Backstage In Biscuit Land

Written & devised by Jess Thom, Jess Mabel Jones & Matthew Pountney. Melbourne Festival, presented in association with Theatre Works. Malthouse, Beckett Theatre. 12 – 16 October 2016.

You walk into the theatre and the atmosphere is warn and relaxed.  It’s as if the show has already started, but it can’t have because the cast is chatting amiably to the audience.  There’s an array of distinctly weird props lined up upstage, including an inflatable dinosaur, ducks dressed as dinosaurs, cloud shaped pillows, a portrait of Mother Theresa and a cut-out tree.  Jess Thom, whom I guess is the ‘star’ of Biscuit Land, is peeping around a flat stage right, grinning and making wisecracks to her ‘assistant’ and co-star,

Inside the Bell Jar

Written and performed by Kate Mulqueen. The Butterfly Club. October 11 – 16, 2016.

As an introduction to my review of Inside the Bell Jar I would like to highlight the magical singing voice and piano playing of performer Kate Mulqueen.  Throughout the show songs and music play a part in setting a poetic and melancholy tone.

A graduate of the National Theatre Drama School and with experience in film, television and theatre Kate has gone out on a limb with Inside the Bell Jar, as she shares with her audience the most personal experience of the life, the suicide of her beloved sister Emily and all of the consequences surrounding it.

You and Me and the Space Between

By Finegan Kruckemeyer. Terrapin Puppet Theatre. Melbourne Festival. The Coopers Malthouse, Beckett Theatre. 6 – 9 October 2016.

There’s a happy little island called Proud Circle in an ocean somewhere.  It’s a balanced, organised society where everything works perfectly from the cradle to the (watery) grave.  (The old folks disappear voluntarily into the sea – which may be a little controversial for a kids’ show.)  The curious thing about this island is that it floats.  It’s not attached.  But one day, out of the blue, it springs a leak.  If this goes on…  What to do?  While the adults try things that fail and then argue and panic, it’

Falling Apples

By Lene Therese Teigen. A Verve Studios Production with La Mama Theatre. Kensington Town Hall, Kensington (VIC). 22 September – 8 October 2016.

Lene Therese Teigen’s play, Falling Apples, comes from Norway.  A certain tinge or feel of Ibsen is present, but in purely formal terms, Ms Teigen is more expansive, more adventurous, more modern.  She presents a community – with some catalytic outsiders – in which her thirteen – yes, thirteen - characters are trapped in society’s structures and strictures, or disappointed or thwarted by false expectations, in interlocking, overlapping and parallel story strands and situations.  

To Lonely, With Love

Created by Jennifer Monk, Perri Cummings & Lisa Dallinger. Text by Perri Cummings. Directed by Jennifer Monk. La Mama’s 2016 EXPLORATIONS Season. La Mama Theatre. 11, 12 & 13 October 2016.

There’s a lonely fellow in gaol, Roger.  There’s a lonely housewife in an unhappy marriage, Samantha (Sam).  They write to each other.  They tell each other things they tell to no one else – maybe because no one else would care.  There’s also an ‘advice columnist’, a ‘Miss Lonely Hearts’, called Shari who supplies what she probably thinks is advice.  If this all sounds downbeat and a bit weepy, it is neither.  The show’s creators have made something that is – fundamentally – deeply serious and of

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour

Adapted by Lee Hall from the book ‘The Sopranos’ by Alan Warner. Directed by Vicky Featherstone. The National Theatre of Scotland as part of Melbourne Festival. Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne. 6th-23rd October, 2016

Rib-achingly funny, heart-breakingly poignant, and dazzling in its energy and vitality, Our Ladies is the undeniable hit of this year’s Arts Festival. It isn’t necessary to know Alan Warner’s book (although I certainly want to read it now) to recognise the brilliance of Lee Hall’s adaptation and Vicky Featherstone’s direction. This is superb theatre; joyful, exhilarating, provocative and thought- provoking.


By Peter Weiss. New Theatre (NSW). October 5 – November 5, 2016

Peter Weiss’ intricately written play about rebellion and counter rebellion, profiteering and war, and the cavernous gulf between the rich and poor and the ruled and the oppressed comes to disconcerting new life in this incredible production directed by Barry French.


By Sophocles, adapted by Damien Ryan, Terry Karabelas, Andrea Demetriades & William Zappa. Sport for Jove. Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre. October 6 – November 12, 2016

Sophocles and his fellow Athenians thought it mandatory for every citizen to join the debates of their new democracy – and that included going to the theatre.

It was surely the start of a good tradition.  So, we should all vote, and also go see Sport for Jove’s urgent new version of Sophocles’ Antigone.

Antigone and her siblings were born of her brother Oedipus bedding his mother.  Oedipus of course ended blind and wandering, and Thebes shattered by civil strife between Antigone’s two warring brothers. 

Legally Blonde

Music and Lyrics: Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin. Book by Heather Hach. Campbelltown Theatre Group. Director: Angela Cascarino. Choreographer: Brendan Cascarino. Musical Director: Alan Steedman. Town Hall Theatre. October 7 – 29, 2016.

Campbelltown’s Legally Blonde is a big ball of pink frizzy energy. It’s like watching an aerobics class on top of a Mardi Gras float while reading a Mills & Boon – and I mean that as a compliment.

Anything Goes

Music & Lyrics: Cole Porter. Book: Timothy Crouse and John Weidman based on the original by P.G. Wodehouse, Guy Bolton, Howard Lindsay & Russell Crouse. Babirra Music Theatre. Director: Tyler Hess. Musical Director: Anthony Barnhill. Choreographer: Craig Wiltshire. October 7 – 15, 2016

With Anything Goes Babirra have reached new heights. The set was amazing! Walking into the auditorium we found portholes along the walls. There were projections on the side, often depicting video of the ocean. There were a couple of structures with stairs which were rolled into different positions for various scenes.


To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.