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4 Onstage Romances To Put You In the Mood for Valentine’s Day

13 February 2019 by Maxim Boon
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Cupid’s sharpening his arrows, florists are stocking-up on roses, and the stuffed animal and heart-shaped box industries are working overtime. Valentine’s Day must be upon us once again. And it just so happens that in February, love is also in the air at many of Melbourne’s theatres. Romances of every variety are gracing stages citywide, so if you’re looking for that lovin’ feeling, we suggest you check out these four shows.

“Twelfth Night”

Twelfth Night
This outdoor staging of Shakespeare’s gender-bending romantic comedy, by the Australian Shakespeare Company, may be opening just after Valentine’s Day, but as one of the Bard’s most love-struck plays, we had to include it in this list. Cunning disguises, mistaken identities, misdirected passions, and confusing new feelings, plus a generous side-serving of hilarious shenanigans, this play is equal parts flirtation and farce. And given this production’s enchanting backdrop, in the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens, it’s sure to inspire a little romance in its audience too.

School Of Rock
Some great romances ring out across the ages: Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Romeo and Juliet, Jack and Rose. And then there are those affairs that aren’t quite as epic, although that’s not to say they’re any less endearing. Take for example the delightfully dysfunctional amour between lovable schlub and minor-league grifter Dewey Finn and uptight prep school principal Rosalie Mullins. Sure, their love is born out of a somewhat problematic educational scam, but who hasn’t tried to woo someone with a long-con every now and then? With just a few weeks left of this Australian premiere season, the Melbourne production of this hit musical has enjoyed both critical and audience acclaim (its romantic credibility notwithstanding).

“Ron and Isobel”

Ron and Isobel
Looking to charm someone with a yen for political history and boutique theatre? The indie theatre masters of La Mama have just the thing. This new comedy by Anna Lall explores Australia’s most infamous constitutional crisis, the 1975 dismissal of the Whitlam government by the Governor-General, through the lens of an awkward dinner party. Our titular hero, Ron, is desperate to make amends to his wife, Isobel, following a disastrous anniversary date. A lovely soiree with the new neighbours should do the trick. There’s just one small hiccup: You should never bring up politics over dinner. Family drama, razor-edged satire, and social taboos make for a night no couple – onstage or off – will ever forget.

“Macbeth”

Macbeth
Okay, this might not be the healthiest of relationships. But for all their megalomaniacal flaws and regicidal tendencies, the Macbeths are still an undisputable power couple. And with two of Aussie theatre’s most celebrated artists – Nathaniel Dean and Alison Whyte – in the starring roles, this portrayal of a marriage gnarled by toxic ambition is sure to rank amongst the finest ever seen on an Australian stage. So, while we don’t recommend taking any romantic pointers from the Thane of Cawdor and his tyrannical bride, this show is still sure to stoke the passions and thrill the senses.