Multiple Bad Things

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Multiple Bad Things

Words by Staff Writer

Welcome to the workplace at the end of the world.

Session Times

Wed May 29 – Sat Jun 1: 7.30pm
Sun Jun 2: 5pm
Tues Jun 4 – Wed Jun 5: 6.30pm
Thurs Jun 6 – Sat Jun 8: 7.30pm
Sat Jun 8 (Matinee): 2pm
Sun Jun 9: 5pm

Back to Back Theatre is arguably Australia’s most exciting and groundbreaking theatre company. Its latest, Multiple Bad Things, is a production that soars in that world-beating confidence. The 30-plus year-old company responsible for globally-acclaimed productions like Small Metal Objects and Ganesh Versus the Third Reich (“a vital sense-sharpening tonic” – New York Times), return to Malthouse Theatre this month with its first production since winning the Venice Biennale Gold Lion Award for Theatre.

We should leave the intriguing synopsis to the experts themselves. “At a time like this, in a placeless warehouse, three employees approach a possibly pointless task,” Back to Back describes. “Struggling to work together, they grapple with questions of inclusion and identity. They are forced to test the limits of their bodies, their cooperation and their capacity to care. Civility slips, bad behaviour escalates and reality distorts. The witching hour is here. Who will be the scapegoat?

“Multiple Bad Things is theatre. It is not real. But in a world where self-righteously indignant voices so often drown out the most disenfranchised and vulnerable, this theatre sometimes feels real.”

Back to Back Theatre’s Multiple Bad Things

  • 29 May – 9 June
  • Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse
  • Tickets here

Explore Melbourne’s latest arts and stage news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

Every aspect of the production is innovative, even for a company renowned for pushing boundaries. It’s their first major work by new directors in 17 years (Tamara Searle and Ingrid Voorendt). It features a tremendously exciting score by award-winning Fitzroy cellist, composer and performance maker Zoë Barry, derived from field recordings of various unsettling sounds.

The company’s famously innovative and restrained set designs are also taken to another level, with Anna Cordingley’s set requiring physical engagement from the actors to bring it to life. All of these exciting risks notwithstanding, there is a sense of safety that comes with the casting; the now-globally renowned talents of Simon Laherty, Bron Batten, Sarah Mainwaring and Scott Price star in this latest production.

If you needed any more convincing of just how in-demand Back to Back are, this production is actually co-commissioned by Belgium’s Kunstenfestivaldesarts and developmentally supported by France’s Festival d’Automn, among many others. It will be performed in Melbourne only 12 times before Back to Back return to Venice to receive the Gold Lion, their second major theatrical award in as many years after taking out the 2022 International Ibsen Award (an accolade considered the greatest in the world for recognition of theatre).

Expect nothing less than a multi-facted, highly layered and immensely complex work of theatre, delivered entirely by neurodivergent and disabled actors. At the time of writing, opening night is already sold out and the other performances are selling fast. We cannot recommend seeing it more highly.

Get tickets here.

This article was made in partnership with Malthouse Theatre.