to Tony Costa for his painting of fellow artist Lindy Lee. He beat out painters like Tessa Mackay, whose highly-detailed painting of David Wenham picked up the Packing Room Prize, and Jude Rae, who was highly commended for her painting of actor Sarah Peirse.
The Ballarat International Foto Biennale brings exhibitions, workshops, screenings, portfolio reviews, discussions and social events to the historic Gold Rush town of Ballarat once more. Over two months the town will host 30 exhibitions, 70 open programs, outdoor public art and special screenings. This year, the festival will be jointly headlined by Chinese photographer-activist Liu Bolin and Indigenous Australian artist Dr Fiona Foley. Bolin is sometimes called “the invisible man” for his signature style of camouflaging himself within his images, prompting viewers to consider those who have been forgotten or marginalised. Foley’s work also brings attention to the disenfranchised, and highlights racial inequality in Australia. Who Are These Strangers and Where Are They Going? presents a mid-career retrospective of her work via site-specific installations and indigenous language soundscapes. Other program highlights include Bauhuas Foto, an exhibit marking 100 years since the establishment of the iconic Weimar school, and To the Moon and Back, which explores all things lunar in recognition of the Apollo moon landing 50 years ago. While those exhibits examine the ongoing impact of historic events, others deal with urgent political issues of the present moment. A History of Misogyny, Chapter One: On Abortion is a stark look at women’s reproductive rights by Spanish photographer Laia Abril; while Adi Nes’s homoerotic portraiture, often featuring Israeli soldiers, delves into qu
When you go to the circus you expect to see some high-flying acrobatics, but even Circus Oz is astounded by the heights they reach in their latest show. Aurora takes guests on a dizzying journey with perilous feats, spectacular projections and harmonious soundscapes. Aurora is truly an out-of-this-world adventure, drawing upon the world’s natural elements as inspiration and creating a space where the performers explore what is, what was and what could be. As the show’s name suggests, Aurora partly reflects the beauty of the night sky, and is drawn from the pristine elements of nature. The acrobats fly and swing across across the stage using Chinese poles, Washington trapezes and sheer determination. As the artists gracefully fall to Earth they’ll also keep the show powering along with humour, intricate foot juggling and hula hoops that seem to spin magically around the acrobats. At the heart of the 70-minute show is the idea that humans can strive towards a better future – the sky’s the limit. Aurora marks Circus Oz’s stellar return to the Royal Botanic Gardens big top for 2019 after staging the equally spectacular Precarious there for Melbourne Festival 2018. It’s been more than 40 years since Circus Oz first launched in Melbourne (yep, they’re locals!) and the team is still able to pump out new and exciting performances every year. Aurora is showing for just under three weeks from Wednesday, September 18. The show is appropriate for all ages and also offers Auslan-i
The Fringe Club, located for the first time at Trades Hall, is the beating, queer heart of the festival. This is the place where artists, art-lovers and everyone else come to cut loose in an open, free-spirited environment where the drinks are plentiful, the music is pumping and the live performances are always surprising. This year Fringe Club is more party than performance, though of course there are some world-class acts coming to keep everyone entertained. The Opening Night Party, on September 12, will use both of Trades Hall's ballrooms for an over-the-top extravaganza. The dress code is 'EXTREME' (we do not usually use the maximal case, but it seems warranted in this instance). The party is for artists, art lovers, art freaks and anyone who just wants to have a bangin' time until the wee hours. If you're into spooky good times, the Friday the 13th party will be a nightmarishly good time. Dress ups are very encouraged. Like, very. We do not advise you to turn up without a costume. Geraldine Quinn is hosting the party and promises "Melbourne's most gruesm and grisly acts". You know queer cabaret star Yana Alana as a fabulous devotee of sequins and glitter, but she's had enough. Yana Alana's Fuck Fabulous the Party is all about coming as you are, trackies, undone hair and all. Yana Alana and female and gender-queer Fringe performers will be putting on damn good party – but don't expect any teetering heels. We are very into t
Dani and Christian are a young American couple with a relationship on the brink of falling apart. But after a family tragedy keeps them together, a grieving Dani invites herself to join Christian and his friends on a trip to a once-in-a-lifetime midsummer festival in a remote Swedish village. What begins as a carefree summer holiday in a land of eternal sunlight takes a sinister turn when the insular villagers invite their guests to partake in festivities that render the pastoral paradise increasingly unnerving and viscerally disturbing. From the visionary mind of Ari Aster comes a dread-soaked cinematic fairytale where a world of darkness unfolds in broad daylight.
