Top Sydney Festival Picks
The Sydney Festival is in full swing. Check out these must-see shows and events.
January 18 – 19, State Theatre
PJ Harvey’s latest album, Let England Shake, is the fastest selling and most critically acclaimed of her career, and has just been awarded the prestigious Mercury Music Prize, making her the only artist to receive this award twice. Harvey will feature songs from this release in addition to material from her luminous back catalogue. She will be joined by a live band comprising Mick Harvey, John Parish and Jean-Marc Butty, which are featured on Let England Shake. Beg, borrow and steal to get a ticket.
January 18 – 29, York Theatre, Seymour Centre
A thrilling piece of highly-physical theatre that immerses the audience in the explosive world of boxing, Beautiful Burnout is an assault on the senses, challenging any preconceptions about the most controversial sport of our time. This award-winning collaboration between Frantic Assembly and National Theatre of Scotland that has been stunning audiences with the same raw truth and explosive physicality captured in their tale of the Scottish regiment, Black Watch, a huge hit of Sydney Festival in 2008.
’TIS A PITY SHE’S A WHORE
January 17 – 21, Sydney Theatre
Following legendary productions of The Changeling and The Duchess of Malfi, Cheek By Jowl, one of the world’s great theatre companies, returns to Jacobean tragedy with ’Tis A Pity She’s A Whore. One of the most controversial works of English literature, it chronicles the incestuous love between Giovanni and his sister Annabella that ends in violent disaster. Incest, morality, religion and corruption intertwine to make this play as shocking and controversial as it was almost 400 years ago.
WEST SIDE STORY
January 27 – 28, Concert Hall, Opera House
One of the greatest movie musicals and winner of ten Academy Awards, West Side Story is reborn with the full power of Sydney’s majestic symphony orchestra in this exciting 50th anniversary presentation of a timeless classic. Sydney Symphony plays Leonard Bernstein’s exhilarating orchestral score live while the newly remastered film, which famously transposes the feuding families from Romeo and Juliet to the gritty New York street gangs of the Jets and the Sharks, is shown in high definition with the original vocals and dialogue.
January 22, Concert Hall, Opera House
In response to the 41st anniversary of Earth Day, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner composed the highly-lauded 41 Strings. The piece is part concerto in the classical tradition, but with the modern rock and roll sensibility one would expect from Zinner. A musician who constantly surprises us with his versatility, Zinner conducts and plays an in-the-round experience with an impressive line-up of acoustic and electric strings, ranging from violins to electric bass, with some drums and synths thrown in for good measure.
ANATOMY OF AN AFTERNOON
January 9 – 16, Playhouse, Opera House
The enigmatic allure of Nijinsky’s legendary ballet, The Afternoon of a Faun, is reborn for a new century by choreographer Martin del Amo. Multi-award-winning solo dancer Paul White navigates a dream-like landscape full of hidden dangers and secret pleasures – a kinetic combustion of animalistic grace and menace. Visceral and poetic, this contemporary, intimate dance work is performed to Mark Bradshaw’s haunting live score.
JOSHUA REDMAN & BRAD MEHLDAU DUO
January 20, City Recital Hall
Hailed by the Boston Herald as a jazz wunderkind, saxophonist Joshua Redman is one of today’s most acclaimed and charismatic jazz artists. He will perform with Brad Mehldau, who has garnered much admiration from jazz purists and music enthusiasts alike after forging a unique path and embodying the essence of jazz exploration, classical romanticism and pop allure. Having worked together in the early 90s, the duo has reunited after 15 years.
iOTA: YOUNG, HARD AND SOLO
January 17 – 21, Playhouse, Opera House
With four Helpmann Awards under his bejewelled belt – three alone for Sydney Festival sell-out Smoke and Mirrors – iOTA will take to the stage for this deeply personal and wildly theatrical concert. Relive the outrageousness of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Rocky Horror Show and Smoke and Mirrors, and discover the songs that celebrate his idols from Mama Cass to Batman, as well as tracks from his most-loved films.
The Sydney Festival runs until January 29. For full program details and bookings, go to www.sydneyfestival.org.au.