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The full cast of 9 to 5 the musical
Photograph: David Hooley

Theatre and musicals in Sydney this week

Got a free night up your sleeve and fancy some culture? These are the shows on stage for the next seven days

Written by
Time Out editors
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There are an overwhelming number of things to do in Sydney in 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.

Note: in light of evolving Covid conditions, many events across Sydney are being postponed, rescheduled or cancelled. Things are changing rapidly. Always check ahead with the event organiser to see if an event or venue you're planning to attend is still open, and what precautions and conditions of entry are in place.  

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

A magnificent piece of stagecraft opens the orchestral work-turned-movie-turned ballet-infused musical theatre show An American in Paris. Jonathan Hickey sits alone at a spotlit piano dwarfed by the darkness of the theatre. He portrays Adam Hochberg, our narrator, an American Jewish man and gifted musician with a wounded leg and heart. He reminds us that while the war may be over, with Paris of 1945 finally liberated, there’s no magic switch to make everything right after this nightmarish cataclysm. The city is still standing, but its citizens are starving and great swathes of the country lie in ruins.  Setting the scene for us, Adam and his piano are then magically whisked away as the first jaw-dropping use of the production’s vast digital sets bathes the theatre in hellfire. The terrifying red of Nazi flags that sweep upwards to the heavens are seconds later pulled down and replaced by the Tricolore. This digital iteration, conjured by set and costume designer Bob Crowley, is seamlessly replaced by a physical French flag borne aloft by the gifted (and marvelously attired) ensemble. Suddenly, the computer-generated backdrop depicts a phalanx of five fighter jets flying high over l’Arc de Triomphe.  This moment is our goosebump-inducing introduction to dashing star Robbie Fairchild. He plays American GI Jerry Mulligan – famously depicted by Gene Kelly in the Oscar-laden 1951 movie by Vincente Minnelli – who turns to the audience with a jaunty salute. Fairchild, a former princ

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

Set in a drought-stricken rural town in the post-Euphoria era, Muriel’s Wedding the Musical meets Puberty Blues in this brand spankin’ new Aussie musical. The Deb has a little bit of the pop-infused redemptive teenage angst that made Belvoir’s Fan Girls such a sensation, and a sprinkle of that camp Australiana-style magic that made Virginia Gay’s The Boomkak Panto so darn special. High school outcast and whimsical mega-dork Taylah (Katelin Koprivec) longs to be the princess of her own fairy tale, which isn’t easy in Dunburn – a dried-up Aussie town struggling for survival, where cool girls and footy hunks lead the pack. It’s finally her year to be presented at the local débutante ball, and she couldn’t be more keen to swap ripping open hay bales on the family farm for getting glammed up and feeling special in front of the whole town.  But doesn’t a “deb” – a centuries-old tradition where teenage girls (usually aged between 15 and 18) are dressed up in bridal-like gowns to make their formal debut to society, traditionally because they were considered old enough to be of a marrying age – feel like a debatable spectacle in the 21st century? That’s exactly what Taylah’s woke AF, inner-city cousin Maeve (Charlotte MacInnes) reckons when she unexpectedly arrives in town amongst the flurry of flammable dresses, fake tan, and diamante tiaras when she escapes some trouble she’s made for herself back in the Big Smoke.  Directed and co-written by Hannah Reilly (ABC TV’s Growing Up Grace

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Potts Point

The former home of one of Kings Cross’s most popular bars is your conduit to be transported back to the roaring ’20s for this original immersive theatrical experience. Be beckoned into a sparkling world of jazz, extravagance, romance, betrayal and booze at this two-hour and 20-minute experience inspired by F Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel. All three levels of the Wonderland Bar (formerly the teapot cocktail-slinging World Bar) have been gutted and glitzed up for this ambitious production, which takes the audience weaving through multiple rooms, hidden nooks and crannies, and even through the fire escape and a dark alleyway. Audiences are encouraged to get their flapper on with Gatsby-inspired costumes, but word to the wise – wear comfortable shoes. If you’re inclined to wear a pedometer of some kind, you may also get a kick out of counting how many steps you clock up as you traipse up and down stairs on this expedition.  We would also advise rocking up with plenty of time for a pre-show tipple in the publicly accessible jazz bar draped with lush red velvet curtains, so that one might acclimatise to the atmosphere before stepping into two hours of non-stop immersive theatre. You might also want to have a bite to eat before you head into Potts Point – it gets late before you know it when you’re immersed in this world with a couple of drinks under your belt. Directed by Beth Daly and written and produced with passion by Aaron Robuck, this is a proper play, broken up with intermit

