Barbara and the Camp Dogs (Belvoir, April 4-28)
We saw it first time around and reckoned it was one of the shows of the year: “The performances are superb … Barbara and the Camp Dogs is a rare piece, one that slaps you in the face then brings you to your feet. Powerful stuff.”
Co-written by Ursula Yovich and playwright Alana Valentine, this story of two Indigenous women on a reluctant road trip to visit their seriously ill mum in Darwin, offers a fast-moving, incident and music-strewn adventure. It whisks its audience from a Sydney pub to the Northern Territory and on a journey into our national shame. Essential viewing – read Kate Prendergast’s review.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Bordello Room, Kings Cross Hotel, April 2-13)
Little Eggs Collective threatens to become one of Sydney’s most interesting and ambitious emerging theatre-making outfits. After hatching its adaptation of Pinocchio at the Sydney Fringe Festival last year, the company now turns its attention to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic poem of 1834, the story of a voyage undone by a mariner who shoots down an albatross. Read Little Eggs collaborator Nicole Pingon’s hopes for the project.
Ditch (Limelight on Oxford, April 3-13)
Playwright Beth Steel’s grim prognosis for the future of Britain is even worse than that of most Brexit pundits.
Rising sea levels caused by global warming have drowned the country. A fascist government crams the populace into the cities, all the better to control their every move. Even if you were crazy enough to bring a child into this world, you can’t – unless you hold a lucky lottery ticket. Meanwhile, in a remote outpost in the Peak District, two women scratch out a living and struggle to maintain a semblance of civilisation …
Well, that’s me thoroughly depressed already, but I’m anticipating bracing theatre from an intimate production directed by Kim Hardwick (Griffin’s The House on the Lake; The Shadow Box at the Old Fitzroy) and featuring Laurence Coy, Angus Evans, Giles Gartrell-Mills, Fiona Press, Martin Quinn and Jasmin Simmons.
Othello (Seymour Centre, April 10-13)
It’s made for schools audiences but if you can snag a ticket, do. This Sport for Jove production of one of Shakespeare’s endlessly troubling plays should be worth your while. Damien Ryan directs while reprising his award-winning Iago opposite Adele Querol’s Desdemona and Mandela Mathias – outstanding in 2018’s The Rolling Stone – in the title role. Expect all the hallmarks of Sport for Jove: restless pace; a respectful approach to the verse; fluid scene transitions; energetic performances and an emphasis on clarity.
A Little Piece of Ash (Kings Cross Theatre, April 16-26)
Megan Wilding has made a powerful impression on stage in recent seasons with her work in productions including Belvoir’s The Rover and the STC’s Blackie Blackie Brown. But that’s not half of her talent.
Shortlisted for the 2017 Patrick White Playwrights’ Award and presented at the Yellamundie National First Peoples Playwriting Festival, Wilding’s first play, A Little Piece of Ash explores grief and loss through the eyes of Jedda, a woman struggling to grieve after the death of her mother. Stephanie Sommerville, Toby Blome, Moreblessing Maturure, Alex Malone and Luke Fewster feature, and as well as directing, Wilding also performs.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Roslyn Packer Theatre, April 29-June 8)
Hugo Weaving crosses off another bucket list role at the STC playing Big Daddy Pollitt, the cancer-stricken birthday boy of Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning 1955 drama.
Directed by Kip Williams (whose associated with Weaving has produced some of the best mainstage theatre seen in this city in some years), this is a starry affair. Pamela Rabe co-stars as Big Mama. Zahra Newman (so brilliant in Random at Belvoir last year) is the frustrated Maggie, AKA “The Cat”.
And Harry Greenwood plays Brick, the golden boy drinking himself insensate over the death of his best friend Skipper. Has there been another real life father-and-son in the roles of Big Daddy and Brick?
Frida Kahlo: Viva la Frida (Old 505 Theatre, April 23-May 4)
We see precious little Latin American theatre in this city and that alone makes Mexican writer Humberto Robles’ play stand out. That its focused on one of the art world’s enduringly fascinating figures in art and stars Kate Bookalil tips it into the must-see category this month. Just an hour long, this is the story of the artist, her art and the pivotal “accidents” in her life: the horrific bus crash that nearly killed her, and her marriage to Diego Rivera.