Manon, Queensland Ballet, QPAC, September 28 and 29, 2022

Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon premiered in 1974, not quite a decade after his Romeo and Juliet, and in some ways is the earlier ballet’s dark twin. Each has as its heart young lovers in a hostile environment whose instant attraction to one another ends in tragedy; each has hugely coveted leading roles of the kind that make reputations.  Queensland…

Savage, Australian Dance Theatre, September 22, 2022

Savage’s subtitle is The Violence of Forgetting, letter and words separated from their neighbours by full stops and slashes. Australian Dance Theatre adds even more emphasis with attention-grabbing capitals. T.H.E./V.I.O.L.E.N.C.E./O.F./F.O.R.G.E.T.T.I.N.G. Usually one ignores typography. Fiddling around with normal usage can look at worst pretentious and at best irrelevant. Here, though, you can practically hear howls of…

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Adapted and directed by Kip Williams. Roslyn Packer Theatre, Sydney, August 10 and September 7. Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case starts not with Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde but with Jekyll’s close friend, the lawyer Gabriel Utterson. Utterson is a man of austere habits. He mortifies his flesh while being tolerant of more spirited acquaintances…

SIX

Theatre Royal, Sydney, August 30, 2022 She was sitting in the front row of the Theatre Royal stalls, which means she was practically onstage. The young woman was on her own, applauding like mad when she wasn’t paying rapt attention. Her hairstyle featured two little bunches on the top of her head just like those…

The Phantom of the Opera

Sydney Opera House, August 26, 2022 One of the stranger side effects of Covid has been Opera Australia’s double dip into The Phantom of the Opera. First up was the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour extravaganza directed by Simon Phillips earlier this year. Now a new production – new to Australia, at least – has taken…

INDance, independent dance at Sydney Dance Company

Neilson Studio, Sydney Dance Company, August 19, 2022 INDance is a new Sydney Dance Company initiative, one in which it shares space and resources with independent dance artists. It’s good for everyone. The SDC audience is encouraged to dip toes into work that might otherwise not be on the radar and the country’s biggest contemporary…

SandSong, Bangarra Dance Theatre

Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House, June 11, 2021 Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following article contains the name of someone who has passed. The family of Ningali Lawford-Wolf has given the media permission to use her name.  Bangarra’s last new work before SandSong was performed in 2019 and celebrated Bangarra’s 30th anniversary. It was…

The Sleeping Beauty, Queensland Ballet

QPAC, Brisbane, June 4, 2021 When Queensland Ballet performed The Sleeping Beauty in 2015, artistic director Li Cunxin cast international superstar Alina Cojocaru as first-night Aurora. She was wonderful of course but it was a sign Li was still in development mode at the company he took over in 2013. A glance at the 2015 program reveals…

THREE, Australasian Dance Collective, Brisbane

Playhouse Theatre, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, May 26, 2021 Amy Hollingsworth’s relief was palpable and profound. THREE had finally arrived. It was 14 months late, but it was here. The triple bill of two new works and an important Australian premiere was to have introduced Hollingsworth’s Australasian Dance Collective to the Brisbane public last year on April…

Counterpointe, The Australian Ballet

Sydney Opera House, April 27, 2021 Does Counterpointe shine an illuminating light on the journey of classical dance from the 19th century to the 20th or is it a mighty clash of opposing forces? The Australian Ballet’s new artistic director, David Hallberg, sees it as the former. The Australian Ballet’s social media ads, on the other hand, frame Counterpointe as a…