  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Dawes Point

Following a breathtaking performance on ABC’s Q&A that went viral around the world, writer and performer Meyne Wyatt brings his acclaimed play to Sydney Theatre Company in an electrifying new production.  First hitting the Sydney stage in 2019 as a co-production with Griffin Theatre and Queensland Theatre, this semi-autobiographical work is about an Indigenous actor from Kalgoorlie who angers his community by starring in a controversial Australia Day ad.  Amplified by his acerbic sense of humour, Wyatt has written a brutal, nuanced and moving portrayal of one family desperately working to break cycles of discrimination and a gripping piece of First Nations drama. He hasn’t exactly been twiddling his thumbs since penning this profound play, in 2020 he took out the Archibald Prize’s prestigious Packing Room Prize for a self-portrait.  Directed by STC resident director Shari Sebbens (The 7 Stages of Grieving, Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner for Darlinghurst Theatre) and starring Wyatt himself along with Mathew Cooper, St John Cowcher, Simone Detourbet, Ian Michael, Myles Pollard and Trevor Ryan, City of Gold is a gripping and innovative mixture of uninhibited truth-telling, social satire, and heartbreaking realism.  In Time Out’s review from Griffin’s staging, Cassie Tongue said: “Wyatt’s script is a coiled snake: beautiful and ready to strike… It goes for the throat. It goes for the heart. It’s breathtaking.” This is Australian theatre at its very finest, and with an STC

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  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Darling Harbour

That famous magical nanny is packing her bottomless bag and hitching a ride on a flying umbrella all the way down to Australia for a mainstage musical production of Disney Theatrical’s Mary Poppins. Take a spoonful of sugar and get your singing voice ready to belt along with classic songs like the tongue twisting ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ and put out your tuppence a bag for ‘Feed the Birds’. This rave-reviewed Tony and Olivier Award-winning show flies onto the stage at the Sydney Lyric Theatre from May 15, 2022.  Co-created and produced with Cameron Mackintosh, this production features dazzling choreography, mystifying special effects, and new songs and additional music by the Olivier Award-winning British team of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, with book by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator, Julian Fellowes.  Mary Poppins last saw Australian stages in 2010, when it won a record-breaking eight Helpmann awards. A nationwide search for Australia's own leading lady to play Mary Poppins has begun, with the full new Australian cast to be announced in February. Mary Poppins’ arrival in Sydney is a homecoming in more ways than one. The quintessentially British magical nanny’s original creator, PL Travers, or Pamela Travers, is actually Aussie. Born in Queensland before moving to Bowral in New South Wales at a young age, Travers all up published eight books featuring Mary Poppins. And as told in Valerie Lawson’s biography, Travers was a poet and

  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Elizabeth Bay

This new Aussie rock musical will change everything you thought you knew about professional wrestling, regional Australia, and musical theatre itself. In the home-grown tradition of The Castle and Muriel's Wedding – this is a story about simple folk with big hearts and big dreams. Rose, a young girl who grew up in Dubbo with wrestling in her blood, has long ago turned her back on the family business and Dubbo’s stifling small town ways. When circumstances lead her back to her hometown on the eve of Dubbomaina, the biggest wrestling tournament of the year, Rose is drawn into a monumental smackdown over family and identity – where big capes, big choreography, and some of the most colourful characters you’ll ever meet collide.  Taking over Sydney’s beating heart of musical theatre magic, the small but mighty Hayes Theatre, Dubbo Championship Wrestling has been in development for several years under the helm of the multi-talented Sheridan Harbridge (Prima Facie, Songs for the Fallen) and is stepping into the ring after two postponed seasons in 2020 and 2021. It stars some musical theatre greats alongside a few newcomers that the Hayes has been dying for audiences to meet. Zoe Iannou (Bridges of Maddison County, Westside Story) plays Rose, the young woman who is thrown back into the culture of Dubbomaina. Musical theatre legend Genevieve Lemon (Priscilla, Billy Elliot, Violet, Melba) plays Mickie and is joined by Noni McCallum (Come From Away, Priscilla); together they are “The Tr

