23 December 2018

What Melbourne Loved in 2018, part 11

Today's the end of the 2018 Loveds and go from the tiniest to the largest stages. Tomorrow I publish my Best Of and my favourite moments are included today. If you missed out, I'll add some more in that nothing week between Xmas and New Year.

Tom Dickins
Co-founder of Crowded

Tom Dickins. Photo by Simone Pulga

Favourite moments in 2018
The MICF awards ceremony this year. We had a number of the shows we were presenting up for nominations including two shows nominated for the Golden Gibbo, Cam Venn (at The Butterfly Club) and Double Denim (at Belleville). When Cam was announced as the winner, I looked over at he and his partner, both in tears of shock and happiness and promptly burst into tears myself. To make the occasion all the sweeter, moments later, Double Denim were announced as the winners of the Director's Choice award for the festival and, if I had stopped crying by that point, I quickly resumed the waterworks. Every year, the comedy festival is a huge commitment of time, effort, creativity, passion, fatigue and (hopefully) laughter. Seeing excellent comedians excel at their craft and be recognised for it this year was a pure delight.

Looking forward to in 2019
As much as it terrifies me, I'm looking forward to the massive challenge of MICF 2019. This year we are involved in 101 productions across 11 stages (some 1080 performances in total). We may keel over from sheer exhaustion, but I'm very proud of our 2019 program across Crowded In The Vaults (including Pilgrim), Belleville, Campari House, Tasma Terrace and The Butterfly Club.

SM: Look at those numbers for next year – 101 productions across 11 stages (some 1080 performances in total)! As a producer, Tom and Crowded are amazing. I don't get near to seeing even half of what he produces, but I'm thrilled every time I see a new artists or a new show that he's trusting on a stage. Melbourne's indie cabaret scene would be far smaller and far less exciting without him.

Simon Parris

Independent reviewer of musical theatre, opera, ballet and (sometimes) plays

Simon Parris

Favourite moments in 2018
I loved that Melbourne hosted the Australian premieres of School of Rock and A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. High quality productions and, best of all, not juke box musicals. I loved that the big ticket opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Opera Australia) was matched by local companies Melbourne Opera (with Tristan and Isolde) and Victorian Opera (William Tell). Lorelei by Victorian Opera was also wonderful (it's worth mentioning, but disappointing that it cannot just be taken for granted, that Lorelei was practically an all female production).

After disappointments at MTC in the past, I was thrilled with the quality of An Ideal Husband, which was helped by the dream casting. MTC just seemed to be on a roll from that point on. Months later, I am still haunted by Architect. Twelfth Night, with another ripper cast, was a fun way to end the year.

Finally, The Australian Ballet excelled themselves first with Murphy and then later with the mighty Spartacus.

Looking forward to in 2019
Can't wait to see Muriel's Wedding again. It is going to look fantastic in Her Majesty's Theatre, and people who haven't seen it are going to be blown away. Opera Australia has one of the best programs for several years in Melbourne next year, with a highlight being superstar Jonas Kaufmann in Andrea Chénier. Looking forward to seeing The Australian Ballet do Sylvia, a work I have enjoyed at Royal Ballet but have never seen in Australia.

SM: I think Simon is the most enthusiastic reviewer in Melbourne. He reviews because he wants to – he has a real job – and because he loves music thearte, opera and ballet. We need more of that kind of enthusiasm.

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie Peard. I didn't take a sneaky selfie at Lone.

Favourite moments in 2018
The first time I saw Mojo Juju sing "Native Tongue" (at RIOT at Arts Centre Melbourne). I went on to see her a couple more times during the year. She's incredible.

Hanging out with Jackson in Lone by The Rabble at Arts House.

Every moment of Calamity Jane. Pure joy.

Making #queercrochet for Hir.

Choosing my MICF shows based on being Melbourne Independent Celebratory and Feminist.

Being chosen for audience participation in Cam Venn's Charles Horse Lays An Egg.

Watching the international response to Hannah Gadsby's Nanette. We called that.

Drinking beer in the pub and taking about funerals with Lara Thoms and Scott Turnball.

The industry joining together to support EJ Norvil and Yael Stone.
We also noticed who wasn't supportive.

Looking forward to in 2019
More support of arts writing at all levels.
More understanding that independent writers are not commercial writers.
Less of the "you're not invited" games.
More welcoming of emerging writers and critics to every show – you can't get good if you don't see work.
More diverse critical voices. (A big yay for Witness for finding diverse voices.)
More understanding that reviewing is more than a poster quote.
More caring more about quality writing rather than about stars and adjectives.

And Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I'm not even going to try and be cool and pretend that I'm not counting down the days.

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