How to tackle week two of Sydney Festival

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January 16, 2018
Sydney Festival
Friends! You’ve only got two more weeks to catch all the much-buzzed-about shows at this year’s Festival.

This week, we have some big shows starting their Festival runs, including The Wider Earth and Barber Shop Chronicles. Here are our definitive picks on what you can’t miss.

Tuesday 16 January

My Name is Jimi at Belvoir St Theatre, 6.30pm

“There are few people I’d prefer to spend an evening with than Jimi Bani: master raconteur, established actor, and soon to be the ninth Chief of the Wagadagam tribe,” The Guardian wrote. “This is oral storytelling at its best, with dancing, riffs, puppetry and a good dose of audience interaction.”

“An educational piece that wears its didacticism lightly,” the SMH adds, “it is simply and joyfully told, as accessible to children and adults.” Don’t miss it at Belvoir St Theatre, playing until Sunday 21 January.


Wednesday 17 January

The Wider Earth at the Sydney Opera House, 7.30pm

Daily Review gave The Wider Earth five stars and said “this production is a work of genius,” while The Australian said “no praise could be too high for The Wider Earth.” This fantastical reimagining of Charles Darwin’s journey of discovery on The Beagle employs award-winning actors, stunning custom-made puppets and clever set design to tell the story of how Darwin developed his theory of evolution. It opens this Wednesday, runs until Saturday 27 January, and is recommended for ages 12+.


Thursday 18 January

Backbone at Riverside Theatres, 6pm with SMH Q&A after

Adelaide’s acrobat young guns Gravity and Other Myths will blow your mind with the sheer guts of their stunts. Hurling each other through the air, backflipping onto stacks of people three shoulders high, and forming human trees with no props and no safety nets – you won’t see skills like this at any other circus. Check out backstage footage of the team developing this awe-inspiring new show here.

Friday 19 January

Double bill of Briefs (7.45pm) and RIOT (10pm) at the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent

Briefs is just about the most fun you can have with your pants on; the ‘thinking punter's strip show’, it’s a raging 75-minute party of musical bangers, insane aerial tricks and incredible drag outfits. Ready your voice for a whole lot of WOOOOOOOOing.

And while you’re in the Meriton Festival Village, cap off your Friday night cabaret double bill with RIOT, hosted by the inimitable and incredible Panti Bliss. The Irish show gets the balance of politics and partying just right – spoken word pieces, skewering the hypocrisy of the Irish capitalist class, will make you mad as hell, but then the likes of Up & Over It and Lords of Strut are on hand to make it all better by dancing inside giant balloons, or inviting the audience onstage to thrash a near-naked Jesus with pool noodles.



Saturday 20 January

Alice in Wonderland
at Riverside Theatre, 12pm and 2pm

In this new adaptation of the children’s classic, Alice is an Indigenous Australian girl who just wants throw away her restrictive blue dress and get changed into something she can play footy in. The show’s already picked up rave reviews; Australian Stage called it an “empowering” and "delightfully charming production … suffused with a warm-hearted positivity that adults are sure to enjoy too.”


Symphony Under the Stars, from 6.30pm (pre-show) in Parramatta Park

While you’re in Parramatta, settle in for a free night of entertainment at Parramatta Park with Symphony Under the Stars. The entertainment starts at 6.30 with an orchestra of Western Sydney’s brightest young classical musicians, before the Sydney Symphony Orchestra takes over at 8pm for two hours of much-loved classical music.


Sunday 21 January

Barber Shop Chronicles at Seymour Centre, 5pm with SMH Q&A after

Fresh from a huge run around London, this warm-hearted and very funny play takes you inside the world of African barbershops from London to Johannesburg, where men get together to talk big, share the news, drop knowledge on the young ones and get sharp fades. It’s running at the Seymour Centre from this Thursday to Sunday 28 January, but if you head along this Sunday you’ll get to catch a Q&A with the cast at the end of the show.


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