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A Fool In Love - STC - production shot
Photograph: STC/Daniel Boud

The best shows to see on Sydney stages this week

Got a free night up your sleeve and fancy some culture? Here's the plays, musicals and more showing over the next seven days

Written by
Time Out editors
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There is an overwhelming number of things to do in Sydney on any given week – let alone theatre. If you want to plan ahead, check out our guide to what's on stage this month. For now, here's our picks of the best shows to see this week.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Darling Harbour

This is it, we have found the yassification of Shakespeare. Fuelled by a playlist of certified pop hits, this jukebox romp billed as “the greatest love story ever remixed” poses a simple but provocative question: What if, instead of joining Romeo in eternal slumber, Juliet decided to live? A contagiously joyous musical spectacular, & Juliet has finally landed at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre after being met with critical acclaim on Broadway and the West End, not to mention the rapturously received Australian debut in Melbourne.  Filled with sing-a-long-able chart-topping bangers made famous by the likes of Britney Spears, The Backstreet Boys, Katy Perry and more from the songbook of Grammy-winning Swedish songwriter/producer Max Martin, the Aussie cast is overflowing with talent in this feel-good, flashy production. & Juliet is Shakespeare remixed for the girls, the gays and the theys... [but does it] really cut it as the feminist reclamation that we are promised? Will you be entertained? Absolutely. Does & Juliet set a new standard for jukebox musicals? Yes. Will you see one of the most diverse and charismatic casts of triple-threats ever assembled on an Australian stage? Heck yeah. Does the story deliver on the feminist retribution we are promised? Not quite. “What if Juliet didn’t kill herself?” Anne Hathaway (played by the enthralling Amy Lehpamer) posits to her husband, William Shakespeare (the ever-charming Rob Mills). “She’s only ever had one boyfriend, and frankly, the endi

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Darlington

Musicals are often a product of their time. So, it is somewhat expected that the show will reflect the sentiment, the tragedy, the conflict and the beliefs of that time. What is rare, however, is when a revival of a musical manages to find that stark relevance again, as if history is repeating itself. Off the back of the celebrated Broadway revival starring Ben Platt, this new staging of Parade arrives in Sydney following a sold-out Melbourne premiere in July 2023.  First staged in 1998, Parade is based on the true story of the 1913–1915 trial, imprisonment, and lynching of Leo Frank (Aaron Robuck – The Great Gatsby: An Immersive Theatrical Experience). A Jewish man from Brooklyn, Frank was a fish out of water amongst the residents of Atlanta, Georgia, where he worked as the superintendent of a pencil factory. When he was accused of the tragic assault and murder of a 13-year-old girl named Mary Phagan (Adeline Hunter – Urinetown), the townsfolk’s prejudices and the sensationalist media coverage of the trial stirred up a storm of antisemitic tension. Witness tampering and scapegoating by the local police force led to Frank being landed with a guilty verdict, a ruling which most modern researchers strongly disagree with. Most significantly, the historic trial spurred the formation of the Anti-Defamation League, whilst concurrently initiating the revival of the Klu Klux Klan. Despite some difficulties...this show succeeds in reminding the audience that prejudice, hate, and the

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  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Haymarket

Few musical references are as iconic as those from Grease. A simple "rama lama lama" or "a wop ba-ba lu-bop a wop bam boom!" may invoke joyful nostalgia, transporting you back to the first time you witnessed John Travolta's gyrating hips or “our” Olivia Newton-John's sweet Sandy smile. For me, it takes me back to my own high school musical experience. With my Pink Lady jacket and Pink Lady sunglasses, the Grease stage is where I first forged my life-long love affair with musical theatre and the passionate community that came with it. That is what musicals are forged on: passion – and this production of Grease: the Musical at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre has an infectious amount of it. Before the 1978 film adaptation cemented Grease’s place in the global pop culture consciousness, this show set in the working-class youth subculture of 1950s Chicago was first staged in 1971. Like any rebellious teen tale, Grease tapped into the angst of young people of the time; it had a '50s style and a '70s attitude. Everyone wanted to be as cool as Kenickie (played here with delectable zeal by Keanu Gonzalez, who has also appeared in Hamilton and West Side Story), as bold as Rizzo (the eye-catching triple threat Mackenzie Dunn, as seen in Hairspray), or as sweet as the nervous Doody (Tom Davis). There were definitely elements of my high school production that built my confidence, brought me out of my shell, and changed my perspective – but the plot wasn't one of them. The musical numbers were jo

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

What’s in a name? Quite a lot, if you’re the first named character in the title of a play. Particularly when almost every other legend written about you has you named second, or not at all. This is the plight of Isolde, an Irish princess, star of many stories, but most notably Wagner’s influential opera Tristan und Isolde. Her legend is centuries old, one of the most famous involving a love potion – and now, Sport for Jove brings it to the beloved basement stage at the Old Fitz Theatre in the form of a play written (and crucially, named Isolde and Tristan) by German playwright Esther Vilar, and translated by Udo Borgert and Laura Ginters. The original legend features Tristan, a prince of Cornwall, and Isolde, the princess of Ireland, whose countries are at war. After Tristan defeats the Irish giant Morholt (the Irish King’s brother-in-law) he is tasked with traveling to Ireland to bring Isolde back to marry his uncle, the King of Cornwall. However on the journey, Tristan and Isolde fall madly into forbidden love, thanks to a love potion. Deception, punishment, and death ensue.  Vilar’s play not only switches the names, but also some of the details, and turns the legend from a sweeping and dramatic warning against being “consumed” by love into something pointier, and more complex. It’s certainly not your regular medieval romance, or even your regular opera… clever, biting, and appropriately eerie. Damien Ryan (Artistic Director of Sport for Jove) directs this production, setti

