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Make it snappy. We experienced ⁠The Crocodile⁠ by the formidable Spinning Plates Co. and went deep on fame and all it takes to keep this arts economy going, our second show is the magical ⁠Yuldea⁠ by Bangarra. In Intermission we went deeper on the ethics of zoos and our love of Chinese gardens. In Coming Soon we recommend ⁠The Visitors by Victorian Opera⁠, the ⁠Fringe encore season⁠ at Geelong Arts Centre and ⁠Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.

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Philip: Hello, and welcome, dear listener, to Across the Aisle, your monthly audio dispatch on theatre, culture, and the arts in Australia. I’m Philip Thiel, and it’s great to have you along for the ride as we mutually invite each other to shows of our choice. Before a strict embargo is broken in your company. Today we’ll have our usual intermission banter and some forward sizzle incoming soon.

For the deep dives, we start in the depths of 45 downstairs. With the Crocodile by Tom Basden, after Dostoevsky produced by Spinning Plates Co. Later we’ll descend to the equally subterranean playhouse for Bangarra Dance Theatre is new work Yuldea. Beyond the claustrophobia, I sense that these two energetic and compelling works will offer us much to think and talk about.

And so, I’m impatient to get straight into it, with the one and only, Carla Donnelly! Carla, hi! Hello, how are you? How’s life in Geelong these days? 

Carla: Very good. Dan’s Big Build has finally reached us, at the edges of the V Line. We’re the last stop on the V Line before it becomes paper tickets. So that’s been a bit stressful, but you know, other than that, lots of grumbling.

Philip: Yeah. Look, I can’t wait to see stuff in that new building. It’s kind of exciting what’s going on there.

Carla: Oh yeah. Yeah. Well that’s finished, but now they’re sort of like. Removing the level crossing at Wampum Station and, you know, blocking the surf coast highway, which is the main arterial road from the surf coast.

So it’s been chaos, but, thankfully I’m at home most of the time, so snuggly, snuggly, buggly. And you’ve got lots of Dan’s Big Build stuff all around you all the time. 

Philip: Oh, look, if you’re here drilling at any time, I’ve stopped, I’ve stopped noticing. It’s like people living next to stations. Drills don’t wake me anymore.

Yeah, that’s awesome. Anyway, let us, let us get straight into it. It’s time for us to. Make it snappy at The Crocodile. 

Carla: okay. All right, excellent, “The world of The Crocodile is extreme. A man is eaten by a crocodile. He survives. In fact, he thrives. He can dance, sing, and even eventually pontificate all from the gory comfort of the insides of that poor creature.

Ivan is a struggling actor who hasn’t yet achieved the recognition he feels he deserves, but all that is about to change when one afternoon at the zoo with his friend Zach, he is swallowed whole by a crocodile”. So this is based on a short story by Dostoyevsky, and we’re sort of talking a lot about Theatre being back with a capital B.

I don’t know what is going on, but it is ferocious. Like the things that we are getting out and seeing are, you know, best in class consistently. It’s absolutely thrilling. And so this was another one of those cases where. We actually saw it together, which I love. That’s always lovely. And, you know, you settle into your seat and immediately the set is incredible.

It’s all white bits of cardboard boxes, ripped up and painted white and plastered onto the walls, like sort of paper mache, very sparse stage. And the actors sort of come out of the, almost like a trompe l’oiel kind of, appearance or like they’re in a black and white movie with these, very sort of caricatured white makeup with sort of black, accents.

The costumes are just some of the best costumes I’ve actually ever seen on the stage. And I’ll have to dig out the costume designer in a sec. Oh, here we go. Dan William Barber. The costumes are kind of Klaus Nomi meets Alexander McQueen meets kind of Karl Lagerfeld and his derelict kind of phase like there’s these sort of hodgepodges of it’s not sort of what it’s not Victorian.

Philip: It’s almost Elizabethan.

Carla: Sort of Jacobian ruffs. And so before even a word is spoken, you’re already like immediately arrested. And then James, Sershesh, Sershesh, sorry, James, if I’ve pronounced it incorrectly, comes to the stage and immediately takes you by the throat, talk about control, ownership with his incredibly brittle, hilarious caricature of, I don’t know, actors, people who are very into getting attention or desperate for acknowledgement.

