Bye, Bye Birdie

Book: Michael Stewart. Music: Charles Strouse. Lyrics: Lee Adams. Ballina Players Theatre. Director: Warwick Binney. June 5th to 28th, 2014

It’s always exciting when a new talent is discovered and Ballina Players have found a future leading man with heaps of potential. His name is Dane Strudwick and he is starring as Conrad Birdie in the Players current production of Bye, Bye Birdie. Dane’s previous experience has been in school productions but his performance as Birdie was a joy to behold. He worked extremely well with the more experienced members of the cast, especially in his scene with Di Ennew - Mrs Mae Peterson (who is actually his teacher at school).

Colin Hay: Waiting For My Real Life

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. The Playhouse, Festival Centre, Adelaide. June 13-15, 2014.

Preceded by a taped overture of clap sticks, strings, and a naggingly familiar flute melody, Colin Hay emerges onto an intimately lit stage to give his festival audience an entertaining evening. His skills as a guitarist, on display and in evidence throughout, combined with his even more impressive comedic talents, were enough to override this particular critic's doubts about Hay's level of achievement as a singer and songwriter. He knows how to make his audience feel welcome and glad to be there.


Bangarra Dance Theatre. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House, June 13 – July 5, 2014; Canberra Theatre Centre, July 17 to 19; State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, July 30 to August 2; Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), August 15 to 23, Arts Centre Melbourne, August 28 to September 6.

Celebrating its 25thyear of dance theatre, Bangarra solidifies its essential place in the Australian cultural landscape with Patyegarang.

The Drowsy Chaperone

Music & Lyrics: Lisa Lambert & Greg Morrison. Book: Bob Martin & Don McKellar. Hills Musical Theatre Company. Director: David Russell. Musical Director: Jeff Fisher. Choreography: Gai Reckless. Castle Hill RSL. 12 - 15 June, 2014.

What a charming show! There’s nothing drowsy about this production.

The King and I

Music by Richard Rodgers. Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein 11. Directed by Christopher Renshaw. From 12th June, 2014. Princess Theatre, Melbourne.

Some shows date quickly, and revivals serve to point out their shortcomings. Others simply grow better with age, their magic beguiling generation after generation. The King and I is the epitome of the latter. This exquisitely mounted show may well be the best musical you ever see, and I really do mean EVER.

Love Song

By John Kolvenbach. Director: Glen Hamilton. The Tap Gallery Downstairs (NSW). 11 June -22 June 2014

Love, like music, is invisible

This is a fascinating play, by a mature and clever writer, which premiered at the renowned Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago in 2006. This Sydney season is creatively directed and passionately acted by members of the Gamut Theatre Company. After experiencing a season of mediocrity in Sydney theatre, this play restored my faith in the stage as a place to reveal important ideas and powerful emotions.

The Cowgirl & The Showgirl.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Banquet Room, Festival Centre, Adelaide. June 11-13, 2014.

Sometimes knowing as little as possible when going into a show can produce the most delightful, even exhilarating, surprises. This writer was aware of Beccy Cole (and her chosen genre) but unfamiliar with Libby O'Donovan, and thoroughly unprepared for what a teaming of the two would entail.

The Factory

Kila Kokonut Krew. Festival Theatre, Adelaide. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. June 12-14, 2014, and touring to Parramatta, Canberra, Wollongong and the Gold Coast.

The slogan for this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival is “not your usual suspects”, and one of the more unusual events on offer is The Factory, an original stage musical performed by New Zealand theatre troupe, Kila Kokonut Krew.

Freedman Does Nilsson

2014 Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Dunnstan Playhouse. 11-12th June, 2014

An almost empty stage with a grand piano under a wash of light. If you are expecting the lead singer of Australian band 'The Whitlams' to walk out; think again! Tim Freedman adorns the stage wearing a flat newsboy's cap and shaggy beard; looking uncomfortable, he eyes the crowd, sits down and adjusts his microphone and so begins our journey with Harry Nilsson, usually credited as 'Nilsson'.

The Rap Guide to Evolution

Baba Brinkman and Jamie Simmonds. Directed by Dodd Lumis. Canberra Theatre 11 June 2014 and touring nationally

Anybody who has encountered Darwin’s basic thesis understands that the observable phenomenon of evolution by natural selection has an explanation that is as readily comprehensible as the successes of animal and plant breeders, and that both explanations come down to very basic operations: descent (i.e.

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