The Phantom of the Opera

By Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics by Charles Hart. Book by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber. North Queensland Opera and Music Theatre. Directed by Bill Munro. Townsville Civic Theatre. 2 – 13 April 2014.

As The Phantom makes its amateur rights progress through smaller capital city and regional theatre companies, each will, of course, elicit remarks along the lines of “ours is as good as the professional production I saw in London” or Sydney, or New York etc., etc., and they may be close to correct. There is always a certain amount of parochialism in the statement, but that does not deter from the excellence of so many of the productions.


Presented by Flipside Circus. Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. 9 – 12 April 2014

Unleashed energy, agility, music, comedy – all non-stop from eleven performers, 10 to 17 years old.

Flipside Circus trains youths of school age to discover themselves and their capabilities through circus skills. The non-competitive activities encourage individuals to explore their own boundaries and, encouraged by their mentors and tutors, amaze themselves by bursting through those boundaries.



By Verdi. Opera Australia. Director: Roger Hodgman. Conductor: Renato Palumbo. State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. April 12 – May 10, 2014.

This was a new production of Verdi’s masterpiece, and I hope it stays in the repertoire for many years to come. The curtain opened during the overture to reveal Rigoletto preparing to go to work, the structure revolved to show the exterior of the house, and revolved more to reveal the ducal palace. It was very effective.


Created by Rosemary Myers with writer Julianne O’Brien. Sydney Theatre Company and Sydney Opera House present a Production by the Windmill Theatre and the State Theatre Company of South Australia. Director: Rosemary Myers. Playhouse Theatre, Sydney Opera House. 11 April – 4 May 2014

The much loved, much reworked 1882 adventures of Pinocchio, the naughty, fib-telling wooden puppet, gets a mainstage Easter holiday season at the Playhouse. Parents, beware — this is not your regular, cozy, one-act theatre treat for ‘kids of all ages’. This is a full-length, high-volume update, ‘recommended for ages 7+’, but likely to be best appreciated by sophisticated teens.

Strictly Ballroom The Musical.

Book by Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce. Music by various. Director: Baz Luhrmann. Set and Costumes: Catherine Martin. Produced by Global Creatures and Bazmark. Sydney Lyric Theatre. World Premiere. April 12, 2014.

It wasn’t so much an opening night of a musical – more like the launch of a rocket ship.  But imagine if technicians at Cape Canaveral were still tinkering with the spacecraft as the countdown drifted perilously close towards the phrase …blast off.

Strictly Ballroom The Musical is everything you would expect from a Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin extravaganza. Utterly gorgeous costumes and sets, loads of laughs, plenty of surprises and Australian as the Hills Hoist.

But it is not yet everything you would expect from a musical.

Gallic Symbol

Marcel Lucont. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tuxedo Cat, 17 Wills Street, Melbourne April 7-20th, 2014.

“Witty acerbic Frenchman seeks audience for one hour only, for fun, adventure, and maybe something more”.

Cars and Girls

Alexis Dubus. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tuxedo Cat, 17 Wills Street, Melbourne April 7th – 20th, 2014.

UK comedian Alexis Dubus is more than just a comic – he’s a skilled writer, a poet, a storyteller. Perhaps that’s why the audience was in his own words “one of the quietest he’s had”, they weren’t quite sure what they’d stumbled into when Dubus began his show and it became apparent the entire thing was in verse.  They quickly settled into the groove, however, hard not to when the storyteller is as affable and engaging as Dubus.

The Legend Of King O’Malley

By Bob Ellis and Michael Boddy. Don’t Look Away. Director: Phil Rouse. Musical Director: Tom Pitts. La Mama (Vic). April 9 – 20, 2014

Written in 1970 this show is based around the colourful life and controversial times of King O’Malley, a Texan, who dabbled in a variety of occupations including founding his own religion, before moving to Australia for his health. He held public office in South Australia and became a Member of the House of Representatives in 1901 in the newly formed Commonwealth of Australia, having claimed he was a Canadian by birth.

Viva La Vida Loca Las Vegas. Axis of Awesome

Part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The Famous Spiegeltent at Federation Square, 8 Apr – 20 Apr.

Viva La Vida Loca Las Vegas is the latest show from Axis of Awesome, a comedy rock and roll trio who are regulars at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. Well known for their YouTube clips, Axis of Awesome parody popular music styles with original material poking fun at generic song structures, along with mashups of existing numbers.

The State of the Tasmanian Economy

By Jonathan Biggins. Blue Cow Theatre Company (World Premiere). Director: Robert Jarman. Theatre Royal, Hobart. 10–12 April 2014

The State of the Tasmanian Economy, written by Jonathan Biggins for Blue Cow Theatre, is a comedy marriage made in heaven, set in Tasmania. Playwright and political satirist Biggins was commissioned to write a new comedy play for profit-share theatre company Blue Cow Theatre. The result was a funny, fast laugh-fest for the world premiere production, ideal for an experienced collection of actors.

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