Features/What to SEE/Multi-arts

What to SEE: May gig guide

7 April 2022

Wondering what to SEE this May? Check out Seesaw Mag’s new gig guide for the hottest tips across theatre, music, dance, visual arts and more!

Welcome to Seesaw Magazine’s new monthly gig guide! Each month we’ll be filling you in on our top picks from across the arts spectrum.

This month Seesaw Editor Nina Levy shares her recommendations for May 2022.


A young woman wearing a bright blue satin strapless dress and an Alice band leaps in the air, her legs turned out and tucked underneath her, and her arms extended.

Alice (in wonderland)

I’ve previously reviewed West Australian Ballet‘s Alice (in wonderland) as “a charismatic concoction of mad-cap music, aerobatic puppetry and ballet that blends neoclassical and contemporary styles with a giant dollop of crazy.” Suffice to say Alice (in Wonderland) comes highly recommended.

From neon-pink flamingos to a hypercolour Mad Hatter Tea Party, every character is gorgeously choreographed, costumed and scored.

Alice (in Wonderland) plays His Majesty’s Theatre, 6-21 May 2022.

Contemporary dance

Three dancers pose.
Dancers Zee Zunnur, Macon Riley and Stefan Karlsson. Photo: Simon Pynt

Short Cuts

I love an opportunity to see dance works-in-progress and STRUT Dance’s “Short Cuts” season invites audiences to do just that. After 20 hours in the studio, independent local artists present two mixed-bill programs of short new works at the King Street Arts Centre.

It’s a tasting plate of dance hors d’oeuvres and you never know when you’re going to see the first stage of something destined for greater things – a fragment of Emma Fishwick’s Slow Burn, Together, which went on to premiere at Perth Festival in 2021, was once presented at “Short Cuts”.

Short Cuts plays King Street Arts Centre, 19 May – 21 May 2022


Jazz in the theatre: Barney McAll (NYC)

Jazz aficionados will be excited to catch ARIA-winning jazz pianist and composer Barney McAll, who will be playing with WAAPA’s jazz students. McAll has returned to Australia after 20 years living in New York City, where he worked with the likes of Gary Bartz, Dewey Redman, Josh Roseman and Fred Wesley, as well as pop star Sia.

This show promises to take advantage of McAll’s trademark versatility as well as the talents of WAAPA’s jazz students, and features big bands, vocal ensembles and piano trios. 

“Jazz in the theatre: Barney McAll” plays WAAPA’s Geoff Gibbs Theatre, 6 May 2022.


 Gillian O'Shaughnessy &  author Craig Silvey in conversation.
Presenter Gillian O’Shaughnessy & author Craig Silvey

Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival

With a line-up that includes Geoffrey Robertson QC, Jane Caro, Kathy Lette, Julia Baird, Heather Morris, Saul Griffith and Lynne McGranger and more, I’m very tempted to make the drive down South for this one. Whether you an avid reader, writer or both, the Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival has something for you, from author talks to writers workshops, networking events to art installations and performances. International and interstate guests will be making live-streamed appearances, with WA writers live and in-the-flesh.

Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival takes place 13-15 May 2022

Musical Theatre

Two young women dancing and singing. They are dressed in 90s style grunge fashion. Other dancers are in the background.
Emily Nkomo and Maggie McKenna. Photo: Daniel Boud

Jagged Little Pill

Featuring hits such as “You Oughta Know”, “Head Over Feet”, “Hand in my Pocket” and “Ironic”, the musical Jagged Little Pill is inspired by Alanis Morissette’s acclaimed rock album of the same name.

While the cast is impressive, it’s the choreographer that’s got me excited, none other than the internationally renowned Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Even if you’re not familiar with his contemporary dance repertoire, you might have come across his work as a collaborator with Beyonce.

Jagged Little Pill was originally scheduled to open in May at Crown Perth but has been postponed – new dates have not yet been arranged.


Two women dressed glamourously, perhaps in rococco style.

The Duel

West Australian Opera is inviting you to a dinner with a difference. Presented at Government House Ballroom, The Duel promises to transport its audience back to 18th century Europe, and a competition between two composers.

With stages at either end of the ballroom, depicting a musical standoff between Antonio Salieri’s Italian opera style and Wolfgang Mozart’s German “singspiel”, you can decide for yourself who wins.

The Duel plays Government House Ballroom 12-15 May 2022.


Two women stand in a yellow room. In front of them is a chrome toaster.


Last year Black Swan State Theatre Company and The Blue Room Theatre piloted a new partnership, designed to create opportunities for local independent theatre makers to develop their craft and present their work to a wider audience. Toast, by local playwright Liz Newell, is the second iteration of that partnership, and promises to be just as engaging as its predecessor, Playthings. Focusing on three sisters dealing with the sudden death of their mother, Toast is described by Black Swan as a “funny and charming work about the family we’re given and the family we choose for ourselves”.

Toast plays the State Theatre Centre of WA, 5-15 May 2022


A man holds a pair of binocularsbut looks above them a planet encircled in 1980s tvs, stereos, cassette tapes and other curios.

The Great Un-Wondering of Wilbur Whittaker

Barking Gecko Theatre has a new play, from duo that brought you HOUSE and Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories. Named The Great Un-Wondering of Wilbur Whittaker, it’s heading to Karratha, Bunbury and Albany after its Perth premiere.

When Wilbur was a kid, his mind would wander and wonder but now he’s a sensible adult, who cares about boring adult things. But when he gives away a shoebox of his childhood “wonderings”, he discovers that without them he begins to disappear. Cue epic adventure as Wilbur races to recover his wonderings, before his time runs out.

The Great Un-wondering of Wilbur Whittaker plays
Perth: 9-16 April, State Theatre Centre of WA
Karratha: 29 April – 4 May, Red Earth Arts Precinct
Bunbury: 10-11 May, Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre
Albany: 18-19 May, Albany Entertainment Centre

Visual arts

Carla Adams, ‘Yearning and Longing’, 2022, polyester cord, acrylic eyes, lava stone and glass beads. 32 x 27cm each.

Little Looks

If you haven’t discovered Goolugatup Heathcote art gallery yet then you’re in for a treat. Its views over the Derbarl Yerrigan/Swan River are gorgeous but head inside and you’ll find and an annual program that features some of Perth’s most exciting makers.

In May you can see “Little Looks” in the main gallery, a new exhibition by Carla Adams. Known for her vibrantly coloured and textured works, Adams imagines intimate memories and fleeting moments as tangible objects in “Little Looks”.

Also showing at Goolagatup this month is “Putting on Clown Makeup” by Walylup/Fremantle-based multidisciplinary artist Pascale Giorgi. 

“Little Looks” by Carla Adams and “Putting on Clown Makeup” by Pascale Giorgi will show at Goolugatup Heathcote Art Gallery, 29 April – 12 June 2022.

Pictured top: Carla Adams, ‘Yearning and Longing’, 2022, polyester cord, acrylic eyes, lava stone and glass beads. 32 x 27cm each.

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Author —
Nina Levy

Nina Levy has worked as an arts writer and critic since 2007. She co-founded Seesaw and has been co-editing the platform since it went live in August 2017. As a freelancer she has written extensively for The West Australian and Dance Australia magazine, co-editing the latter from 2016 to 2019. Nina loves the swings because they take her closer to the sky.

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