Most interesting performance works of 2008

OK, I'm well aware that it's pretty ridiculous to post a 'best of' list for 2008 on the 3rd of February 2009, but... well, that's what I'm going to do. So there. I've been having some great conversations over the last few weeks at the Sydney Festival with local artist colleagues and visiting types, and while we've swapped endless opinions about the shows we'd just seen over many many drinks, a regular theme was what we thought was the 'best' things we'd seen last year. Most of my blogger friends have had a go at this already, but despite being a long way behind, I thought I'd put my two cents in. Also, I thought that 'best' was perhaps too pejorative, so to make it clear that these are very much based on my personal perspective, I've gone with the moniker 'most interesting'. This of course matches neatly with my 'least interesting' list, some of which canny readers might note appeared on several mainstream media 'best of' lists. We clearly have very different tastes.

So, here goes (virtual drum roll).

Top ten most interesting works of 2008:
Aalst by Duncan McLean (based on Flemish text by Pol Heyvaert and Dimitri Verhulst) National Theatre of Scotland, Sydney Festival
The Three Minute Bacchae and Other Extreme Acts by PACT Youth Theatre
No Success Like Failure by The Fondue Set, The Studio, Sydney Opera House
Tough Time, Nice Time by Ridiculusmus, Company B
Frankenstein by Ralph Myer and Lally Katz, Wharf 2 Loud
The Whale Chorus by Janie Gibson, Alex Grady, Matthew Prest, Phoebe Torzillo, Georgie Read, PACT Theatre
Paradise City by Branch Nebula, Performance Space @ Carriageworks
Desert Island Dances by Wendy Houstoun, Melbourne International Arts Festival
The Modern International Dead by Damien Millar, Griffin Theatre Company
Pool/No Water by Mark Ravenhill, square the circle, Darlinghurst Theatre

Honourable mentions:
Apocalypse Perth by Kate Rice, Always Working Artists, The Blue Room, Artrage Festival
reform by pvi collective, Artrage Festival
The Tent by Matthew Prest, Liveworks Festival, Performance Space @ CarriageWorks
Insert the name of the person you love... by Meow Meow, Sydney Festival
Underground by Aphids
The Ghost of Rickett's Hill by The Suitcase Royale, Imperial Panda Festival

Least interesting works of 2008:
Kitten by Jenny Kemp, Malhouse Theatre, Melbourne International Arts Festival
The Navigator by Liza Lim, Melbourne International Arts Festival
Blackwatch by Gregory Burke, National Theatre of Scotland, Sydney Festival
When the rain stops falling by Andrew Bovell, Brink Productions, Adelaide Festival
Bubble by Rowan Marchingo, Legs on the Wall, Sydney Opera House
Yibiyung by Dallas Winmar, Company B
Antigone by Seamus Heaney, Company B
Salome by The Rabble, CarriageWorks
Back from Front by Dean Walsh, Performance Space @ CarriageWorks
The Vertical Hour by David Hare, Sydney Theatre Company

Image: Kate Dickie and David McKay As Cathy and Michael Delaney in Aalst. Photo from the Sydney Morning Herald website, photographer uncredited.


Alison Croggon said…
Hi David - what an interesting-looking list - so many things I haven't seen! I'm sure you mean "Kitten" by Jenny Kemp, not "Rabbit". Take a letter, Dr Freud...
David Williams said…
Nice save Alison! Similar sized animal though... For some reason I'd really convinced myself that that show was called Rabbit. I even remember having a conversation with my housemate when the Nina Raine play of that name was playing, asking what was with everyone calling their plays Rabbit? Is there no hope for a cure?
jana p said…
Least interesting... now there's a category to promote.

Glad you've done this. You see so many things I have to miss, but would love to have seen.

On a separate note, now that it doesn't look like I'll be able to come back to Sydney too soon, how about a visit to Melbourne to get all your books back? Or will I, with great dedication, bus it up?
David Williams said…
well Jana, you never know - I might have to come down to see some of Dance Massive! I'll let you know

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