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Information

  • Event Type / Theatre
  • When / 13 - 30 Nov
  • Where / Merlyn Theatre
  • Duration / 1 hour 20 mins, no interval
  • Warning / Contains smoking, strong language, nudity and sexual references.
  • Download / the program

Calpurnia Descending

// ignites a backstage Battle Royale.

Information

  • Event Type / Theatre
  • When / 13 - 30 Nov
  • Where / Merlyn Theatre
  • Duration / 1 hour 20 mins, no interval
  • Warning / Contains smoking, strong language, nudity and sexual references.
  • Download / the program

Calpurnia Descending / sees one of the country’s most fabulous divas, Paul Capsis, in the role of a lifetime. Enter Beverly Dumont. Once a major star alongside Bette Davis and Elizabeth Taylor – this dame could dazzle. But those days are through. This has-been is now a recluse, hooked on hooch and limping toward obscurity as the curtain falls for good. When from the wings comes a not-so-naive ingénue by the name of Violet St Clair, with cheekbones that could cut glass and a body made for sin.

Together they collude on a Broadway hit to resurrect Dumont’s career, but both women are soon caught in a world of paranoia, scandal and remorseless ambition.

Fresh from a sell-out Sydney season, this uproarious and utterly unmissable spectacle from Sisters Grimm / ignites a backstage Battle Royale.

Fantastic 1st day in Melb! Got 2 see the HIGHlarious new play Calpurnia Descending!

– Katy Perry // READ THE TWEET

★★★★ Paul Capsis is in exquisite form as decrepit diva Beverly Dumont, spidery and embittered, channelling Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

– The Age

Declan Greene’s direction is inspired … Flanders is in his element as the wonderful Violet, and his transformation from ingénue to mastermind is incredibly delicious … It’s a wig-snatchingly funny ride.

– Herald Sun

★★★★ The show belongs to Capsis, who gives a glorious performance as the vulture-like, faded diva — delivering an arch physical and vocal performance only matched by his extreme, pencilled eyebrows ... [Sisters Grimm are] known as the most subversive, insightful and hilarious theatre-makers in the country. 

— The Daily Review // Read more

But the genius of this piece is the extent to which it goes beyond parody and beyond drag ... This production is clever and fun, and a lot more serious than it pretends to be.

— The Australian // Read more
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By / Sisters Grimm
Created by / Ash Flanders & Declan Greene
Direction / Declan Greene
Set & Costume Design / David Fleischer
Lighting Design / Katie Sfetkidis
AV Design / Matthew Gingold

Animation / Matt Greenwood
Composition & Sound Design / Jed Palmer
Additional Composition / Steve Toulmin
Costume maker / Jo Foley
Cast / Paul Capsis, Ash Flanders, Sandy Gore, Peter Paltos

Special Performances

Preview
Thursday 13 November, 7.30pm 

Opening night
Friday 14 November, 7.30pm

Time to Talk 
Tuesday 18 November, following the 6.30pm performance of Calpurnia Descending

Spring // Limited Edition
Sunday 23 November and attend Calpurnia Descending at 5pm

Auslan Interpretation
Saturday 29 November, 8pm

On the blog

Social media and the week that belonged to Calpurnia Descending

The Calpurnia Descending team return to their hometown and are met with packed out houses, standing ovations, hit reviews and one international superstar.

Production partners and supporters

A co-production with Sydney Theatre Company.

Key image photography / Andrew Curtis
Production photography / Brett Boardman
Trailer / Guy Edmonds