It’s that time of the year when the theatre and dance companies announce their shows for the next year. I have subscribed to the Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir and the Sydney Dance Company since each of them started. I also see many other shows and probably most at the Hayes Theatre. As I don’t live in Sydney, I need to organise myself a year in advance. I generally try to fit two, and occasionally three shows into a weekend visit. I mainly attend matinees as I get way too tired to get to late evening shows. By booking subscriptions I save heaps.
The Sydney Theatre Company will have its first year under the artistic leadership of Kip Williams. The highlight will be the staging of The Harp in the South with Ruth Park’s novel adapted for the stage in two parts by Kate Mulvany. For this I will break my “only matinees” rule as I want to see the two parts in the one day. Other highlights will be Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, The Children by Lucy Kirkwood, Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Patrick White’s A Cheery Soul. The year will end with The Wharf Review which will begin a new era as Phil Scott will not be returning.
Belvoir, which is definitely having a renaissance since Eamon Flack took over the artistic helm, continues its commitment to diversity with My name is Jimi, Single Asian Female and Sami in Paradise, classics with An Enemy of The People and The Dance of Death and possibly Shelagh Delaney’s A Taste of Honey. Add to this the wonderfully madcap Hayes success from this year Calamity Jane and you have a year that is looking good. I love Belvoir and have sort of followed it from its origins at The Stables when it was Nimrod. It has always been brave and presented challenging shows. It is interesting to note the difference between the audiences here and the other companies.
The Sydney Dance Company has gone from strength to strength since Graeme Murphy and Janet Vernon left and Rafael Bonachela came in on short notice following the sudden death of the original choice. Each year the company presents two shows and performances choreographed by members of the company called New Breeds. I am still breathless after seeing their show 2 One Another; 65 minutes of the most beautiful, thrilling, athletic and exciting dancing. It is a show that moves from groups of differing numbers to solos and duets and quartets all to a score composed by Nick Wales which covers new classical, Renaissance, and electronic soundscapes (at one point I thought I was back watching Arrival and Blade Runner 2049). There are moments of loneliness and frenetic orchestral works. The company, which now travels the world, is at its peak. They work brilliantly together and their dancing is close to perfect. They finished the work with “Vote YES!” lit on the LED light backdrop, which was the only scenery used in this astounding production.
The Hayes Theatre starts the year with Darlinghurst Nights, which is based on the book by Kenneth Slessor. They are also presenting American Psycho, In The Heights, which was the small hit from Lin-Manuel Miranda, before Hamilton, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love and Blazey Best in Gypsy. Since its first production Sweet Charity, the Hayes has delivered hit after hit and looks to continue that record next year. Now it has a reputation, it attracts people to work there. I saw Assassins there last week and this was a show that had a perfect production in every aspect.