And off we go, we’re at the zoo, he’s out with his mate, Joey Lai, as Zach, and they’re having a conversation about how basically Ivan is a shit artist, and that he should probably give up the ghost, and grow up, essentially. And then, you know, he gets eaten by a crocodile, he becomes a fair ground kind of, celebrity, everybody gets involved.

The kind of underlying premise of this surrounding, you know, like. Oh, these are kind of social media cycles have always existed is it. That’s interesting in terms of, you know, why this, why now, the translation is funny of how we are as people, but the whole production cohesively is just absolutely extraordinary.

I haven’t laughed that much in a production in a really long time. And it’s the most, to get very serious, kind of Marxist, along with, The Bloom Shed recently, it’s one of the most compelling distillations of, Marxist concepts I’ve seen on the stage, but particularly, Marxist criminology, there’s this whole kind of sequence around you know, they want his ex, his girlfriend wants to get him out of the crocodile.

And there’s this incredible speech around, you know, well, there’s basically no legislation to say that he is in danger or that we should actually get him removed. And won’t that hurt commerce and who has, who has the rights here? Isn’t it? Surely isn’t the business owner who has pointed up all this dough for this.

So yeah, I found this. Absolutely thrilling, and artists at the top of their game, absolutely fucking dominating. Phil, over to you.

Philip: Yeah, yeah. Oh, 100%. And that intersection of darkness, hilarity and skill. Even before you get into those aspects of the script that you mention, make this a really immersively delightful experience.

I’m always so specifically impressed by actors who can do melodrama and clown style performance techniques in a way that is not disorienting that doesn’t sort of break the fourth wall in an annoying way, but the stylistic choices of this production were actually really Avant Garde. I loved Kate Spiker, who played 14 different roles, including memorably, a table in one of the later acts, which was just satirizing like the bourgeois couple at a restaurant, thrillingly well.

And that’s after that earlier scene that you made reference to where in this bureaucratic nightmare scenario, everything becomes non-urgent because well, there are forms to fill in and there are different perspectives to consider. And that message that is indeed timeless about notoriety being the only real way to get attention in our society and the temptation to sort of overplay the darkness of our lives and the sort of edgy I’m in a crocodile moments of our existences.

I kind of love that that’s something that Dostoevsky was already seeing in his context. And putting into a text that has now been so beautifully adapted. I love that you see this aesthetically as like a black and white film. It reminds me of those weird moments on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Yes. When queens suddenly try looking grey.

Carla: Yes, that’s exactly what I was thinking about. 

Philip: Yeah, darkening themselves into a monochromatic aesthetic, which is always like a bad match for the glaring colours of reality TV. But when you do the whole stage in this papery, cardboardy, grey, black aesthetic, it becomes very unifying and very matte in a way that thematic material in the text.

Carla: Yeah. Just extraordinary. Right. And we want to also, I mean, Kate. Spiker is the swing, just unbelievable. So yeah, she did play you know, it does feel like maybe 10 different roles from, you know, the zoo owner to the exhibition owner, hilariously as the table. I have to point out a little detail that I really loved – Ivan, as part of his, kind of, Elizabethan outfit, he had, this leather bum bag as a cod piece. Which just fucked me up, it was so good. And, Jessica Stanley as Anya, his sort of turn on a dime girlfriend, or ex-girlfriend, I should say, who’s currently Zach’s girlfriend. 

Philip: But newly interested because he’s such a star, having been followed.

Carla: And I think there’s actually something quite, I don’t know if it’s intended, but I have been thinking about this a lot, around, you know, it’s actually based on that podcast that we’ve both been listening to, Phil, West Cork, where the thing that I’ve been thinking about a lot is social acceptability.

And so the parameters of when it’s socially acceptable to be a fame hungry whore and when it is not, and it is mostly around how conventionally attractive you are. And so it has almost very little due to talent, but there is also a talent in recognizing these kinds of opportunities and mining them.