After the phenomenal success of The Flying Dutchman earlier this year, Melbourne Opera no doubt had zero problems assembling an outstanding cast for their production of Bellini’s masterpiece, Norma. Widely regarded to be the pinnacle of Bel Canto opera, the title role is considered to be one of the most challenging of opera’s soprano roles and has been played by greats including Maria Callas and Joan Sutherland. Luckily, the company has got hold of up-and-coming superstar Helena Dix, fresh from making her debut as Alice in Falstaff at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, to play the powerful priestess who makes a terrible mistake in love and must suffer the consequences. She’s joined by Helpmann and Green Room award-winning mezzo soprano Jacqui Dark as Norma’s competition Adalgisa, London based tenor Samuel Sakker as Pollione and Eddie Muliaumaseali’i as Oroveso, in a production directed by Suzanne Chaundy and conducted by Greg Hocking and Raymond Laurence.
There are few performers and creatives who scream “Melbourne” quite as loudly as Moira Finucane, who crosses just about every genre and always makes an impression when she steps on stage. In 2017 she debuted a show called The Rapture to, um, rapturous reviews. Now she’s back with a sequel of sorts; a cabaret that’ll take us to the end of the world and back again. To create the show, Finucane travelled to Antarctica, and her performance is inspired by all that she saw there – imposing glaciers, vast expanses of nothingness and penguins. She’ll be joined by an array of artists who’ll help bring this experience to life, including torch singer Mama Alto, opera singer Piera Dennerstein, 85-year-old performer Shirley Cattunar and First Nations singer Ray Dimakarri Dixon.
Neon artist Carla O'Brien achieved global recognition when pop star Katy Perry 'wore' her Neon Angel Wings in 2015 at Burning Man. Now you can play with her art at an interactive installation at QV. The colourful playground includes a sensory digital game and free rainbow cheese toasties, rainbow hot chocolates and DIY fairy bread (with rainbow icing and rainbow 100s and 1000s of course) at the purpose-built Happy Bakery on site. On Friday, September 13, the colourful space will have tails wagging, as Guide Dogs Victoria are on site for pics and cuddles.
If you've never heard of Laser Beak Man, here's what you need to know: Tim Sharp, a Queensland artist who has autism, created the mystical superhero when he was just 11 years old as a way of sharing his humour and imagination with the world. The character has been adapted into books and a Cartoon Network series, and its success has seen Sharp's work exhibited all around the world. But one of Laser Beak Man's most formidable forms is as the star of his own stage show. This production from Brisbane uses spectacular, colourful and wildly funny animations alongside live puppets from Queensland's Dead Puppet Society (and even a few flying puppets). In the stage show, Laser Beak Man loses his powers (namely, the ability to shoot lasers from his beak) and has to beat his nemesis, Peter Bartman, to restore peace to Power City. All of this plays out to live soundtrack of '60s-flavoured rock performed live by Ball Park Music's Sam Cromack. Laser Beak Man is recommended for ages eight and up, but that doesn't mean it's only for kids. Grown ups will get plenty from the visual spectacle, smartly funny storytelling and stellar soundtrack.
If the last time you visited Melbourne Museum was on a school trip to see the hall of taxidermy animals, you're definitely long overdue for a return. Luckily, the museum runs Nocturnal – a monthly adults-only event series. Nocturnal transforms the museum into an after-hours adult playground on the first Friday of every month. Punters have access to the museum long after the last school group have left the building and can expect a lounge bar serving drinks and bar snacks. The event's crowning glory is the stage in front of the Forest Gallery where Melbourne's best music acts perform. This August, Nocturnal is happening on Friday, August 23 to tie in with White Night Reimagined and the museum's Revolutions: Records and Rebels exhibition. On the night, Brian Nankervis is bringing the Rockwiz Orkestra to the museum for a fun evening of music, trivia and lots of fun. He'll be joined on stage by indie pop artist Olympia, British India frontman Declan Melia, the Groop's Ronnie Charles and more. The museum, as usual, will be open late for partygoers to explore, with special talks and pop-up experiences happening on the night.
