Ladies in Black

Music & Lyrics: Tim Finn. Book: Carolyn Burns based on Madeleine St John’s novel The Women in Black. Additional Lyrics: Simon Philips & Carolyn Burns. QTC. Production. Director: Simon Phillips. Musical Director: Isaac Hayward. Choreographer: Andrew Hallsworth. Playhouse Theatre, QPAC. 14 Nov - 6 Dec 2015

QTC’s first original musical in 16 years, Ladies in Black, is appealing in its evocation of an era (the late 50s), but lacks emotional conflict to make it really engaging. Not an easy book to adapt, most of what is in the pages of Madeleine St John’s wisp of a novel is on stage in Carolyn Burns’ episodic adaptation of it which has been stylishly staged by Simon Phillips using revolves.

Only An Orphan Girl

By Henning Nelms. Adelaide Repertory Theatre. Directed by Pam O’Grady. The Arts Theatre, Adelaide. November 19-28, 2015

With Only An Orphan Girl the Adelaide Rep have put together a lively pastiche of ye olde music hall variety shows, in which a nonsensical melodrama unfolds episodically, interspersed with snappy stand-up comedy routines, spirited singalongs of standards like “Long Way To Tipperary” and “My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean”, with some simple magic tricks thrown in for good measure.

The Yellow Wave

By Jane Miller collaborating with director and cast, based on the 1895 novel of the same name by Major General Kenneth MacKay. 15 Minutes from Anywhere Company for Poppy Seed Festival. The Butterfly Club, Melbourne CBD. 17-29 November 2015.

Take a racist, paranoid, melodramatic novel of the late 19th century about a Chinese invasion of Australia, masterminded by evil Russians, but resisted by some dinkum blokes.  Add an agile writer, three highly talented cast and a bold, inventive director.  Mine the novel for every cliché, stereotype, stock character and situation. Note the disturbing parallels with contemporary racism and paranoia. Improvise, rehearse and, I assume, fall about laughing. 

Born in Sawdust

Directed by Gavin Robins. National Institute of Circus Arts Australia, 39-59 Green Street Prahran. 18-28 November 2015.

The Russian phrase to describe someone born into the circus is wholly illustrated in this production. The show ties all the segments together around the life of a circus performer who faces heartbreaking choices to further his career.

A Lady Shot

By Girls Act Good, performed by Sarah Clarke, Lisa Dallinger, Lee McClenaghan, Jennifer Monk, Sarah Plummer, Constance Washington, and Kelley Kerr Young. La Mama, EXPLORATIONS, 205 Faraday Street, 17, 18 & 19 November 2015

This performance pays homage to a range of important female figures that have made a contribution to feminism and represent the power of femininity in one form or another. It is a great reminder that ordinary names such as Julie, Joan, Juliet, Helena, Beatrice and Diana can evoke a rich and powerful history of women who have demonstrated extraordinary courage and strength.


By Johannes Luebbers and Nicholas Christo. Directed by Nicholas Christo. Roundhouse Theatre, WAAPA, Mt Lawley, WA. 13-19 November, 2015.

The World Premiere of Melba, written by Johannes Luebbers and Nicholas Christo and performed by WAAPA Postgraduate Vocal students, reveals an exciting new biographic 'operatic drama' about an Australian icon, which is beautifully performed.

Project: Hysteria

The Pretty Trap and Interior: Panic – two one-act plays by Tennessee Williams. TBC Theatre for Poppy Seed Festival. Trades Hall Ballroom, Melbourne. 10 November – 13 December 2015.

Heat, sweat, languor and frustrated – or arrested – sexuality in a 1930s ‘south’ of the USA.  That’s the immediate and powerful impression on entering the theatre.  We know the show is by Tennessee Williams, so we’re primed.  The wide playing space – with iconic period furniture in pools of light and naked hanging bulbs - occupies fully half of the Trades Hall ballroom.  The cast, in costume and in various poses, are already on stage.  A neatly dressed young fellow stands rigid to one side.  A woman in a clinging neglig

Once Were Leaders

Presented by Wander Productions in association with QPAC. Cremorne Theatre, Brisbane. 18-20 November, 2015

This is an evening with well-known Australian political satirist and impersonator Max Gillies.

Harvey Milk: The Opera in Concert

Music by Stewart Wallace / Libretto by Michael Korie. Left Bauer Productions. Sydney Town Hall. November 15, 2015.

This opera on the life and murder of America’s first elected openly gay official was staged twenty years ago in Houston and New York and, after revisions, in Harvey Milk’s hometown of San Francisco.  It’s hasn’t been seen since.

Now this staged concert version with a cast backed by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir, a one-off at Sydney Town Hall, follows a season at Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival. 


By Stephen Sondheim, Jule Styne and Arthur Laurents. Beenleigh Theatre Group (Qld). Directed by Steven Pimm. Crete Street Theatre. November 13-28, 2015

This show is a good choice for a local community because it requires a large cast from a wide range of age groups and a backstage staff with a multitude of talents, including an orchestra with training, or else well-trained, musicians. It's also a suitable vehicle to show off local talent and give those star struck individuals a chance to sample the delights of being on the stage. 

And, interestingly, isn't this what this show is all about?

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