If you’re at all superstitious, this is not the day to call a doctor (it indicates a fatal illness) or set sail (your ship is doomed).
However, for those who aren’t afraid to start journeys on this supposedly ill-fated day, wouldn’t blink twice at getting married on Friday 13th or fearlessly book hair appointments or manicures for this day (getting your hair or nails cut causes a family member to die mwahah), these shows will be right up your spooky alley.
Jekyll & Hyde
Sydney | Melbourne
You may know the tale of the respectable Doctor Jekyll who acts out horrific transgressions as the depraved Hyde but you’ve never seen it like this. The gothic suspense story about the struggle between good and evil gets the stage treatment in this musical version starring Anthony Warlow and Jemma Rix. The music will be haunting and powerful, the costumes magnificent in their Victorian glory and Warlow’s performance spine-tingling.
Pop-Up Globe’s Hamlet
A father’s ghost. A fixation on revenge. Poison. Existential questions of life and death. Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a classic with strong notes of the supernatural and this Pop-Up Globe production will put you right in the middle of the action, with the duel-to-the-death scene played out before your nose.
Sydney | Melbourne
For those who have never heard of this modern opera by German composer Aribert Reimann, it centres around a young student who can see ghosts. He ventures into a house where the dead are alive and beauty is rotten. This Opera Australia production uses clashing musical notes, unusual instrumental arrangements and complex rhythms to put the audience on edge and evoke discomfort. It’s based on the 1907 play of the same name in which central themes include sin and suffering. Ultimately, the young student realises the house he’s entered is a metaphor for hell on earth. Not for the faint-hearted.
Another classic and arguably Shakespeare’s most gory, this tragedy about two families trapped in a cycle of revenge involves massacre, rape and cannibalism. Sounds like hard viewing? Well, it won’t be a bed of roses but Jane Montgomery Griffiths’ (Melbourne Theatre Company’s Macbeth, Bell Shakespeare’s King Lear) performance, set in a nightmarish landscape, makes it compelling watching. Add in experimental director Adena Jacobs’ artistic flair and you won’t be able to look away.
Faust is the ultimate story about making a pact with the devil and getting your heart’s desire in exchange for your soul. The stage setting is theatrical while composer Charles-François Gounod’s music is elegant and rousing. This production stars international opera star Saimir Pirgu, winner of 2013 Golden Pavarotti Award, as Faust and Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Méphistophélès.
Puffs or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic is admittedly more comedy than horror but it does feature potions, magical animals and a certain evil, hideous wizard. Reviews call it ‘an absolute hoot of a show’ (Broadway World) with ‘megawatt performances’ (Time Out Melbourne). It’s certainly worthwhile watching, whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or just in the mood for a laugh-a-minute show.