What’s on stage in 2010

Last week I looked at the musicals you can expect to see in 2010 in Australia and this week, I thought I’d take a look at some of the straight theatre you can expect to see.

Last week I looked at the musicals you can expect to see in 2010 in Australia and this week, I thought I’d take a look at some of the straight theatre you can expect to see.

Given our major state theatre companies are the main producers of straight plays, I have broken the summary into a company by company breakdown – with a few added extras thrown in.

So, here we go…

2010 has the potential to be the biggest year the company has experienced in some time, with some big plays set to attract great numbers across the season. Amongst the highlights will be a production of the classic 1938 Thornton Wilder play Our Town, which opens in September. However, the 2010 highlight will without doubt be the all-star cast that has been lined up for Uncle Vanya, which opens in November. John Bell, Cate Blanchett, Richard Roxburgh and Hugo Weaving will line up for this treasured classic from Anton Chekhov, which lays bare the fruitlessness of human endeavour with exceptional warmth, humour and insight. For something a little different, the 2010 Next Stage program at the STC features some great stuff this year, including Polly Stenham’s Tusk Tusk, which will certainly be highly regarded amongst the younger set.

The Melbourne Theatre Company promises a great 2010 season, with an Australian premiere of All About My Mother the highlight. This play was originally performed in London and while it is not for the faint hearted, the reviews from the UK suggest it is one not to be missed. One better than an Aussie premiere, a world premiere hits the stage in April with Tony McNamara’s The Grenade, which stars Garry McDonald. For those Gen Y theatre followers, Sarah Ruhl’s Dean Man’s Cell Phone will be a beauty – it stars Matt Day and Sue Jones.

Some big names and some great plays head to the Queensland Theatre Company this year. The highlights begin when Michael Gow directs The Little Dog Laughed in February. Sydneysiders caught a production of this work at the Ensemble Theatre last year and it is well worth seeing for any theatre lover. Another play that did the rounds in Sydney last year and heads to Queensland in 2010 is Let The Sunshine starring John Wood, best known for his role on TV’s Blue Heelers. Again, Michael Gow directs and opens in April.

It is a season of classics in Adelaide this year, highlighted by the Arthur Miller play The Price, regarded as one of the writer’s finest. It stars Michael Habib and Carmel Johnson and opens in April. Romeo And Juliet gets a run, whilst another highlight will be Jacki Weaver in Entertaining Mr Sloane. Getting a little more contemporary, The Give And Take by Tony McNamara plays from late October, and is a great Aussie play well worth seeing.

Perth’s flagship theatre company presents a range of classic and contemporary plays in 2010. Of the classics, the best appears to be a production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, directed by Roger Hodgman. Hannie Rayson’s The Swimming Club opens at the Playhouse Theatre in late March and amongst its top notch cast is John Waters. Caroline Gillmer, Megan Holloway and Igor Sas also feature in the cast, which is directed by Kate Cherry.

There’s plenty of great theatre on show in the top end in 2010, via the Darwin Theatre Company. Amongst the most interesting is a production of Going Home by Alma De Groen, which is a comedy of domestic conflict about Australians living in Canada. It opens in May.

Amongst the highlights of the Ensemble Theatre’s 2010 season is the stage version of Rain Man, starring Alex Dimitriades, Grant Dodwell, Catherine McGraffin and Daniel Mitchell. The Australian premiere opens in May at the Ensemble in Sydney. In March in Melbourne at the Malthouse Theatre, My Stories Your Emails appears to be a comedic highlight. It has been created and is performed by Ursula Martinez.

So there’s certainly plenty to feast your eyes on in 2010, and if you’re living in a regional area or the suburbs, you will see some of 2009’s greatest works, too. Most theatre companies appear to have programmed less risky work, but there’s a few unknown works thrown in just to shake things up a little.

All in all, things look strong for straight theatre and most audiences appear catered for.

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