By Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Phoenix Ensemble (Qld). Nov 6 – Dec 5, 2015.

When you hear the words 'Greased Lightning', you can't help but feel the need to dance and sing along to one of the world's most loved musicals. In Phoenix Ensemble’s production of Grease, the cast and crew delivered one brilliant night out.

Mawson’s Providence

Devised and performed by Tamblyn Lord Collaborative. La Mama, EXPLORATIONS (Vic). November 13, 14 & 15, 2015

The heroism of the Antarctic explorer, Douglas Mawson, is characteristic of the pursuit of glory and adventure in a period when it was natural for men to put themselves through extraordinary and trying physical tests. The visceral nature of the performance effectively conveys the enormous physical toll of his explorations but Mawson’s journey is also portrayed as a profoundly psychological trial where the demands on his psyche were equally exhausting.


By David Williamson. St Jude’s Players. St Jude’s Hall, Brighton (SA). November 12-21, 2015.

David Williamson’s Soulmates exemplifies the cutting wit and bitingly humorous insights into human nature this most well-known of Australian playwrights infuses into all his works. However, like other plays that are presented through many scenes in multiple settings, such as Williamson’sTravelling North, Soulmates is certainly not an easy play to stage. It moves instantly and often between Melbourne and New York and from the Bahamas to Australia’s Hayman Island.

Les Misérables

Music: Claude-Michel Schonberg. Lyrics: Herbert Kretzmer. Original French text by Alain Boublil & Jean Marc Natel. Cameron Macintosh Production. Director: Laurence Connor & James Powell. Musical Director: Geoffrey Castles. Lyric Theatre, QPAC, 13 November 2015

If you loved the Les Miz movie then you’re going to love this new stage adaptation which has all the sweeping grandeur of the screen version. From the opening boat scene to the Paris sewers finale, Matt Kinley’s set and video images, based on Victor Hugo’s paintings, are visually arresting and inspired and are what set this version of Les Miz apart from others and make it a must see.

Opera in the Reservoir

The Underground Opera Company. Spring Hill Reservoir, Wickham Terrace, Brisbane. November 13th-29th, 2015

Bruce Edwards, producer, compere, stand-up comedian and actor was deservedly in the spotlight last night as host to a selection of opera and musical theatre excerpts performed with an additional cast of four, underground, in one of Brisbane's historical landmarks right near the famous Old Windmill. This is a continuation of a series of concerts designed for alternative settings ripe for acoustic richness and resonance while experiencing the impact of being up, close and personal with the performers.


By Dan Goggin. Eltham Little Theatre. Director/Choreographer: Susan Rundle. Musical Director: Richard Pengelley. November 12 – 28, 2015.

Over the years I have enjoyed many ELT productions. Their intimate venue is ideal for plays, but not for large-scale musicals, so Nunsense, with its small cast, was an ideal choice.

It was also one of their best.

At least three of the five performers had professional experience, and all had to sing, dance and act. Of course, the acting was strong, but they sang well and the dancing was surprisingly good. At one stage four of them launched into a tap dance!

The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro)

By Mozart. Opera Australia. Director: Sir David McVicar/Andy Morton. Conductor: Anthony Legge Arts Centre Melbourne. November 12 – 28, 2015.

I have been involved with and seen a number of productions of Figaro, and this was one of the best. It started well with a brisk overture with lots of light and shade. On a number of occasions during the opera the orchestra stopped for dramatic effect, and this was always meaningful. A couple of lapses of ensemble were quickly rectified.

Edmund. The Beginning

Written, performed and designed by Brian Lipson. Antechamber Productions. Arts House, North Melbourne. 10 – 22 November 2015.

Early evening sunlight floods a large bare room in North Melbourne’s Arts House – no lighting grid above – it’s as if to say, ‘no artifice here’.  As if.  Brian Lipson enters in an arresting, intriguing costume – half man, half woman, but far more detailed than merely that.  A crown, a school blazer, a string of pearls, half an Elizabethan ruff, a 50s schoolbag, a sword.  One (rather shapely) leg in pantaloons and hose and a black high heel pump, the other in jeans and a heavy work boot.  As the light fades to dim during the

Next to Normal

Black Swan State Theatre Company. Directed by Adam Mitchell. Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Perth. WA. Nov 7 - 22, 2015

Black Swan State Theatre Company's production of Next to Normal would easily take my personal choice for 'Show of the Year'. An outstanding production in every way, Next to Normal is musically excellent, emotionally engaging and practically perfectly performed.

The Marriage of Figaro

By Wolfgang Amadaus Mozart. Rockdale Opera Company. Rockdale Town Hall. Nov 7 – 15, 2015

There was a joyous sound coming from the pit, which made this night a special experience. It was the harpsichord played with a lush and playful intensity as part of a first class orchestra under the baton of Dr Steven Stanke.

You could close your eyes and feel yourself taken back in time to a court in 18thcentury Europe with intrigue and scandal behind every door.

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