2015, the verdict


Event(s) of the Year
Camille O’Sullivan: Changeling – Sydney Festival
The Tempest Bell Shakespeare
Orfeo ed Euridice – Spectrum Now

Honourable Mention
All About Medea – Montague Basement
Of Mice and Men Sport for Jove
Love and Information STC & Malthouse
Man of La Mancha Squabbalogic
A View from the Bridge – Young Vic [NT Live]

Dishonourable Mention
Tabac RougeSydney Festival
Five Properties of Chainmale – Arts Radar & Griffin Independent
The Rocky Horror Show – Richard O’Brien
She Only Barks at Night – Living Room Theatre
Jumpy – STC/MTC

Best (New) Play
Battle of Waterloo, Kylie Coolwell
Extinction, Hannie Rayson

The Most Pertinent Award
ASYLUM – Apocalypse Theatre Company

The ‘Proud Overdaring’ Award
Masquerade – Griffin Theatre Company, STCSA, & Sydney Festival
Edward II – Sport for Jove

The Tempest (dir. John Bell)
Hamlet (dir. Saro Lusty-Cavallari)
Love’s Labour’s Lost (dir. Damien Ryan)

The Playlist: 2015 at the theatre

As with previous years, ‘The Playlist’ is a musical summary of the year’s theatre-going. The rule is (mostly) simple: find a piece of music that encapsulates either the production or my response to it (or both, as the case often is). The only catch is I cannot re-use a piece from a previous year, even if it is the same text.
Thus, here is The Playlist for 2015.


We are left darkling: STC’s King Lear

Alongside Hamlet, King Lear is one of the megaliths of the Western dramatic canon, regarded by Percy Bysshe Shelley as “the most perfect specimen of the dramatic art existing in the world.” Often cited as being sublime and universal, it is also extremely nihilistic, a bleak portrait of despair, a Bacon-like scream into the abyss. Known for his acute observations of humanity and generosity in directing, Neil Armfield’s work embraces the epic and intimate all at once, and so it was with great expectations and an almost-equal dose of trepidation that I entered his production of King Lear for Sydney Theatre Company. The only trouble is, it isn’t really that compelling at all.


There’s the point: Montague Basement’s Hamlet

Hamlet – the play, the character; the phenomenon – needs no introduction. In Sydney this year alone, we have been offered at least four productions in one form or another, and this is the third I have seen. In many respects, Montague Basement’s production is the strongest – and certainly the boldest – but it could be bolder, more daring; more Hamletian.