December 14, 2014

The Best of 2014

Filed under: 2014,2015,Archive

“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.

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 2014 and to acknowledge your continuing commitment and achievement.

Looking back on my comments in the lists for previous years I find they are still fitting, if not more so, at the present time, and so perhaps can be usefully repeated again 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, global, commodified and noisily dominant in its marketing.

This can overwhelm audiences and drown out smaller scale and more reflective creative work. It can also diminish the capacity and inclination of audiences to engage with art works which are original, challenging, independent and local.

It seems unfathomable that companies and governments can allocate (and write down) budgets in the billions and yet no-one can find funds or priority 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. “

Here is 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 2014

  • Notoriously Yours by Van Badham (
  • Little Bird by Nicki Bloom (directed by Geordie Brookman/ State Theatre Company)
  • Neighbourhood Watch by Lally Katz (directed by Julian Meyrick/State Theatre Co)
  • Between Two Waves by Ian Meadows (directed by Corey McMahon/State Umbrella)
  • Othello by William Shakespeare (directed by Nescha Jelk/State Theatre Co)

Best Five Touring Productions

  • Roman Tragedies by William Shakespeare (directed by Ivo van Hove/Toneelgroep Amsterdam/Adelaide Festival)
  • Needles and Opium written and directed by Robert Lepage (Ex Machina/Adelaide Festival)
  • The Last Confession by Roger Crane (directed by Jonathan Church/Chichester Festival production featuring David Suchet)
  • The Suit (based on the story by Can Themba, adapted by Mothobi Mutloatse and Barney Simon /Peter Brook/Theatre des Bouffes du Nord/State Theatre Co)
  • Stories I Want to Tell You in Person by Lally Katz (Brink Productions/ A Belvoir and Malthouse Production)

Best Five Cabaret/Fringe Productions

  • A Special Day (Por Piedad Teatro/ Holden Street /Fringe)
  • Albert Einstein: Relativitively Speaking (John Hinton/ Holden Street/Fringe)
  • Swamp Juice (Bunk Puppets/ Garden of Unearthly Delights/Fringe)
  • Nova Noir (Kim Smith/ Adelaide Cabaret Festival)
  • An Evening with Darlene Love (Adelaide Cabaret Festival)

Five Most Intriguing Productions/Events

  • This Filthy World Vol.2 (John Waters /Adelaide Festival)
  • Nova Heart (Helen Feng/ OzAsia Festival)
  • Green Porno (Isabella Rossellini/ Adelaide Festival)
  • 6 and 7 (Tao Dance Theatre/ OzAsia Festival)
  • The Factory ( Kila Kokonut Krew / Cabaret Festival)

Five Productions I Regret Not Seeing

  • No Man’s Land by Harold Pinter (Theatre Guild)
  • Peter and Alice by John Logan (Independent Theatre)
  • Quiet Faith by David Williams (Vitalstatistix)
  • The Ballad of Pondlife McGurk (Windmill)
  • The Lake by Ben Brooker (

Best Five Lead Performances (Female)

  • Miriam Margoulies (Neighbourhood Watch/State Theatre Co)
  • Ellen Steele (Girl Asleep/Windmill, Between Two Waves/State Umbrella)
  • Claire Glenn (Notoriously Yours/
  • Kate Cheel (Jesikah/State Theatre Co)
  • Ashton Malcolm (Othello/ State Theatre Co)

Best Five Support Performances (Female)

  • Lizzy Falkland (The Seagull/State Theatre Co)
  • Matilda Bailey (The Seagull/State Theatre Co)
  • Amber McMahon (Girl Asleep/Windmill)
  • Caroline Mignone (Importance of Being Earnest/State Theatre Co)
  • Elena Carapetis (Between Two Waves/ State Umbrella/ Othello/State Theatre Co)

Best Five Lead Performances (Male)

  • Paul Capsis (Little Bird/State Theatre Co)
  • Brad Williams (Notoriously Yours/
  • Nathan O’Keefe (The Importance of Being Earnest/ State Theatre Co)
  • Matt Crook (Between Two Waves/State Umbrella)
  • Renato Musolino (Othello /State Theatre Co)

Best Five Supporting Performances (Male)

  • Rory Walker (Importance of Being Earnest/State Theatre Company)
  • Matt Crook (Notoriously Yours/
  • Craig Behenna (Notoriously Yours/
  • James Smith (Neighbourhood Watch, Othello/ State Theatre Company)
  • Matthew Whittet (Girl Asleep/Windmill)

Best Five Designs

  • Geoff Cobham (Little Bird/State Theatre Company)
  • Olivia Zanchetta (Between Two Waves/State Umbrella)
  • Jonathan Oxlade (Girl Asleep/ Windmill Theatre)
  • Victoria Lamb (Othello/ State Theatre Company)
  • (Notoriously Yours /

Best Five Lighting Designs

  • Gavin Norris (The Importance of Being Earnest/ State Theatre Co)
  • Geoff Cobham (Neighbourhood Watch/ Othello/ State Theatre Company
  • (Notoriously Yours/
  • Nic Mollison (Between Two Waves/ State Umbrella)
  • Ben Flett (Jesikah/ State Theatre Co)

Best Five Music and Sound Design

  • Luke Smiles (Girl Asleep/ Windmill)
  • Stuart Day (Importance of Being Earnest/ State Theatre Company))
  • Quincy Grant and Cameron Goodall (Little Bird/State Theatre)
  • Jason Sweeney (Othello/State Theatre Company)
  • Arthur Astier, Mark Kavuma, Danny Wallington (The Suit/

Best Five Music Performances in Adelaide

  • John Zorn ( Masada Marathon/ Adelaide Festival)
  • Balanescu Quartet (Womadelaide)
  • Imogen Cooper (Musica Viva)
  • The Rolling Stones (Adelaide Oval)
  • Ralph Towner, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Slava Grigoryan – Travel Guide (Festival Centre Trust) (2014)

1 Comment »

  1. Hi Murray
    Don’t regret not seeing Quiet Faith – it is an 70 minutes of your life that you would never get back. You’d be better off cleaning the bathroom. The experience was like water boarding. Incredibly boring, conservative and torturous. The set was lovely – but that pleasure only lasted 5 minutes.

    Comment by catherine — March 2, 2015 @ 4:44 pm

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