Instruments of Dance, The Australian Ballet, Sydney Opera House, November 10, 2022

Australian audiences know Wayne McGregor from Dyad 1929, made in 2009 as part of The Australian Ballet’s Ballets Russes celebration; Chroma, choreographed in 2006 and brought into the repertoire in 2014; and Infra, staged by TAB in 2017 but dating from 2008. Obsidian Tear, the opening work in the Instruments of Dancetriple bill, is not that Wayne McGregor. Absent is…

Three ballet companies, three distinctive looks in 2023

Australia’s three leading classical companies have released their 2023 programs, each with a distinctive flavour. The Australian Ballet has a deeply glamorous 60thanniversary season, West Australian Ballet’s line-up gratifyingly features a strong list of female choreographers and at Queensland Ballet the premiere of Cathy Marston’s My Brilliant Career will make Brisbane a must in June. Another must…

The Mousetrap, Theatre Royal, Sydney, October 9, 2022

Governments rise and fall. Children grow up to be mothers and then grandmothers. A man steps on the moon. Evolution creates a new version of humankind, the digital native. And serenely The Mousetrap goes on, a resolutely unchanging oasis of certainty in an unpredictable world. It’s a phenomenon that, if not for the COVID-19 pandemic, would have been…

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…