January 01, 2014

The Best of 2013

Filed under: 2013,2014,Archive

Live performances have their seasons and then are gone : sometimes they remain vivid, but often, excellent productions and outstanding performances drift into imperfect recollection and hearsay. 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 invited me to performances in 2013 and to acknowledge your continuing commitment and achievement.

Looking back on my comments for 2012 I find they are even more apposite twelve months on, so perhaps they can be repeated here :

“It is always hard to create good work and these are especially difficult times in which to operate.

So much entertainment is now corporatized and commodified and the capacity and inclination of many audiences to engage with art works which are original, challenging, local and independent seems to be diminishing.

It seems unfathomable that companies and governments can allocate (and write down) budgets in the billions and no-one can find funds for this country’s cultural activity. Less and less is being done to support new works by Australian artists, performers, and makers of all kinds – many in mid-career and with proven reputations. That so many continue in their vocations – in uncertain circumstances and for often modest rewards – is not just admirable, it is inspirational.”

These are a selection of my highlights for the past year – not in any rank order, and by no means all that deserve mention.


Best Adelaide Productions of 2013

  • Hedda Gabler (directed by Geordie Brookman/ State Theatre Company)
  • Babyteeth (directed by Chris Drummond /State Theatre Company)
  • Big Bad Wolf (directed by Rosemary Myers /Windmill Theatre )
  • Vere (directed by Sarah Goodes/ State Theatre Company)
  • Thursday (directed by Chris Drummond/Brink Productions and English Touring Theatre)

Best Five Touring Productions

  • One Man, Two Guvnors (directed by Nicholas Hytner/National Theatre of Great Britain)
  • Kamp (Herman Helle/ Arlene Hoornweg, Pauline Kalker/ Hotel Modern, Netherlands)
  • Brief Encounter – Adaptation of Noel Coward (directed by Emma Rice/ Kneehigh Theatre UK/State Theatre Company)
  • One for the Ugly Girls (directed by Adrianna Bonaccurso/ ONFG, Melbourne)
  • Parah (directed by Jo Kukathas/ Instant Café Theatre Company –Malaysia /OzAsia)

Best Five Cabaret/Fringe Productions

  • Que Reste-T’il (Robyn Archer, Michael Morley, George Butrumlis)
  • Homage to Uncertainty (Emma Beech)
  • You, Me, The Bloody Sea (Cameron Goodall, Quincy Grant, Andy Packer)
  • Circolombia (Colombia)
  • Bernadette Robinson in Concert (Cabaret Festival)

Five Most Intriguing Productions/Events

  • Stereopublic (Jason Sweeney/Freerange Future/Adelaide)
  • Take the Smile Off Your Face (Ontroerend Goed/ Belgium)
  • Fight the Landlord (directed by Gavin Quinn/Pan Pan Theatre and Beijing’s Square Moon Culture)
  • RRamp (Christine Johnston, Lisa O’Neill, Peter Nelson/Queensland/ Cabaret Festival)
  • Sugartits (Bourgeois and Maurice /UK/ Cabaret Festival)

Best Five Lead Performances (Female)

  • Alison Bell (Hedda Gabler/State Theatre Company)
  • Danielle Catanzariti (Babyteeth/State Theatre Company)
  • Kris McQuade (Maggie Stone/State Theatre Company)
  • Miranda Pike (Girl in the Goldfish Bowl/Bakehouse Theatre)
  • Kate Mulvany (Thursday/Brink Productions and English Touring Company)

Best Five Support Performances (Female)

  • Carmel Johnson (Hedda Gabler/State Theatre Company)
  • Jordan Cowan (The Dark Room/Flying Penguins)
  • Sara Zwangobani (Maggie Stone/ State Theatre Company)
  • Kate Cheel (Brief Encounter/Kneehigh Theatre/State Theatre
  • Elena Carapetis (Comedy of Errors/ State Theatre/Bell Shakespeare)

Best Five Lead Performances (Male)

  • Nathan O’Keefe (Comedy of Errors/ State Theatre/Bell Shakespeare)
  • Paul Blackwell (Vere/ State Theatre Company)
  • Patrick Graham (Big Bad Wolf/Windmill Theatre)
  • Alirio Zavarce (Book of Loco/Sons and Mothers/ Men’s Ensemble of No Strings Attached)
  • Renato Musolino (The Kreutzer Sonata/State Theatre Company)

Best Five Supporting Performances (Male)

  • Nathan O’Keefe (Hedda Gabler/State Theatre Company)
  • Matt Crook (Babyteeth/State Theatre Company)
  • Patrick Graham (The Dark Room/(Flying Penguins)
  • Shedrick Yarkpai (Maggie Stone/ State Theatre Company)
  • Renato Musolino (Comedy of Errors/ State Theatre/Bell Shakespeare)

Best Five Designs

  • Geoff Cobham (Hedda Gabler/State Theatre Company)
  • Wendy Todd (Babyteeth/State Theatre Company)
  • Jonathan Oxlade (Big Bad Wolf/ Windmill Theatre)
  • Victoria Lamb (Maggie Stone/ State Theatre Company)
  • Neil Murray (Brief Encounter/Kneehigh Theatre/State Theatre Company)

Best Five Lighting

  • David Gadsden (The Moon is a Balloon/ Patch Theatre)
  • Mark Pennington (Comedy of Errors/ State Theatre/Bell Shakespeare)
  • Geoff Cobham (Babyteeth/ State Theatre Company)
  • Ben Flett (Random/ State Theatre)
  • Chris Petridis (The Kreutzer Sonata/ State Theatre Company/Big Bad Wolf/ Windmill Theatre)

Best Five Music and Sound Design

  • Gabriella Smart (The Kreutzer Sonata/ State Theatre Company
  • DJ Tr!p (Hedda Gabler/ State Theatre Company))
  • Quincy Grant (The Dark Room/Flying Penguins)
  • Hilary Kleinig (Babyteeth/State Theatre Company)
  • Josh Bennett (The Moon is a Balloon/ Patch Theatre

Best Five Music Performances in Adelaide

  • Van Dyke Parks with Daniel Johns and Kimbra (Adelaide Festival)
  • Robert Plant (Entertainment Centre)
  • Dhafer Youssef (Womadelaide)
  • Mark Gasser / Messiaen- Vingt regards sur l’enfant Jesus (Elder Hall/Recitals Australia)
  • Idina Menzel and the Adelaide Art Orchestra (Cabaret Festival) (2014)

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