My Fair Lady

Music: Frederick Loewe. Book & Lyrics: Alan Jay Lerner based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. Directed by Barry Hill. The Metropolitan Musical Theatre Co of SA. The Arts Theatre, Adelaide. 16-25 October 2014

The Met’s latest production of My Fair Lady is “comfort theatre” of the highest order. Rather like a well-cooked Sunday roast… it is a nice, safe, conventional interpretation of an established favourite, that does little surprising or inventive with Lerner & Lowe’s beloved musical. But it is nonetheless a deeply satisfying experience, because every aspect of the production has been crafted with meticulous care by a team working at the top of their game.

Jesus Christ Superstar

By Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Willoughby Theatre Company. The Concourse Theatre, Chatswood. October 15 – 26, 2014.

The original rock opera has been freshened up with a striking visual makeover at Willoughby Theatre Company. Somehow the synthesis of Steam Punk costuming elements, the modern industrial look of Megadeck scaffold sets, and gothic influences in architecture, costuming and make-up, blend, ultimately turning possible contradictions into synergies, for a Jesus Christ Superstar in a contemporary alternate sub-culture. Throwing some spectacular contemporary rock theatrical lighting into the mix completes an exciting stage picture.

In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)

By Sarah Ruhl. National University Theatre Society (NUTS). Directed by Dylan van den Berg. The Playhouse, Canberra Theatre. October 1-4 2014

This play is possibly the most hilariously awkward and excruciatingly funny experience you’ll have in the theatre.

Why awkward? Three words: On Stage Orgasms. Dozens of them, I kid you not, each more intimate than the last. No intimate detail is shirked. Each big O is followed by—oh, my labyrinthitis-afflicted aunt—a ritual washing of the hands.

Bonnie and Clyde

Book by Ivan Menchell. Music by Frank Wildhorn. Lyrics by Don Black. Directed by Hamish Anderson. FabNobs – Bayswater (Vic). October 10 – 25, 2014

There has been a plethora of “flop” musicals in Melbourne over the past few months. But “Flop” doesn’t automatically mean bad – as the wonderful Parade showed us. Add to the ‘pleasant surprise’ list Bonnie and Clyde, a musical I knew nothing about until this week. It has a good score, intelligent lyrics, a pretty impressive book, and you know when FabNobs do something, it’s going to be an enjoyable production.

Sunset Boulevard

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton. Based on the Billy Wilder Film. Directed by Stephen Pike. Musical direction by Sharon Tree. The Q – Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. October 8 – 25, 2014.

Sunset Boulevard is a challenging musical to stage and it is to the credit and strength of the Q Team that they have chosen this work.

Have I No Mouth

By Feidlim Cannon & Gary Keegan, Brokentalkers. Melbourne Festival. The Coopers Malthouse, Merlyn Theatre. 10-13 October 2014

On the way in, we are handed empty balloons.  The show begins.  Dr Erich Keller, psychiatrist, playing Dr Erich Keller, psychiatrist, puts us through a relaxation exercise.  We are told to breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth, and feet flat on the floor.  Whether this is simply good for us or to make us more receptive to the show isn’t clear.  Later, he asks us to inflate our balloons by blowing our anger into them.  

Complexity of Belonging

Concept, direction and choreography by Falk Richter and Anouk van Dijk. Chunky Move & Melbourne Theatre Company. Melbourne Festival. Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. Monday 6 October - Saturday 1 November 2014

The deep stage of the Sumner Theatre is backed by a cyclorama depicting a vast, indifferent outback sky, the horizon a mere streak.  Such is the lonely setting, designed by Robert Cousins, in which the show asks the questions, ‘Who belongs?  And how do they belong?’ 


Cirque Éloize. Directed by Dave St-Pierre & Jeannot Painchaud. Melbourne Festival. Arts Centre, State Theatre. 10-12 October 2014

Cirkopolisis ‘circus’, but not a circus with a ring, trained animals and red nose clowns.  This show is big and its resources are more than sawdust and tinsel, skill and dedication.  It scarcely ever lets up and can be all twelve performers juggling or one juggler juggling then dancing and juggling, and acrobatic routines on wheels and trapezes and poles and teeterboards, and some other routines that segue seamlessly into dances. 

Calpurnia Descending

By Ash Flanders and Declan Greene. Sydney Theatre Company and Malthouse. Wharf 2 Theatre, 9 October to 8 November, 2014 and Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse, Melbourne, 13 – 30 November 2014.

Melbourne’s outrageous Sisters Grimm teamed last year with the Sydney Theatre Company to bring us Little Mercy, a high camp, highly sophisticated spoof on 1940’s psycho-horror films. Now they’re back with a witty take on film divas past, this time matching the considerable acting and drag talents of Ash Flanders with those of unique cabaret artist/actor Paul Capsis. 

Open for Business: The Wharf Revue 2014

Written and created by Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott. Sydney Theatre Company. Glen Street Theatre. October 8 - 18. Wharf 1 Theatre, Sydney Theatre Company. October 21 until December 20, 2014.

They were treading on dangerous ground in Sydney’s north shore – making fun of almost local member Bronwyn Bishop.

Up beamed on the TV screen Drew Forsythe in drag as Madam Speaker herself the “champion of manners.... stripped bare of party loyalty.”

We were told afterwards that many in the opening night audience are fans of Queen B.

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