Over 200 shows to choose from and I still missed that many again that I wish I'd seen. Melbourne, you really are most excellent in so many ways. (And if you could fix Punt Road, I'd be more likely to venture over to the north side to see even more shows.)
Apologies for not running the What Melbourne Loved series this year. Although it is my favourite series on this blog... Let's come back next year.
Choosing winners has been unreasonably difficult this year. To save my own sanity (how could I not mention X!), there are more special mentions than usual.
A few past winners are on the list again – Declan Greene and Paul Jackson have won the most over the years – but there are exciting new names, some oldies who I can't believe haven't made it before, and a couple awards for stuff that wasn't in Melbourne. And it hopefully demonstrates that "no review" doesn't mean a show wasn't amazing.
Outstanding Artists 2015
|Shit. Nicci Wilks, Peta Brady and Sarah Ward. Photo by Sebastian Bourges|
Patricia Cornelius for Shit, Dee & Cornelius, MTC NEON
Angus Cerini for The Bleeding Tree, Griffin Theatre Company (Sydney)
Declan Greene for I Am a Miracle, Malthouse
Penelope Bartlau for Psychopomp & Seething, Barking Spider Visual Theatre & MUST at La Mama
|Love and Information. Photo by Pia Johnson|
Paul Jackson (lighting) for Love and Information, Malthouse.
(And how amazing was the James Turrell exhibition in Canberra! And the installation at Mona.)
|Ryan. Photo by Sarah Walker|
Nathan Burnmeister (design), Brendan Jellie (lighting) and Raya Slavin (sound) for Ryan at La Mama
|Psychopomp. Photo by Sarah Walker|
Bronwyn Pringle (lighting) for Songbirds and Angels at La Mama
Jason Lehane (design) for Psychopomp & Seething, Barking Spider Visual Theatre & Must at La Mama.
|L'Amante Aglaise. Jillian Murray & Robert Medrum|
Jillian Murray and Robert Medrum in L'Amante Anglaise at La Mama
|Die Sieben Todsunden. Meow Meow. Photo by Charlie Kinross|
Meow Meow in Die Sieben Todsunden, Victorian Opera
Shari Sebbens, Paula Arundell, Airlie Dodds in The Bleeding Tree, Griffin Theatre Company
Nicci Wilks, Peta Brady and Sarah Ward in Shit, Dee & Cornelius, MTC NEON
Steve Gome in Johan Padan and the Discovery of the Americas, Hoy Polloy at 45 Downstairs
Emily Milledge in Antigone, Malthouse
Susie Dee for Shit, Dee & Cornelius, MTC NEON
Peter Sellars for Desdemona Melbourne Festival, UnionPay International
Daniel Lammin for Ryan at La Mama
Beng Oh for The Yellow Wave, 15 Minutes from Anywhere at The Butterfly Club
Dark Mofo (Hobart)
The Container Festival, MUST
EVERYTHING THEY DO ROCKS
|The Listies. Matt Kelly & Rich Higgins|
No one makes me laugh like The Listies (Matt Kelly and Richard Higgins). The happiest audiences I have ever sat in have been at Listies' shows. They are so brilliant that I couldn't find enough stars, if I had to do so.
The Listies Ruin Christmas at Malthouse left me in pain. I tried to get my theatre date for the night, Lun (7), to give me some quotes but when I asked him what were his favourite bits, he could only narrow it down to "All of it". And "Where's Matt?".
They let kids be excited about being naughty and make sure they are always in on the joke. Even though there are plenty of laughs for the accompanying groan ups, the kids are never left out or talked down to. If they were around when I was 8, I would have cut their photo out of a magazine and glued it to my wall. (I really did glue a magazine photo of Mark Holden to my wall once; Mum wasn't impressed.)
This year they also released Ickypedia, which is the funniest book in the history of books. Really. Funniest book ever! (And I have read Good Omens and Monty Python's Big Red Book.)
Nicola Gunn/SANS HOTEL
|Piece for Person and Ghetto Blaster. Nicola Gunn. Photo by Sarah Walker|
Nicola Gunn's theatre is astonishing. It's work that somehow takes you out of your brain and into a place that's all feeling, while your brain is working in the background repairing broken thought patterns and creating better ones.
This year we saw A Social Service at Malthouse and the Piece for Person and Ghetto Blaster at Arts House Melbourne.
Outstanding Productions 2015
|The Orchid & the Crow. Daniel Tobias. Photo byAndrew Wuttke|
The Orchid & the Crow, Daniel Tobias and team, Button Eye Productions
Changeling, Camille O'Sullivan at Arts Centre Melbourne
I liked some, but none were a favourite.
|Sweet Charity. Photo by Jeff Busby|
Sweet Charity, Luckiest Productions, Neil Gooding Productions, Tinderbox Productions, Arts Centre Melbourne
In The Heights, StageArt
Avenue Q, Trifle Theatre Company
|Womanz. Tessa Walters|
Womanz, Tessa Walters
Catchy Show Title, Dr. Professor Neal Portenza
Donkey, Hannah Gadsby
Ghost Machine, Laura Davis
|32 Rue Vandenbranden. Photo by Herman Sorgeloos|
32 Rue Vandenbranden, Peeping Tom; Melbourne Festival
|Fly Away Peter. Photo by Zan Wimberly|
Fly Away Peter, Sydney Chamber Orchestra, Arts Centre Melbourne, Melbourne Festival
The Rabbits, Melbourne Festival, Arts Centre Melbourne, Opera Australia, Barking Gecko, West Australian Opera, Perth International Arts Festival
|The Ministry. Photo by Anna Nalpantidis|
The Ministry, MUST, Kin Collective
BEST OF THE BEST
Fag/Stag, The Last Great Hunt
Shit, Dee & Cornelius; MTC NEON
|The Bleeding Tree. Shari Sebbens, Paula Arundell, Airlie Dodds. Photo by Brett Boardman|
The Bleeding Tree, Griffin Theatre Company (Sydney)
Bronx Gothic, Okwui Okpokewasili; Melbourne Festival, PS122, Arts House Melbourne
YOUARENOWHERE, Andrew Schneider; Melbourne Festival, PS122, Arts House Melbourne
MY FAVOURITE SHOW OF 2015
|Oedipus Schmeodipus Zoe Coombs Marr & Mish Grigor|
Odeipus Schmoedipus by post at Arts House Melbourne