Death By Chocolate

By Paul Freed. Castle Hill Players. Pavilion Theatre, Castle Hill. 20 June to 12 July 2014.

It is easy to see why this play is popular with community theatre companies. It has a big cast, it’s a mystery (well … not quite in the league of Agatha Christie but …) and it’s funny. All qualities that seem to attract many community theatre patrons. That means good ticket sales – and a little bit of profit to subsidise less popular, but more challenging, productions.

Jesus Christ Superstar

Music Andrew Lloyd-Webber. Lyrics Tim Rice. The Arts Centre, Gold Coast. Director: Kris Stewart. June 20th – 29th, 2014

The programme tells us that this is a “reimagining” of Jesus Christ Superstar– which is all well and good but when historical facts are tampered with: i.e. casting two of the major principal roles and six of the disciples as females (in my book) it’s taking things too far.

But Wait…There’s More

Circus Oz. Circus Oz Big Top, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne. 18 June – 13 July, 2014.

An evocative aboriginal inspired dance by Dale Woodbridge-Brown held a promise of magical things to come. And there were a number of magical moments and the flash of awe-inspiring physicality as bodies were bent and thrown around the stage in this latest offering from Circus Oz.

Shut Your Eyes and Think of England

By John Chapman and Anthony Marriott. Gold Coast Little Theatre, Southport. Director: Dorothy Henderson. June 21st to July 12th, 2014

The advert stated “British Farce at its very best! ” And this production certainly delivered!

Produced at short notice due to the cancellation of another show, Dorothy Henderson’s staging of this “rib-tickling” comedy was a winner all the way.

With a very experienced cast (some repeating their roles from an earlier outing in 2009) SYEaTOE had the audience in fits of laughter from the start.

The stylish penthouse sitting room set played host to all the going ons going on and great timing all round made this production a hilarious hit.


Music, Lyrics and Book by Lionel Bart. Directed by Brad Dart. PLOS Musical Productions. Frankston Arts Centre (Vic). June 20 – 28, 2014

There’s wonderful music and a timeless quality about Oliver! that is a delight if done well, and PLOS does it very well indeed. From the second the curtain rises on Brenton Staples spectacular set, a star in its own right (using trucks and revolves and moving staircases), you are drawn into Dickens’ iconic tale of poverty and salvation.


Music & Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim. Book: George Furth. Igantions Musical Society. Roundhouse Theatre, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane. 20 June – 5 July 2014

Ignations continues exploring Stephen Sondheim’s musical theatre canon with a well-sung and well-acted in-the-round production of his groundbreaking non-linear 70s musical Company.

Lift up your skirt: Kathy Najimy

Adelaie Cabaret Festival. 19th June 2014

Kathy Najimy is fun, loveable, endearing and bold. Some may remember her from 90s films Hocus Pocus and Sister Act, but she is also a Lebanese woman who grew up in San Diego who gladly shares her struggles and memorable parts of her life with humour and a spirit that is compelling.

The Effect

By Lucy Prebble. Queensland Theatre Company and Sydney Theatre Company. Bille Brown Studio. June 7 – July 5. Wharf Theatre, July 10 –August 16, 2014

The Effect showcases the finest acting you will see from four of Australia’s top actors. Not light entertainment, however, it’s rather an intelligent examination of what love is under the metaphorical microscope of drama.

Two young people are paid volunteers for the clinical trial of a new anti-depressant wonder-drug: Connie (Anna McGahan), seriously committed to the exercise after recent psychology studies and Tristan (Mark Leonard Winter), affable serial volunteer for tests of this type - he is saving toward a holiday.

August: Osage County

By Tracy Letts. Adelaide Repertory Theatre. 19th – 28th June, 2014

Director David Sinclair has assembled a stellar cast to bring to life the Pulitzer Prize winning play August: Osage County. If the title is familiar then you may have seen the 2013 movie of the same name, starring Meryl Streep. Thankfully I had not seen the film, so I went along with no expectations.

After the death of Beverly Weston the patriarch of the family; members gather at their childhood home in Oklahoma to mourn their losses. What ensues is chaos, disfunction and a raw expose of a family with secrets.

Sibling Revelry: Ann Hampton Callaway & Liz Callaway

Dunstan Playhouse, Festival Theatre, Adelaide. Adelaide Cabaret Festival June 20-21, 2014

Having made various solo appearances at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival over the years, Award winning singer/songwriter Ann Hampton-Callaway and her sister, Broadway star Liz Callaway, make their “sisterly debut” with this lively collaborative piece.

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