Can you name five women artists? No, it's not a trick question, but a lot of us cannot. That question was the starting point of a campaign by the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC, back in 2016, designed to highlight just how much of a boys club the art world can be. We've seen plenty of movement since then, but the stats for gender balance in our most significant art spaces are still shockingly bad. The Finkelstein Gallery is the brainchild of Lisa Fehily and will challenge that boys club by focussing purely on the work of women artists. For its first exhibition, simply titled Finkelstein Gallery Presents, it will highlight the work of emerging and established artists from across Australia. There are heavy-hitters Deborah Kelly, known best for her politically-charged paper collage works, and Louise Paramor, known for her large-scale, colourful sculptures. You'll also see work by Cigdem Aydemir, Kate Baker, Monika Behrens, Coady, Sonal Kontaria, Kim Lieberman, Lisa Roet and Kate Rohde.
Arj Barker is looking for guinea pigs. Well, not actual rodents, but audience members he can test out new material on for a big upcoming theatre tour. It's pretty standard practice that stand-up comedians will book in a bunch of smaller shows to test their funnies before getting in front of big crowds and critics. Even the best can't always tell what gags will soar and which will fall flat, so they need live opportunities to hear an audience response. But Barker is doing things a little bit differently to prep for his tour next year: Each Monday, from August 19 through October 14, he'll be performing in the basement of the European Bier Café and charging just $20 a ticket. No two nights will be the same, and you'll have the unique pleasure of witnessing his comedic failures as well as his wins. There may also be special guests on some nights. He hasn't exactly got this all locked in yet, which is why the show is dubbed Arj Barker's Safe Space. Barker has been a comedy star since the early 2000s, with his own show Arj and Poopy, several specials and even an appearance on Flight of the Conchords. But he's enjoyed maybe the most success in Australia with his regular appearances at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. He even married an Australian woman in 2017 and spends a lot of his time here.
From August this year, Melbourne audiences will step into a world of pure imagination with the new musical version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The show, which just wrapped up a three-year run on the West End and a short stint on Broadway, is heading south from Sydney, where it's been selling out performances at the Capitol Theatre. It will have its Melbourne premiere at Her Majesty's Theatre. The musical is based more on Roald Dahl's 1964 book than the beloved 1971 film, but does feature a couple of the songs you know and love, including 'Pure Imagination', 'Candy Man' and 'I've Got a Golden Ticket'. The rest of the music is penned by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, who are best known for writing the score for the musical Hairspray. You already know the plot: the eccentric master chocolatier Willy Wonka opens up his mysterious factory to four young children, looking for an heir to take over the kingdom. Four of the children have been spoiled rotten and *spoiler alert* suffer horrible fates inside the factory – Augustus gets sucked up a tube after gorging himself on chocolate, Violet turns into a giant blueberry, Mike's TV addiction gets the best of him and Veruca gets her comeuppance via squirrel – but the poor, young Charlie Bucket manages to prove his integrity. The musical was an audience favourite in London, but received a cooler reception in New York, where it got mixed reviews. Time Out New York's critic wasn't the greatest fan – you can read his two-star r
The sort of high-wire, playfully enjoyable riff on movies that only Quentin Tarantino could get away with, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood is a massively fun shaggy-dog story that blends fact and fiction, inserting made-up characters at the heart of real, horrible events (Charles Manson horrible) and then daring history to do its worst. Sitting at the mature, Jackie Brown end of Tarantino’s work, the film is also a love letter to Los Angeles and the film industry, bringing his tongue-in-cheek storytelling together with exquisite craft and killer lead performances from Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. And yet, it’s still very much a Tarantino film, trading in genuine emotion one minute, unapolegetically silly the next. Tarantino starts with Hollywood in the era of the Manson murders – specifically, the slaying of starlet Sharon Tate and her friends in August 1969 – and retells the story on his own terms, first over a few days in February 1969 and then, six months later, over the weekend of the killings. That means we’re spending nearly the whole movie wondering how this director is going to deal with the actual historical tragedy. For the answer to that, you’ll just have to sweat it out. Let’s just say this: Tarantino somehow manages to carve good taste out of bad. Nonfictional characters pop up throughout: the doomed Tate (Margot Robbie), Nixon-era celebrities Steve McQueen (Damian Lewis) and Bruce Lee (Mike Moh), the Manson gang (one of whom is played
His name might not be as well known as some of his contemporaries, but Roger Kemp was one of Australia’s greatest abstractionists. Best known for his large-scale tapestries that hang in the great hall of the National Gallery of Victoria, during his lifetime Kemp eschewed figurative and landscape art in favour of a more metaphysical approach that sought to “make visible the invisible”. Now the National Gallery of Victoria will host the first major retrospective exhibition of Kemp’s work since his death in 1987. Developed in conjunction with the artist’s estate, the exhibition includes several works that have never been shown publicly before, and traces Kemp’s evolution as an artist, from his early Cezanne-inspired sketches to the geometric, stained glass-like paintings by which he made his name.