Yeah. And I, I kind of felt like there was commentary around that in this, that, you know, Ivan, although, you know, driven by the gaping hole in his ego to perhaps begin this lark or continue it, that the way that it was monetized and the way that he had control mostly until the end. Is a commentary on I don’t know, the different kinds of people and different kinds of skills that we have, and it’s really just, I don’t know, respectability politics that actually provides kind of negative values around all of this stuff.

We love actors, we love being entertained, but when someone’s annoying and needs attention at a dinner party, they’re fucked. Like… 

Philip: Yes, and we ostensibly want to see good theatre and have access to compelling, sophisticated content. But when all is said and done… A dancing crocodile is kind of what’s going to get the crowds out.

That’s a separate point, but the, but the satirical quality of like the masses arriving to see this ghastly sideshow. Have you heard there’s a man speaking from the innards of a reptile? That lurid quality to the kind of entertainment that sort of gets us all rubbernecking. 

Carla: Yes! 

Philip: Was, was squeezed. So hard in this script and became a real meta commentary on what it was that I guess we as an audience were also seeking and why a title like The Crocodile is itself a kind of riveting provocation and catches our interest.

And all of that was done within this one act contained little crafted work that packed such a punch. So I agree with you that something’s going on in… The ambition of these theatre makers sort of bursting out post pandemic to really put as much as they can, onto the stage and into these productions.

Carla: Their own hunger, perhaps. But I, I love that, Phil, because that’s like the, these are the dirty little secrets that we don’t want to… Admit to that, you know, I always use this example cause it just blows my mind that exists, but it’s you know, the ABBA hologram stage fucking spectacular, you know, these are the things that employ back of house people, stage people.

These are the things that keep the arts economy going to give us the little crumbs that gives us extraordinary things like this, you know? So I love that. I love that third dimension, that you’ve pulled out of that. That’s awesome. 

Philip: You know, where are we in this? We’re all complicit, 

Carla: We’re all complicit. Exactly. I just want to give one more shout out to Cassandra Fumi, who is the director. Absolutely phenomenal direction. obviously everyone’s extremely talented and I think like they know each other very well. 

Philip: And a couple of the actors are the co-producers.

Carla: Well, and there are a couple as well. So, yeah, but, yeah, unbelievable direction because sometimes I could see that that would be difficult to have people who are so bursting at the seams of talent to get them to cohere in a way that is on the same page. So yeah. 

Philip: And maybe that’s why they call themselves Spinning Plates.

Carla: I’ll leave it for coming soon, but I’ve got a Cassandra Fumi coming soon. Oh, it’s a very, very far away, but it just did remind me. So, okay. But yeah, let’s let’s pay the piper and get an expensive glass of wine. 

Philip: Yes. Up we go. It is intermission and all I want to talk about is the zoo. Let’s talk zoos. Do you know that my partner and I, this is very gay, but like we are definitely zoo people.

Especially when somewhere else in the world. It’s always an intriguing angle. It’s always like a reflection of something kind of deep in whatever, in whatever cultural location you find yourself. 

Carla: That’s interesting. I have that with Chinese gardens. 

Philip: Oh, as in wherever you go, you’ll see the Chinese garden?

Carla: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. 

Philip: Okay.

Carla: But let’s see if we can talk about both those things. I’m blown your mind.

Philip: No, no, no. I just, I just have like reoriented all of my plans for future city visits. I think that’s fantastic. My particular favourite with Chinese gardens, by the way, is the ones that are just rocks. Oh yeah.

Excellent. Rocks only. Yeah. Beautiful. And, the strangeness of the boulders is itself the aesthetic in which you meditate. I think that’s so exciting. Yeah, 

Carla: Great. Well, let’s talk about zoos and let’s talk about Chinese gardens.

Philip: So do you go to the zoo? Are you a Melbourne Zoo member? 

Carla: Never. I was a long time vegan, vegetarian, 15 years I was vego, let’s say vego with a hashtag, with a asterix and then I still just started meeting meat when I was like very, very ill quite some time ago. And it’s sort of, maybe I’m like 98 percent vegetarian now, but, it’s so that was like very against my politics. I wouldn’t even wear leather, you know, like I was, I was like full on, I still am pretty full on to a certain extent, though.

