Book and lyrics by Greg Kotis. Music and lyrics by Mark Hollman. Waterdale (Vic) Director: Daniel Cooper. Musical Director: Ian Nisbet. Choreographer: Narada Edgar. Rivergum Theatre, Parade College. September 25 – October 3, 2015.

Though I was aware of Urinetown, this was my first encounter with this alternative musical. It was certainly different! The whole concept of a drought forcing a town to close all private toilets and make people pay to pee was smack bang in the theatre of the absurd. At the start the narrator spoke about the fact that it was a musical and foreshadowed what was to happen.

I found the production thoroughly enjoyable. It was fast moving. The direction was good and the choreography amazing and tight. The lighting was exciting.

Red Racing Hood

By Sean Monro. Director: Sam Routledge. Designer: Jill Munro. Composer: Heath Brown. Lighting and AV Designer: Jason James. Terrapin Puppet Theatre. Backspace, Theatre Royal, Hobart Tasmania, September 25 – October 3, 2015 and October 6, Burnie Arts & Function Centre, October 6.

Any latent desire (by an adult) to return to childhood can be fulfilled by seeing a Terrapin Puppet Theatre production for children. That was my recent experience when I took myself along to see Red Racing Hood at the Theatre Royal Backspace. Terrapin’s Red Racing Hood is not so much a reworking (or reimagining) of Little Red Riding Hood, as a nod to the well known and loved children’s story.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Music & Lyrics: Frank Loesser. Book: Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock, Willie Gilbert Savoyards. Director: Sherryl-Lee Secomb. Musical Director: Geoffrey Secomb. Choreographer: Desney Toia-Sinapati. Iona Performing Arts Centre, Wynnum, Qld. 26 Sep – 10 Oct 2015

Back when it premiered How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was The Book of Mormon of its day. Wall-to-wall satire that hadn’t been seen since the Gershwin’s Of Thee I Sing in 1931, which also, like Succeed, won the Pulitzer Prize.


A Steady Rain

By Kevin Huff. Old Fitzroy Theatre. Red Line Productions. September 22 – October 17, 2015.

Keith Huff became my hero when I knew he wrote Mad Men and the brilliant House of Cards.  His expertise at storytelling and snappy dialogue is also on show at Sydney’s Old Fitz with A Steady Rain, a two hander about a couple of longtime partners patrolling the hardened streets of Chicago.


Written and devised by fear+love. Melbourne Fringe Festival at the Fringe Hub, The Ballroom, Lithuanian Club, 26 September–3 October, 2015.

This play has thoughtful reflections on politics, morals, and the malaise of mediated existences that saturate contemporary society.  The seemingly eclectic mix of genres makes perfect sense and has direct bearing on the themes that are the central concern of the rich text.  The centuries old art of spin and ruthless power games is exposed with wry humour and wit. The performance is edifying without being clichéd and is injected with a healthy dose of antics and buffoonery.


Devised and performed by Toni Main & Sara di Segna, dramaturge & director Georgina Capper. Helvetica at Melbourne Fringe Festival. Club Voltaire, Raglan Street, North Melbourne. 24 September – 4 October, 2015

Toni’s grant application (for something undoubtedly very artistic) is refused.  Toni is so stunned that she is, well, speechless.  But undeterred, she contacts Sara (whom she has never met) far away in Rome and invites her to join the project.  It’s a project, Toni asserts, that ‘is going to make millions’.  Sara likes the sound of ‘millions’, but otherwise exhibits not a shred of comprehension of Toni’s project – and we’re not too sure what it is either.  Possibly Toni herself hasn’t quite got it

Zigzag Street

By Philip Dean, from the novel by Nick Earls. The Stirling Players. South Australian Premiere. Stirling Community Theatre. September 25-October 10, 2015.

There are times for all of us when life is…well…just plain crappy, but for some people, fate seems to hold a personal grudge. The current production for Adelaide’s Stirling Players epitomises this in a funny and bittersweet way.


By Anton Chekhov, adapted by Eamon Flack. Belvoir, Upstairs Theatre. September 19 – November 1, 2015.

Belvoir’s new artistic director Eamon Flack both scripted and directed this remarkable reworking of Chekhov's first full-length play.  With a strong comic cast who capture both the pathos and full ridiculousness of Chekhov's lost characters, Flack’s rollicking but sensitive production reaches beyond pre-revolutionary Russia to our Australia today.  The actors somehow inhabit both worlds, and so point to what we have in common, as our social progress also falters into inertia and the only bottom line is economic growth.

But Wait… There’s More

Circus Oz. Canberra Theatre. 23–26 September 2015

Though its programme cover suggests that But Wait… There’s More is touring a repetition of the performance it last presented, most of its acts are in fact fresh ones.  This production has something for everybody: a good deal of skylarking and costumery aimed at children, more than a suggestion of raunchiness aimed at adults, rap for young admirers of U.S.


By GWL Marshall-Hall. Lyric Opera of Melbourne. Director: Jessica Harris. Conductor: Pat Miller. David Williamson Theatre, Prahran. September 25 – 30, 2015

Lyric Opera continues to explore obscurity with the first staged version of G. W. L. Marshall-Hall’s opera, Stella, in over 100 years. The Englishman Marshall-Hall was brought out to Australia as founding Ormond Professor of Music at the University of Melbourne and had a profound impact on the musical life of the city. This is believed to be the first opera written in Australia.

Written at the time of Puccini and Massenet, Stella is very melodic and pure verismo. The title character had a couple of beautiful arias and there were some lovely ensembles.

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