Kinky Boots

Music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper. Book by Harvey Fierstein. Directed by Jerry Mitchell. Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne. Opening Night – October 22, 2016.

Anytime you leave a theatre feeling far better than when you entered it, you’ve seen a good show. Kinky Boots is a good show. It’s warm, feel-good, full of heart, not too preachy and with some wonderful performances. All good. It isn’t the best musical ever written. It lacks the innovation and originality of Matilda or Hamilton.


By Jane Cafarella. Ensemble Theatre. October 13 – November 13, 2016

The ancient and universal tragedy of infertility is given a modern spin, in this tale of two women, and the strange, forced bond they form over their joint quest to make a baby.

Catherine (Danielle Carter) is an uptight London lawyer, taut with desperation after 11 years and 18 unsuccessful rounds of IVF. Nellie (Gabrielle Scawthorne) is the young, naïve, American chosen to be her “gestational surrogate” – her last chance at motherhood.

The Secret Garden

Music: Lucy Simon. Book & Lyrics: Marsha Norman. Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Bankstown Theatre Company. Bankstown Arts Centre. October 21 – 30, 2016

Over the last few years Bankstown has featured in the national news for all the wrong reasons. It is therefore pleasing to report that good things do happen at Bankstown, and have been for many years.

I refer to the offerings of Bankstown Theatre Company, which has been functioning  under several names for about 80 years. The current offering is the Lucy Simon/ Marsha Norman musical piece The Secret Garden, a rarely performed work in the community theatre repertoire.

Julius Caesar

By William Shakespeare. Director: Fleur Kilpatrick. Assistant Director: Joey Burford. Sound Designer: Justin Gardam. Dramaturge: Claire Macallister. Essential Theatre. Space 338. Melbourne Fringe Festival. September 20 – 29, 2016.

It’s easy for independent theatre companies to do Shakespeare badly.

In my 22 years as a reviewer, I've seen many modern takes on Shakespeare’s classics. Too often, these fail to deliver.


By Lionel Bart. Engadine Musical Society. October 21 – 30, 2016

Engadine Musical Society’s production of Lionel Bart’s famous musical Oliver!, based on Dickens classic tale, was a joy to witness. Delivered in a darker sense than I have seen it performed previously, Director Meg Day has added her own unique touch to the much loved show.

The Turquoise Elephant

By Stephen Carleton. Griffin Theatre Company. SBW Stables Theatre. Oct 14 – Nov 26, 2016.

The absurdism of Stephen Carleton’s new play about climate change, his florid characters and mad arguments, so obviously springs from his exasperation at the mindlessness of how this is debated in the real world. Or what’s left of it.

In a future Sydney, as the mercury reaches 48 degrees and with Harbour waters rising, we meet the privileged inhabitants of a triple-glazed mansion.  

Our Turn!

Directors: Paul Sabey, Megan Shorey, Kate Wilson, Michael Futcher. Musical Director: Heidi Loveland. Griffith University Musical Theatre. Burke Street Studio, Wooloongabba, Brisbane. 18-22 Oct/Melbourne 3-5 Nov/Sydney 7-8 Nov 2016.

The 3rd year Musical Theatre Showcase for 2016 was an exciting program of young talent displaying their musical and acting chops. At just over an hour long and with 30 graduates performing, it was a tight non-stop mix of material from mainly on and off Broadway. Each student chose their own party-piece and had a minute and a half in which to showcase the essence of their talent.


Direction and Choreography by Sara Baras. Music composed by Keko Baldomero. Hamer Hall. Melbourne Festival. 21st-23rd October, 2016

Today is your last chance to see the Queen of Flamenco dancers, Sara Baras.

The Memory of Water

By Shelagh Stephenson. New Farm Nash Theatre Inc. Director: Sharon White. Merthyr Road Uniting Church. 8-29 Oct 2016

Sibling rivalry, familial guilt and black humour permeate the script of Shelagh Stephenson’s 1996 The Memory of Water as three sisters, who share little in common, reunite in the family home on the eve of their mother Vi’s, funeral. Childhood memories, remembered differently by each, come flooding back as they rummage through their mother’s belongings in her bedroom and come to terms with her death of Alzheimer’s disease.

War and Peace

Concept & direction Gob Squad. Devised by Niels Bormann, Katja Bürkle, Johanna Freiberg, Sean Patten, Damien Rebgetz, Tatiana Saphir, Sharon Smith, Berit Stumpf, Sarah Thom, Laura Tonke, Bastian Trost & Simon Will. Melbourne Festival, Malthouse Theatre, the Merlyn. 18 – 30 October 2016.

The cast – Sharon Smith, Tatiana Saphir, Sean Patten and Bastian Trost (or, on another evening, you might see Simon Will) – are charming, good-humoured, amusing, attractive, even endearing.

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