A Rabbit for Kim Jong-il The premise of this play — that North Korea’s Dear Leader Kim Jong-il once briefly became so interested in giant rabbits bred by an obscure farmer in rural Germany that he tried to import some — is so crazy that it is not surprising to discover it is based on something that actually happened. And that expectation — that North Korea seems to be so ridiculous that nothing it does is a surprise — is at the heart of Lee Lewis’s production. It starts out absurd and then creeps up on you and hits you over the head. Kit Brookman’s script develops with a series of comfortable stereotypes involving spies and secret deals and sudden flights in the night. For a long time it is all quite silly but in the end this all turns out to be a theatrical ambush. Just as we are settling into what appears to be a cosily comic political parable, it twists and we are suddenly trapped into asking ourselves why we have been laughing. Starring Kaeng Chan and Steve Rodgers (pictured).
John McCallum SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross. Today, 2pm and 7pm. Tickets: $35-$55. Bookings: (02) 9361 3817 or online. Until November 21. Cats The revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1981 musical Cats opens in Sydney, reworked for its most recent season in London’s West End by the original creative team. Based on TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the show is set among a junkyard playground alive with feline characters, with a score that includes the hit song Memory, recorded over the years by more than 150 artists including Barbra Streisand and Barry Manilow. Capitol Theatre, 13 Campbell Street, Haymarket. Opens Friday. Tickets: $90-$143. Bookings: 1300 558 878 or online. Until November 21. Dead Centre/Sea Wall Tom Holloway’s Dead Centre and Simon Stephens’s Sea Wall are combined in this double bill from Melbourne’s Red Stitch Actors Theatre. The two companion monologues follow a man and a woman, torn apart by a tragic loss and thousands of kilometres; he lives in Britain, she lives in Australia. Old Fitz Theatre, 129 Dowling Street, Woolloomooloo. Tonight, 7.30pm. Tickets: $25-$35. Bookings: 0409 020 119 or online. Until November 14.