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December 16, 2018

The Best of 2018

Filed under: Archive,Current

“When you hear music,“ jazz saxophonist Eric Dolphy once remarked, “After it’s over, it’s gone, in the air. You can never capture it again.”

In varying degrees that is true of all live performances. They have their moment, their season, and then are gone. Sometimes they remain vivid, but eventually, even excellent productions and outstanding performances drift into imperfect recollection and generalised hearsay. Maggie Smith once remarked- “Every performance is a ghost.”

I hope this website, for all its sometimes unwelcome opinions, is a useful record of some of the notable activity in Adelaide this year.

I want to thank all the companies and creatives who have generously invited me to performances in 2018 and to acknowledge your continuing commitment and achievement.

It is always hard to create good work and these are especially difficult times in which to operate. It was the esteemed Broadway director, Harold Clurman who remarked – “people ask me why the theatre is mediocre. And I say art is mediocre when the country is mediocre.”

That may be an overstatement but the past four years or so have made it very difficult for imaginative work to thrive. Australia Council funding was imperiously intercepted by Senator Brandis in 2015 and has only been partially returned since.

In that time of needless stringency and uncertainty many artists were broken on the wheel and reputable companies hit the wall.
Given such deliberate undermining of Australian creativity, the achievements of our artists, operating in such hostile conditions, are nothing short of heroic.

2018 has brought the decimation of Arts SA and, under a new government, the funding and encouragement of performing artists in South Australia is still a long way short of the levels of support of, for instance, twenty years ago. There is much more to be done.

Nonetheless performing artists this year have continued to produce original and exceptional work.

Two years ago when I posted my list of Best Of’s, among the many comments and responses was the vinegary remark- “Who cares ?”

The answer to that question is that I care. And audiences, friends of the artists, and their peers care. Outstanding work deserves to be recognised and applauded. My admiration for all concerned is greater than ever.

Here is a list of my selections for this year – not in any rank order, and by no means all that deserve mention.

Best Adelaide Productions

Memorial (by Alice Oswald, adapted for the stage and directed by Chris Drummond. Brink Productions.) Adelaide Festival.

Creditors by August Strindberg (a new version by Duncan Graham. Directed by David Mealor. State Theatre Company of South Australia.)

That Eye The Sky (A stage adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel by Justin Monjo and Richard Roxburgh. Directed by Kate Champion, State Theatre Company South Australia.)
Welcome the Bright World by Stephen Sewell (Directed by Charles Sanders, House of Sand in association with State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Lines by Pamela Carter. Developed with Jay Miller. Directed by Corey McMahon. Theatre Republic.)

The Gods of Strangers by Elena Carapetis. (Directed by Geordie Brookman, State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Best Five Touring Productions

Kings of War by William Shakespeare. (Adaptation by Bart Van den Eyde, Peter Van Kraaij. Translated by Rob Klinkenberg. Directed by Ivo van Hove. Toneelgroep Amsterdam.) Adelaide Festival.

Azza (Written and directed by Amir Nizar Zuabi. ShiberHur Theatre Company. ) Adelaide Festival.

While I Was Waiting by Mohammad Al Attar (Directed by Omar Abusaada) OzAsia Festival.

War Sum Up (Hotel Pro Forma. Directed by Kirsten Dehlholm. Music by Santa Ratniece, The Irrepressibles and Gilbert Nouno. Featuring the Latvian Radio Choir.) OzAsia Festival.

Faith Healer by Brian Friels (Directed by Judy Davis. A Belvoir Production presented by State Theatre Company.)

Best Five Fringe Productions

Borders (by Henry Naylor, Redbeard Productions featuring Avital Lvova and Graham O’Mara. Holden Street Theatres). Adelaide Fringe

Love Letters to the London Transport System (Written and performed by Molly Taylor. Holden Street Theatres.) Adelaide Fringe.

Rouge. Gluttony. Adelaide Fringe.

Rogue Romantic. Anya Anastasia. Gluttony. Adelaide Fringe .

That Daring Australian Girl (Written and Performed by Joanne Hartstone. Holden Street Theatres. Adelaide Fringe.

Best Five Cabaret Productions

Songs for Those Who’ve Come Across the Seas. (Created by Cameron Goodall, Quincy Grant, Andy Packer with Gareth Chin. Directed by Andy Packer. Slingsby.) Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

Don’t Monkey with Broadway (Patti LuPone with Joseph Thalken) Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

Modern Maori Quartet. Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

The Girl Who Jumped Off the Hollywood Sign. (Written and performed by Joanne Hartstone.) Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

The Wine Bluffs. Damian Callinan and Paul Calleja. Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

Best Five Lead Performances (Female)

Helen Morse (Memorial by Alice Oswald, directed by Chris Drummond. Brink Productions.)

Miranda Daughtry (In the Club by Patricia Cornelius. Directed by Geordie Brookman. State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Carolyn Craig (Creditors by August Strindberg. A new version by Duncan Graham. Directed by David Mealor. State Theatre Company of South Australia.)

