If I reviewed the show on an official basis, the link to the review is attached.
1. This Trick produced by Stella Electrika
Performed at La MaMa Courthouse
Written and directed by Kat Henry, This Trick, tells the story of a young married couple, obsessively in love with each other.
Strong performances by the leads, Penny Harpham and Matt Hickey had me completely enveloped by the story and the level of commitment they brought to the roles was more than impressive.
The minimalist set design contrasted with the dynamic lighting and choreography was well thought out and placed in telling this story of such love, where even death is not enough to separate them.
2. The Joy of Text by RePlay
Performed at La Mama Courthouse
This was a very close second and another great show at La Mama. Written by Robert Reid, this play was given a second life after its initial season at Melbourne Theatre Company.
The Joy of Text explores an education system where there is still a lot of grey areas about serious ethical dilemmas, resulting in panic and metaphorical lynching when these issues occur in our schools. I really enjoyed Reid's writing style and the poetry in the way the characters were expressing themselves. At times, there were lengthy monologues but they were insightful, sharp and witty with much food for thought.
The cast of four - Colin Craig, Elizabeth Thomson, Kasia Kaczmarek and Jason Kavanagh - worked well off one another and there was chemistry between each and every one of them. Craig in particular was very impressive and after having seen in a number of productions this year, I will definitely be keeping an eye out on his future projects.
3. Slutmonster and Friends (Melbourne International Comedy Festival)
Performed at Northcote Town Hall
I missed this show when it premiered at the Melbourne Fringe Festival in 2012 so I was determined to catch it this year and boy…no regrets! I mean, what can you say about a show with a name like Slutmonster and Friends - except it was everything I wasn't expecting and more. Think Teletubbies on acid with a whole lot of sexual energy thrown in.
The story revolves around two brothers (Wes Gardner and Lucas Heil) who are lost in the forest and come across Slutmonster (the amazingly awesome Jessie Ngaio). What ensues is just crazy and fun and includes lots of bright colours and song - which makes it even more crazier to fathom.
However, there was a lot of charm to the show and rather than feeling uncomfortable to awkward about what was transpiring, you strangely felt at ease. The costuming and stage design by Ngaio was incredible and am still waiting for the range of Slutmonster plush toys to be released!
4. The Death of Peter Pan by Fly-On-The-Wall Theatre
Performed at Chapel Off Chapel
None of the cast could be faulted in their roles with the two leads, Kieran McShane and Jordan Armstrong able to carry the show with confidence and ease. The affection and tenderness shown between the two feels genuine and there are some highly touching scenes between the two.
Its been almost six months since I saw this show, but the haunting musical score by Andrew Bishop is still firmly in my head. Along with the set, costumes, hair and make-up this was a flawless production that showed Australian theatre at its unrivalled best.
5. The Bull, The Moon and the Coronet of Starts
Performed at the Griffin Theatre
Sadly this is the only performance I got to see outside of Melbourne but glad that if I only saw one, it was this one.
Written by Van Badham, this is a loose, contemporary retelling of the stories of Ariadne, Theseus and Dionysus. In this setting, it is a romantic comedy between two colleagues, Michael and Monica - played by Matt Zeremes and Silvia Colloca. The show is sharply written with enough intrigue and whimsy to keep us entertained and captivated.
Of course, having Zeremes and Colloca on stage does help. The attraction between them starts small and continues to grow. Their banter is great to watch and both ensure neither character becomes completely enveloped by the other.
I really enjoyed Badham's script and ideas and look forward to catching future works by her - just hopefully it will be in Melbourne!
6. Vanguard by The Australian Ballet
Performed at the Arts Centre
You could accuse me of slight bias here but I was so blown away by the whole production of Vanguard that not only did I go back to watch it a second time, but also managed to score a seat in the orchestra pit and watch the musicians work their magic.
A contemporary triple bill of ballet, the standout for me was Jiri Kylian's Bella Figura - which looked at the idea of performance and are we alway "acting"? When does the "performance" start and finish? Amazing work on stage with light, depth and colour and there was such beauty to the music that I am constantly listening to it months later. The choreography is stunning and all the dancers where brilliant to watch.
Wayne McGregor's Dyad 1929 is also quite memorable with the dancers contorting their bodies into seemingly impossible positions with the frenetic pacing of the music.
Very excited about this year's triple bill which again, includes works by Kylian and McGregor.
Below is Bella Figura being performed by The Netherlands Dance Theatre back in 1999.
Just a beautiful piece.