17 December 2011

What I Loved 2011

December really did sneak up this year. I still think it's August.

But the urge to make chocolate truffles and eat fruitcake tells me it's time for the What-I-Loved Awards.

Now in their fourth year, there's still no red carpet or sparkly statue, but feel free to put on your best frock and assume that you were nominated.

I've seen over a hundred shows this year, reviewed most of them and loved watching others without the critical hat.

As ever, most of my reviews are also written for the national site AussieTheatre.com, which welcomed new editors and owners Erin and Matt in July. Already they've increased hits by thousands and readers can look forward to a whole new look in 2012.

And please keep reading every other site and blog that reviews, comments or raves. Without them, we may not have had David W's magnificent hissy over nasty reviewers or Site Unseen may not have started a debate about the value of community cultural development.

My criteria for the What-I-Likeds is: how much I liked it.  The shows I remember (yes some are forgotten) are the ones that respect audiences enough to know that we watch theatre with our uncontrollable emotions. Even if our oh-so-clever heads appreciate a practitioner, get the joke or the reference and admire the structure, if our hearts and guts don't care, there's not much point in even being there.

For the first time, there's only one non-Melbourne show among the winners and most of this year's winners are independent companies and artists.

Outstanding Artists 2011

Angus Cerini for Save for Crying

Special Mention
Patricia Cornelius for Slut  in Tenderness, Platform Youth Theatre

David Samuel for MKA's season 1 (Sleepyhead, 22 Short Plays, The Horror Face, J.A.T.O)

Special mention
Gabriela Tylesova for the shoes in Love Never Dies

Paul Jackson for Little Match Girl

The cast of Aftermath

Daniel Schlusser for The Dollhouse

Tobias, Glynn and everyone from MKA.

Outstanding Productions 2011

Miles O Neil's World Around Us II
with bonus points to be shared with the rest of The Suitcase Royale for the Xmas song at the Last Tuesday Society's Occupy Xmas.

Smoke and Mirrors

Clybourne Park, MTC

Next to Normal, MTC
Flowerchildren, Magnormos

Special mention
Spring Awakening, MUST

Sweet Child of Mine, Bron, Jim and Linda Batten

Special mention
Negative Energy Inc, Ash Flanders

Best of the best
Namatjira, Malthouse Theatre and Big hART


I know there's a lot of noise outside but you have to close your eyes, I'm Trying To Kiss You

This extraordinary show never made it past a review preview, which said sucked in to anyone who missed it. Played in the crowded downstairs room of a Fitzroy terrace, word of mouth ensured that this Fringe gem sold out (and maybe pushed some overcrowding regulations).

I'm Trying To Kiss You are Allison Wiltshire, Anna McCarthy and Zoey Dawson. Remember those names.  Deeply personal, I know etc is a confronting and intimate revelation of young women's thoughts. Unafraid of gender, language and sex, the creators crafted a story of confusion, awkwardness and bravado that was willing to be honest.

It's development took 18-months and was assisted by the Melbourne Fringe Festival and Full Tilt Outside Eye mentor program.

I heard it described as confronting and scary; a friend of mine thought it was sad and lonely. I thought it was beautiful – and that includes its glorious bitchiness, darkness and anger.  Without being obvious, this work gently grabbed me by the heart and reminded me what it was like to be 20ish.

My favourite show of 2011

Ganesh Versus the Third Reich, Back to Back Theatre, Malthouse Theatre and MIAF

2010 Favourites
2009 Favourites
2008 Favourites

1 comment:

  1. What excellent taste you have Anne-Marie. So glad you mentioned I'm Trying To Kiss You. Their show title alone would've stretched my word limit!