Liza’s Back! (is broken)

By Trevor Ashley and Phil Scott. Music Arrangements by Max Lambert. Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. 17 – 22 January 2017.

Look out Liza Minnelli, there’s a new girl back in town. The multi-faceted performer and sometime drag queen Trevor Ashley has let loose on Brisbane audiences with Liza’s Back! (is broken) after seasons around Australia and London’s West End.This show is a sequel of sorts to his smash hit 2010 production of Liza! (on a E) which headlined at the Brisbane Cabaret Festival.

Twelfth Night

By William Shakespeare. Directed and re-imagined by Glenn Elston. Australian Shakespeare Company. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. December 20, 2016 to March 4, 2017.

Purists, theatre snobs and general wowsers won’t like Elston’s version of Shakespeare’s delicious comedy, but who cares? Once again Shakespeare in the Park offers us a marvellous open air treat, and it doesn’t matter whether you bring a picnic of smoked salmon and Champagne, or Vegemite sandwiches and Fanta….that’s how wide the general appeal is for this terrific production.

A Night at the Musicals

Le Gateau Chocolat and Jonny Woo. Fairfax Studio. Arts Centre Melbourne. 17 -22 January 2017

This show is what you get when you mix technical excellence, irreverent devotion to the musical genre, humour and an ability to have an audience do just what you want with a gesture or look.


Form Dance Projects / Sydney Festival. Carriageworks. January 17 – 22, 2017

From Form Dance Projects in Parramatta comes this highly produced new work for Sydney Festival defying the idea that sport and arty stuff like contemporary dance can never mix.

After consulting the coaches and female athletes of the Western Sydney Wanderers,  choreographer Martin del Amo and his team of eleven all-female dancers stage Champions as though in a footy stadium.

The Music of Queen – A Rock & Symphonic Spectacular

Asia Theatricals, Good Egg Creative and Andrew Wyke. Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House - January 18 and 19, 2017, and Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne - 21 January, 2017.

A lavish symphony orchestra, a pulsating rock band and four top musical theatre performers combine to celebrate the hits of one of the greatest rock bands in The Music of Queen – A Rock & Symphonic Spectacular.


By Neil LaBute. Butterfly Theatre. The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Thebarton (S.A.). January 18 – 22, 2017

After previous successful seasons presenting “Beer theatre”, Butterfly are returning in 2017 with Autobahn, four one act plays written by American Playwright Neil LaBute, all set within the confines of an automobile. The common link with these four plays is the fact they are all set in a car and are about relationships, but I found the stories lacked any kind of journey or ending and I was left a little unsatisfied.


Techno Circus. Concourse Theatre Chatswood. January 11 – 29, 2017

Back in 2002 a group of friends in a Japanese High School had the bright idea to combine the best of Japanese game culture in a performing arts troupe.  Fifteen years later SIRO-A has an international following and the group is appearing in Australia for the first time.

It’s best described as a high energy dance video projection act. Techno music performed live is co-ordinated with flashy coloured lights, video mapping and cheesy dance moves. SIRO is (I am told) the Japanese word for white. It is the blank canvass for the production, which resembles a kaleidoscope.


By Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Studio2Stage and Phoenix Theatre. Directed by Jodie Innes. Phoenix Theatre, Hamilton Hill, WA. 13 – 27 Jan 2017

It seems fitting that the community theatre year in WA was kicked off with this bright youth production, Grease, presented by Studio2Stage and Phoenix Theatre. This year appears to be the ‘Year of the Youth Musical’ with teen and tween productions of Camp Rock, Calvin Berger, Once Upon a Mattress and Mulan Jnr following hot on its heels.

Studio2Stage’s show is brimming with energy and enthusiasm and life and had attracted a young and cheerful audience. Featuring a cast of 13 to 18 year olds, it had much to like.

Which Way Home

By Kate Beckett. ILBIJERRI Theatre Company / Belvoir / Sydney Festival. Downstairs Theatre, Belvoir. January 11 – February 5, 2017.

Though billed as ‘Indigenous theatre at Belvoir’, Katie Beckett’s play is a story about family, a story of tender memories and sensitive frustrations with which we can all identify. It’s a story of unconditional love, written and performed by a daughter who skilfully shares her special relationship with her father. Inspired after his last heart attack, Beckett’s play is a gift to a father who has been “my dad, my mum, and at times my best friend”.


Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Based on “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” by T.S. Eliot. Packemin Productions (Youth). Concourse Theatre, Chatswood. January 13 – 28, 2017

It felt like Chatswood was raining with cats(but no dogs). Two kittens, beautiful groomed with make-up and costume, were in our restaurant lapping up their dinner before the show. The felines were crawling through the audience inside in the theatre and on stage it looked like there were whiskers in every conceivable corner.