Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Canberra Theatre Centre Program 2019

Canberra Theatre Centre Program 2019

Previewed by Frank McKone
October 29, 2018

Following a warmly appreciative-of-the-arts speech, by ACT Arts Minister Gordon Ramsay, the 2019 Program Launch was short and keat – ing.  The "Honourable Paul Keating" did not go quite as far as to call us unrepresentative middle-class swill, but even if he had, his absolutely biassed take-over of the prime position as MC, emphasising his own show The Gospel According to Paul above all (especially denigrating that “cheap” show The Wharf Revue) would have been applauded just as enthusiastically.

I suspect a campaign for Jonathan Biggins as Prime Minister (so long as he only ever speaks in the inimitable Keating manner) would be a great success.  Indeed, I thought Biggins sounded more impressive than Keating himself, and certainly spoke with more intelligent wit than many currently in Parliament.

The Canberra Theatre Centre is an ACT Government-run venue, administered by the Cultural Facilities Corporation.  In some countries a standard collection of conservative work might be implied, but the range of shows for us next year seems to me to represent an appropriate mix of the usual expectations and up-to-date developments.  The works are all imported, of course, leaving the other government owned theatre, The Street, attached to the Australian National University campus, to take up locally written work at a professional level, as well as more ‘fringe’ visiting productions.

The Program is presented in packaged suggestions: 

I’m obviously not up to date, having no idea what that suggests.  An online dictionary tells me: noun. Slang, a feeling of anxiety or insecurity over the possibility of missing out on something, as an event or an opportunity: If I say no to a party invitation, I get a bad case of FOMO.  In the program, “For those who need to be first to see brand-new work”, we find

Dear old Biggins (sorry – I always think of the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins) with The Gospel According to Paul in March;

Sydney Theatre Company’s production of the new play How to Rule the World in April by Indigenous writer Nakkiah Lui, following her Black is the New White (reviewed on this blog March 28, 2018);

The Sydney Dance Company’s new works by Bonachela/Nankivell/Lane, Cinco, Neon Aether and WOOF in May;

Kate Mulvaney in a new play by Suzie Miller, Prima Facie, presented by Griffin Theatre Company (Sydney) in June; and

Bangarra: 30th Anniversary Season – A celebration of contemporary dance, story and culture, “inspired by 65,000 years of culture and the continual evolution of Indigenous storytelling", under Artistic Director Stephen Page, in July.

These and other shows are suggested under headings


John Bell in Moliere’s The Miser (Bell Shakespeare) in April;

Barbara and the Camp Dogs from Belvoir, Sydney – “A Rock-Gig Musical…part road-story, part family drama, part political cry-from-the-heart” by Ursula Yovich and Alana Valentine, in May/June;

The Melbourne Theatre Company stage adaptation of the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard of Shakespeare in Love, in August;

The 39 Steps, adapted from the movie by Alfred Hitchcock and the novel by John Buchan as comedy in which “four actors perform 139 roles in 100 minutes at breakneck hilarity”, presented by the State Theatre Company of South Australia, in October / November; and

The Wharf Revue 2019 in November.

The Gospel According to Paul; How to Rule the World; Barbara and the Camp Dogs; Prima Facie; The Wharf Revue; and adds

American folk singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie (Alice’s Restaurant Massacree) in a one night stand on April 22 (presented by BluesFest).

GET READY TO LOL (For those who enjoy a good giggle) includes
The Gospel According to Paul; How to Rule the World; The Miser; Shakespeare in Love; The Wharf Revue; and adds

Bell Shakespeare’s production of Much Ado About Nothing starring Zindzi Okenyo as Beatrice, in October.

And finally MOVERS AND SHAKERS, including Bonachela/Nankivell/Lane; Barbara and the Camp Dogs; Bangarra: 30th Anniversary Season; and the add-on

Nicole Car & Etienne Depuis, with Jayson Gillham, (presented by Andrew McKinnon) in a one-off recital on August 9, “featuring romantic French and Spanish songs, as well as popular opera arias and duets”.  Australian Nicole and husband Etienne “recently starred in Puccini’s La Boheme at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.

It seems to me that the only months I can get away for grey nomad adventures next year will be in February (already booked for Tasmania) and September.