Malthouse Theatre has launched their Season 2019 promising their work will continue to be global, political and brave. Artistic director, Matthew Lutton, enthusiastically outlined the line-up of productions – nine in all plus two special events. The nine main stage performances will certainly provoke and entertain. The line-up looks likely to fulfil the company’s promise to be global, political and brave.
The storytelling in 2019 aims to bring theatregoers together, giving a sense of community and distraction from the mundane. The works will mostly cover three main genres: comedy, horror and sci-fi.
A highlight of the season will be the re-staging of the epic adaptation of Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet. First seen 20 odd years ago, Malthouse is promising that this re-staging will be done in epic proportions. Patrons are invited to see the full Cloudstreet experience in one 5-hour visit, with dinner or lunch provided for everyone as part of the ticket price. Or, patrons can see it split over two nights, the saga neatly shared over two visits to the Merlyn. In whatever way you choose to see it, it will be wonderful to reacquaint with Winton’s two families, the Lambs and the Pickles
The major feature of 2019 is that the company will stage five new Australian made works all written by female playwrights. This is something to be excited about that so many female voices will be heard on the Malthouse stage, all writing within an Australian context. There will also be plays adapted from classic novels and a return season of a very popular Aussie made piece from this year.
Barbara and the Camp Dogs, fresh from its run at Belvoir Theatre, is set in a band venue with ‘sticky carpet’ where songs and great guitar playing tells the story of Barbara and her quest to reconnect with her disconnected family when she learns her mother is seriously ill. You will get up close and personal with Barbara and her band.
My Dearworthy Darling is a play written by Alison Croggon and Malthouse has enlisted the avant-garde Rabble Theatre Company to help bring this to life on the stage. This piece, described as a lyrical bridge between 2019 and medieval England, sets out to explore the contours of a woman’s experience.
Australian Realness is a play written by Zoey Dawson and is billed as the story of a bogan and bourgeois’ battle for a suburban backyard. Lutton describes it as the most important and illuminating take on Australia and the class system we’ve ever seen. It pries open social divides with comedy and exacting satire. The cast members will each play two characters – one bourgeois and one bogan so this is sure to please audiences.
Meow Meow returns to the Malthouse stage this time writing, directing and performing a piece just for Christmas called Apocalypse Meow: Crisis is Born. She will rock the foundations of traditional rituals and unearth some Christmas magic for her devoted followers.
A real treat next year will be the Australian premier of Underground Railroad Game which has been heralded by the NY Times as one of the most influential American plays of the last 25 years. The original cast will perform this piece which is a cracker of a play exploring race, politics and power.
Another global collaboration next year will be the adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel Solaris by Stanislaw Lem. The novel is adapted for the stage by David Grieg. Malthouse is collaborating with The Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh and following the Melbourne season, it will travel to the UK. It features Eamon Farren (Twin Peaks) and a stellar international cast.
Declan Greene has adapted wake in Fright from Kenneth Cook’s novel of the same name; it is an Australian gothic horror novel. Zahra Newman (recently starring in the hit musical Book of Mormon) plays all the characters of the novel in a tour de force of performance skills. Newman will be accompanied by art-electronica band, friendships, to take audiences into a grim little outback town called Yabba with all its difficulties and grim outlook.
Comedy guest to the Malthouse is Irish writer Gavin Quinn who, with Australian performers including Nicola Gunn, Ash Flanders and Mish Grigor, will concoct a very funny piece on the theme of identity. Audiences are told to free themselves from the disappointment that comes from being you every day. The Temple is a piece which invites audience members transform themselves to be a better version of someone else.
The two special events or add ons to the main stage season are dance outfit Common Ground and the return of Blackie Blackie Brown following its sell out season this year.
It is worth noting that full-time students and those under 30 years of age can take out a season pass (all nine shows) for a special price of $300. Normal subscriber price is $495 for the full Malthouse season.