The famous weekly Fed Square book market shut up shop in 2017, much to the despair of Melbourne's bibliophile community. But the closure was only a temporary one, with the free market now open at Queen Victoria Market every Sunday till December 15. Whether you eat, sleep and breathe books or are just curious, the market has over 5,000 new and second-hand titles to browse from. From sci-fi to non-fiction, the Melbourne Book Market has every genre presented by a revolving cast of veteran Melbourne booksellers. Tweed jackets are encouraged, but not compulsory. There will be around 20 pop-up stalls giving bibliophiles plenty of options to spend all their life savings on, including stalls by the founding members of the book market. After deciding on your next bedtime read take some time to stroll around the market and check off your grocery list with the fresh produce or go into one of the cafés and satiate your hunger. For more information on the next market visit the Queen Victoria Market website or the Melbourne Book Market Facebook page.
Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga mightn't be quite as famous as Coco Chanel and Christian Dior, but both those designers tipped their hat to Balenciaga as the leader of his generation. Dior said he was "the master of us all", and Chanel said he was "the only couturier in the truest sense of the word". So this exhibition from Victoria and Albert Museum in London is absolutely essential for anybody with even a passing interest in fashion. When it opened in London, Time Out described the exhibition as "the mother of all love songs to Cristóbal Balenciaga, and it’s one that will have you swooning over the Spanish fashion designer, too." It celebrates his intricate craftsmanship and the way he pioneered silhouettes still used in fashion today, with the tunic, sack, baby doll and shift dresses all on display. There are garments from the 1950s and '60s, including ensembles made for actress Ava Gardner, socialite Gloria Guiness and the world's richest woman, Mona von Bismarck. And if all that Balenciaga weren't enough, there are also designs from 30 influential designers who followed in Balenciaga's footsteps and drew inspiration from his work.
Melbourne's theatre scene might look to be totally dominated by a certain boy wizard in 2019, but there's another big show headed our way from Broadway. Come from Away is set to open at the Comedy Theatre in July. The historic theatre will get major refurbishment and new seats (anybody's who's sat through long show at the theatre knows the seating is a necessity) in time for Come From Away's Australian opening. The musical has been a bit of an unexpected hit in North America, set in a small Canadian town in the days following the September 11 attacks. Written by Canadians Irene Sankoff and David Hein, it tells the true story of Gander, where 38 international flights carrying 7,000 passengers were forced to land, effectively doubling the population of the town with stranded passengers for several days. The vibrant score has Celtic flavours, and the show's cast recording was nominated for a Grammy Award. The musical started out with a 2013 Ontario production, and then went on to tour the US before landing on Broadway in early 2017. It was nominated for seven Tony Awards last year and picked up the award for Best Direction of a Musical for Broadway veteran Christopher Ashley, who'll be overseeing the local production. Read Time Out New York's four-star review here.
Drawing inspiration from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory showing at Her Majesty's Theatre, the Westin is bringing a dedicated dessert and cocktail bar to its lobby, named the Wonka Bar, until January 2020. Darren Purchese from Burch and Purchese has teamed up with the kitchen crew at the Westin to create some truly remarkable and over-the-top desserts. Expect the likes of the Black Forest (in dessert form) with an actual chocolate river surrounded by cherries, chocolate sponge, a crunchy biscuit base, chocolate twigs and chocolate mushrooms. Unlike Charlie, you'll be able to purchase your golden ticket in the form of a gold chocolate bar, dark chocolate mousse, smoked vanilla ice cream with a salted caramel cream. For those with an 18+ palate, four candy-inspired cocktails will be available to buy from the Wonka Bar, like the vodka-based Blueberry Gumball, with blue curacao, raspberry balsamic and an ice sphere, garnished with popping candy and Persian fairy floss; or the chocolate lover's Pure Imagination, made with chocolate liqueur and sauce, garnished with actual chocolate. Those with kids can buy into the Children's High Tea at $49, which includes chocolate river cupcakes, golden ticket chocolate bars, an array of savoury finger sandwiches and drinks. For the full-service experience, the Westin is also offering golden ticket packages, which include overnight accommodation, two A-reserve tickets to the musical, a copy of the book and two desserts from the Wonka Bar
The title says it all really. Melbourne comedian Kieran Bullock’s new Melbourne Fringe show will feature him struggling to construct Swedish flatpack furniture live on stage while chatting with the crowd. Bullock has plenty of experience with both scripted stand-up and improvised comedy, so you can be sure that every show will be a little bit different. In some, he’ll be just doing a straight, leisurely build, in others he’ll be racing against the clock, or he’ll be racing against a guest, and he’s promised to attempt to break a Guinness World Record in at least one of his shows.
