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A Memorable Season: Sydney Theatre Company

With its ability to seamlessly revamp the classics (thank you, Andrew Upton), whip up a few knock out casts, toy with emotions and dominate numerous Facebook statuses, the Sydney Theatre Company knows what it’s doing. And so we decided to give you a quick breakdown of the current works STC has on offer.

Directed by Hollywood heavyweight Philip Seymour Hoffman, True West unfolds against a backdrop of coyotes, crickets and needy houseplants and gives new meaning to the classic Western showdown. Without leaving their claustrophobic kitchen (even for harshly lit, music blaring scene changes) Austen and Lee, brothers as different as night and day, strive to resolve differences, butter toast, write screenplays and imagine a different life. Played by Brendan Cowell and Wayne Blaire respectively, the desperation, despair and beautifully choreographed violence that fuel their relationship lifts this play from being a kitchen sink drama into something truly memorable. Sam Shepard’s classic script combines anger, remorse and kindness into a poetic story that suggests dessert escapes and stolen toasters really can solve all of life’s problems. True West runs in Wharf 1 until December 18. Tickets are available at

Just across the road, Bell, Blanchett, McElhinney, Roxburgh, Weaver and Weaving bring the beauty and unforgiving honesty of Chekov to life in Uncle Vanya. Set in an isolated Russian farm – recreated on stage through a stunning assortment of timber, flowers, rust and rain – managers Vanya and Sonya contend with the disruptive yet somewhat magical presence of Professor Serebryakov, his alluring wife Yelena and the charming Astrov. The resulting chaos explores the fragility of human emotion and crippling power of frustration. The ensemble’s seamless performance ensures Uncle Vanya remains warm and insightful while slipping gracefully between comedy and tragedy. Blancett is ethereal, Roxburgh is mesmerising, Weaver is adorable and Weaving is not quite of this world. Uncle Vanya is what theatre is all about and runs until 1 January. Tickets are available here.

words: Liz Schaffer


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