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Gatsby at The Greenlight production shot
Photograph: Sydney Opera House/Prudence Upton

Our latest Sydney theatre reviews

Time Out's critics offer their opinions on the city's newest musicals, plays and every other kind of show

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There's always a lot happening on Sydney's stages – but how do you know where to start? Thankfully our critics are out road-testing musicals, plays, operas, dance, cabaret and more all year round. Here are their recommendations.

Want more culture? Check out the best art exhibitions in Sydney.

4 stars: excellent and recommended

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Circuses
  • Sydney

This raucous show could be the closest you’ll get to spending a whirlwind evening inside an extravagant Baz Luhrmann flick. Taking over The Studio in the belly of the Sydney Opera House, Gatsby at the Green Light is a sauced-up variety show that transports audiences into a pop-up, vintage-inspired night club (complete with a functional bar). Think of this production as a sort of live concept album – featuring a smorgasboard of circus acts, top-shelf burlesque, evocative live singing, and impressive aerial artistry – with the rare art of hair-hanging to boot.  Gatsby cherry-picks from the glitz and glamour of one of Jay Gatsby’s famous parties, remixes it, and serves it up as an escapist fantasy where the roaring ’20s meets the 2020s. In doing so, this show masters the timeless allure of a particular niche of spectacle: watching profusely talented and beautiful people performing seriously difficult tricks and dangling precariously in the air (before elegantly dismounting with a brazen wink). ARIA-nominated singer Odette is a stand out member of the ensemble, the earthy and mystical vocal quality of the siren of the Inner West providing a soulful connective thread to the mixed bag of acts. Odette collaborated with musical director Kim Moyes (best known as one-half of iconic Australian electronic duo The Presets) on an original song for the production – although, it’s her covers of hit songs that will continue to play on repeat in your mind (her audacious take on ‘Money (That’s

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Comedy
  • Dawes Point

What do the terms “Nicomachean Ethics” and “lying whore” have in common? They are both used in the same sentence in A Fool in Love, Van Badham’s (Banging Denmark) snort-out-loud new romantic comedy, which uproariously kicks off Sydney Theatre Company's 2024 season. This is not an ‘exhale air from your nose while watching a funny scene’ kind of show – be prepared to discover how you truly laugh (and wheeze, and snort) in this fantastic performance.  The play is based on Spanish playwright Lope De Vega’s 17th century farce La Dama Boba, with a script curated thoughtfully to a contemporary audience whilst preserving the core themes of golden age comedia palatina works.  Badham has created an impossibly high bar for comedy... Badham’s work is a masterclass in adaptation, one which is so meticulously tailored to Sydneysiders that it brings praise to her anthropological skills in acknowledging each of the Harbour City’s archetypes. Badham stays true to the tropes of a simple romantic comedy, however she elevates this story through parodying clichés of Sydney archetypes, which provides a level of localised humour and complexity that effortlessly expands the story.  The play is set in the fictional sun-drenched, coastal town of Illescas, a few hours away from Sydney. We open on two men seen rhythmically thrusting away in a dance – and with those pelvic thrusts, begins the story. A once-wealthy businessman, Otto Otavio (Johnny Nasser) is at the brink of financial ruin. His only hope o

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Sydney

One of the most talked about performances to hit the Sydney stage in recent years is back. Local legend Heather Mitchell is donning the robes again to embody the late, great feminist icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg in RBG: Of Many, One – a powerful one-woman show penned by Suzie Miller, the lawyer-turned-playwright behind international smash-hit Prima Facie (and more recently, Jailbaby at Griffin). Sydney Theatre Company is bringing this impactful play to the Drama Theatre at the Sydney Opera House from February 9 to March 30, kicking off an extensive national tour including seasons in Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra. Read on for our review from the Australian premiere... What does it take to stand firm in a rushing tide? One that suddenly comes not just from the expected direction, but from all of them, buffeting a woman from side to side?  Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the great legal mind, feminist, and later, improbably, the pop culture darling, would know better than most. And RBG: Of Many, One, written by Suzie Miller (of Prima Facie fame) and directed by Priscilla Jackman (White Pearl) tries to trace that journey, and let the audience feel the rush of all those tides.  So how did Heather Mitchell, the actress known for her screen appearance in Binge’s Love Me, and previously, for playing prominent transgender writer and former Australian Defence Force officer Catherine McGregor in the 2018 STC play Still Point Turning: The Catherine McGregor Story, find it within herself to embody an

