02 December 2016

What Melbourne loved in 2016, part 2

There have been a couple of significant international events this year when people thought that their contribution didn't count. The best way to get Melbourne's arts community telling us what they loved, is to do yours and then tag, poke and remind your favourite artists/creators/writers that you want to hear their favourites.

What was your favourite moment in Melbourne theatre in 2016?
It could be a show, a performance, an overheard comment in an interval, a thought the next day or anything that gave you that jolt that says "this is why we do this".

What are you looking forward to in Melbourne theatre in 2017?
It could be something that is programmed to happen or something that you wish for.

Email your answers and attach your favourite photo of you and credit the photographer.

Today we hear from a writer-performer, an editor and a lighting designer.

Isabel Angus
comedian, writer


Isabel Angus (as Penny Parsins) feeling happy about Melbourne theatre. Photo by Hannah Cantwell. 


IA's favourite moments in Melbourne theatre in 2016: I have seen such amazing performances in Melbourne this year: Zoe Coombs Marr's Trigger Warning at MICF, Sixxters Grimm's Lilith The Jungle Girl, Zoe Dawson's Conviction, The Listies Ruin Christmas (SM note: which hasn't opened yet, but we both know that it will be awesome) and so many more unique, hilarious and captivating shows.

However, my hands-down favourite theatre moment would have to be watching Backstage in Biscuitland at Melbourne Festival. My mind was literally burst open, not only by the show itself, but also by the discussion that followed afterwards about relaxed and inclusive theatre and breaking down traditional barriers and preconceived expectations surrounding theatre.

What IA is looking forward to in Melbourne theatre in 2017: Seeing even more weird and interesting things, hearing from diverse voices and experiencing unique ways of making performance. I'd like to witness the barriers between what is and isn't traditionally considered theatre, continually challenged and expanded.

SM: Isabel's Bliss at Melbourne Fringe was one of my many favourite comedies this year. She had me from the moment she left chips for the audience and took them away! But my favourite moment was finding The Jono Show on YouTube and watching a lot of them when I was meant to be writing reviews.

Brendan Jellie
lighting designer and operator

Brendan Jellie

BJ's favourite moments in Melbourne theatre in 2016:  In terms of theatre it was a tremendous year for me. I landed work with Adelaide Fringe Festival and stepped up a rung to supervising tech at one of my venues and fulfilled a dream of teching LX for the Melbourne Fringe Club at Arts House. But there are two shows that I remember the most.

Pursued by Bear's First Date was a hoot. It came at a time when I was down and disenfranchised by theatre and the world, having seen and worked on a bunch of heavy-themed productions. First Date was so light-hearted, it was put together really well with some hilarious moments. I particularly loved the way they transformed the Chapel (at Chapel off Chapel) into a working cafe for the pre-show and had the band subtly dispersed through the cafe. It reignited the creative side of my brain; instead of working to create isolation on stage, this was a show of "let's have fun with this" and it made me wish I'd been a part of it.

The other memorable moment was GoD (Gentlemen of Deceipt) at the Sydney Opera House. It had all the elements of a great story: five friends staying in a two-bedroom Airbnb, early starts and late nights and the surrealism of working at the most famous venue in the country. 

The crazy thing? Once we'd signed everything and we'd bumped in and were rehearsing for the show, I thought, "this is just like every other venue, just everything works"; it was really satisfying. The world is good, but maybe just in pockets :).

SM: A couple weeks ago at the Malthouse, Brendan tapped me on the shoulder to make sure that I turned around to see 70's-and-80's-rock-legend Ross Wilson dancing to Madonna with a handful of 40-something women. I'm so glad I saw that.

Katie Purvis
editor, Joy 94.9 presenter, occasional reviewer

Katie Purvis


KP's favourite moments in Melbourne theatre in 2016: Hard to beat Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs (Arts Centre Melbourne) right at the beginning of January – it set the bar for 2016, and what a high, saucy, wickedly funny bar it was. His storytelling, choice of songs, charm and easy rapport with the audience were wonderful to behold.

Other shows that came close to or got over the bar for me were:

  • Ladies in Black (MTC) – a show for which the word 'delightful' was invented.
  • Liza's Back! (Is Broken) (Arts Centre Melbourne) – in which Trevor Ashley delivered his best and most accomplished solo show yet.
  • Matilda (Princess Theatre) – I loved this dark, funny, brilliantly staged show so much that I saw it twice even though I couldn’t really afford it.
  • Mother's Ruin: A Cabaret About Gin (Butterfly Club) – a superbly performed and extremely funny and educational show featuring Maeve Marsden and Libby Wood from Lady Sings It Better, and musical director Jeremy Brennan.
  • Switzerland (MTC) – Joanna Murray-Smith's suspenseful play imagining the author Patricia Highsmith (played by Sarah Peirse) devoured by her own Ripley character (Eamon Farren) was marvellously spiky.
  • Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (Melbourne Festival) – raucous, joyous and unapologetically feminist.


What KP is looking forward to in Melbourne theatre in 2017:  I can't wait to see what Dolly Diamond gives us in her role as new artistic director of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival.

At MTC, I'm looking forward to Lally Katz's Minnie and Liraz, directed by Anne-Louise Sarks and starring Virginia Gay, Nancye Hayes, Sue Jones and John Leary. And I’m hoping that Life Like Company stages another piece of music theatre that continues their record of excellent productions, and that they keep putting women in charge (for 2016's The Light in the Piazza, the director, musical director and choreographer were all women).

SM: Every time Katie sends me a message late at night because she's seen a typo on a review. I love her so much for that.

part 1
2014
2013
2012

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