The Sleeping Beauty

The Australian Ballet. Sydney Opera House. Nov 27 – Dec 16, 2015.

Classical ballet is surely desperate for a new picture book.  The Australian Ballet’s new The Sleeping Beauty, the first full production choreographed by its long-term artistic director David McAllister, is the company’s fourth version. 

After showing in Melbourne and Perth, it has just opened in Sydney.  And like so many re-workings around the world, this Sleeping Beauty closely honours the original Marius Petipa choreography so acclaimed back in the Tsarist days of 1890. 

King Lear

By William Shakespeare. Sydney Theatre Company. Directed by Neil Armfield. Roslyn Packer Theatre. November 28 2015 to January 9, 2016.

We were teased by the pre publicity into thinking that Geoffrey Rush (King Lear) would strip down on stage – revealing his crown jewels in public for the first time since jumping on that trampoline in the movie Shine. It would spoil the experience for me to reveal if this was false advertising or not.

What was naked for the whole production was the stage. First black in the first act. Then a  brilliant foggy blinding white in the second, as a metaphor for having everything taken away from you.

The Listies Ruin Xmas

Creator/ Performers: Richard Higgins and Matthew Kelly. Set and Costume Design Consultant: Marg Horwell. Lighting Designer: Amelia Lever-Davidson. Beckett Theatre, Malthouse: 25 November to 13 December, 2015

The Listies are presenting a lovely fresh and very engaging Christmas show for everyone, except perhaps ‘old grumps’.  No, seriously, it is a very funny, joyful, silly and heartwarming show for everyone.  Grown-ups of all ages and kids can have heaps of fun and laughs together.

This show continues the tradition of Malthouse Theatre putting on a children’s show every year.


Written by Will Eno. Directed by Alice Darling. Red Stitch (Vic). 20th November-19th December, 2015

In keeping with the old adage “save the best till last”, Red Stitch ends its mixed bag 2015 season with a stunning Australian premiere from American playwright Will Eno.

Eno is one of those writers you either love or hate. Fabulously witty, on the surface his work can seem almost absurdist and trite …but it’s the weight of what is beneath the words that makes him special. His writing is narrow but deep, and he may well be the first absurdist existentialist since Samuel Beckett…..

Grey Gardens

By Scott Frankel, Doug Wright and Michael Korie. Squabbalogic. Seymour Centre, Sydney. Nov 18 – Dec 12, 2015.

Oddly enough, the story of Jackie Onassis’ ultimately reclusive aunt and cousin living with cats in an East Hampton mansion makes a good musical.  At least in the first half.  

Stage-struck Edith Bouvier Beale, the older, loves to dominate her parties with a song, even as she plans the 1941 engagement do of her daughter, Edie, and promising Joe Kennedy junior (Simon McLachlan).  Beth Daly plays Edith as a fine patrician bulldozer and Caitlin Berry brings a desperate grace to young Edie who longs to leave Grey Gardens and hit the boards as well.


By Simon Brett. Directed by Fred Petersen. Garrick Theatre, Guildford, WA. Nov 18 - Dec 5, 2015

The Australian premiere of Silhouette, a thriller by Simon Brett, is to be Fred Petersen's swan-song as a director and this well-structured, well-performed play makes a good farewell piece.

Interestingly structured, with t Act II set chronologically immediately before Act I, the events of the murder at the centre of the play are gradually revealed.


By Ronald Harwood. Directed by Terry Hackett. KADS Theatre, Kalamunda, WA. 13 Nov - 5 Dec 2015

Quartet is set in a home for retired opera singers and at times feels a little like a cross between Sex and the City and The Golden Girls with its sexy and funny themes, interspersed with operatic music.

Moonlight and Magnolias

By Ron Hutchison. Directed by Loretta Bishop. 1812 Theatre, Upper Ferntree Gully (Vic). Nov 19 – Dec 12, 2015

There can’t be anyone who doesn’t know of the blockbuster movie “Gone With The Wind”, particularly among theatre-lovers. 1812 ends its 2015 season with a blockbuster production of its own. Ron Hutchison’s play is a farce – and the events it is based on (in Ben Hecht’s autobiography) are farcical in themselves. Hecht was a legendary screenwriter of the 30s, 40s, and 50s….the Golden Age of Hollywood. When David O.

Social Climbers

By Roger Hall. Gold Coast Little Theatre, Southport. Director: Helen Maden. Nov 21- Dec 12, 2015

What do you get when you take 6 women (in varying stages of their personal journeys), an isolated bush hut, alcohol and 4 days at the mercy of the elements and wild life? A hilarious piece of theatre!

Helen Maden has taken this play and talented cast and created a memorable piece of theatrical magic. The séance scene (pictured) is a fine example.

The ensemble cast bounce of each other (and everything that they bump into) with flare and take the audience along for the experience.

The Nun and the Highwayman

By Simon Farley. La Mama, EXPLORATIONS, 205 Faraday Street, 26, 27 & 28 November, 2015

This is an intriguing premise for a play and allows for a variety of religious, moral, ethical and political themes to be explored. Farley describes it as a weird play but the encounter he imagines is not unlike that experienced by the soldier John McBurney (Clint Eastwood) in the film The Beguiled (Seigel 1971). Rescued by his enemy McBurney is forced to use his charm and wits to survive his ordeal and, in doing so, in some ways discovers the depths of his depravity.

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