Tyson Wray’s Top Ten Arts Performances of 2015

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As arts editor of Beat, I went to over 100 shows this year (tough gig, I know). Below is a very short list covering the shows I adored most. Honourable mentions to the shows I couldn’t fit in my schedule (a guy’s gotta sleep sometime) but have heard nothing but good things about from my peers: Red Stitch’s Dead Centre, Melbourne Theatre Company’s North By Northwest (coming back for an encore season next month), Art House’s Oedipus Schmoedipus, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s Beethoven: The 1808 Vienna Concert, Malthouse Theatre’s Time Share, Dee & Cornelius’ SHIT, Chunky Move’s Miss Universal, and, oh man, I could go on for days. We in the arts world are damn spoiled in Melbourne.

10. The Weir

One sentence review: Valerie’s monologue is one of the most poignant in modern theatre, Nadine Garner did it justice.

By: Melbourne Theatre Company

Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio

9. Frame of Mind

One sentence review: A superbly executed double bill from choreographic talents William Forsythe and Rafael Bonachela, showing once again why SDC is a national treasure.

By: Sydney Dance Company

Venue: Southbank Theatre, The Sumner

8. Yuja Wang

One sentence review: There is simply no contemporary pianist who can deliver Prokfiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 as dynamically as Wang.

With: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall

7. Bronx Gothic

One sentence review: A theatrical bildungsroman as physically and emotionally taxing as coming of age itself.

By: Okwui Okpokwasili

Venue: Arts House

As part of: Melbourne Festival

6. Last Work

One sentence review: Pure physical beauty from one of the world’s most ground-breaking dance companies.

By: Batsheva Dance Company

Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre

As part of: Melbourne Festival

5. Sleeping Beauty

One sentence review: David McAllister delivered lavish beauty, his standing ovation 14 years in the making.

By: The Australian Ballet

Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre

4. Polyphony

One sentence review: One of the world’s most eccentric comedians completely nails his most audacious endeavour to date.

By: Daniel Kitson

Venue: Darebin Town Hall

As part of: Melbourne International Comedy Festival

3. Don Carlos

One sentence review: The grandest of grand opera, Verdi’s masterwork was brought to life in a flawless production (the auto-da-fe of heretics scene, my lord).

By: Opera Australia

Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre

2. 20:21

One sentence review: Contemporary ballet at its finest – Filigree and Shadow blew minds.

By: The Australian Ballet

Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre

1. 32 rue Vandenbranden

One sentence review: Hands down, of any genre, one of the best shows I’ve seen in my lifetime – the domestic violence scene is one of the most confronting things you’ll ever see in a theatre.

By: Peeping Tom

Venue: Southbank Theatre, The Sumner

As part of: Melbourne Festival