Coil | re:group performance collective

Image by Jacquie Manning

Fewer and fewer people these days have memories of pulling into the local video or DVD rental store to choose the selection of titles you would consume over the weekend. The closure of Blockbuster in 2014 felt like a huge blow to the industry as streaming services like Netflix took over. In the years since, more and more small, independent rental stores have met the same fate. Coil is an homage to those days and the memories so deeply embedded in films.

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Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes | Melbourne Theatre Company with Belvoir

Image by Jaimi Joy

[NOTE: This review contains a major spoiler in the second to last paragraph. Audience members who wish to be surprised are advised not to read it.]

When the #MeToo movement went viral in 2017 it began exposing the complicity of the entertainment industry in maintaining and covering up predatory power dynamics between older male gatekeepers and younger women new to the industry who saw their exploitation as a necessary stepping stone in their burgeoning careers. But that power dynamic was not new nor was it limited to Hollywood. Hannah Moscovitch’s 2020 script illustrates the same patterns alive and well in academia and the writing industry.

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Gods and Little Fishes | New Theatre

Image by Bob Seary

In the Year of Magical Thinking, her memoir about the sudden death of her husband, Joan Didion writes, “Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it.” Grief is figured as a foreign, unknowable place that welcomes unsuspecting grievers like Frank after tragedy. Frank isn’t sure how he got here or how to get home but he’s slowly piecing together the puzzle of his grief.

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Ghosting the Party | Griffin Theatre Company

Image by Clare Hawley

The most obvious fear about dying is the ceasing to exist part but one also has to consider all the preliminaries: will you be seriously ill or injured? Will you be able to stay at home or with family? Will you end up isolated in a care facility? These are the practical fears of dying that have only been exacerbated over recent years with the incredibly deadly COVID-19 outbreak in Victorian aged care facilities that killed hundreds of people in 2020 and the Royal Commission into Aged Care of 2021 that recorded countless instances of abuse and neglect across the country.

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Before the Meeting | White Box Theatre & Seymour Centre

Image by Danielle Lyonne

Most people are routine orientated. They’re how we structure our lives and ourselves, form new habits or get rid of old ones. Routines are how we show our productivity, our values, and how we work towards our dreams. That’s why they’ve been a cornerstone of addiction recovery for decades, baked into the rhetoric along with the Twelve Steps to help newly sober people reorder and rebuild their lives.

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UBU: A Cautionary Tale of Catastrophe | Tooth & Sinew Theatre with bAKEHOUSE

You know, sometimes, the best solution really is to kill the King. At least that’s what Ma and Pa Ubu have been convinced of by the Prime Minister of Pooland and his lackeys who need the King overthrown so they can make more money through their mining empire. What they didn’t anticipate was Pa Ubu caring even less for his fellow humans than they do.

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Hercule Poirot’s First Case | the Genesian Theatre

Image by Tom Massey

Before Agatha Christie was a household name for crime fiction, she worked in hospital dispensaries, a profession that would later inform many of her future fictional poisonings. The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Christie’s first published novel and one of the first books published by Penguin Books, features a mysterious poisoning that bridged the two realms of Christie’s careers in pharmacology and murder.

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Young Bodies / Somebody’s | Flight Path Theatre

Image by Becky Matthews

Three women, three lives, one house, one family. When a change in living conditions splits them up for the first time, the women in this family, two daughters and their mother, feel more exposed than they expected. They begin lashing out at each other and at their memories of the people they thought they would grow into. Some problems can be worked through while others just need to be let go.

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Calendar Girls | the Guild Theatre

The concept of a nude calendar isn’t new but replacing the typical bikini model or buff fireman with your average middle-aged Women’s Institute member is entirely novel. Based on a true story, the calendar girls of the Knapeley branch of the WI did exactly that and became international sensations for their trouble.

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Exit Laughing | Arts Theatre Cronulla

Death puts everything into perspective. When tomorrow isn’t promised, suddenly you’re looking over all your yesterdays wondering where they all went and how come you didn’t do all those things you planned? Mary won’t let her friends live with the “what ifs” she had, so she’s sending a message from beyond the grave whether they’re ready to hear it or not.

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