2018 in lists: concerts & shows, theatre, books, movies, TV

Concerts, Shows, Theatre, Exhibitions & Words

  • Muriel’s Wedding, the Musical: Loved the adaptation and update, music and cast. A fun show. I wonder if it will transfer overseas.
  • Darlinghurst Nights, Hayes Theatre: A thirty-year old musical revived, a love letter to Sydney’s bohemian scene around Darlinghurst and Kings Cross; great actors and a lovely score.
  • The Backstories: Moya Dodd, CAAP/Carriageworks: A fantastic sharing of a personal history in the style of William Yang’s performances, and such an interesting story and person.
  • Trevor Ashley’s Mardi Gala: As always, a fun, camp, community celebration… with special guests too.
  • The National, Sydney Opera House Forecourt: Aging hipsters, all of us, they seemed much more subdued than four years ago. Was the sound turned down? Did the terrible people in the Toaster that always complain about noise win? Even in their formerly most raucous songs, it seems sort of… unplugged. But I loved it just the same. Great atmosphere, amazing songs, and: really excellent videography, perhaps the best that I’ve seen at a concert, really allowing me to feel like I was at the front of the stage, from the comfort of further back.
  • The Mardi Gras Parade Sideshow 2018: Well, if the parade ain’t a show, I don’t know what is.
  • View UpStairs, Hayes Theatre: What an interesting musical, written by a young, smart writer and composer. Great cast, amazing set, and a good concept. Now I wish I’d seen it in NYC when I was there.
  • Merrily We Roll Along, Depot Theatre: Some songs that I’ve always adored. Seeing this show reminded me of how tricky it is to put on. I think the first time I saw it, I was so impressed with the conceit (deeply cynical, that life only gets better by moving backwards in time) that I overlooked the old-fashioned parts, the broad plot and how difficult it is to make some of the songs come alive.
  • John Cameron Mitchell: The Origin of Love, Sydney Opera House.
  • Seu Jorge: The Life Aquatic, a Tribute to David Bowie, Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall: Great concert. So much charisma and musicianship, just him and his guitar, captivating the audience.
  • In the Heights, Hayes Theatre: Wow.
  • Torch Song Trilogy, Darlinghurst Theatre: A wonderful production. The added music, I thought, gave it an emotional depth to bring some of the more outdated material into the present, and the script is funny, poignant and engaging.
  • Antidote at the Sydney Opera House: Ronan Farrow, Maureen Dowd and Ta-Nehisi Coates.
  • She Loves Me, Hayes Theatre: Such an old-fashioned musical, I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. But cracking performances and tight direction: this was so much fun and had so much life.
  • The The, Sydney Opera House: A pretty fun show. I was surprised that he was well-known enough to do two shows, and that I remembered so many of the hits.
  • Ólafur Arnalds: Oh my god, I love him.
  • Showqueen Spectacular: It was fun to end the year in shows with some amazing cabaret singers, as led by Trevor Ashley. Steven Madsen was my favourite: his voice, perfectly modulated, brought out the emotion from some tricky songs.


  • Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend (fiction)
  • Elena Ferrante’s Story of a New Name (fiction)
  • Elena Ferrante’s Those who leave and those who stay (fiction)
  • Elena Ferrante’s The Story of the Lost Child (fiction)
  • Andrew Sean Greer’s Less (fiction)
  • Christie Harris’s Mouse Woman and the Vanished Princesses (fiction/mythology)
  • Michael Merzenich’s Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life (science)
  • John Irving’s In One Person (fiction)
  • Michael Ondaatje’s Warlight (fiction)
  • Stuart Barnes’s Glasshouses (poetry)
  • Matthew Mitcham’s Twists and Turns (autobiography)


  • Moana. I watched this hungover from New Year’s Eve and thought it was great.
  • Call me by your name: Romantic, languid and slow. Of course I loved it.
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Entertaining, engaging with characters I was rooting for, and amusing space creatures.
  • The Shape of Water: What an odd film, but quite magical.
  • Lady Bird: I don’t think I liked it quite as much as the critics… and even though the film was playing with cliché and trope, some felt too familiar, but the central performance is compelling.
  • The Post: Fine. Engaging but somewhat predictable filmmaking.
  • Black Panther: Wakanda forever!
  • Love, Simon: Oh, I liked this. Review here.
  • Wonder Woman
  • I, Tonya
  • The Greatest Showman
  • Kinky Boots
  • Silent Child (Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film, 2018)
  • McQueen: A powerful documentary about a creative genius, who was so tragically sad.
  • Bohemian Rhapsody: Enjoyable but the storytelling isn’t strong. Those prosthetic teeth should be up for a best supporting actor award though.
  • Won’t you be my neighbor? Growing up watching Mr. Rogers, I found this documentary emotional and nostalgic.


  • Stranger Things, Season 2. Pretty fun to watch, and some interesting developments from the first season though I’m not sure it always make sense…
  • Project Runway All Stars, Season 6.
  • The Crown, Season 2
  • And then there were none (mini-series, 3 episodes)
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race, All Stars, Season 3
  • Altered Carbon
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 10
  • Transparent, Season 3
  • Katya and Trixie show (2 episodes): This was very fun.
  • Handmaid’s Tale, Season 2
  • I created a cult
  • Wild, wild country
  • Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette
  • Iris (a documentary on Iris Apfel: fabulously interesting woman but this work didn’t delve into biography; it was just a ‘day in the life of’.)
  • Sense8, finale.
  • Survivor, Season 36
  • Survivor, Season 37
  • The Bodyguard
  • Killing Eve, Season 1: On the plane from Sydney to Honolulu, I binge watched the entire season. It was awesome.

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