A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum

Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart.UMMTA. Director. Amy Bryans. Musical Director: Taylen Furness. Choreographer: Catherine Spanti.. Union Theatre, University of Melbourne. October 16 – 24, 2015

Funny Thing is one of my favourite comic musicals, a delightful romp, so the prospect of a performance by University students was mouth-watering. It did not disappoint.

Apart from the energy of the performers, there were different twists I had not encountered before. After Pseudolus’s initial introduction the stage opened on a scene from the film of Les Miserables with galley slaves being whipped, before he repeated “Tragedy Tomorrow!” and the curtains closed again.


Book, Music and Lyrics by Lionel Bart. Directed by Barbara Hughes. OSMaD (Vic) Scotch College. 15th-24th October, 2015

A  marvellous 22 piece orchestra under the expert direction of John Ferguson; a superb ensemble of children with stand-out performances from the two leads; two absolute stars in Fagin and Nancy; and the timeless collaboration of Lionel Bart and Charles Dickens; all combine to make this production an absolute triumph for OSMaD.

Beauty and the Beast

Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. Book by Linda Woolverton. Strathfield Musical Society. Directed by Kathryn Meekings. Musical Direction by Brian Hughes. Choreography Melissa Stewart. The Latvian Theatre, Strathfield. October 9 – 17, 2015.

The biggest stars of the show were not around to take a bow. Set designer and maker Bob Peet and costume maker James Worner deserved an ovation for the visual splendour they brought to this production.

Most delightful were the candles for Lumiere which ignited always on cue, the grand French chest of drawers for Madam De La Grande Bouche and the wind up clock for Cogsworth.

My Zinc Bed

By David Hare. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Director: Mark Kilmurry. 8 October – 22 November, 2015.

This oddly titled play is about addiction, mainly to alcohol, but also sexual addiction to the boss’s wife. Exclude addiction from your life, it warns, and you might also exclude real intensity and passion. Directed with particular passion by Mark Kilmurry, this three-hander by David Hare delivers a handsome and unexpected punch.


By Gilbert and Sullivan. Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Victoria. Director: Frank McCarty. Musical Director: Greg Hannan. Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre. Oct 15 – 17, 2015

With the potential closure of the Alexander Theatre at Monash University, the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Victoria moved to the Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre for this production. A long way from their home base, the theatre is a similar size to the Alex, and, moving toward the back for the second half, I had no problems hearing everything. Unfortunately the audience was relatively small and I hope this will pick up.


Created & performed by Andrew Schneider. Co-creators: Peter Musante, Alessandra Calabi, Christine Shallenberg with Karl Franklin Allen, Daniel Jackson & Bobby McElver. Performance Space 122 (NY) & Arts House Melbourne, Melbourne Festival. At Arts House, North Melbourne. Thursday 15 October – Monday 19 October 2015.

If you have friends who’ve seen this intriguing, exciting, challenging show, tell them shut-up; you’ll see it for yourself, thanks very much.  To describe it in too much detail doesn’t mean giving away some brilliant plot twist.  It means giving away not one but two remarkable coups de theatre. 


By Ahilan Ratnamohan. Riverside, Parramatta Oct 14 – 17, 2015

DRILL mixes the grit, flexibility, pace and precision of sport training with the ... well ... grit, flexibility, pace and precision of dance training! Fast and precise, physically demanding and exacting, it takes a series of training exercises and choreographs them into a performance that encapsulates the punishing rigour of training and the challenges of the sporting arena as well as the camaraderie – and competitiveness – that is at the heart of every sport.


By Jonathan Larson. Highway Run Productions. Hayes Theatre Co. Oct 8 – Nov 1, 2015.

Even a fire alarm and evacuation on opening night at the Hayes could only briefly pause the energy and enthusiasm. Raw and vibrant, Rent returns joyously to it’s Off-Broadway roots at Sydney’s Hayes Theatre Co.

Rent borrows its plot from La Boheme, transporting the bohemian characters to New York’s East Village in the early 1990s, where the artistic community is being ravaged by HIV/AIDS and threatened by gentrification, re-setting the operatic plot with a rock musical theatre score.

Lord of the Dance - Dangerous Games

QPAC Concert Hall. October 13-17, 2015

Michael Flatley's successful enterprise is on show this week in the Brisbane leg of the Australian tour. The program incorporates a number of sequences designed to tell a good-versus-evil folkloric tale and includes a selection of solo vocal and dance segments scattered amongst the ensemble dance routines which really show-off the technique and bravado for which this Irish style of dance is so famous.


By William Shakespeare. Bell Shakespeare. Directed by Damien Ryan. The Playhouse, Canberra Theatre, 15 - 24 October 2015, then Sydney 27 October – 6 December.

Josh McConville unfortunately was too ill to perform his lead as Hamlet on the opening night I attended. Understudy Scott Sheridan put in a magnificent performance in McConville’s place. If you didn’t know Sheridan was the understudy, you’d never guess. His performance is a psychological case study, moving from maddened with the loss of his father through to flagrantly insane, and there are moments when his mood changes instantaneously. He papers over his misery with humour bordering on hysteria—his clowning is darkly funny, but also alarming.

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