Avenue Q

Music & Lyrics: Robert Lopez & Jeff Marx. Book: Jeff Whitty. Brisbane Arts Theatre. Director: John Boyce & Katherine Alpert. Musical Director: Faron Swingler. 17 Oct – 19 Dec 2015

With its insanely catchy score, its clever book, and its set of lovable characters, Avenue Q is a real musical theatre hoot, and Arts Theatre’s revival of their 2014 production is still hugely enjoyable.

Who doesn’t love the denizens of New York City’s worst street address and 12 years after it premiered on Broadway little has dated (except perhaps making a mixed-tape).

Forbidden Broadway

Created and written by Gerard Alessandrini. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Playouse Theatre, Hobart. Director & choreographer: Cassie Xintavelonis. 23 October – 7 November 2015

Describing Hobart Repertory Theatre Society’s latest musical Forbidden Broadway as “gut-bustingly funny” is not an over-stated claim. Knowledge of musicals is useful for the audience, and a sharp ear and eye helps to relate to the references to musicals in the spoofed songs. Created and written by Gerard Alessandrini, Forbidden Broadway takes a poke at the blockbuster musicals that have made it on Broadway then taken on the world. This cleverly written musical is an insider’s observation of and tribute to the musical theatre industry.


By Donizetti. Shoestring Opera of Melbourne. Matthew Toogood. Director: David Lawson-Smith. Comedy Club at the Athenaeum Theatre. October 23 – 26, 2015.

Conductor Matthew Toogood is now based in Berlin, but we are very fortunate that he continues to return to Melbourne. So, Shoestring Opera made a welcome return, with a very small scale operatic venture.

Donizetti was a prolific composer and Rita, a one-act opera with spoken dialogue, is one of many which rarely see the light of day. This is a shame, as it included some beautiful music and was highly entertaining.


By Kate Mulvany from Kit Williams book. Directed by Lee Lewis and Sam Strong. Southbank Theatre, Melbourne. 22-25th October, 2015

Kate Mulvany’s Masquerade has so much going for it: Kit Williams beautiful fantasy children’s classic of the Moon falling in love with the Sun, and Jack Hare sent on a mission to give him the message of love; some wonderful performances; Anna Cordingley’s design (spectacular imaginative costumes); Chris Petridis’ imaginative AV design and great lighting from Geoff Cobham. Why then was I ultimately disappointed?

The Fantasticks

Book and lyrics by Tom Jones. Music by Harvey Schmidt. Exclaim Theatre Company. October 21 – 25, 2015.

The Fantasticks famously ran Off Broadway for over 40 years - thanks to a combination of a simple set (that cost $900), a tiny orchestra, a small cast and a breezy story line with one hit song ‘Try to remember’.

The Exclaim Theatre - comprising alumni of The Australian Institute of Music - shoe horned the production into the Pilgrim theatre. 

The stage was filled with oldish looking suitcases and the audience sat in the round, allowing the cast to perform in the centre of the theatre.

Blood Bank

By Christopher Harley. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. October 16 – November 22, 2015

The cold, antiseptic environment of a hospital waiting room is not the usual setting for a love story. Especially one that playwright, Christopher Harley admits is one “so fragile it might shatter in your hands”. It’s a beautifully touching story about two brothers and a ghost from their childhood that haunts them even as one of them faces death – and a woman who reaches out and won’t give up … because she understands.

Breaking the Binary

Devised, designed and performed by YGLAM (MCHS) La Mama, EXPLORATIONS, 205 Faraday Street, October 21, 22 & 23, 2015

La Mama’s 2015 Exploration series provides the opportunity for theatre practitioners to present works in progress and creates a space for real experimentation. Breaking the Binary is a fine example of the kind of venture the series seeks to encourage and nurture.  YGLAM is a Performing Arts Project run by Merri Community Health Services for same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people aged between 14 and 25.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Music & Lyrics: Richard & Robert Sherman. Book: Jeremy Sams & Ray Roderick. Directed by Karen Francis. Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, WA. 15-18 October, 2015

Stray Cats Theatre and Mandurah Performing Arts Centre came together in a community partnership for their production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Directed by Karen Francis, it featured musical direction by David Hicks, Choreography by Ashleigh Riley and Megan Doohan, a cast of eighty-eight and an orchestra of thirteen.


By Angela Betzien. Directed by Leticia Caceres. State Theatre Company of South Australia / Belvoir. Dunstan Playhouse, Festival Centre. 20-31 October, 2015. Belvoir Theatre, Sydney. 6 November – 17 December, 2015

Mortido is a sprawling crime drama that critically examines all the sordid dealings inherent in the traffic and distribution of cocaine, as well as chronicling the human wreckage that occurs as a consequence of this, blazing a trail through the impoverished barrios of Mexico, the jungles of Bolivia, the gay nightclubs of Berlin, the cultural melting pot of modern Cabramatta and the sleekly manufactured, designer Shangri-Las of the Sydney yuppie jetset.  


By Krystal Sweedman. La Boîte Indie Season. Director: Heather Fairbairn. Roundhouse Theatre, Brisbane. 15-31 October, 2015

La Boîte has again touched on a relevant subject very much a part of the media these days with the introduction of a new playwright, Krystal Sweedman, who, as part of her studies at NIDA, has broached the subject of writing about something her tutor has been encouraging his students to attempt: any topic you wish to avoid. Ms Sweedman chose domestic violence.

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