Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner – in Melbourne, at last
Until 29 January at Malthouse theatre
British playwright Jasmine Lee-Jones’s acclaimed play returns to Australia after a sellout run in Sydney. Newly dumped Cleo is on a Twitter tirade, directing her fury at headlines that describe Kardashian personality Kylie Jenner as a “self-made” billionaire. Her best friend, Kara, tries to talk her down as Cleo’s anger escalates. A funny and furious exploration of internet celebrity and the commodification of Blackness.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – returned and reduced
Until 30 April at Princess theatre
If you’re up for watching an almost four-hour play about a middle-aged Harry Potter learning to be a good dad, you are probably fine with an almost six-hour version too. But Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the theatrical sequel to JK Rowling’s books, has now been tightened from a two-part play to a single three-and-a-half-hour show with an interval – there’s not much new if you’ve already seen the longer version, but it is worth going to see (even again) just for the magic tricks alone.
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Sunday – A new play about Heide founder
Until 18 February at Melbourne Theatre Company, Southbank
One of the country’s most revered and fetishised arts patrons, Sunday Reed has been the focus of gossip and scandal since she and her husband John set up what became the Heide group in outer-suburban Melbourne. She had a sultry affair with Sidney Nolan, adopted Joy Hester’s child Sweeney, and eventually took her own life. Playwright Anthony Weigh weighs in with a fantasy of his own in this major-stage adaptation, starring the luminous Nikki Shiels. Contemporary art has nothing on the modernists.
Parties and festivals
Night at the Museum: Minus18 Youth Party
28 January at Immigration Museum, Melbourne CBD
Amid all the dance parties at the LGBTQ+ Midsumma festival, there’s this lovely sounding event reserved just for young people aged 12-19 being put on by Minus18: an organisation focused on improving the wellbeing of same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people in Australia. There will be dancing, snacks, glitter and performances and it is all for free – but the organisers recommend that you register beforehand to get a spot.
Midsumma Carnival – queer Christmas
22 January at Alexandra gardens
The annual three-week queer festival kicks off with this free opening event, held out in the sun in Alexandra gardens. With plenty of musical and drag performances to see and things to eat, the opening carnival alone attracts 120,000 people each year; a must-see is the annual dog parade – a favourite of many. Picnics welcomed.
Boiler Room x Sugar Mountain – dancefloor filler
21 January at Seaworks Maritime Precinct
The party famous for exposing thousands of gacked rave faces and awkward dance moves on their livestreamed sets is returning to Melbourne! Boiler Room has been collaborating with local dance festival Sugar Mountain for the better part of a decade. This year’s lineup includes Detroit selector DJ Bone and Canada’s globe-trotting Darwin, as well as Egyptian Australian artist Moktar, who’s built a sizeable name for himself in the scene with his fusion of club music and Arabic arrangements. It’ll all go down in a scenic venue about 30 minutes out of Melbourne – and, of course, on YouTube.
Visual arts and family-friendly events
Polly Borland – bits and blobs from a Melbourne icon
Until 25 February at Station Gallery
Polly Borland’s photographs are strange, surreal and almost immediately recognisable: fleshy blobs stuffed into stockings; powerful nudes that will stare you down; and portraits of famous faces including Queen Elizabeth II, Donald Trump, Monica Lewinsky and Nick Cave. The latter is a close friend of Borland’s, as the two came up together in Melbourne’s 80s punk scene. Cave once let her smush his face into a giant stocking, topped with a blue wig and red lipstick. Because that’s what friends are for.
Monet & Friends – water lilies, made giant
Until 31 March at The Lume
The team that beamed the art of Vincent van Gogh as giant, immersive projections on the walls and floors of the Lume are back to do the same for Claude Monet and his fellow French impressionists. Think pastel daubs and all the water lilies you could shake a paintbrush at, with a bit of classical music to boot. They’ve even installed their own version of Paris’s Café de Flore inside for you to get a petit four. It’s a feast for all the senses.
Spaghetti-Stack-Snuffle-Shuffle – colourful sculptures for the whole family
Until 26 February at Bunjil Place
Rosie Deacon takes up artistic residence at Bunjil Place in Berwick’s Old Cheese Factory, with this new sculptural exhibition exploring the relationship between animals and humans. Using found materials and gifted items collected from op shops and art disposal centres, Deacon weaves wonderfully textural, explosively colourful exhibits that aim to reconnect audiences with childhood memories. She also incorporates 100 “joey” sculptures created by students from Gwendoline kindergarten in this highly interactive and family-friendly show.