Ukchuk-Ga Pansori Mother Courage

Sydney Festival. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. January 20 & 21, 2014

Writer, composer and singer Jaram Lee is an astonishing performer as she narrates the sorrowful tale of Anna, who falls foul of three husbands, struggles as a war merchant  and, after she loses all three of her children to war, in grief changes her name to Ukchuk. This is the wrenching tale of Brecht’s famous survivor, Mother Courage, a women lost in the disastrous Thirty Years War, forced by the world to abandon her humanity and all moral niceties. 


By Rupert Holmes. Javeenbah Theatre, Gold Coast. Director: Nathan Schulz. January 16th – 31st, 2015.

Javeenbah has opened its 2015 season with an intriguing comedy-thriller from the pen of Rupert Holmes.  Nathan Schulz has assembled a great cast with a plot that has more twists than Chubby Checker!

Needless to say, it’s one of those plays “you had to be there” to understand.

Great performances from (a very supple) Sarah Cooke, David Fraser, Tahlia Jade and (understudy) Paul Del Gatto standing in for the leading man (Kit Sivyer).

The Long Pigs

We3 Insite Arts. Sydney Festival. Seymour Centre. January 15 – 18, 2015

Physical theatre is a curious art form – speaking to you for reasons you can’t always specify, evoking feelings, emotions and experiences through movement and images on stage. The best physical theatre speaks to you, somehow reflecting life and its pleasures, disappointments and tragedies.

Sweet Charity

Book by Neil Simon. Music by Cy Coleman. Lyrics by Dorothy Fields. Luckiest Productions, Neil Gooding Productions and Tinderbox Productions Sydney Opera House from Jan 15, 2015; Canberra Theatre Centre from 11 Feb; Arts Centre Melb from 25 Feb & IPAC from 11 March.

As soon as I walked in the joint, a man of distinction approached me to ask me to spend some time on stage with the provocatively clad dancing girls. Did I look like a real big spender or had I just been cast as the type who would pop their cork at the Fandango Ballroom?

Next to Normal

Music by Tom Kitt. Book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey. Doorstep Arts in association with Hayes Theatre Co. Director: Darylin Ramondo. Musical Director: Alistair Smith. Hayes Theatre Co (NSW). Until February 1, 2015.

An ordinary suburban family drowning under the weight of bi-polar disorder, unresolved grief and anger; it’s not the usual fare of musicals, yet it’s actually the true pay-off with Next To Normal.

While musical theatre has had it’s fair share of intriguing diva roles with clear issues, their 11 o’clock number epiphany hasn’t usually been preceded by treatment including electroconvulsive therapy. Here’s a musical which, rather than tieing up the loose ends by the final curtain, and promises nothing more than tenuous new beginnings.

Strictly Ballroom

Book by Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce. Music by various. Director: Baz Luhrmann. Set and Costumes: Catherine Martin. Produced by Global Creatures and Bazmark. Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne. Opening Night: January 17, 2015.

The “Buzz” saying for 2014 was “It is what it is”, and it might have been coined for Strictly Ballroom – the Musical. So  - what exactly is it?

The Winslow Boy

By Terence Rattigan. The Genesian Theatre (NSW). January 17 – February 14, 2015.

The Winslow Boy is based on an actual incident involving George Archer-Shee who was expelled from Osborne Naval College in 1908 for stealing a postal order from a fellow cadet, but who was eventually exonerated after a lengthy, and very political, struggle.

In Rattigan’s 1946 play, George Archer- Shee becomes Ronnie Winslow, a fourteen-year-old cadet accused of the theft of a five shilling postal order.  An internal enquiry, conducted without informing his family, finds him guilty and his father is asked to withdraw him from the college.

Softly Pouting While Walking Into Breezes

By Jake Stewart. A remount of a Monash Uni Student Theatre production. Part of Midsumma Festival at La Mama, Carlton (VIC). 14 January to 1 February 2015.

Eight actors, male and female, of varying shapes and sizes, bounce onto a tiny white dais and announce, one after another, ‘I am Ben.’  Ben is the protagonist; the play is his story.  It’s a risky start if only because it probably reminds half the audience of ‘I am Spartacus’, but the risky joke is characteristic of the show.  It veers from sharp to purple-pretentious to witty to touching to kitsch – but kitsch redeemed by knowing it is and showing up in scenes that are very nicely observed and embarrassingly truthful. 

As You Like It

By William Shakespeare. Directed by Glenn Elston. Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. 30 December 2014 until 14 March 2015.

It was 1987 when Glenn Elston pioneered outdoor theatre in Australia and Shakespeare in the Park was born here. Nearly 30 years later, the Australian Shakespeare Company is still going strong, and the idea of a picnic and wine in the beautiful Botanic gardens while you watch a play is one of our nicest traditions.


QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane. 14-25 Jan 2015. Melbourne, Sydney and New Zealand seasons to follow.

Born out of The Annual Michael Jackson Celebration which started in 1991, when 1000 fans from across the UK descended on London's Hammersmith Palais for a party and concert for the King of Pop, Thriller is Executive Director Adrian Grant’s culmination of the gradual development of this celebration, which, after teaming up with Paul Walden’s Flying Music, BB group and Lunchbox Theatrical Productions after 2007, eventually grew to become a successful tour production.

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