I will have like second-hand, animal goods or whatever, but I’m really conflicted about zoos. It’s like. My very, sort of, baseline animal rights, sort of, global, kind of, what’s the word, elevation stances is that we shouldn’t see sentient beings, for, as, for our entertainment. For us, as humans.

There’s a hierarchy there. Yeah. And it’s a kind of thinking that I think permeates through the rest of society around the kinds of labour practices that we have and all that kind of stuff. There is a pro argument around, it’s the only way that there’s sort of a lot of scientific, research, and outreach, 

Philip: which I accept.

And propaganda. Environmental stuff gets put in front of people, whether they like it or not. you can’t see the bird show at Healesville Sanctuary. Without pledging to use recycled toilet paper forever, you know, they, they, they weave in, those kinds of messages about deforestation and the importance of biodiversity in ways that going back to the Dostoevsky adaptation.

Might be the only little bite that certain people in society are gonna get Of a relatively progressive stance on environmental issues But then listening to you, I wonder how much of that is sort of pure propaganda It’s we need to foreground our pro environmentalist stance So that people don’t look too closely at those more structural problems going on And exactly what the show is 

Carla: I think it’s kind of on the balance of things, I think it’s no more or less evil than anything else, like you know, you can’t go to the supermarket without buying something that is, you know, deforested something, or poisoned the waterways, or had unsafe or terrible labour practices, you know.

Philip: And there is something, I mean this is probably very anthropomorphic, but I do find it powerfully moving to encounter creatures other than human beings, and have had many powerful memories. Because again, probably just invented on my side of the glass, but I carry with me those moments of real or imagined encounter with the other, like the actual other that lives on this planet.

Not some kind of alien fantasy creature, but a red panda high up in the trees, sharing something or witnessing something that is collective. Like if you’re. At an outdoor gorilla enclosure and it starts raining, everyone gets rained on and there’s some sense that we are on the same planet or something.

Especially if we are able to, with that sort of mammalian way, show signs that we recognize each other and lock eyes with each other or things along those lines. 

Carla: Yeah, I agree. And I think on the balance of things as well, like what’s gonna, what’s gonna turn people more environmental or more conscious about the planet that we share with other creatures, you know, it’s not going to be, people aren’t going to watch PETA slaughterhouse videos, like they’re just not, but you know, they’re going to go to the zoo and eventually maybe they’ll become a little bit more conscious, even by ironically, the virtue of the fact that they see these animals caged and you know, that we’re going there to you know, just sort of see them and tap on the glass.

So yeah, I think in sort of, if you look at it that way and kind of, Advancing the cause then yeah, it is. I think it’s a much more effective tool. 

Philip: Gardens of the Chinese variety 

Carla: Yeah, there’s lots of things I do in different cities that I look up like I’m really into mini golf. So like mini golf basically everywhere outside of Australia is It’s really good, but it can be like completely on roids, like other places.

So that’s great. I love mini golf. I also love a day at the Chinese garden. So that’s something that’s like totally ubiquitous around the world is that, you know, Chinese people have immigrated everywhere en mass and brought their culture. And there’s usually more often than not a Chinese garden or a small kind of like Peace Park or something like that for you to visit and understand for me, it’s like where the Chinese have migrated en masse has been sites of mass opportunity or cultural, for some reason they’ve culturally been attracted there. So there’s usually a lot of history to be learned about the, the creation of the city and how things came to be. So it’s kind of like a bit of a twofer.

And also like I get really tired and exhausted and stressed out traveling. So spending a day in a Chinese garden really resets me. How beautiful. Tell me about your Chinese garden. 

Philip: Well, to me, it’s just Darling Harbours, Sydney edition. Such a good one. It’s really expansive and settling and sort of internally diverse.

