Things to do in Melbourne this weekend
You might have heard that Evita is coming to the Arts Centre stage over summer, with none other than Tina Arena in the role of Eva Perón. Cashing in on those summer Palermo vibes, Collingwood brewery Stomping Ground has set up a pop-up beer garden outside the Arts Centre. Under the colourful banners of Stomping Ground La Boca you can spend your summer sipping an Argentinian-inspired lager brewed exclusively for the beer garden, with accompanying snacks like beef and cheese empanadas and choripan (chorizo in bread with chimichurri) from Asado by San Telmo. Given it's Melbourne in summer, you're also going to need the dulce de leche caramel soft serve, maybe in addition to the alfajor, a short cookie with dulce de leche. There's even talk of live music and tango lessons, so clearly there's nothing to cry about here.
The National Gallery of Victoria is bringing a world-first exhibition of works by MC Escher to Melbourne this summer. Between Two Worlds | Escher X nendo will feature more than 160 prints and drawings from the renowned Dutch artist as well as an immersive Escher-inspired environment created by Japanese design studio Nendo. We can't wait to see how they'll respond to Escher's most iconic image: the physically impossible, Hogwarts-esque staircases. The works are on loan from the Gemeentemuseum in the Hague and will be joined by an immersive experience created by Nendo design studio. By manipulating geometry, space and perception like Escher, Nendo will create a never-before-seen exhibit that will bring the artist’s work to life.
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. Entrance into the exhibition is included with museum entry (free for children and concession and $15 for adults).
Move over My Fair Lady: the next vintage production coming to Australia is the original Evita, with Australian pop princess Tina Arena starring as Eva Perón. Opera Australia and John Frost are collaborating to revive the 1978 West End production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s blockbuster musical, directed by Tony Award-gobbling musical theatre veteran Harold Prince. Appearing alongside Arena is a starry international cast: as Juan Peron is Brazilian operatic baritone Paulo Szot, who won a Tony Award for his performance in the 2008 Broadway revival of South Pacific. London-based Australian performer Kurt Kansley will play Che, the narrator, while Wicked star Jemma Rix will play Evita at some performances.
This stage version of the 1950s MGM movie musical eliminates almost all traces of Doris Day’s sugary sweetness. Virginia Gay plays the ultimate Wild West heroine in a stripped back production, which exploits every opportunity for comedy while posing questions about gender norms. With songs from the film including ‘Windy City’ and ‘Secret Love’, Calamity Jane is back in Melbourne for two final encore seasons: December at Arts Centre Melbourne and January at the much bigger Comedy Theatre. It started with a sold-out season in early 2017 at Sydney’s Hayes Theatre, where it picked up Sydney Theatre Awards for Best Independent Musical and Best Female Actor in a Musical, and its been touring the country ever since. This could be your last chance to see it!
There's nothing quite like a film under the stars in the evening cool of the Botanic Gardens. Settle back with friends and family for a movie and as always, the Moonlight Cinema food truck and bar can supply you with comestibles, but you're welcome to BYO food and drinks too. This summer's programming has the usual mix of acclaimed Oscar hopefuls, kids' favourites and retro screenings to satisfy the nostalgic urges. Time Out is especially looking forward to The Favourite – the new film by the director of The Lobster that portrays the outrageous rivalry of two cousins in the court of England’s Queen Anne in the 18th century, with Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. And Widows promises to knock your socks off as well. Viola Davis and Elizabeth Debicki star in crime thriller about widows banding together to pull off their late husbands’ big heist. The director is Steve McQueen (Shame, 12 Years a Slave).
The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – aka Episode 5 – is widely considered the best of the eight Star Wars films. The first Star Wars sequel, it's the movie that set the series on course for immortality, introducing characters such as Yoda and Boba Fett, offering the cliffhanging twist about Luke's parentage, and bringing together Leia and Han in a surprisingly affecting love story. But let's not forget the score by John Williams, which introduced to Star Wars the thunderous 'Imperial March'. Now fans have the chance to hear that music played live by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Nicholas Luc. Prior to the two film screenings, Luc will join film experts Dr Dan Golding and Andrew Pogson to give a presentation on the composition and greatness of the score. Tickets are on sale now.
Body Electric is an amateur dance troupe made up of everyday folk who twice a year bedazzle themselves in unthinkable volumes of body glitter and sequins, and strut their stuff on stage in front of crowds of screaming fans. Their performances are a high-camp spectacle, with each of the 10 classes of 24 dancers displaying a distinct theatrical concept. Performers construct their own costumes, and the eye-popping creativity of this homemade fashion has become one of the shows’ biggest attractions. So who are these secret dancing divas? Well, they’re everyone. They come from all walks of life, professions, ages, cultures and nationalities. Their biggest performance to date will be at the Forum on December 15, and it will be a glitter-filled spectacular not to be missed.
After such imposing films as Hunger, Shame and 12 Years a Slave – the titles are punishing enough – you’d be forgiven for thinking British director Steve McQueen has a mean streak, if not toward his audiences, then his actors. Now comes Widows, which also has its fair share of suffering, mainly on the haunted face of Viola Davis. But McQueen has discovered something new. Should we call it fun? Let’s not get carried away. Still, Widows, a supercharged, Chicago-set caper of consummate skill, zooms along in a way that feels peppier than usual, McQueen brewing the action and ominous municipal intrigue like he was trying to outdo The Fugitive. He comes frighteningly close.
While the exotic wildlife, holy temples, majestic monasteries, and breathtaking sceneries from the savanna to the Himalayan ranges should be experienced physically all the way in Nepal, the annual Nepal Festival in Melbourne aims to bring a glimpse of this cultural experience to Federation Square. On Saturday, December 15, the festival will celebrate the theme of ‘One Country, Many Stories’. The day’s festivities will be mostly about sharing the incredible stories of places, people, cultural heritage, festivals, food, music, and the sound of Nepal for everyone in Melbourne. Cultural parade, performances, live music will be featured in the event along with a variety of food stalls with Nepalese culinary delights such as momo dumplings and the famous rice lentil and curry, known as dal bhat tarkari.
More things to do in Melbourne this weekend
Find all the best art exhibitions in Melbourne over the next few weeks.
Raise your arms in praise: Tina Arena is finally in town with Opera Australia's production of Evita. As the year starts to wind down, Melbourne Theatre Company's glittering Twelfth Night is still going strong, while it's a great month for stand-up comedy.
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