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…

Adelaide Festival: Split and Memorial

Split, Lucy Guerin Inc. AC Main Arts Theatre, Adelaide. March 3. Memorial, Brink Productions, Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide, March 3. The opening weekend of this year’s Adelaide Festival, the second under the co-artistic directorship of Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy, had brilliance and breadth in equal measure. The marquee work was Australian composer Brett Dean’s opera…

SHIT, by Patricia Cornelius

A Dee & Cornelius/Milke Production. Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre, Sydney, July 20 Patricia Cornelius gets right to the point, as the titles of recent plays attest. Savages (2013) is the one about men off the leash, and how a toxic mix of testosterone, grievances real and perceived, booze and group dynamics plays out on a…

Adelaide Festival opening weekend

Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy, who have signed on as joint artistic directors for three Adelaide festivals (this year, 2018 and 2019), set the bar high on their first opening weekend and floated over it with ease. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say it looked easy. It can’t be underestimated how much work went…

My 2016 Artists of the Year …

Last year I decided to institute my personal Artist of the Year award. There’s no money attached, of course, and I think we’d have to say it confers only a modest amount of fame. I was rather thrilled , however, to see that my inaugural winner, the multi-faceted mezzo Jacqui Dark, was subsequently featured in…

Hidden Sydney and other current theatre

Poor old Kings Cross. It used to have a bit of glamour back in the day, what with its famous crims, flamboyant, unconventional characters and nightclubs that could attract international performers. Now a stroll up Darlinghurst Road of an evening is an exercise in swerving around backpackers and wondering how the small businesses manage to…

Brisbane Festival: En avant, marche!

NTGent and Les Ballets C de la B. Playhouse, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, September 3. It was a stroke of genius to build this knotty, sometimes exasperating, always fascinating piece about mortality around the playing of a brass band. Breath. That’s the fundamental thing – breathe in, breathe out. If that is happening, we are still…

In praise of Sydney’s Ensemble theatre

A History of Falling Things, July 13; Betrayal, July 22 Tucked away in Sydney’s Kirribilli, in a secluded – and highly enviable – spot right on Sydney Harbour, the Ensemble quietly goes about the business it’s been devoted to for nearly six decades. You won’t often read about it in the mainstream press and while many…

About last week(s) … June 6-19

A recent holiday took me entirely away from all daily cares and the internet. There was no email, no Twitter, no Facebook, nothing. I heartily recommend it. Now back to Sydney theatre … Sydney Theatre Company’s magnificent production of All My Sons, directed with piercing clarity by Kip Williams, unfolds with dreadful inexorability and finality….

About last week … April 23-29

I could be wrong but I think the only Jonathan Dove opera to have made it to a professional stage so far in Australia is Flight, which I saw in 2006 when the Adelaide Festival presented the Glyndebourne production. The prolific Dove is something of a rarity, being a living opera composer whose more than…