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Sydney

Six the Musical is back in Sydney with a series of shows at Theatre Royal Sydney from October 2024. Tickets will be on sale in March 2024, and you can join the waitlist for first access here. Read on for our review from the Sydney Opera House season. ***** What if the Spice Girls did a concept album about King Henry VIII’s wives and Baz Luhrmann directed the concert video? That, in a nutshell, is Six’s vibe: an up-tempo, empowering, all-singing, all-dancing account of the lives of the six key ladies in the Tudor monarch’s orbit. Much like Hamilton before it, the pop musical is making history buffs out of legions of musical theatre tragics, and making musical theatre tragics out of pop and hip hop lovers.  The conceptual space is a rock concert with the wives reimagined as a girl group bickering over who will get to be lead singer. It’s decided that whoever suffered the most at the hands of their mutual ex should take the crown, as it were, and so the six compete with their tales of woe, told as irresistibly catchy dance floor bangers. Conceived by Brits Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss in 2017, the pair having penned the show while they were studying at Cambridge, and here directed by Moss and Jamie Armitage, Six is almost the platonic ideal of a modern high end musical: a clever concept packed to the brim with instantly familiar tunes, wrapped in colourful but clean production design and costuming, and clocking in at an audience-friendly 75 minutes.  It’s not a jukebox musical, bu

3 stars: recommended, with reservations

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Surry Hills

We are all struggling with something. Sometimes the struggle is external, and sometimes it’s our own selves that we battle daily. Often, the only solace we find is in knowing that others are also grappling with something. In recent years, the internet has become a place where anyone can find their community, or at least a space to anonymously offload. There are hundreds of blogs and Reddit threads where countless people seek advice on everything from recovering from grief to the best cities to visit in Spain. The age-old saying "you never know what someone else is going through" is vividly portrayed in the stage adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's popular book, Tiny Beautiful Things, created by Nia Vardalos (of My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame). The book (full title Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar) is a compilation of entries from the anonymous advice column  Strayed wrote under the pseudonym Sugar for the online literary magazine The Rumpus from 2010 to 2012, which garnered a cult following. The play's strength lies in moments where the storytelling shifts to focus on living through the unthinkable... eliciting tears from many in the audience. Premiering off-Broadway at The Public Theatre in December 2016, the play caught audiences’ attention due to Strayed's popularity from the film adaptation of her 2012 memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, produced by Reese Witherspoon, and directed by Thomas Kail (of Hamilton fame). It playe

2 stars: doesn't quite deliver

  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Sydney

How much Elvis is too much? The King of Rock n’ Roll is a perennial pop culture fave, and recently the subject of two major movies – Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, and Sophia Coppola’s sobering corrective, Priscilla. Last month saw the 31st edition of the venerable Parkes Elvis Festival, and last week the death of rockabilly legend Mojo Nixon, whose most famous song informed us that ‘Elvis is Everywhere’. Almost 50 years after his death, the King continues to reign. Presley’s latest manifestation comes in the form of this musical extravaganza, a stage-bound biography that loosely and lightly tells the story of his rise from rural Mississippi poverty to global domination, kicking off with Presley ruminating on his life backstage at the ’68 Comeback Special. ...perhaps this musical's shameless hagiography is understandable from a certain perspective – we come here not to bury the King, but to praise him. If that reminds you of the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line (or, less charitably, the merciless parody Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story), you’re not alone. But Elvis: A Musical Revolution takes more cues from the recent Tina - The Tina Turner Musical. It’s a jukebox musical, of course (how could it not be?) boasting over 40 songs from the Elvis back catalogue. Well, bits of them, at any rate – in an effort to cram in as many Presley bangers as possible, the show resorts to medlies, which seems to be missing the point. Surely, in a production celebrating one of the most iconic musical figu

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