Malthouse Theatre Season 2014

Malthouse Theatre Season 2014

It started with a treasure hunt, in keeping with Malthouse Theatre’s reputation for cutting edge innovation. Handed a card with a map upon entering for 2014 Season Launch, we were encouraged to follow a route which revealed to us blood stained clothes, Chinese lanterns, a car, and other clues to the productions being offered next year. It was a novel and amusing way to break the ice for an eclectic crowd made up of students, elderly subscribers, actors and the press.

Once seated, we got to watch the B&W version of The Philadelphia Story with Katherine Hepburn, James Stewart and Cary Grant. It didn’t even matter that a young journalist sitting next to me identified Hepburn as Bette Davis and had no idea who the two leading men were. We were excited about the programme to be revealed and even cheered as Simon Westcott announced that Coopers Brewery was now a major partner and henceforth the theatre would be known as Cooper’s Malthouse. Artistic Director Marion Potts didn’t disappoint us, and enthused the entire audience with her love of the company and her excitement at the programme ahead, and the fact that a new take by Simon Stone on The Philadelphia Story (think the cult of celebrity – The Kardashians) is the opening production for the 2014 suddenly made sense of the old movie clips (the production was subsequently replaced in the season when approval from the estate of Mrs Ellen Barry, who coo-wrote the play, was not granted). A new operatic aria was sung from perhaps the most ambitious production next year, Iain Grandage’s opera of Tim Winton’s The Riders; there’s Brecht’s The Good Person of Szechuan directed by acclaimed Chinese director Meng, Jinghui; Indigenous writer/director/musician Richard Frankland brings his play with music “Walking into the Bigness” and, for me, the most exciting offering from Sisters Grimm Calpurnia Descending  (shades of All About Eve meets Sunset Boulevard) with the fabulous Paul Capsis, amongst others.

It’s a risky programme, with many of the new offerings coming through Malthouse’s Engine Room programme, but the Malthouse …sorry, Cooper’s Malthouse…has never shied away from testing its audience and pushing the envelope. As Marion Potts told us, ‘Art can reinforce as well as challenge – it can confront us with who we are. But really good art reflects who we could be.’ It’s a play on Shakespeare’s quote “We know what we are, but we know not what we can be.” Potts promises that, while Season 2014 might not be quite as much fun as watching politicians grinding each other into the dust, it will artistically help shape our future. It’s a promise to look forward to.

Coral Drouyn



Created by / Simon Stone after Nikolai Gogol

28 February – 23 March

Merlyn Theatre

Opening Night / Wednesday 5 March 7.30pm

The Government Inspector is one of the great Russian comedies. The instruments of government are spun into a web of uproarious, dark humour. With the unexpected results of preference distribution wreaking surprise Senators upon Australia and recent revelations at ICAC in NSW, the relevance of this work is a wonderful opportunity to laugh at ourselves and perhaps reconsider whether we do indeed get the government we deserve.

Direction / Simon Stone

Set Design / Ralph Myers

Lighting Design / Paul Jackson

Cast includes / Zahra Newman

A co-production with Belvoir


Created by / Kate Davis & Emma Valente

21 March – 5 April

Beckett Theatre

Opening Night / Tuesday 25 March 8pm

Frankenstein  is the ultimate horror story of creation gone terribly wrong. When re-imagined by Melbourne’s theatrical radicals THE RABBLE, this new production is set to be an edge-of-your-seat descent into the uncanny and the unimaginable.

Mary Shelley’s gothic masterpiece has been transformed by THE RABBLE’s Emma Valente and Kate Davis into a matriarchal world that worships female fertility. On the outer of this female-centric world, the tormented genius of Viktor Frankenstein is consumed by his inability to create life. Driven to terrifying lengths, Viktor decides to subvert the laws of nature and gives birth to a motherless monstrosity.

Direction / Emma Valente

Set & Costume Design / Kate Davis

Lighting & Sound Design / Emma Valente

Cast includes / Pier Carthew, Robert Menzies, Dana Miltins, Mary Helen Sassman

THE RABBLE is Malthouse Theatre’s 2014 Company in Residence

Malthouse Theatre’s Company in Residence Program is proudly


By Patrick White

5 May – 25 May

Merlyn Theatre

Opening Night / Thursday 8 May 7.30pm

Night on Bald Mountain, written by Patrick White, one of Australia’s leading literary figures, and considered the first Australian tragedy, is an exploration of personality and power. Featuring a clutch of outsiders thrust together on a lonely and isolated mountain – invalid, nurse, husband, goat-herder, housekeeper and academic – Night on Bald Mountain explores how quickly the frailties of the human spirit can be brought to the fore. As the pressures of personality and environment increase amongst this small group of misfits, the flaws of human nature are unleashed to become forces beyond control.

Direction / Matthew Lutton

Set & Costume Design / Dale Ferguson

Lighting Design / Paul Jackson

Composition & Double Bass / Ida Duelund Hansen

Cast includes / Peter Carroll, Ida Duelund Hansen, Julie Forsyth, Melita Jurisic


By Peta Brady

16 May – 7 June

Beckett Theatre

Opening Night / Tuesday 20 May 8pm

Ugly Mugs are the faces that modern life finds easier to ignore than confront; the violent clients of a culture concealed. Inspired by her work supporting Melbourne sex workers, Peta Brady (The Slap) writes and stars in this discordant experience laced with dark humour and pitch-black wit. “In this original production, Brady weaves a complex and uneasy drama about the disturbing realities of life on the streets.”

Direction / Marion Potts

Set & Costume Design / Michael Hankin

Lighting Design / Lucy Birkinshaw

Cast includes / Peta Brady

A co-production with Griffin Theatre


By Roald Dahl

Based on the stage play by / David Wood

19 June – 5 July

Beckett Theatre

Opening Night / Thursday 19 June 6.30pm

The Witches makes you wonder what you would do if you were just a small child who uncovered a villainous plot to take over the world? And what if these villains were witches – witches who hated children above all things?! The Witches re-imagines Roald Dahl’s twisted yet endearing story – beloved by children and adults the world over – of one boy against a coven of witches, into a family-friendly one-man performance.

Guy Edmonds single-handedly conjures a cast of gnarled old women, squeaky children and everything in between for an experience as ghastly as it is gleeful.

Direction / Lucas Jervies

Set & Costume Design / Hugh O’Connor

Lighting Design / Sian James Holland

Dramaturgy / Chris Summers

Cast / Guy Edmonds

A Griffin Theatre Company production

Proudly supported by Betty Amsden OAM


By Bertolt Brecht. New translation by Tom Wright

27 JUNE – 20 JULY

Merlyn Theatre

Opening Night / Wednesday 2 July 7.30pm

The Good Person of Szechuan is a prostitute – poor but optimistic and generous. Through her goodwill and charity, she stands as a lone bright spot in a society that has become dark and greedy. Impressed by her righteousness, the gods reward her. From that point on, Shen Tei has something to lose.

Directed by avant-garde Chinese theatre maker Meng Jinghui (Director, National Theatre of China) as part of Malthouse Theatre’s Directors Exchange Program, this new production of Bertolt Brecht’s realist parable is rich in moral complexity. As the prostitute Shen Tei remains committed to upholding her values, the audience must decide whether her behaviour is justified, or if it / crosses the line.

Direction / Meng Jinghui

Cast includes / Daniel Frederiksen, Bert LaBonté, Genevieve Morris


By Alirio Zavarce


Beckett Theatre

Opening Night / Thursday 17 July 8pm

Alirio Zavarce (Trouble on Planet Earth) writes and stars in this semi-autobiographical demonstration of his ‘Theory of Rational Madness’.

Immersed in a theatre full of cardboard boxes (1800, to be precise) and deeply aware of the precarious nature of life, if not the set, Zavarce entwines tales of his personal journeys into a broader narrative about the very thin line between madness and sanity. With the audience’s willing participation, Zavarce gives credence to the paradox that sometimes you have to be mad to stay sane.

Winner of Best Theatre Production award at the 2013 Adelaide Fringe Festival, The Book of Loco re-enacts one man’s duel with his own sanity.

Direction / Sasha Zahra

Set & Costume Design / Jonathon Oxlade

Lighting Design / David Gadsden

Projection / Chris More

Sound Design / Duncan Campbell

Produced by / Janine Peacock, Loose Canon Art Services

Cast / Alirio Zavarce


Story by Richard Frankland and Wayne Blair

Written by Richard Frankland


Merlyn Theatre

Opening Night / Wednesday 6 August 7.30pm

Walking into the Bigness tallies the experiences, losses, and wisdom that make up a man. From a 12-yearold abattoir worker, to an investigator for the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, to an AFI Award-winning screenwriter, these are Richard Frankland’s yarns exactly as he spins them – unvarnished and rich in blackfella humour.

Under the direction of Wayne Blair (The Sapphires, Redfern Now), Richard’s tales are given universal voice by a celebrated and diverse cast that recreates these incredible Australian stories with texture and warmth.

Accompanied by Richard’s acoustic melodies, this rich and evocative production represents the fruits of an extraordinary life that has traversed so many aspects of Australian culture, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. In turns moving and funny, this production / elevates hope through the humour and honesty of an exceptional man.

Direction / Wayne Blair

Dramaturgy / Chris Mead

Cast includes / Paul Ashcroft, Luisa Hastings Edge, Rarriwuy Hick

Musician / Richard Frankland


By Iain Grandage and Alison Croggon

Based on the novel by  Tim Winton


Merlyn Theatre

Opening Night / Tuesday 23 September 7:30pm

The Riders is a brand new Australian opera based on Tim Winton’s Booker-nominated classic novel.

Composed by the acclaimed Iain Grandage, and with a libretto by theatre critic and writer Alison Croggon, Marion Potts directs this collaboration between Victorian Opera and Malthouse Theatre.

Scully’s wife, the mother of his child, has disappeared. Her absence looms large as those left behind look for answers, chasing her across the globe, desperate to recover their lost sense of belonging. Follow Scully and his daughter as they pursue people, places and pasts that have escaped beyond reach.

Conducted by / Richard Mills

Direction / Marion Potts

Set & Costume Design / Dale Ferguson

Lighting Design / Matt Scott

Cast includes / Jessica Aszodi, Jerzy Kozlowski,

David Rogers-Smith, Barry Ryan, Dimity Shepherd

A co-production with Victorian Opera



By  Roslyn Oades & collaborators

9 – 26 OCTOBER

Beckett Theatre

Opening Night / Saturday 11 October 8pm

Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday interrogates and celebrates different perspectives on life: some looking forward and some looking back. Scripted from intimate real-life conversations with people approaching their 18th or 80th birthdays, this documentary performance is the creative culmination of extensive research by Malthouse Theatre 2013 Female Director in Residence, Roslyn Oades (I’m Your Man).

Movement / Nat Cursio

Composition / Bob Scott

Lighting Design / Paul Jackson


By Sisters Grimm

Created by Ash Flanders & Declan Greene

12 – 30 NOVEMBER

Merlyn Theatre

Opening Night / Friday 14 November 7.30pm

Calpurnia Descending sends up the dangers of fame with the tale of Beverly Dumont — a reclusive, drunken, Depression-era Broadway washout. Beverly limps towards obscurity until a naive ingénue appears offering a final shot at glory. It’s the role of a lifetime, but the chalice soon proves poisoned. Both women are drawn into a world of paranoia, sleaze, and bloody, unrelenting ambition.

The latest work from queer ‘DIY’ theatre duo Sisters Grimm stars Paul Capsis and Ash Flanders.

Direction / Declan Greene

Set & Costume Design / David Fleischer

Lighting Design / Katie Sfetkidis

AV Design / Matthew Gingold

Cast includes / Paul Capsis, Ash Flanders

A co-production with Sydney Theatre Company

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