Credit card gone limp in the heat of your festive season largesse?
There’s no need to stay home and resign yourself to another night of binge-watching Netflix in January, even if you’ve overspent during the Christmas to New Year break.
Check out our picks of the best under-$50 bargains in Sydney’s theatreland this month.
Just $35 gets you a world of feeling in Betty Grumble’s Love and Anger, a scintillating, multi-award-winning performance described by critic-blogger Kevin Jackson as “a magnificent, no-holds-barred political entertainment of huge intelligence and confrontation.” All that and music by Stereogamous, too.
F.W. Murnau’s genre-defining horror film of 1922 is the leaping off point for the ever-inventive Montague Basement’s latest show, which asks its audience to consider parallels between the film’s Count Orlock and the political/racist narrative created around the idea of the cashed-up immigrant invader. Jeremi Campese, Annie Stafford, Lulu Howes and Lucy Burke feature in a performance devised and directed by Saro Lusty-Cavallari (read his excellent essay here) and designed by Victor Kalka. Top whack tickets are $45.
Similarly confronting (and also $36 general admission) is this powerful solo work by playwright Tara Beagan, one inspired by the shocking fact that Canada currently has around 1600 Indigenous women and girls listed as missing, possibly murdered. Lila (played by Cherish Violet Blood) is the big sister of one such missing girl. Proud Blackfoot woman, daughter of a hunter and army-trained, she refuses to stand idly by.
Here’s a great way to keep costs down: write a musical with 11 characters and have them all played by one performer. Tom Cone’s book tells the story of George, a young boy in the Depression-era South possessed by the spirit of Lou, a dancing midget murdered by his vaudeville partner. Under Lou’s guidance, George becomes a sensation, lighting up vaudeville stages across the country and all the way to Hollywood. Herringbone is Southern Gothic, deeply weird (imagine Gypsy written by Flannery O’Connor) and, most enticingly of all, it’s performed by Jay James-Moody. The most you can pay? $49.
Damien Ryan’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s History Cycle is a lot of theatre (and immense amounts of Plantagenet bastardry) for not much brass. You can see each of these cleverly condensed dramas as a stand-alone performance or take in the complete cycle in a seven-hour marathon. Pay no more than $45.10 (children under nine, free) per play and spend the rest on picnic vittles.
Under 30 or a full-time student? You’ll only pay $43 for the world premiere of David Williamson’s new satire on the entertainment business and celebrity. Worth shelling out for, too, because this production features some of Sydney’s indie theatre mainsprings, including Claudia Barrie (Mad March Hare Theatre Company) and Jeremy Waters (Outhouse Theatre Co), making their Ensemble debuts.
First seen at Barangaroo in 2018, this Kevin O’Brien-designed sound pavilion moves to Blacktown in its second iteration to tell the stories of Darug Elder Uncle Wes Marne (96 this year and as loquacious as ever) and 80-year-old Darug Elder Auntie Edna Watson, who relate their experiences of decades of social and political change to two Aboriginal teenagers, Savarna Russell and Shaun Millwood. $35+bf.