Quite, quite beautifully designed with all of its lizards as well as Nanjing. A few years ago and was visiting other cities in that part of China that are themselves devoted to garden design and many of the historic homes would sort of compete with each other for the, the expansiveness and beautiful naturalism of the way that their gardens were designed. But the one that I will remember, I forget exactly which city it’s in, but as I said earlier, it was almost treeless, but had many paths through rocks.

And the craft of the design was really just to gather and put together bridges from rocks or little eddies in the river. Caused by the shape of the rocks, and Wow. That aesthetic, relationship to a hard object made to look as, liquid as possible just was like a good three to four hour meditative immersion for me.

Amazing. Yay! 

Carla: And every time, every time I see a moon door I think of you. 

Philip: Aww, Cancerian realness.

Oh, well, it’s going to be a change of mood. To the theatre, but, there’s the bell. Off to the desert. Yes, that’s true. Dry time.

Okay, it’s time for Yuldea by Bangarra Dance Theatre. This tells the story of the Anangu of the Great Victoria Desert and the Noongar of the Far West region of South Australia, who have experienced every chapter of colonial incursion since British settlement, their traditional life colliding with the ambition of Western capitalism and the age of imperialism.

Yuldilkapi is the traditional name for a permanent claypan waterhole, surrounded by sand dunes situated on the traditional lands of the Kolkata people. This was the epicentre of cultural life as well as being an important refuge for substance and survival. Like many other places across Australia, This was the site of unprecedented decisions and actions that resulted in a forever changed landscape.

The building of the Trans Australian Railway in the early 1900s brought the Great Metal Serpent to the Nullarbor, draining the desert soaked water source that had sustained life for thousands of years. Soon after, atomic testing began at Maralinga, just north of Yuldea, further restricting people from their traditional lands, creating distress and having lasting impacts on people’s health.

The choreographer of this piece is the new Artistic Director of Bangarra, Francis Rings. And the composer, Leon Rogers, is joined by guest composers, Electric Fields. And the last person I just want to name up top is the cultural astronomy consultant, Carly Noon. The reason I went through all of that material from the program of Bangarra is that that story seems so untranslatable into movement, gesture, collaborative dance, and there’s such a level of ambition to this company in the way that they really do believe.

Almost in an alchemical way that you can take history, geography, culture, colonization, and transform it not only into a set of communicable gestures, but also an extremely beautiful aesthetic presentation that is in and of itself a compelling piece of craft. I find this company magical in the full sense of the word.

And while I’m glad that I read some of that story in advance of the production, I really believe that they have this capacity as a company to show exactly what it is that they are wishing to convey in all of its complexity. Often the stories are themselves so complex and so foundationally and emotionally rich that dance becomes the best way to convey them.

Certainly, Francis Rings knows how to make movement that tells these kinds of stories in incredibly clear and accessible and compelling ways. This was a little more minimalist in a way, in terms of the presentation, than some of the other works we’ve seen that are danced, including others by Bangarra.

And yet, to me, it was one of the most successful precisely for that reason. The set was this horseshoe shaped set of dangling rope like elements that could be moved through and thereby in. In and out of the stage area. And then another pale rainbow shaped object that would descend and turn to create different framings for the different acts of this complex story.

And what that all allowed for is a period of great mourning and grief about the Maralinga effect. And the descending ashes and what it meant for the local people who needed to be displaced as a result of it. But then with a change and a slow, patient turn, there could be another intervention or another interaction that allowed for a different mood to be established.

The final thing I’ll say before throwing to you is that the dancers that open the performance, Lillian Banks and Callum Goolagong, in a duet that was all about pre colonised, watery, rich, lush, environmental and cultural significance, was one of the most beautiful sort of two person sets of movement I’ve ever encountered, and just a beautiful act of generosity on the part of the choreographer and those dancers.

What a company! I love Bangarra. 

Carla: Oh, I’ve spent so much time thinking about this show, reading about it post, listening to AWAYE, which is an ABC Indigenous culture program, and I heard Frances Rings talking about the production on there. So I’ve done a lot of, work post. And It’s just so unbelievably dense, but fluid.

I don’t really have the words to describe it. So, there’s so much work that we don’t see. You know, Frances Rings actually went to the country council to get approval to tell this story. She’s from that country, she has history, roots in that country, but she doesn’t live there. And so, went to the Elders Council to get express permission to be able to tell this story.

