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Kings Cross Theatre reinvents A Christmas Carol


Welcome to the 52nd blog post of Time Out Sydney's 52 Weeks of #SydCulture 2017 challenge! Up until this point, we’ve had guest bloggers as your guides, but December’s culture selector is one of our own: Time Out’s new national arts and culture editor, Ben Neutze. Every week in December, Ben will be sharing some of his cultural experiences and telling us what he loved the week before. Think of it as your recommendation, from someone who sees a helluva lot of arts and culture. Over to him.

For the final chapter of this guide to Sydney's newest theatre district, I'm looking at Kings Cross Theatre (or KXT as it’s known by the cool kids), the newest addition to the local scene. The space is run by Bakehouse Theatre Company, which in 2015 gutted the second floor of the Kings Cross Hotel and built a brand new, 80-seat traverse theatre (meaning the actors perform in the middle of the room, with seating banks on either side).

The Kings Cross Hotel is a big six-story pub, so it’s a smart move by the venue operators to offer the space to a theatre: on quieter weeknights it attracts a pretty big group of theatregoers looking for a drink.

Bakehouse is a company that does indie theatre the way indie theatre should be: rough and ready but with a strong commitment to new stories.

At the start of the month I caught one of the last performances of Night Slows Down, the debut play by Sydney theatre director Phillip James Rouse, who has made a name for himself by reviving neglected Australian stage classics – and yes, there are more neglected Australian classics than you might think.

Night Slows Down is a 70-minute dystopian thriller set in a post-Trumpian world where immigrants find themselves under attack and climate change experts are ignored to disastrous effects. Is it entirely successful? No, but it’s certainly a compelling and exciting debut play. There are some moments of cliche in the dialogue, but the storytelling is exciting and provocative.

This week I saw KXT's final show for the year: a contemporary take on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, in a new adaptation written by Melissa Lee Speyer. In this take, Scrooge is played by a wonderful young female actor, Bobbie Jean-Henning, who traces the character's evolution beautifully.

Similar to Night Slows Down, it has global concerns and is a little bit hit and miss. But when it does hit, it do so with great style and a wonderful sense of humour: The Ghost of Christmas Past is reimagined as a Play School presenter, and the show is packed full of festive music and cheer.

See what else is on stage this month, and check out our hit list of the best art in Sydney right now.

While you’re here, check our 52 Weeks of #SydCulture challenge, and let us know what you're seeing/loving on Instagram via the hashtag #SydCulture.   

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