When stages went dark all across the in 2020, Darlinghurst Theatre Company's co-artistic director Amylia Harris didn’t lose hope. She jumped into action quick smart, transforming their restaurant Two Trout into a fabulous cabaret spot for late-night revels while suitably spaced, it’s a genuine delight to seem them swing back into business as usual. Well, more like the new normal, with the Darlo holding onto the thrill of their saucy lockdown evenings.
And who better to get the party started than the camp fabulousness of Reuben Kaye? The 2021 season will kick off with a week of deliciously wicked double entendres, from March 22-28. Tickets cost $55, and if you haven’t had a chance to see Kaye strut his sequin-and-feather-boa stuff, we direct you to the British Theatre Guide, which describes his utter mischief as “the evil love child of Liza Minnelli and Jim Carrey.”
Also in March, Big Thick Energy, conceived and curated by Demon Derriere, is a three-day body positive burlesque festival celebrating all shapes and sizes. You can opt for the performance showcase at $45, or go all in with day pass bundles.
Next up, if you find yourself fascinated by the fakers on Instagram, you are going to want to jump on tickets to the Australian debut of British playwright Jasmine Lee Jones’ Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner. It tackles the thorny topic of cultural appropriation and the commodification of black womxn’s bodies. Directed by STC resident director Shari Sebbens and starring Moreblessing Maturure, this biting social satire that draws on actual real life, not reality TV, is unmissable. It runs from April 19-May 2, with tickets at $42.
Also in April, the sideswiped Sydney Festival show We Are Here finally gets its postponed run from April 6-11. Pulled together by the brains behind Darlo’s Bloom Festival, The People of Cabaret, this empowering showcase of creative people of colour is led by founding director Miss Cairo, appearing alongside Tyra Bankstown, Kween Kong and Texas Gold. Tickets are $55.
May brings the long-awaited Sydney debut of crowd-sourced show I Want to Know What Love Is, May 19-22. Queensland collective The Good Room asked folks on the internet to divulge what love means to them, and spun gold from the heartfelt responses. This new iteration features Sydney 's answers, so we'll see how we compare to Brisbane. Tickets to this gem cost $62.
If you’re still kicking yourself that you missed out on Darlo’s box office record-breaking run of movie-inspired, Dublin-set romantic drama Once, then fear not. The Eternity Playhouse has your back with an encore season from June 4 to August 6, with tickets $65-$100. Irish playwright Enda Walsh’s work grabbed no fewer than eight Tony awards, and be warned, returning stars Toby Francis and Stefanie Caccamo left nary a dry eye in the house.
While we’re in a musical frame of mind, get ready for the return of A Chorus Line. Darlo only managed to get through four preview shows before lockdown put paid to this new production of the unforgettable classic drawn from the real life recollections of triple threat stars of the stage. Tim Draxl returns as the exacting director determined to get the best from his cast, with Amy Campbell directing and choreographing this new production. It shakes a leg for the best part of the second half 2021, shimmying from August 25 to October 30. Book quick, with tickets at $65-$100.
Also look out for returning jazz night Darlo Underground and the Andrew Bukenya-hosted Thirsty Thursdays also continues in the downstairs bar. All this plus a three-weekend run of Darlo Sessions kicks off on February 26, featuring rising stars and favourites from FBi and Triple J trying out new music created while in lockdown, with tickets starting at $35.
Harris says, “We stand for radical empowerment and inclusion and we’ve invited Australia’s finest live art makers through our doors in a unique line-up of new forms and new ideas, and curated world-class live music, comedy, burlesque, cabaret, musicals and the best of Australian and international new theatre.”