A naïve hunter travels to a crossroads in the dead of night to conjure the devil. He’s willing to bargain almost anything in exchange for magic silver bullets that will never miss their mark. But the devil makes cunning deals—just when you think you can have it all, you may have unwittingly given it all away.

Who else could write a macabre musical about a pact with the devil, but Tom Waits and William S. Burroughs? Cry-in-beer ballads meet 1920s jazz and gritty beat poetry, in a carnival of addictions. Black Rider is a spectacle that pulls the audience into the dark and decadent depths of the underworld.

Malthouse Theatre and Victorian Opera team up to create a theatrical fantasia with some of Australia’s greatest seducers, including Meow Meow, Paul Capsis and Kanen Breen in a production that is part vaudeville, part opera, and all dance with the devil.

½
"STYLISH AND SOULFUL, WILD AND DISTURBING AND DARKLY FUNNY, BLACK RIDER IS ALMOST WORTH SELLING YOUR SOUL TO SEE"
— The Age
½
"THIS DARKLY HUMOROUS, MUSICALLY ECLECTIC FABLE DISTURBS AND DELIGHTS"
— Limelight Magazine

PRODUCTION PARTNERS AND SUPPORTERS

A co-production with Victorian Opera. Presented in association with Melbourne Festival.

©2005 St. Rose Music Publishing Co., Inc. Used by Permission.

Key Image: Zan Wimberley
Images: Pia Johnson

Partners

DIRECTION /

Matthew Lutton

ORIGINAL MUSIC & LYRICS /

Tom Waits

CAST INCLUDES / 

Kanen Breen, Paul Capsis, Jacqueline Dark, Winston Hillyer, Le Gateau Chocolat, Meow Meow, Richard Piper & Dimity Shepherd

MUSICAL DIRECTION / 

Phoebe Briggs

MUSIC SUPERVISION / 

Iain Grandage

SET & COSTUME DESIGN /

Zoë Atkinson

LIGHTING DESIGN /

Paul Jackson

SOUND DESIGN / 

Jim Atkins

SOUNDSCAPE DESIGN / 

Jethro Woodward

CHOREOGRAPHER / 

Stephanie Lake

STAGE MANAGER / 

Lisa Osborn

ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER /

Luke Hales

ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER/RADIO MIC TECHNICIAN / 

Jess Frost

SCENIC ARTIST / 

Patrick Jones

ORIGINAL DIRECTION / 

Robert Wilson

MUSIC & LYRICS / 

Tom Waits

TEXT / 

William S. Burroughs

ORIGINAL MUSICAL ARRANGEMENTS / 

Greg Cohen and Tom Waits

DRAMATURGY / 

Wolfgang Wiens

Event & ticketing details

Accessibility

Wheelchair Access
Audio Described
Tactile Tour

Dates & Times

PREVIEWS 7.30pm Fri 15 Sep, 7.30pm Sat 16 Sep, 6.30pm Mon 18 Sep, 6.30pm Tue 19 Sep
OPENING NIGHT 7.30pm, Wed 20 Sep
TIME TO TALK 6.30pm, Tue 26 Sep
AUDIO DESCRIBED & TACTILE TOUR 7.30pm, Fri 22 Sep

Location

Merlyn Theatre

The Malthouse, 113 Sturt St, Southbank 3006

Get directions

Train

Any train to Flinders Street, then a 12-minute stroll through Melbourne’s sparkling Arts Precinct.

Tram

The No. 1 South Melbourne tram goes right past our door. Get off at Stop 18. Any tram down St Kilda Road—jump off at Grant Street, Stop 17 and take a 3-minute walk.

Event notes

DURATION / 

1 hour, 40 minutes (no interval)

WARNINGS / 

Contains drug references and some violent imagery.