There are an overwhelming number of things to do in Sydney in any given week – let alone theatre. Our guide to the best theatre right now should help you narrow down all the Sydney shows to a guaranteed good-time. If you want to plan ahead, check out our guide to what's on stage this month.
Australians might not be able to go to the theatre at the moment, so the theatre will have to come to them. Australian Live Theatre has just launched a three-week online festival of Australian theatre, streaming live-recorded Australian plays for free. Yep, from March 27 until April 11 you can see up to three Australian plays for zip, zero, zilch. Grant Dodwell, the creative director for Australian Live Theatre, says: "Our aim of this online streaming festival is to bring people together and reflect on the world-class quality and creativity of the Australian Theatre community." The festival starts with two streamed performances of Sydney Theatre Company’s satirical Wharf Revue – Celebrating 15 years (March 27 and 28). On April 2 and 3, at-home audiences can see Griffin Theatre Company’s production of David Williamson’s Emerald City (which just had its season at MTC cut short due to Covid-19). Finally, the online festival will be closed by Mary Rachel Brown’s warts-and-all comedy The Dapto Chaser on April 10 and 11. All streamed performances start at 8pm and can be watched by heading along to the Australian Theatre Live Facebook page (the live videos will be posted shortly before start time on each performance date). The organisation also has additional Australian plays like Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and Away that you can watch on-demand or rent for a small fee (usually between $2 and $5). Check out the group’s Vimeo page for details. Standing ovations from your sofa are
Have you ever just wanted to give Hamlet a hug? Bell Shakespeare’s latest take on one of the most produced plays in the world relocates the action to the 1960s. Swallowed up by grief, the prince of Denmark is played with elegiac vulnerability by Harriet Gordon-Anderson (The Miser). You can almost see his heart gnawing away at itself. Directed by Peter Evans, this is an emotionally driven Hamlet. It has a suppleness and clarity that makes it both refreshing for those who know the play well, and winningly accessible to those who don’t. With the imminent invasion of Denmark by Norway’s Prince Fortinbras excised from the plot, the production sticks close to family, and closer still to Hamlet’s inner life. It wears its heart on its sleeve. The King is dead and his spirit haunts the castle. Queen Gertrude (Lisa McCune) is remarried to the new king Claudius (James Lugton) and Hamlet is at an utter loss. It’s all cold and rotten, and when the newlyweds show each other affection, it feels grotesque. We are in Hamlet’s story, and we see their union through his eyes. And through the eyes of Gordon-Anderson’s Hamlet, we see this whole thing anew. It’s a tremendous performance. Hamlet is frequently near tears; his mood swings feel earned. Forcing his shoulders down from around his ears and straightening his spine, he frequently reminds himself and others that this crushing outpouring of emotion is not fitting behaviour for a man like himself. Hamlet calls Elsinore a prison, but so too is
What do you do when you’re almost completely broke – can’t afford to pay your rent, your electricity bill, your gas – and basic groceries are suddenly out of your price range? Do you accept your fate? Do you starve, forced into poverty by a system in which the rich get richer? Or do you defy that system and demand what you need to survive? Sadly for many people living in Australia in the 21st century – where wealth inequality has grown sharply over more than a decade – this question isn’t hypothetical. It’s also the question at the centre of No Pay? No Way!, Marieke Hardy’s adaptation of Dario Fo’s 1974 farce Non Si Paga! Non Si Paga! (commonly given the English title Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay!) a ferociously funny piece of political theatre. When we first meet Antonia (Helen Thomson), she’s just stumbled home with a swag of assorted groceries (including dog food, despite her having no dog). She reveals to her friend and neighbour Margherita (Catherine Van-Davies) that when she arrived at her local store earlier in the day, she discovered that management had doubled the price of every item. In retaliation, she and a group of angry housewives started a riot, demanding the price hike be reversed, and ended up “liberating” some choice items for themselves. The only problem is that Antonia’s husband Giovanni (Glenn Hazeldine) has just returned home from work early and, despite his passionate unionism, he’s a stickler for rules and maintaining the system. The idea of his wife being inv
This event has been cancelled due to the government ban on mass gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic STATEMENT "Sadly, the intimacy and immediacy of a performance at Hayes is incompatible with social distancing recommendations and the health and wellbeing of our performers, staff and patrons has to be of the upmost priority right now. We’re devastated by the impact being felt right across the creative community and the loss of opportunity for our incredible artists. Making art is hard; this goes far beyond that.We’re not stopping working at Hayes. We’ll be putting our energy and resources into creative development and when the time comes to welcome audiences back, we promise to have wonders in store for you.If you have tickets to any of the three productions, a member of our box office team will be in touch to organise a full refund (including booking fee). We’d like to ask that you consider converting the value of your tickets to a tax-deductible donation to Hayes, if it’s within your means. Support from individuals is a huge part of our income and the only way we can put our musicals onstage. To lose that support as well as our box office income for the next three months would be a terrible blow to the company and our future productions." REVIEW Musical theatre is a great fit for a love story. Romance opens itself up easily to music. Scenes and scenery fly away in whirlwinds of revelations and suddenly you’re lost in song. The Bridges of Madison County, now open at the