You might remember Razzmatazz as the party people responsible for some raging nights out at the Exford and the since-closed Ding Dong Lounge. But you can't stop indie music and Razzmatazz is back in action after a hiatus. Razzmatazz Indie Disco runs on the first Friday of every month at its new home, Globe Alley. Resident DJs Caity and Ted are back too, spinning the indie classics from every era. Expect bangers spanning Bowie, Blur, Oasis, the Arctic Monkeys, the Cure and Chvrches. Better still, the newly reincarnated Razzmatazz night is free to enter. That's more dosh to spend on Globe Alley's drink specials (or their jalepeño poppers).
The most perfect movie that will ever be made about its subject, Apollo 11 takes the purest documentary idea imaginable – telling the story of the first journey to the moon and back using only the footage captured in the moment – and rides it all the way home. Conceptually, it’s a masterstroke: other films have leaned into narration or interviews, while Damien Chazelle’s brooding First Man took a somewhat incidental leap into personal grief. But by mining a trove of archival NASA footage (much of it unseen since 1969, or ever), disciplined filmmaker Todd Douglas Miller places an unmistakable emphasis on the thousands of people who toiled in modest synchronicity, pulling off America’s greatest mission without a hitch. Apollo 11 will bring you to tears: It’s a reminder of national functionality, of making the big dream happen without ego or divisiveness. Miller’s exhilarating first act supplies an emotional catharsis that’s rare in nonfiction (or, frankly, movies in general). Quietly, the rocket is rolled out on a massive tractor platform. Crickets chirp on a hot July night. In the astronauts’ blindingly white dressing room, the three-man crew – Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin – suit up. Their personal backstories receive flurries of silent images: wedding photos, military service, children. These flashes play like insistent memories; it’s the kind of subliminal device a dramatic director might use to reveal a character’s psych
While the adults are digging into the Wonka Bar at Melbourne’s Westin Hotel, kids can have their own fun. To celebrate Charlie and the Chocolate Factory landing at Her Majesty's Theatre, the Westin Hotel is recreating its kid-friendly high tea with a little Wonka magic. The Wonkariffic Kids High Tea includes three tiers of sweets crafted by the Westin’s Oompa Loompas… er, I mean pastry chefs. There’s everything from chocolate river cupcakes, honeycomb and chocolate mousse, cucumber finger sandwiches, violet and almond gobstopper cookies and even a golden ticket milk chocolate bar. Thirsty? Kids can take choose from Violet Beauregard’s bubblegum milkshake, hot chocolate, juices or soft drink to wash down all the sweets. When partaking in the Wonkariffic High Tea, all kids will receive a limited edition Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book by Roald Dahl to take home. The high tea is aimed at children four to 12-years-old and costs $49 per child.
Whether you like your beer canned, bottled or tapped, you're in for a real treat as a new craft beer festival kicks off this August. For five whole weeks at the General Assembly, Hopsfest will get Melbourne beer lovers excited with tap takeovers, brewer sessions, daily 'hoppy hours' and bottomless brews. Things kick off with educational Beer Banter Thursdays, consisting of brewer hangouts, masterclasses, tastings, snacks and giveaways. Tickets are $30. Boozy Bash sessions continue the froth-tastic fun on Saturday arvos with brewer parties and of course, free tasters and live music. Entry is free. But the fun doesn't stop there. On September 1, Bottomless Brew Sunday will feature two hours of unlimited tap beer paired with a generous food menu. Expect anything from crispy skin pork belly bites to burnt honey and bush spice glazed lamb ribs, buffalo chicken sliders and popcorn chicken with smoked chilli aioli. This Sunday session debuts with Prancing Pony beer on tap and it's all priced at $49 per person. Hopsfest will also feature deals like daily $10 brewer's choice points and $25 beer and bun lunch offers on weekdays. During 'hoppy hours', which run from 4 to 6 pm, all brewer's taps are available for $10 a pint. Find out more on the General Assembly's website.