A vicious and tender portrait of contemporary Australian society, capturing the haunting aspects of the human psyche.


Presented by Little Ones Theatre and Griffin Independent
Based on the book by Christos Tsiolkas, adapted by Dan Giovannoni

From migrant camps to pill-popping hipster dinner parties, from prison cells to gay saunas and porn shoots, Merciless Gods is a vicious and tender portrait of contemporary Australian society, capturing the haunting aspects of the human psyche.

Multi award-winning Christos Tsiolkas is one of the most significant writers in Australia. This first ever stage adaptation of his short story collection, Merciless Gods, takes you deep into worlds both strange and familiar, introducing you to characters who will never let you go and situations that will haunt you forever.

Told from diverse cultural perspectives, Merciless Gods by award-winning playwright Dan Giovannoni is urgent, dirty, glorious theatre.

Content Warning
Merciless Gods contains nudity, sex scenes, smoking, haze and sexually explicit language. It is not suitable for children. To discuss any of the above please contact Griffin on 02 9332 1320 or email [email protected].

Cast & Creatives

Director Stephen Nicolazzo
Set & Costumer Designer Eugyeene Teh
Lighting Designer Katie Sfetkidis
Sound Designer Daniel Nixon
Dramaturg Chris Mead
Producer Jo Porter
Production Manager Bec Poulter 
Stage Manager
Brianna-Lee Wade
Paul Blenheim, Brigid Gallacher, Sapidah Kian, Peter Paltos, Charles Purcell, Jennifer Vuletic

Performance Times

Previews 1 & 2 November
Season 4 – 25 November

Performance Times
Monday – Saturday 7pm
Saturday 25 November 2pm & 7pm

Run Time
120 minutes including a 20 minute interval.


Stephen Nicolazzo on Merciless Gods

Don Giovannoni on Merciless Gods



“Brutal and tender at the same time…and unsentimentally queer in its storytelling approach as well as its content. It’s a harsh theatrical landscape, but a lyrical one: the language is dazzling – insidious and vicious and suddenly gentle but never sweet..” ★★★★ The Guardian

“The cast is superb across the board.” ★★★★ Daily Review

“Dan Giovannoni’s script is talented and Nicolazzo directs charged performances…Neither flinch from the disgust and discomfort, nor the piercing of delusion, Tsiolkas demands. Though not for the squeamish or easily offended, Merciless Gods is compelling, confronting theatre.” ★★★★ The Age

“Director Stephen Nicolazzo continues to cement his reputation as one of Melbourne’s – and dare I say, Australia’s – most dynamic and creatively assured theatre makers…every gesture of this production finds a hard-won, supremely accomplished equilibrium between the beautiful and the barbaric.” ★★★★½ The Music

“A striking and fearless affair… Sharp staging, evocative direction, a powerhouse script, and a troupe of performers all at the top of their game…this is provocative contemporary theatre at its best.” ★★★★½ The Lowdown Under

“…Those who fall under its dark spell will leave feeling elevated.” Sydney Morning Herald

“Actor Jennifer Vuletic is unforgettable in two of the stories, converting the literary into intimate moments thrilling and visceral…” Suzy Goes See 

“Occasionally the most powerful moments in the theatre can happen silently in in the dark listening to the breathing around you and the occasional sniff.  Merciless Gods has one of these rare moments, at the end of a heartbreaking piece about families, friends and lovers.” Theatre Now