As the most subscribed theatre company in the country, the Melbourne Theatre Company can be deservedly proud of its long history at the peak of Australian theatre. But the audience doesn’t keep coming back just to be loyal; the public return because the plays appeal to them and performance standards are kept high. The MTC’s 2019 season, on sale now, promises much interest and pleasure. Out of a dozen productions, six are written by Australians. There are adaptions of screen to stage, a reversal of what we normally expect, although MTC have had previous successes of such adaptations, most notably North by Northwest. This year’s adaption from screen to stage is Shakespeare in Love, a charming romantic, Oscar-winning, comedy. An adaptation from a much-loved novel is Storm Boy which was itself a delightful movie.
Having started life as a play, the wonderful movie Cosi, by Louis Nowra, will return to the stage directed by Sarah Goodes. Both darkly funny and deeply moving, Cosi is the second of a trilogy of semi-autobiographical plays by Nowra. A biographical play called Photograph 51 by Anna Ziegler, will see the return to the stage of Nadine Garner. She will portray Rosalind Franklin, a brilliant English chemist and X-ray crystallographer who, despite her untimely death from cancer aged 37, made a vital contribution to the double helix theory of DNA. The production will be directed by Pamela Rabe. MTC is offering a well-balanced year of good theatre.