The Melbourne Festival is back in all its singing, dancing and performative glory for another year. They've just official announced the 2016 program and all we can say is: start saving your simoleans now because you're going to want to see it all.
As always, Melb Fest is delivering a lineup slammed with gigs, theatrical pieces, interactive installations, dances and so much more that defies classification. Over October 6-23 you can catch Singapore-born pianist Melvyn Tan's orchestral retelling of La Belle et la Bête (known to all of us as Beauty and the Beast), or a showing of the internationally acclaimed animated film The Triplets of Belleville. Paul Kelly is teaming up Camille O'Sullivan and Feargal Murray in their show Ancient Rain, a musical show based around the rhythmic poetry of W.B. Yeats. Or — and this is the one you won't want to miss — there's also a huge Melbourne Symphony Orchestra-backed David Bowie tribute show named David Bowie: Nothing Has Changed (*cries just a little bit*).
The theatrical shows are going to be tough to choose between — there's so many phenomenal ones on offer. Director Enrique Vagras' The Echo of the Shadow is an interactive, solitary journey though the senses as you (literally) enter a labyrinth inspired by the mega-depressing Hans Christian Andersen tale of the traveler who lost their shadow. Ex Machina by writer/director/everything man Robert Lepage is showing for the first time in Melbourne at the Arts Centre's Playhouse, and we're intrigued by this offering from Scotland — Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, a play about six Catholic school girls and their trip to sinful Edinburgh for a choral competition (it's received consistently fantastic reviews).
There's far too many to name individually but here's a wrap: a fluid stage production informed by the talents ofTourette's syndrome, a chilling, ambiguous play about the cultural significance of funerals, an interactive play, with money on the line, exploring altruism and greed, the story of two Chinese country boys moving to the big smoke…we could go but you might just have to read the full program.
For those who're tightening the purse strings, Melb Fest have also scheduled some fantastic free shows. As well as the art trams you can catch trundling through the city, you can catch Tanderrum, an Indigenous dance ceremony that's part of the commencement address in Federation Square (October 5, 6.30pm) and Les Tambours De Feu, a display that's best described as 'drumming and fiery explosions' by Basque company Deabru Beltzak (October 6-8, also in Federation Square). Chiharu Shiota's The Home Within, a complex installation of red webbing, is also free to explore as it moves across various locations in the city. Or you can have your hair cut by an unsupervised child at Haircuts by Children (a risky comment on empowering youth) if you dare. Either way, it's going to be a big month.
The Home Within, Chiharu Shiota, by Yurrtas Tumer
Melbourne Festival 2016 will run from October 6-23. For the full program, visit festival.melbourne.