PLEASE NOTE: This event has been cancelled due to the government ban on mass gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic Opera Australia CEO Rory Jeffes said, “These are unprecedented circumstances for Opera Australia and an extremely challenging time for the performing arts sector as a whole, but we understand how vital it is that we all work together to keep people safe.” Ten years ago, Opera Australia embarked on an ambitious project: to present an annual outdoor opera performed on a grand harbourside stage. The idea was to bring plenty of spectacle to one of the most beautiful places in the country without sacrificing any artistic or musical integrity. Incredibly, it worked, and Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is now an essential event on the Sydney arts calendar. For 2020, Opera Australia is returning to its roots and revisiting its original (and some would argue best) production: Francesca Zambello's La Traviata. This was the production that made HOSH a success, thanks in large part to Brian Thomson's set design, which featured a giant picture frame as the stage and a massive, nine-metre Swarovski-encrusted chandelier hanging from a crane. La Traviata is one of the most beautiful operas ever written and features a bunch of tunes you probably already know, including the rambunctious 'Brindisi' (aka the Drinking Song) and 'Sempre Libera', a coloratura soprano aria that soars into ridiculously high territory, maybe best known in Australia for this fabulous moment in Priscilla, Q
Playwright Clare Barron’s comedy is one of the biggest hits to come out of the US in recent years, and it’s easy to understand why. It features a cast of adults of various ages playing a group of teenage girls preparing for a dance competition. The dog-eat-dog world of competitive teenage dance is exposed and becomes a metaphor for something much bigger. “Between Mr Burns, Hir, The Wolves and Dance Nation, we’ve had a good time with contemporary American writing because America is bonkers at the moment,” Belvoir's artistic director Eamon Flack says. “There’s some really innovative writing coming along from mostly women and mostly younger women writers. They’ve been trying to hold on to that great, exuberant American optimism in the face of insanity, and it’s producing great writing.” Imara Savage, whose brilliant production of Mr Burns was one of Belvoir’s finest moments in recent years, returns with a starry cast of performers from all stages of their careers: Mitchell Butel, Elena Carapetis, Emma Harvie, Chika Ikogwe, Yvette Lee, Rebecca Massey, Amber McMahon, Tara Morice and Tim Overton.
There are few shows that have made as big an imprint on the landscape of musical theatre as Michael Bennett’s 1975 masterpiece about a group of hopeful dancers auditioning for a role on Broadway. He famously created the show by interviewing real-life dancers, who spilled some extraordinary stories which made it into the show. It went on to pick up a Pulitzer Prize and an astonishing ten Tony Awards, beating Chicago to the Best Musical gong. Now the musical which spawned ‘What I Did For Love’ is getting a rethink thanks to choreographer Amy Campbell, who is finally making her directorial debut at Darlinghurst Theatre Company. She’s assembled a fabulous ensemble cast of triple threats led by Tim Draxl and Angelique Cassimatis, who'll perform this new production in the intimacy of Darlinghurst Theatre Company's Eternity Playhouse. Campbell says the space will make the 20 dancers feel like 100 as they perform her new choreography. "You’ll feel their sweat, pain and joy in every row," she says. "You’ll be up close and intimate with these characters who, by their very nature, expose all their vulnerabilities and talent for the chance to be seen and heard. The physical energy is going to be electric."
Our city's leading contemporary dance ensemble is back with a new triple bill of electrifying dance. Sydney Dance Company’s artistic director Rafael Bonachela is making a new work exploring the ephemeral nature of our work, set to a brand new score by Bryce Dessner from American band the National. His work will appear alongside choreographic legend William Forsythe’s ‘NNNN’, and ‘E2 7SD’, the work that launched Bonachela’s career back in 2004.
PLEASE NOTE: This event has been cancelled due to the government ban on mass gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic "The Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director David McAllister said: “While this is disappointing to us all, the health and safety of our audience and company members is our top priority. The Australian Ballet will continue to rehearse and prepare for our next seasons and we will keep everyone up to date as the situation progresses. We look forward to returning to the stage in great shape and as soon as possible.” Alice Topp is one of the rising stars of Australian choreography, most recently picking up a Helpmann Award for Best Ballet for her acclaimed 2018 work, Aurum. Now she’s receiving another accolade: being paired with one of the giants of contemporary ballet, British choreographer Wayne McGregor, in an electrifying new triple bill, Volt. Exploring the monsters inside and outside of us, her new work Logos is choreographed to music by the contemporary Italian composer, Ludovico Einaudi. It will be performed in conjunction with two of McGregor’s best-known and loved works; 2006’s Chroma, which is set to the music of rock duo The White Stripes, and his Dyad 1929, which was created specifically for The Australian Ballet in 2009 and features US composer Steve Reich’s Pulitzer Prize-winning score Double Sextet. General tickets for the full Volt performance start at $38.
The 1997 murder of university student Joe Cinque by his girlfriend Anu Singh shook Canberra to its core and led to Helen Garner’s bestselling book, Joe Cinque’s Consolation. But little has been made of the role of Singh’s (later acquitted) accomplice and best friend, Madhavi Rao, or of the pair’s shared Indian-Australian cultural background. That’s the inspiration behind Natesha Somasundaram’s darkly comic new play. “Like a lot of people, I’m obsessed with true crime. The banality of it, the dramatics of it, the too-close-to-home-ness of it,” she says. “This case struck me so deeply because these women murderers grew up in wildly identical circumstances to myself.” It stars Vaishnavi Suryaprakash, who picked up a Helpmann Award for her role in Counting and Cracking last year, alongside Nikita Waldron (STC’s Lord of the Flies) in a production directed by Claudia Barrie (Dry Land, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo).