New look MTC ~ theatre notes

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

New look MTC

The MTC launched its 2009 season on Monday night, no doubt with fountains of champagne and speeches. Your faithful blogger was moping at home instead of hobnobbing (it's been a tough week), but despite her social delinquency the PR staff provided a handy media package which she has been broodily contemplating for the past few days. You can check out 2009 for yourself on the MTC's funky new website.

This season is significant because it's the first in the new Southbank theatre, which for all its neon brashness is a lovely thing, god wot. And at first glance it's a season with more spark and variety than we have seen for a long time from the MTC. There is a high wattage of star power, and even a hint of funkiness, although nothing looks in prospect as exciting as this year's production of Blackbird (maybe that was one out of the box). And next year the MTC is aggressively pushing new Australian work, which makes up no less than half its offerings.

The popular highlight looks to be the return of Matt Cameron. He has penned Poor Boy, a collaboration with former Crowded House front man Tim Finn which will star Guy Pearce. There's also a revival of Dorothy Hewitt's classic The Man from Mukinupin, Andrew Bovell's prize-winning hit When the Rain Stops Falling by Brink Productions, and a couple of premieres - one the Wal Cherry-winning play Realism by Paul Galloway, starring Miriam Margoyles. Those who see a play called Rockabye and think the MTC has lost its mind and is doing Beckett can calm down now - it is in fact a new work by Joanna Murray-Smith "inspired by the lives of Madonna and Kylie". And the year wraps up with a Max Gillies/Guy Rundle Christmas revue, Godzone.

The international works include Yasmina Reza's new play, The God of Carnage, which is ubiquitous on Australian stages next year. The MTC is doing its own production directed by Peter Evans, so could be promising. And they're giving us a chance to see a production of Steppenwolf member Tracy Letts' hit August: Osage County, which has been the talk of the US theatre world. That stars Robyn Nevin, whom we will also get to see in what is, by all accounts, a knock-out performance in the STC production of The Year of Magical Thinking.

Grace, by philosopher AC Grayling, looks rather like a talking-heads kind of play, but is directed by Marion Potts, so might shape up ok. And Bruce Beresford is making his theatrical directing debut with a play about the making of Gone With The Wind, Moonlight and Magnolias, which is described as a "madcap Hollywood comedy". The jury is out until we see it, of course, but that looks a bit dodgy to me. Finally, Julian Meyrick is directing a revival of Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party, which is always worth a look. TN's view? Hardly visionary (which is maybe asking too much) but not bad at all. There are more than a few things I'll be looking forward to.


Anonymous said...

Those who see a play called Rockabye and think the MTC has lost its mind and is doing Beckett can calm down now

No, I think the MTC has lost its mind by doing yet another Joanna Murray Smith piece of claptrap. They ought to follow the STC's lead an spare us.

Anonymous said...

Oh, if only MTC would lose it's mind and do Beckett..! I'd quite happily lose my calm for that.

Ben Ellis said...

That doesn't sound a half-bad season.

One little thing - "Grace" is a co-written thing by Mick Gordon and AC Grayling, originally titled "On Death", I think, and first given life at Soho Theatre, London, directed by Gordon himself. Mick Gordon calls this one of his "theatre essays" - others include "On Ego" and "On Love". Gordon's very interested in the full theatrical palette, so it oughtn't be a talky-talky.

Anonymous said...

FYI.. Tim Finn= Split Enz
Neil Finn= Crowded House
Both= NZ

Alison Croggon said...

Actually, this was one fact I checked. Tim Finn was in Crowded House, albeit briefly. But no doubt I shoulda highlighted Split Enz instead. Mea culpa. I told you I was slow.

We all know they're NZ.

Thanks Ben for the info on "Grace". Have you seen it?

dinorawr said...

I was quietly expecting more after being gifted with Blackbird, but perhaps I was being too hopeful! Admittedly, I really want to see The Year of Magical Thinking and I'm curious in one or two others.

Does anyone know when the 2009 season information for the Malthouse will be released?

Anonymous said...

I think you might find "Moonlight and Magnolias" to be a bit better than you imagine--that is if it's anywhere nearly as well done as the production I saw off-Broadway a year ago. A funny comedy, yes, but also deals with the racism and underlying anti-semitism in Hollywood and the West on the eve of WWII. Ben Hecht, David O Selznick and Victor Fleming were no light-weights, and, for my money, neither is Beresford. Here's hoping...

Alison Croggon said...

I'm always happy to be proven wrong, Theatre Enthusiast. Here's hoping indeed!

Anonymous said...

Also - Blackbird was part of MTC's studio season this year. Which they haven't released details of yet.