That’s months and months and months and months of work, sensitive work. And before they even begin to choreograph, produce, create. It also really highlights to me how much of a shorthand I have just from experience with European and colonial work. And so I can sort of walk into something and sort of already be there.

Whereas with these kinds of works, I think it’s also that I don’t have much of a history with dance work, particularly dance theatre, that I find myself transported to a different planet where I don’t know the language or I don’t know the history and I have to do so much work later to kind of contextualize it for my sort of puny, colonial, washed brain.

But I’m so grateful for these opportunities to be able to start getting this cultural education. But all that aside, the production is, was absolutely astounding. I agree, like it was only an hour and 15 minutes. Hugely ambitious work. There’s such a long history there as well because the Page family created Bangarra and run Bangarra for, I don’t know, it was like 20, 25 years and so this is the first time that there’s a new artistic director and what an honour, but also what a hugely, I don’t know, intimidating thing that must have been as well. So to use that opportunity to then tell your family, cultural, country, history, in such an ambitious work that is so punchy and lyrical, it’s just an unbelievable achievement.

I can’t actually fathom how this is made. You know, my brain just can’t go there. And I agree that, yes, that, that duet work in the beginning, but the one that moved me the most was the, the, the, the act straight after it with all of, all of the people pre colonization, there’s there was a, mesh screen in front of the stage to kind of indicate the before times.

So we could just kind of see the dancers slightly dreamily blurred. in their, in their movement, and it was just beautiful, but there was, I think there was about nine or ten different sort of scenes in this, work, but one of the most moving, just, it made me cry. It was so beautiful. Was this sort of dance of the rising of, from the ashes.

So the whole set had become this big pile of like ash, like black charcoal bits. And a single performer was out there doing this sort of ritualistic rebirth from this ash. And the, the way that it sort of created this cloud and his movement in it. It was just so beautiful and, in, inspiring isn’t the right word, but, I don’t know, like expressive, illuminating, like it, it.

It conveyed so much to me in that one scene in like a novel of a one hour work.. 

Philip: Yeah, so much to recall, so much compelling intersections and collaborations on the stage. I’m so, I’m so basic in a way, but I’m always sort of wowed by anything aerial and Bangarra had this…

Carla: Oh, the wirework me too! And like I’m wow!

Philip: Yes, they have this way of doing a lift, you know, somebody’s on somebody else’s shoulder. Which, which is just done with such particular elegance and has a really un-circus like quality, but still kind of thrills me every time I see it. So those moments, yeah. It so sudden, you’re wow. 

Carla: And when you say magical, that, I think in the realms of what you mean, because every single scene movement just defies expectation or I guess probably I feel like it’s my programmed logic of where things go, but it’s a totally different kind of storytelling.

And the music, I have to really shout out, I thought the score, the music was incredible. Absoltely incredible. It was very, moody, atmospheric, it was quite loud, I had to have my earplugs in. Sort of, light, ambient techno, which doesn’t sound like it would work, but it really did. It was kind of almost like the thrumming of the earth as well, you know?

Well part of the as a holistic piece, it just worked. 

Philip: Yeah. Yeah, well, one of the videos that Bangarra has published about the production… Features Electric Fields, this two person group whose work is all in the style that you’ve just described. And they also went to visit country and to listen to elders and to have that sort of starting point of the collaboration be the place.

Mmm. And so even though it’s very signature Electric Fields style. You absolutely can sense that this is a new work that is meaningfully integrated into the storytelling, more so than just sort of importing a sound file or using something that they already had on record. So I also felt that from the first, rhythmic, incantatory elements of the score, it really held the production together very powerfully.

Wow, I feel so grateful and I can’t wait to see everything that Bangarra does ever. 

Carla: Yeah, I agree. I feel like I need to take a different tact with this and, and learn a little bit more before I go, but you know, that’s all about changing streams and getting a cultural education. So yeah, finding my way through it is.

This is what I’m really keen to keep practicing as well. Wonderful. Thank you. 