Jordan Cowan (Solo/ Bitch Boxer by Charlotte Josephine. Directed by David Mealor. Flying Penguins. )

Dina Panozzo (The Gods of Strangers by Elena Carapetis. Directed by Geordie Brookman. State Theatre Company South Australia)

Best Supporting Performances (Female)

Rachel Burke (In the Club by Patrica Cornelius. Directed by Geordie Brookman. State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Lisa Flanagan (Brothers Wreck. Written and directed by Jada Alberts. Malthouse/ State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Elena Carapetis (After Dinner by Andrew Bovell. Directed by Corey McMahon. State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Kate Cheel (That Eye The Sky A stage adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel by Justin Monjo and Richard Roxburgh. Directed by Kate Champion, State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Jo Stone (Welcome the Bright World by Stephen Sewell. Directed by Charles Sanders, House of Sand in association with State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Best Five Lead Performances (Male)

Tim Overton (That Eye The Sky A stage adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel by Justin Monjo and Richard Roxburgh. Directed by Kate Champion, State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Dion Williams (Brothers Wreck . Written and directed by Jada Alberts. Malthouse/ State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Renato Musolino (Solo/ Sea Wall by Simon Stephens. Directed by David Mealor. Flying Penguins. )
(The Gods of Strangers by Elena Carapetis. Directed by Geordie Brookman. State Theatre Company South Australia)

Terence Crawford (Welcome the Bright World by Stephen Sewell. Directed by Charles Sanders, House of Sand in association with State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Colin Friels (Faith Healer by Brian Friels. Directed by Judy Davis. Belvoir/State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Best Five Supporting Performances (Male)

Rory Walker (After Dinner by Andrew Bovell. Directed by Corey McMahon. State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Trevor Jamieson (Brothers Wreck . Written and directed by Jada Alberts. Malthouse/ State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Paul Blackwell (Faith Healer by Brian Friels. Directed by Judy Davis. Belvoir/State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Matt Crook (Lines by Pamela Carter. Developed with Jay Miller. Directed by Corey McMahon. Theatre Republic.)

James Smith (Lines by Pamela Carter. Developed with Jay Miller. Directed by Corey McMahon. Theatre Republic.)

Best Five Scenic Designs

Jonathan Oxlade (After Dinner by Andrew Bovell. Directed by Corey McMahon. State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Geoff Cobham (That Eye The Sky A stage adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel by Justin Monjo and Richard Roxburgh. Directed by Kate Champion, State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Ailsa Paterson/ Thom Buchanan Songs for Those Who’ve Come Across the Seas. (Created by Cameron Goodall, Quincy Grant, Andy Packer with Gareth Chin. Directed by Andy Packer. Slingsby.) Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

Karla Urizar (Welcome the Bright World by Stephen Sewell. Directed by Charles Sanders, House of Sand in association with State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Olivia Zanchetta (Lines by Pamela Carter. Developed with Jay Miller. Directed by Corey McMahon. Theatre Republic.)

Best Five Lighting Designs

Geoff Cobham (In the Club by Patricia Cornelius. Directed by Geordie Brookman. State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Nigel Levings (After Dinner by Andrew Bovell. Directed by Corey McMahon. State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Geoff Cobham (Songs for Those Who’ve Come Across the Seas. Created by Cameron Goodall, Quincy Grant, Andy Packer with Gareth Chin. Directed by Andy Packer Slingsby.) Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

Chris Petridis (Lines by Pamela Carter. Developed with Jay Miller. Directed by Corey McMahon. Theatre Republic.)

Gavin Norris (The Gods of Strangers by Elena Carapetis. Directed by Geordie Brookman. State Theatre Company South Australia)

Best Music Scores/Sound Design

Quincy Grant and Cameron Goodall (Songs for Those Who’ve Come Across the Seas. (Created by Cameron Goodall, Quincy Grant, Andy Packer with Gareth Chin. Directed by Andy Packer. Slingsby.) Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

Jocelyn Pook and John Peter Kenny. (Memorial by Alice Oswald, directed by Chris Drummond. Brink Productions.)

Alan John (That Eye The Sky A stage adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel by Justin Monjo and Richard Roxburgh. Directed by Kate Champion, State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Hilary Kleinig (The Gods of Strangers by Elena Carapetis. Directed by Geordie Brookman. State Theatre Company South Australia)

Mario Spate (Welcome the Bright World by Stephen Sewell. Directed by Charles Sanders, House of Sand in association with State Theatre Company South Australia.)

Andrew Howard (Terrestrial by Fleur Kilpatrick. Directed by Nescha Jelk. State Theatre Company South Australia)
Best Five Classical Music Performances

Human Requiem. Runfunkchor Berlin. Adelaide Festival)

Adelaide Chamber Singers and Choir of St James Church, Sydney Brahms Requiem (Carl Crossin, Warren Trevelyan-Jones, conductors)

Adelaide Chamber Singers, Re-Imagine, Carl Crossin conductor, Andy Packer, Creative Director)

Steven Osborne (Morgans International Piano Series) Ukaria.

The Firm: The Benaud Trio with Benjamin Martin; Konstantin Shamray; Michael Ierace.

Best Five Touring Music Performances

Roger Waters (Entertainment Centre)

Grace Jones (Adelaide Festival)

The Manganiyar Seduction (WOMADelaide)

Bob Dylan and His Band (Bonython Park)

Wreckless Eric (The Gov)

Five Most Intriguing Performances

Fallot Company 2, Royal Croquet Club. Adelaide Fringe

Here is the Message You Asked For..Don’t Tell Anyone Else 😉
Created by en? (What has happened? How does it come to this , Chunqiu Theatre Company. Directed by Sun Xiaoxing. OzAsia Festival.

Revolt. She Said.Revolt Again. by Alice Birch. Directed by Charles Sanders. House of Sand. Holden Street Theatres. Feast.

Hello My Name Is …(Using text by Edward Bond. Directed by Paulo Castro. Featuring Jose Da Costa. OzAsia Festival.

Baling. Fine Arts Centre, Malaysia. Conceived and directed by Mark The.

Productions/Events I Regret Not Seeing

Us/Them by Carly Wijs. BRONKS. Adelaide Festival.

Caligula (Red Phoenix) Holden Street Theatres

Old Wicked Songs (Independent Theatre)

Unsound Adelaide

Vitalstatistix Adhocracy program

Best wishes for 2019.

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