It’s been more than two years since it was first announced, however Fun home – the famous stage adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel – is finally coming to Melbourne. The Tony Award-winning show (which describes Bechdel’s youth growing up in rural America, her complicated relationship with her father and the discovery of her sexuality) is one of the jewels of the Melbourne Theater Company’s 2022 season, packed with new Australian works, adaptations and international hits.
Melbourne Theater Company: Season 2022
Touching the vacuum (Jan. 17-19 Feb.)
Adapted to the scene by David Grieg
Instructor: Petra Kalive
To bring the accusation into what is hopefully a brighter year for theater is Touching the vacuum, an intriguing true story based on the memory of Joe Simpson. Starring Lucy Durack (Evil), Joe Klocek (The dry) and Karl Richmond (Fact life), the show takes you to the heart of the Peruvian Andes, where Sarah searches for answers after her brother is lost while peeling Siula Grande. She joins her brother’s climbing partner, Simon, and their base camp manager, Richarch, to track down her brother’s journey – all the while convinced he’s really dead.
Fun home (Feb. 7-March 5)
Based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel
Instructor: Dean Bryant
Yes, finally (FINALLY) Fun home wings its way to Melbourne in February 2022 after a hit season in Sydney (in 2019 we might add). The autobiographical musical diligence between past and present; Alison, a queer cartoonist, recalls her childhood playing in her family’s funeral home, the discovery of her sexuality, as well as her funeral father’s hidden desires. Co-produced by Sydney Theater Company and starring Lucy Maunder (Ladies in black), Emily Havea (Wentworth), Adam Murphy (Shakespeare in love) and Euan Doidge (Pippin), it is a bright and original production, which our reviewer in Sydney called “a spectacular, life-affirming and tragic masterpiece”.
Admissions (March 5-Apr 9)
By Joshua Harmon
Director: Gary Abrahams
Kat Stewart (Heisenberg) and William McKenna (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) go together in this satire that shines a bright light on privileges and power in the education system. The award-winning piece is as fun as it is sharp; Sherri Rosen-Mason is the head of admissions at an exclusive high school, while her husband is the principal. And both are committed to increasing diversity under their management. But when their son’s application to Yale is postponed, the couple finds their conviction tested: How far are they willing to go to influence change in the world?
Slap. Bang. Kiss. (Apr. 19-30)
By Dan Giovannoni
Instructor: Prue Clark
This new piece about three revolutionary events happening around the world — a 16-year-old girl strikes a soldier, a teenager gives a fiery speech in honor of school shootings, and two boys lock their lips to strike a world record — fills MTCs families and education space for 2020.
Heartbreak Choir (April 25-May 28)
By Aidan Fennessy
Instructor: Peter Houghton
Did you enjoy MTC’s bittersweet hit The architect in 2018? Author Aidan Fennessy returns with new work Heartbreak Choir, another festive and uplifting story filled with song. Five choir singers, Totty, Aseni, Barbara, Mack and Savannah (plus the newcomer Peter) are separated from their choir to form their own group. While training in their local CFA hall and with their first performance booked, it looks like it looks like the new choir – the only thing left is to correct previous mistakes.
The sound inside (May 20-July 2)
By Adam Rapp
Instructor: Sarah Goodes
For those who prefer their theater cerebral, The sound inside maybe just the ticket. Playwright Adam Rapp has crafted a literary mystery that needs to keep audiences on the edge of their seats. Professor and author Bella Baird appears dull and reserved, but lives vividly in an extensive word full of literature. She seems to have met her intellectual match in first-year student Christopher Dunn, though with the two soon forming a friendship. Directed by Sarah Goodes (Home, I’m Darling) and starring Catherine McClements (Three small words), The sound inside is expected to be a fascinating production.
Come Rain or Come Shine (June 20-July 23)
By Carolyn Burns, Tim Finn and Simon Phillips
Instructor: Simon Phillips
Based on the comic short story by acclaimed author Kazuo Ishiguro, Come Rain or Come Shine explores memory, music and the relationship between three lifelong friends. Charlie, Ray and Emily have been together since college, where Ray and Emily hung out about their shared love of music, before Emily fell in love with Ray’s roommate Charlie. Years later, Emily has married Charlie, but when Ray visits the couple, Charlie sends a request to him that brings out previous feelings. Come Rain or Come Shine is of the same team behind Ladies in black, with the book by Carolyn Burns and music and lyrics by Tim Finn and Simon Phillips (the latter also directs).
Laurinda (August 6-September 10)
By Diana Nguyen
Instructor: Petra Kalive
One of the works we are most excited about at MTC in 2022 is Laurinda, an adaptation of Alice Pung’s novel by comedian Diana Nguyen. Almost like a version of Mean Girls for today’s, multicultural Australia, Laurinda is a refreshingly new work that follows 15-year-old Lucy Lam, who has just won the first straight admission scholarship ever to an elite college. Changing school (something author Pung did several times in his upbringing) reveals a strange new world of wealth and power for Lucy, who is soon forced to choose between fitting in and being true to herself when the school’s most influential girls (‘The Cabinets’) take note of Lucy. The work is supported by a strong cast with Fiona Choi (Burning the place), Chi Nguyen (The Wilds), Jillian Nguyen (Hungry Ghosts), Ngoc Phan (Boy swallows the universe) and Jenny Zhou (Girl, interpreted).
Cyrano (Sep 24-Oct 29)
By Virginia Gay
Instructor: Sarah Goodes
Canceled before it could even show its first show in 2021, the Virginia Gay star-studded, gender-biased version of Cyrano de Bergerac gets its time in the spotlight in 2022. I Cyrano, the title character is played by Gay himself and is an enigmatic and enchanting wordsmith who falls for Roxanne. The course of true love becomes more and more uneven with Roxanne’s attraction to Yan – who, despite being less than a student, somehow begins to say the most beautiful things to her (in fact, the words are Cyranos). MTC artistic director Brett Sheehy described Gay’s Cyrano as “an absolutely joyful night in the theater” with music interwoven throughout the production.
Girls and boys (Oct. 21-26)
By Dennis Kelly
Instructor: Kate Champion
Home, I’m Darling‘s Nikki Shiels will delight and then surprise the audience in this show with a woman who gets people talking in London and New York. It’s the same old story; girl meets boy, they fall in love, get married and start a family. It’s a story many will tell or even strive for – until a shocking twist turns up the white picket fence. This is a powerful work by Dennis Kelly (Matilda: The Musical), who will stay with you long after the curtain falls.
Sunshine Super Girl (Nov. 9-14, December)
By Andrea James
Instructor: Andrea James
The remarkable, incredibly talented Wiradjuri athlete Evonne Goolagong Cawley is celebrated in this uplifting work from Andrea James. From hitting a tennis ball against a shed with an impromptu racket to becoming the world number one, the story of Evonne Goolagong Cawley comes to Melbourne after praiseworthy intergovernmental seasons. The Sumner Theater will be transformed into a tennis court for the production, with seating arranged to mimic Wimbledon, as the show makes the audience reflect on our collective future and how we can all support the next “Goolagong”. Sunshine Super Girl feels like the perfect story to round out the 2022 season.
Subscription packages are available now. Individual tickets to Touching the Void, Fun Home, Admissions and The Heartbreak Choir are available December 2 with tickets for The Sound Inside, Come Rain or Come Shine, Laurinda, Cyrano, Girls & Boys, Sunshine Super Girl and SLAP. BANG. KISS. available March 22nd.