In announcing the season, Flack says “You could despair, really, at the state of affairs. These are mad, crazy times. So much shiny, high-end living on the one hand, so much hate and misery on the other. The world has become incomprehensible. The only answer, really, is to struggle on and fight for the good things.”
“Either way, in the midst of this mess everyone has a life that wants to be lived. That’s the spirit of our season. There are serious themes in there – about change, about what we want to leave behind and what we want to hold on to. But more than anything it is playfulness – the best human instinct of them all – jazz-like, upbeat, free-spirited – which is the tune.”
Kicking off the 2018 Season in partnership with the Sydney Festival, will be the return of Jimi Bani (Title and Deed, ABC’s Mabo) in My Name is Jimi. Commissioned by Wesley Enoch and the Queensland Theatre, the show is a joyous and charming look at the passing of culture from one generation to the next in an evening of music, dance, stand- up and storytelling. Four generations of one family take to the stage, as Jimi’s grandmother, mother, son and brothers help him spin yarns of totems, traditions and childhood memories.
Single Asian Female will head to Belvoir in March, direct from its smash hit debut season at Brisbane’s La Boite Theatre Company. Sassy, fierce and uproariously funny, the show is an incisive new Chinese-Australian family comedy from comedian, actor and filthy tweeter, Michelle Law (The Family Law), and is a look at modern Australian domesticity like never seen before.
In Sami in Paradise (opening upstairs in April), Belvoir will present a fresh new take on the 1928 comedy, The Suicide by Nikolai Erdman, transplanted from the obliterating regime of Stalin’s Russia to the obliterating regime of living stateless in the world today. Directed by Belvoir Artistic Director, Eamon Flack, this is a play that is full of slapstick, exuberance, and the zing of being alive.
May will see the premiere of The Sugar House by award-winning Australian playwright Alana Valentine, presented upstairs at the Theatre. Starring the inimitable Kris McQuade (Neighbourhood Watch, Strange Interlude), The Sugar House is a story of Sydney – work and corruption, family and massive social change. A story of how Australia went from working class to middle class set in the back streets of Pyrmont.
A co-production with Malthouse Theatre, BLISS is a brand-new stage adaptation of Peter Carey’s iconic Miles Franklin Award-winning novel by Belvoir’s own Tom Wright. Entertaining and a little bit epic, it investigates if Australia Heaven on earth, or is it Hell?
Headed to Belvoir St Theatre in July is A Taste of Honey – a Vaudeville meets kitchen sink production of one of the great plays of the 20th century, written by the then 19-year-old Shelagh Delaney. A Taste of Honey is directed by Eamon Flack and stars Genevieve Lemon.
August will see Virginia Gay (All Saints, Winners and Losers, High Society) grace the Belvoir stage in her critically acclaimed performance in Calamity Jane following its smash-hit premiere season at the Hayes Theatre this year. The show is given a hell of a shake-up in this pared-back, madcap, hilarious rendition. Jane is all swagger – a rough rider, full of defiance but, when it comes to love, she is calamity in more ways than one.
In An Enemy of the People (opening October), Ibsen’s 1882 masterpiece has been updated by Melissa Reeves. The production reunites the team behind Medea and Jasper Jones, with director Anne-Louise Sarks (Seventeen, Stories I Want to Tell You in Person) and starring the superb Kate Mulvany (Richard III) as Katherine Stockmann, who finds herself shunned from society when she speaks inconvenient environmental truths.
Rounding out an incredible season, Judy Davis will direct an all-star cast of Colin Friels, Pamela Rabe and Toby Schmitz in one of the best theatrical marriage battles ever written, The Dance of Death. Deliciously venomous, this is a masterpiece portrayal of a crumbling marriage, laced with black comedy and humour, and a show not to be missed.
In addition, Belvoir will present in the downstairs theatre from 19 January, a co-production with Performing Lines in association with Sydney Festival, Ghenoa Gela’s My Urrwai, directed by Rachael Maza. While in the upstairs theatre (from 24 January), Noni Hazlehurst stars in Daniel Keene’s critically acclaimed Mother – a solo performance wrought with tenderness, violence and loneliness in equal measure.
A three-way attack on contemporary Australian culture from three of the sharpest minds (and tongues) in comedy, Mel Buttle, Anne Edmonds, Cal Wilson feature in Belvoir Ha Ha in the downstairs theatre in February. In October, Zahra Newman takes over the downstairs theatre in an astonishing solo performance in debbie tucker green’s Random.
2018 subscriptions are now available. For more information, visit: www.belvoir.com.au for details.
Image: Jimi Bani, Virginia Gay and Kris McQuade – photos by Daniel Boud