Three premieres

The Aliens, Old Fitz Theatre, August 27; La Traviata, Belvoir Downstairs, September 1; Bull, Old Fitzroy Theatre, September 3 AMERICAN playwright Annie Baker has been mentioned, many times, in the same breath as Chekov and it’s a comparison that has merit. Baker, who is only 34, probes beneath the surface of apparently ordinary and often…

‘They shall be themselves’

Playhouse, Sydney Opera House, August 21. THE Tempest starts in tumult and ends in calm. Prospero, ejected from his dukedom of Milan 12 years before, is going home. His daughter, Miranda, is to marry the heir to the throne of Naples, ending the enmity between two great houses. Ariel and Caliban, the light and dark…

Love and Information, twice

Minetta Lane Theatre, New York, February 9, 2014 Sydney Theatre Company, July 15, 2015 The script for Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information gives little away at first glance. There are many scenes and no stage directions. Characters are not named and only very occasionally is it clear that lines or actions must be assigned to…

Where there’s muck there’s brass

Belvoir, Sydney, June 10 MOTHER Courage is one of the little people, born somewhere undesirable at the wrong time. A war she didn’t have anything to do with starting grinds on, stops for a bit and then starts up again. What’s a woman to do? Mother Courage goes on to the front foot. As a…

Berlin, Paris, Verona, Worcester County

Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Belasco Theatre, May 21; An American in Paris, Palace Theatre, May 22; The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Polonsky Shakespeare Centre, Brooklyn, May 23 (matinee); The Flick, Barrow Street Theatre, May 24 IS there a more gallant, a more scintillating, a more lovable character on Broadway right now than Hedwig, in the person of…

As You Like It

Sydney Opera House, February 28 IN the guise of a sweet and playful romance, As You Like It drives its characters (and ourselves) to seek answers to life’s deepest questions. Who am I? What is my purpose? What is my rightful place? As the story begins the world is in disarray. A ruler has been…

Unfinished business

Belvoir, February 18 KILL the Messenger is as simple as theatre gets. There’s a bare space – designer Ralph Myers in particularly pared-back mode – and some projected photographs, five actors, a couple of props, 75 minutes and we’re done. The rigour, almost at the level of ruthlessness, is thrilling. Playwright Nakkiah Lui requires your…

The giants inside

Not I, Footfalls, Rockaby. Royal Court Theatre and Lisa Dwan, State Theatre Centre of WA, February 14. Mozart Dances, Mark Morris Dance Group, His Majesty’s Theatre, February 13. THERE were giants inside as well as outside during Perth’s first festival weekend. While Mark Morris and Mozart ruled with joie de vivre at His Majesty’s, Lisa…

In which I fail to stop my list at 10

THIS year I saw more than 200 performances and, over the past week or so, have written about the people, plays, operas, dance works and musicals that spoke to me most strongly. Now I cull the list to 14 – just because that’s how it turned out – and a supplementary, the last being something…

Naming names: looking back on 2014

I’VE avoided making neat lists of 10 of this and 10 of that in my survey of 2014, which is good when it comes to the individuals who made the deepest impression on me. I decided not to divide the names by art form or vocation. There are dancers, opera singers, actors, actresses, directors and…