As John Lennon asks in his now Christmas standard, “so, this is Christmas and what have you done?” Reflection becomes par-for-the-course at the tail end of the holiday period, including of shows seen during the year passed and in what has become typical, my favourites are a little off-kilter from the perhaps usual list of big-budget showcases.
Local shows aside for a moment and 2015 allowed me opportunity to see the London productions of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” and “The Book of Mormon”. I am yet to hear of anyone who has seen the Dog in the Night-Time on stage and not raved about the experience. And justifiably so; it is the best dramatic production I have ever seen, anywhere. And as for “The Book of Mormon”…. is there any feeling better than being able to tick from an in-mind list of shows you want to see. For me, this musical had been at the top of my to-see list for a number of years, replaced now by “Something Rotten” and while the show is shocking in its satire, it’s quite brilliant and definitely up there as one of my favourites.
But that is not say that Brisbane has not seen its share of great shows of all sorts, from which my favourites would be:
- All My Love (HIT Productions) – the story of Australia’s best-known poet and writer Henry Lawson and his relationship with fellow poet Mary Gilmore.
- The Confidence Man (Side Pony Productions) – a choose-your-own-adventure of the theatrical kind as audience members use smartphone to flick between the characters’ stories, tuning in on their innermost thoughts as the action unfolds.
- The Importance of Being Earnest (W!ld Rice) – a witty all-male telling of Oscar Wilde’s immortal play, as part of the Brisbane Festival.
- Candide (Opera Q) – opera at its most accessible, merging music and comedy in a colourful and energetic search for Eden.
- Tiptoe (Pentimento Productions) – Two timeframes unfold simultaneously on stage in this Australian psychological thriller with a twist from acclaimed playwright Sven Swenson.
- Best performance – Libby Munro in Grounded (Queensland Theatre Company)
- Best staging – Medea (La Boite Theatre Company)
- Best lighting – Dracula (shake+stir Theatre Company)
- Best AV – De Profundis (Brisbane Powerhouse and Metro Arts)
- Most interesting – The Mayne Effect (Flowers Theatre Company)
- Best Shakespeare – Titus (Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble)
- Best musical – Anything Goes (Opera Australia and John Frost)
- Best cabaret – That 90s Show (Tom Sharah)
- Funniest – The Odd Couple (Queensland Theatre Company)
- Most fun – Velvet (Organised Pandemonium)
- Most entertaining – Hugh Jackman: Broadway to Oz (Dainty Group)
With appreciation of the notion that theatre-going begets theatre-going, I am also confident, however, that 2016 will bring with it a range of shows and potential new favourites. So, as Lennon also says…. “Let’s hope it’s a good one”.