Sensitive Guys (Kings Cross Theatre, until May 11)
Next up is US writer MJ Kaufman’s Sensitive Guys, a satire on American college life in which the male and female characters are played by women.
Will is a freshman at Watson college. Jordan is a senior film major. Tyler is writing a novel for his thesis. They are all members of the Men’s Peer Education group and they are a tightly bonded bunch. That is, until accusatory posters start appearing around campus suggesting that a member of the group committed sexual assault.
Blazey Best returns to the director’s chair (after the excellent King of Pigs at the Old Fitzroy in 2018).
Nancy Dennis, Natasha Cheng, Alex Malone, Shell McKenzie and Samm Ward feature.
Small Mouth Sounds (Eternity Playhouse, May 3-26)
Another American satire on contemporary life, this one by Bess Wohl, brings together six characters in search of enlightenment to a week-long mindfulness retreat in the woods. Talking is forbidden.
Wohl’s play isn’t what you would call plot or dialogue-heavy but with Jo Turner directing and actors Amber McMahon, Sharon Millerchip, Yalin Ozucelik, Jane Phegan, Justin Smith and Dorje Swallow on deck, this looks … quietly promising.
American Psycho (Hayes Theatre, May 10-June 9)
A song list that includes Huey Lewis’ retro banger Hip to Be Square? That should be recommendation enough.
But if you need more in the way of encouragement into this musical adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ succes de scandale, consider that the original music is by Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening) and that it’s directed by Alexander Berlage, who created the fabulous Cry-Baby on this same stage last year.
More? It stars Ben Gerrard (of the recent production of Angels in America) as Wall St golden boy and serial murderer Patrick Bateman.
Think of it as the show that puts the “ick” into “slick”.
Cyprus Avenue (Old Fitzroy Theatre, May 15-June 8)
East Belfast born and raised, Eric is the product of decades of sectarian thinking and hostility. “I am exclusively and non-negotiably British,” he says.
He’s also a bigot. It comes as naturally to him as breathing. But now he’s also losing his grip on reality.
Eric believes that his infant granddaughter is the former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams. In fact, he’s so convinced of it, he decides to have the baby assassinated and hires a gunman to do the job.
Anna Houston directs the Australian premiere of David Ireland’s black comic play. Roy Barker stars as Eric. Amanda McGregor, Branden Christine, Lloyd Allison-Young and Jude Gibson feature.
Prima Facie (Griffin Theatre, May 17-June 10)
Kate Mulvany was slated to star in the premiere season of Suzie Miller’s one-woman drama. But when Amazon Prime comes knocking (in the shape of the Jordan Peele-produced series The Hunt), well … you gotta do what you’ve gotta do.
Happily, the exceptional Sheridan Harbridge (Calamity Jane, Kill Climate Deniers) has stepped into the role of Tessa, a criminal lawyer whose world (and view of the legal system she works in) is turned upside down.
Read more about Sheridan here.
Blood on the Cat’s Neck (Kings Cross Theatre, May 22-June 1)
First performed in 1971, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Blood on the Cat’s Neck, is one of the most influential plays of its era, a tapestry of petty nastiness, jealousy, insecurity, bullying and domination through the eyes of an alien observer, Phoebe Zeitgeist.
“With Fassbinder, I think all his work is trying to find fascism in the micro, in our everyday interactions – it’s kind of the anti-Brecht in that sense,” says director Saro Lusty-Cavallari.
“It’s a sweeping look at all the different ways we tear each other down, exploit each other and look for the cause of our problems in people less powerful than us.”
This Montague Basement production, staged in the atmospheric Bordello Room of the Kings Cross Hotel, features Alex Chalwell, Jack Crumlin, Jenwell Deneo, Deng Deng, Laura Djanegara, Deborah Galanos, Alice Keohavong, Emma Kew, Brendan Miles and Annie Stafford.
Extinction of the Learned Response (Belvoir Downstairs, May 7-25)
Belvoir’s 25a program has proven itself the best value ticket in town over and over in the past year. Its new offering – a new play by Emme Hoy – looks plenty stimulating.
Drawing on ideas developed by novelist H.G. Wells and philosopher Jacques Derrida, “Extinction of the Learned Response is about things that can’t be precisely named and labelled, and things that can’t be suppressed or controlled,” writes Hoy in a piece for Audrey Journal that had me at “carnophallogocentrism”.