23 December 2013

What I loved 2013: the Best of Melbourne Theatre

I was determined to see more than 100 shows this year and on my rough count I made it to 187. (If I count Life and Times as three shows, I get to 190; and if I count all the short plays, I can bluff a 250+!)

And I still missed too many!

Over December, we've heard what 51 people from Melbourne's theatre community loved in 2013, but here are my What I Loved awards.

There's still nothing shiny to take away.

As always, my criteria is simply what I loved the most; what shows and artists I remembered beyond the final applause.

Some were easy picks, while others were impossible to choose between and there are shows that I can't believe didn't make my own list!

Outstanding Artists 2013


Patricia Cornelius for Savages, fortyfivedownstairs

Patricia Cornelius
Special mentions

May Jasper for Not a very good story, La Mama

Lally Katz for Stories I want to tell you in person, Malthouse Theatre, Belvoir

Sarah Hamilton and Justine Campbell for They saw a thylacine, Melbourne Fringe


Sunday in the Park with George

Anna Cordingley for Sunday in the Park with George, Victoria Opera
Kate Davis for Story of O, The Rabble at NEON

Special mention

Eugyeene Teh, design; Russell Goldsmith, sound;  Rob Sowinski, lighting for Palace of the End, Theatre Works


Richard Vabre for night maybe, Stuck Pigs Squealing, Theatre Works


The Sovereign Wife

Hannah Norris for Palace of the End, Theatre Works
Mary Helen Sassman for Story of O, The Rabble at NEON
Ash Flanders for The Sovereign Wife, Sisters Grimm at NEON
The cast of Death in the Family, Ward Theatre Company

Special mentions
(or who to watch out for, because wow!)

Peter Paltos
Emily Milledge
Emily Tomlins
Genevieve Giuffre 


Palace of the End

Leticia Caceres for Constellations, MTC (and a special mention for The Tall Man, La Mama)
Emma Valente for Story of O, The Rabble at NEON

Special mentions

Daniel Clarke for Palace of the End, Theatre Works

Daniel Lammin for Columbine, MUST

Stephen Nicolazzo for Psycho Beach Party


Summertime in the Garden of Eden

Marg Horwell for her astonishing design for Constellations, MTC; By their own hands, The Hayloft Project at NEON; Savages, fortyfivedownstairs; and Summertime in the garden of Eden, Sisters Grimm and Theatre Works.

Marg consistently bring a visual narrative that's far beyond what the writers could ever have imagined, but makes the world look like it could never have been anything else. 

Story of O

The Rabble for  Story of O at NEON, and  Room of Regret, Theatre Works at Melbourne Festival.

I've run out of words to describe this company. I love them to pieces. All I know is that there's nothing on a Rabble stage that feels out of place. For a company with such a complex improvisational development process, they let process be process and only bring what's absolutely necessary to the stage.

Outstanding Productions 2012


Between the Cracks

Between the Cracks, Yana Alana at Melbourne Cabaret Festival

Special mention

Stranger, Geraldine Quinn at Melbourne Fringe. 


Constellations, MTC
War Horse, National Theatre of Great Britain and Global Creatures in association with Arts Centre Melbourne


Flowerchildren: The Mamas and Papas Story

Sunday in the Park with George, Victorian Opera
Flowerchildren: The Mamas and Papas Story, Magnormos

Special mention

Wolf Creek, the Musical, at Melbourne Fringe


Happiness is a bedside table

Happiness is a bedside table, Hannah Gadsby at Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Special mentions

Slutmonster and friends

Slutmonster and Friends at Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Famoucity!, Lessons with Luis at at Melbourne International Comedy Festival


Conversation Piece, Lucy Guerin Inc, Belvoir and Arts House


Nixon in China

Nixon in China, Victorian Opera

And the Melbourne Ring Cycle was very cool, even the not-for-review dress rehearsals.


The Rape of Lucrece

The Rape of Lucrece, Royal Shakespeare Company, Arts Projects Australia

Einstein on the Beach, Arts Centre Melbourne, Pomegranate Arts

Story of O, The Rabble at NEON

The Sovereign Wife, Sisters Grimm at NEON

Kids Killing Kids, MKA and Q Theatre Company at Melbourne Fringe


Life and Times: Episodes 1–4National Theater of Oklahoma at Melbourne Festival

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