By Puccini. Sydney Independent Opera. The Independent Theatre, North Sydney. October 8 – 11, 2015.

Anna-Louise Cole’s beautiful soprano voice brings vibrant anguish to this cunningly staged production of Puccini’s story about love, jealousy, gloating lust and violent retribution. The theatre resonates with the carefully controlled notes that ring of her obvious passion for her art and her wide training and experience. From her very first aria, where jealousy fights against love and devotion, to the desolate grief of the finale, Cole gives a thrilling performance.


By Dan Giovannoni. Red Stitch Actors Theatre, St Kilda East. 9 October – 7 November 2015

Rafael and Sara leave their dirt poor village in Italy for a better life in… Moorabbin.  Their son, Ichlis  [sic] loves his parents and loves his father’s stories, especially the one where Rafael, back in the village, met a dinosaur in a cave – who advised him to move to Australia.  (For non-Melburnians, Moorabbin is not the most salubrious of suburbs.) The move was, of course, ‘for the best’, but Rafael – now ‘Ralph’ - and Sara, in their different ways, burnish what they left behind with a nostalgic glow.  Ichlis

Big: The Musical

Music by David Shire. Lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr.. Book by John Weidman. Based upon the film written by Anne Spielberg & Gary Ross. Directed by David Gauci. The Shedley Theatre, Elizabeth (SA). October 9-24, 2015

Those theatregoers who prefer their musicals to be old-fashioned and shamelessly fun, but are weary at the prospect of seeing some overexposed classic revived again, would do well to check out The Northern Light Theatre Company’s staging of Big, an Adelaide premiere production.

Exposing Edith

Melbourne Fringe. The Melba Spiegeltent, Collingwood. Sep 29 – Oct 4, 2015

The term ’cabaret’ means room in French. In performance, cabaret loosely means singing, storytelling and/or performance art that need an audience (usually audience participation) to see it through.  Although cabaret is constantly changing and overlapping in form, there are few rules, but two are very clear; 1) it needs an audience/audience participation or the show will fail. 2) It should be transgressive: provoke and challenge our ideas of performance/art/politics/or the subject matter.

The Boy From Oz

Book by Nick Enright. Babirra Music Theatre (Vic). Director: Chris Bradke. Musical Director: Danny Forward. Choreographer: Louisa Mitchell. The Whitehorse Centre. October 9 – 17, 2015

Babirra’s production of The Boy From Oz was a triumph. Of course the show lives and dies on the ability of the inhabitant of the title role, and Jonathon Guthrie-Jones met every challenge. He was a bit too good-looking for this role, but we soon forgot that as he delved into the depths of this complex character.

A Different Way Home

Written by Jimmie Chinn. Directed by Zoe Warwick. Chapel off Chapel (Vic). October 6 – 11, 2015.

Life can be difficult, but there’s always family. Sometimes, though, life is difficult because of family. Writer Jimmie Chinn understood this, better than most. His double monologue two act play is a gentle indictment of communication breakdown in a family, with enough bite and humour to be both thought-provoking and laughter inducing, along with a fair dose of poignancy. It’s not a great play, and Jimmie Chinn is no Alan Bennett, but it’s a good piece and a tailor-made performance vehicle for the right talent.

Altar Boyz

By Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker. Geneva Music Studio. Directed by Joshua Brant. Guildford Grammar School, Guildford, WA. Oct 8-10, 2015

Altar Boyz was presented at Guilford Grammar School by Geneva Music Studio, with a cast that included a Guildford Grammar Old Boy and a present student.

This concert-style musical about a Catholic boy band, centres on the final concert of an extended tour as five small town boys try to save souls, using song.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham (who is Jewish), sing their way through the concert as we learn their history and relationships in a well-presented, high energy production with a rock concert vibe.

Jeremiah’s Tuesday

Written and directed by Stefan Mrowinski and performed by Steven Kennedy. The Butterfly Club, Carson Place, Melbourne. 8, 10 & 11 October, 2015.

This is a piece of drama that was first written in Polish in 1990, however, its ability to be redrafted with more contemporary events and themes shows how its fundamental concerns are issues that will never be outdated. The wavering moral compass that guides the musings of the characters ranges from delusions of grandeur to touching and disturbing insight into the flawed and often rapacious character of humanity.

Benjamin and Me

Written and directed by Mark Storen. Whiskey and Boots. The Blue Room Theatre, Perth. October 6-11, 2015

Benjamin and Me is presented by Whiskey and Boots as part of the Awesome International Festival for bright young things. Essentially really good storytelling, this low tech (apart from some cool lighting and smoke effects), theatre production is very simple theatre with a reliance on a good story and a dynamic actor.

Writer/Director/Performer Mark Storen tells a wonderfully complex story about a boy and his dog, that combines science fiction with steam-punk, boys’ own adventure and a touch of international espionage.

NaGL – Not A Good Look

By Lech Mackiewicz. Metanoia Theatre at the Mechanics Institute Brunswick, 270 Sydney Road, 8-17 October, 2015.

NaGL references many of the iconic elements of absurdist theatre; the zany language, the representation of mundane domestic existences, and the futile and repetitive nature of daily routines that reinforce a sense of a lifeless existence. This play goes further with its criticism of, and cynicism towards, a multicultural Australia – a reality that is more difficult to live than to conjure up culturally.

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