Philip: This is amazing. What a pleasure. Okay. We’re almost at the end of the episode, but before we wrap up, it’s time for Coming Soon. Coming Soon! Let’s tell people what to do. Carla, what shall I do? 

Carla: Ha-ha. My favourite. I don’t know if I’m, I can’t remember if I mentioned it last episode, but there is going to be an encore season of Fringe in Geelong.

At the Arts Centre. So just check it out. It’s all on their website because we’ve got fringe coming up, which is exciting. The two productions I want to recommend one is actually happening this month during fringe, which I don’t think I’m going to be able to go and see it, but it’s called The Visitors.

It’s another, first nations work. It sounds so incredible. It’s, um. The sort of title sentences says we join seven Aboriginal elders in 1788 as they meet to discuss the visitors. So this is set a few days before the first fleet arrive. And it’s actually also, I think it’s is it a musical or an opera, Phil? 

Philip: So there’s an opera by State Opera Victoria in Melbourne at the same time as a theatre work in Sydney with the same title, based on the same material. Right. So the one in Melbourne is opera. 

Carla: Right. Okay. All right. I’m getting confused. How crazy. So, both sound great. Yeah. The one that I’m plugging is, by Victorian opera, but you’re right.

There is The Visitor’s the play, which is happening in Sydney at the moment, which they both sound great. And then another one that I want to plug, it is well into the future, but I’m actually super excited about Melbourne Theatre Company’s 2024 season. We can sort of talk about it a little bit further, you know, in a couple of episodes time.

But one I want to point out is the Cassandra Fumi forward sizzle. So from our director from The Crocodile, she’s going to be directing a play called World Problems. that’s by Emma Mary Hall. So one of the most incredible plays I’ve ever seen and Carly Shepard, who is a First Nations performer, is going to be performing in it.

So coincidentally, I’ve got two First Nations recommendations for coming soon. Phil, what have you got?

Philip: MTC next year looks amazing. Amazing. They’re doing a musical version of My Brilliant Career. A new musical.

Carla: I know. It’s wild. And also, the Malthouse are doing Under the Skin, which is like one of my favourite movies of all time, which is essentially like a silent movie about an alien assassin and they’re making it into a play and I’m ooh, this is going to be really bad or really good. I can’t tell. 

Philip: And there’s a Joel Bray piece about fundamentalist Christians. Which I already have tickets to, obviously. Well, 

Carla: Maybe next month, or the month after, we’ll do some sort of roundups for the 2024 programs.

Philip: Oh, that’s a good idea, yeah. This year, for MTC, coming up is Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. This is about Billie Holiday, and Zara Newman, who’s just a stunning performer, is going to be… Billy. So I can’t wait for that. Also, I’m not sure if I will go to this, but if anyone goes to Hour of the Wolf at Malthouse Theatre and wants, wants me to go, can you tell me?

I’m nervous. It’s one of those ones where they build, like they’ve been building at Malthouse Theatre for months. I think I should go. It’s, I, I will have too much FOMO if I don’t go. I’m talking myself into it in the usual extroverted way of things. Well, you know I don’t do eroticism or anything. But I love, love the Hamlet thing, yeah.

Anyway, I’ll let you know at an intermission down the track if I do go and see Matthew Lutton and Keziah Warners. Hour of the Wolf at Malthouse. And if you’re into big immersive builds, yes, it could be for you. 

Carla: Yeah, great recommendation. 

Philip: All right. That is that. Thanks everyone for listening along to this episode.

It means the world to us. So if you’ve made it this far, get in touch. Say hello via email at Or, on the socials @acrossaisle. Our Instagram account offers up to date info on our evolving plans and recommendations. So follow us, and share your own views about what we cover, and what you love.

Across the Isle is recorded in Naarm and Djilang, on the stolen lands of Wurundjeri and Wathaurong people. Sovereignty has never been ceded. We pay our respect to their elders and express gratitude for their custodianship of the land we live on. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land. Thank you so much Carla.

Carla: Thanks so much. Thanks to all the performers this month, it was incredible. Bye, see you next month.

Philip: See you next time.