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

Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer-winning 1949 play has lost none of its potency in the last 75 years. Indeed, in our current terrible moment of economic anxiety, the heaviest weight on Willy Loman’s back – the need to make his mortgage payments even as he’s rendered obsolete – will be familiar to many audience members, although perhaps one step removed. Director Neil Armfield anchors this production in the period of the play’s genesis, but the themes remain timeless – beautifully and excruciatingly so. Anthony LaPaglia is our Willy Loman, making his Sydney stage debut at the Theatre Royal in the role that earned him standing ovations when this production debuted in Melbourne. Weighed down by years, responsibilities, and his own bulk, LaPagia’s Loman prowls the stage muttering, half lost in memories, pinning all his hopes on the illusory successes of his adult sons: wastrel womaniser Happy (Ben O’Toole) and former golden boy Biff (Josh Helman), high school football star turned frustrated drifter. Willy’s wife, the long-suffering Linda (Alison Whyte) dutifully dithers around her husband and boys, until she too fractures under the weight of Willy’s unrealised ambitions.  LaPaglia makes for an incredibly obstinate and frustratingly obtuse Willy, his crippling insecurities masked by a thick armour cast from bluster and bravado. Yes, it’s all about the American Dream and the failures thereof – but it’s worth noting that the American Dream has always been America’s chief export, and we’ve a

  • Theatre
  • Comedy
  • Bondi Beach

When was the last time you went to see a show and the actors met you at the door, got you a drink and then flirted with you? Probably never. Luckily that’s about to change, as the Bondi Pavilion presents the Slightly Isolated Dog Production: Don Juan. This sexy and hilarious show supported by Creative New Zealand will tickle you in ways you've never been tickled, and more! If you aren’t familiar with the original master of seduction Don Juan, then strap in (or strap on) because the story of this lustful fictional man will be retold to you by five dazzling performers. The charming cast is made up of five Kiwis putting on a French accent, so you’re guaranteed a chaotic hour of fun.  The show combines physical comedy, twisted pop songs, explosive wit and a wild dress-up party for what promises to be a hilarious and raucous time. Not only are the cast having a boisterous time on stage, but they intend to bring you along for the ride too — telling the story of Don Juan with you.  Check out this fun production at Bondi Pavilion from May 23 until May 25. Tickets range from $20-$40, with under 30s getting $20 tickets plus booking. For more info, head to the website.

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  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Elizabeth Bay

The lives of six teenagers from a Canadian chamber choir are cut short in a freak roller coaster accident. When they awake in Limbo, a mechanical fortune teller invites them to compete to win a prize like no other – a shot at returning to life. Sounds like a pretty wild ride, right? This is the premise of Ride The Cyclone, the runaway viral musical sensation that’s been causing a stir online with the youths – and now it’s Sydney’s turn to strap in, with the Aussie premiere crossing over at Hayes Theatre Co as part of their exciting 2024 season from May 23.  Bursting with witty, memorable songs and featuring some of the most compelling characters in modern musical theatre, this remarkable show makes a uniquely uplifting and deeply funny case for what makes a life worth living. This hilarious and exhilarating production is a labour of passion for the Hayes’ artistic directors Richard Carroll and Victoria Falconer, who are keeping the fires burning at Sydney’s heart of musical theatre and cabaret.  The fresh young cast that will slay on the stage comprises Natalie Abbott (Zombie! The Musical, Muriel’s Wedding) as Constance, Bailey Dunnage (aka Aubrey Haive from RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under) as Noel, Lincoln Elliott (The Hello Girls, Sunshine Super Girl) as Mischa, Justin Gray making his professional debut as Ricky, Ava Madon (A Little Night Music, The Lucky Country) as Jane Doe, and Karis Oka (Fangirls, Six) as Ocean, with understudies Mel O’Brien (Fangirls) and Alec Steedman (

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Comedy
  • Woolloomooloo

The latest treat of the Old Fitz Theatre’s new Late Night program of subterranean pub theatre comes in the darkly comedic form of The Eisteddfod – a weird little world penned by Lally Katz, and brought back to life two decades after its debut by co-directors Miranda Middleton and Jessica Bell, and up-and-coming performers Ziggy Resnick (Feminazi) and Fraser Crane (Dumb Kids). Two orphaned siblings, Abalone and Gerture, live alone. To pass the time, they make up and act out stories. Some of their stories are more realistic than others, but for Abalone, the realest one is about the Eisteddfod – a competition, a goal, and a way to remember their mother through constant rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal.  Like many of Katz’s works, The Eisteddfod is threaded with a twisted sense of humour which slowly unravels throughout the piece, sometimes pushing into uncomfortable places. Resnick’s Abalone and Crane’s Gerture revel in the light and shade of the writing – playing off each other’s silliness and sadness with dexterity and obvious delight. As part of the creative team’s unconventional process, the two performers experimented with both roles before they were cast. By scrapping expected gender norms, the actors are allowed the freedom to inhabit the characters they each feel more authentically aligned with, which brings a juicy extra layer to their performances.  The performance takes place on the set of Sport for Jove’s Isolde & Tristan (currently playing the Fitz's early show slot)

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