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  • Theatre
  • Potts Point

Frantic, apocalyptic and unapologetically obscene, this is a theatre experience you’ll have to see to believe. The cream of Sydney’s comedy crop launch themselves headfirst into this new interpretation of the Ubu mythos – with puppets.  After a sell-out 2019 season, this neon nightmare is back for 10 shows only due to popular demand, promising more fart-centric action than ever before and the perfect mash-up of climate change activism and a bunch of mean clowns falling over. Will Pa Ubu steal the throne from Good King Dumc'nt? Will Ma no longer have to eat possums to survive? Will anyone be left alive to find out? Written and directed by Richard Hilliar, this is the most aggressively stupid show to grace Sydney stages this year and one not to be missed. (Unless the seas consume us earlier than predicted, in which case, you're excused.) Ubu is presented by Tooth & Sinew Theatre in association with bAKEHOUSE Theatre Co at KXT, the theatre sandwiched between five levels of dance floors and boozing in a Kings Cross pub.  Ubu runs for a strictly limited season from May 18 to 28, and you can snap up your tickets here. Want more? Check out the best theatre to see in Sydney this month.

  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Surry Hills

Why choose between two great plays when you can have both? That’s Belvoir artistic director Eamon Flack’s thinking behind their very first repertory season. The idea is simple: most of the same actors – including Sacha Horler, Rebecca Massey, Brandon McClelland and Angeline Penrith – appear in both plays, using the same set, as staged on alternate nights for the duration of the run, from April 2 to May 29. “We wanted to find new ways to work, because if you always work the same way, you’ll always end up the same kind of outcome,” Flack told us. “We had two plays that we were working on as a company during shutdown, and we love them both, so we thought, ‘let’s just do both, and let’s do them together.” Wayside Bride is a brand-new Australian play by the brilliant Alana Valentine. It was written with a lot of help from the local Kings Cross community about Sydney institution the Wayside Chapel and Reverend Ted Noff, who created a space for those who might not find a place elsewhere. It’s about the radicalism in the 1970s and the quietly revolutionary act of marriage in the face of fierce resistance from family, society and the church hierarchy. “Every city has to make sure that there are these little bubbles that are a haven for people. And what Wayside is. I think it’s what Belvoir is at its best as well,” Flack says. “Alana’s a very special writer, and she mixes pieces of verbatim and dramatisation, and it really paints a picture of Sydney. Let’s talk about our city after ev

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  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Darlinghurst

Coming home from her sister’s funeral, Grace decides that at 87 years old, her time has come. She’s done with it all and is ready to leave the party – and she wants her daughter’s help.  Starring the enigmatic presence of stage and screen great Belinda Giblin, Ghosting the Party is presented by Griffin Theatre Company and comes from the mind of Melissa Bubnic, the internationally-renowned writer of Boys Will Be Boys and Beached, with Griffin’s associate artist Andrea James in the director’s chair. Griffin’s artistic director Declan Greene says this pitch-black comedy about assisted dying is “extremely, breathtakingly, horrifyingly funny”.   Pushing up daisies. Kicking the bucket. Ghosting the Party. The euphemisms are endless. For a phenomenon so certain and all-encompassing, humans are terribly good at looking for ways to avoid talking about death. It’s easy to forget that the concept of ‘checking out’ can be complex, contradictory – funny, even. Especially when an old lady with a bone-dry wit is involved. “With the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill being hotly debated in the Upper House of NSW Parliament right now, Melissa Bubnic has dropped this cheeky and deeply-darkly funny play into the mix – from a sharp and unapologetic women’s perspective,” says Andrea James. “Bringing the political into the intimately personal, Ghosting the Party highlights our boundless and universal capacity for caring in all of its messy, hilarious and domestic reality."Ghosting the Party plays at SB

  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Darlington

Every day in an old church basement, Gail and the regular members of her early morning group set up for their meeting in the exact same way – Nicole makes the coffee, Gail arranges the chairs, and Ron complains. Together, the little group is forging a path towards sobriety and wellbeing – but when Gail’s estranged granddaughter reopens old wounds, Gail knows it will take more than coffee, chairs, and companionship to keep her life from falling apart. The Seymour Centre and White Box Theatre present the Australian premiere of Adam Bock’s remarkable new play this May. This brilliant new work is a coup for the Seymour’s season program, following the smash-hit success of recent productions including Ulster American and Heroes of the Fourth Turning. Praised by The New York Times for its expert, high-octane naturalism, Before the Meeting is a deeply realistic examination of the cost of addiction and the effort it takes to stay clean, taking audiences on a rollercoaster ride of painful personal history, of grief, love, recovery and the mantras of AA. Before the Meeting plays from May 19 to June 11. Get your tickets here.

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