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★★★★“Their restrained black costumes and make-up recall Weimar cabaret, but Dann Barber looks to 18th century excess to dress the main cast. The parade of colour, bows, frills, big wigs and crinolines is made all the more visually interesting by the use of refuse such as garbage bags in their construction, dirty finishes and modern footwear including runners and cowboy boots.

Perhaps even more clever is Barber’s set, which is essentially a very hard-working (prop) vintage caravan superbly lit by Matt Scott. We are whisked to each new location, from Paris to Buenos Aires, with an antique-style banner popping out the top of the caravan or, even better when it opens up like a little stage, old-fashioned painted backdrops.

These banners and backdrops are handsomely nostalgic and also humorous (Melbourne’s famous Skipping Girl neon sign appears in Lisbon, for example), while the El Dorado scene’s lustrous gold fabric for both set and costume is eye-popping.”

LIMELIGHT, Patricia Maunder 

February 9, 2024



Music by Leonard Bernstein

Book by Hugh Wheeler after Voltaire

Lyrics by Richard Wilbur

with additional lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, John La Touche, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker and Leonard Bernstein

Conductor: Benjamin Northey
Director: Dean Bryant

Choreographer: Freya List
Set and Costume Designer: Dann Barber
Lighting Designer: Matt Scott
Sound Designer: Samuel Moxham
Associate Designer: Savanna Wegman
Cast: Eddie Perfect, Lyndon Watts, Katherine Allen, Maria Mercedes, Euan Fistrovic Doidge, Eddie Muliaumaseali’i, Alexander Lewis, Troy Sussman, Melanie Bird

★★★★☆”Here, director Dean Bryant, designer Dann Barber, and lighting designer Matt Scott encourage us to make links with Voltaire’s original work through employing a visual design that cleverly combines eighteenth-century ‘silhouettes’, as Bryant himself describes them, ‘with cast-offs from our own’. An iconic-looking Australian caravan, for instance, is cleverly repurposed variously as a castle, a hospital, a Parisan nightclub, an Inquisitor’s court, an Argentinian villa, and as a stage-within-a-stage. Suburban shopping trolleys make a cameo appearance as sheep laden with Amazonian gold. It all looks as if William Hogarth had turned up to design the sets for Muriel’s Wedding. And it works.”

ABR, Peter Tregear

February 9, 2024

★★★★☆”Dann Barber’s set and costume design was so thoughtful, fresh and richly textured, that it slingshotted the audience into Candide’s world of luxury and violence. There was always something that caught the eye: the Barrie Kosky-esque giant hands that made flogging seem fun, the heroine Cunégonde’s bejewelled-to-the-heavens Crocs and the Melbourne Skipping Girl sign included in a backdrop, as a nod to the production’s home state. Ten points if you spotted it. These additions and others added much needed depth to the narrative and enabled Bryant to play around with dynamic blocking.”

ARTS HUB, Jenna Schroder 

February 12, 2024

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