A Cheery Soul

By Patrick White. Sydney Theatre Company. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. Nov 5 – Dec 15, 2018

Jim Sharman directed landmark revivals of Patrick White’s plays in the 1970’s including an acclaimed Cheery Soul with Robyn Nevin as the insufferable do-gooder, Miss Docker. 

He celebrates that other, younger directors have picked up the mantle of restaging White’s plays for their generation, talents like Neil Armfield and later Benedict Andrews and Kip Williams (who Sharman mentored).

End of the Rainbow

By Peter Quilter. Directed by Brad Tudor. Koorliny Arts Centre, Kwinana WA. 9-24 November, 2018

Koorliny Arts Centre’s musical drama, End of the Rainbow, centres on Judy Garland’s comeback concerts in late 1968. A beautifully presented piece of drama, with a great singing performance, it is perhaps unsurprising that it is playing to sellout crowds.

Presented cabaret style in Koorliny’s smaller theatre, designer Jon Lambert transforms the compact stage into a London hotel suite, which in turn becomes a concert venue, revealing a hidden band. Director Brad Tudor’s costume design is an elegant and effective reflection of the era.

Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land

By Stan Lai & Performance Workshop. OzAsia Festival (SA). Dunstan Playhouse. Saturday 10 November, 2018

Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land is regarded as one of the ‘top 10 plays’ from China in the 20th Century. First produced in 1986 as a collaborative work between legendry Chinese director, Stan Lai, and ‘creative partners’ Li li-chun, Chin Shih-chieh and Ding Nai-chu, it has remained in numerous productions ever since, throughout China and Taiwan.


Written and directed by David Atfield. World Premiere. The Street Theatre (ACT). 9 – 17 November 2018

“I prefer to call it marriage equality. We don’t get ‘gay married’, we just want to get married like everyone else,” to paraphrase Craig Morrow, the young out gay man at the centre of David Atfield’s Exclusion. In many ways that is an essential truth about this play: it’s not gay theatre, it’s theatre which happens to have a few gay characters. Of course, being same-sex attracted has affected the lives of some of these characters profoundly, and in different ways depending on when they came of age.

Avenue Q

Music and Lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx. Book by Jeff Whitty. Hills Musical Company (SA). Stirling Theatre. November 9-24, 2018

Avenue Qfirst arrived on stage in 2003 and has been delighting (and shocking) audiences around the world for this past 15 years. Coming from the courageous genius of Jeff Whitty, Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez, it broke the mould of musical theatre by presenting a very adult story in a Sesame Street-like context. Having personally seen Avenue Q three times now, it still causes my ribs to ache!

Andropolaroid 1:1

Yui Kawaguchi. Oz Asia Festival 2018. Space Theatre, Adelaide Nov 9 &10 2018

‘There are times when the simple dignity of movement can fulfil the function of a volume of words’ – Doris Humphrey. The same can be said of Andropolaroid 1:1.

Andropolaroid premiered in 2010 and was based on the personal experiences that Yui Kawaguchi experienced during her emigration from Japan to Germany.

The Flint Street Nativity

By Tim Firth. Red Phoenix Theatre. Holden Street Theatre (SA). November 8-17, 2018.

The ins and outs of worldwide politics are fraught with power plays, back stabbing, bullying and ‘interesting’ interpretation of facts. The fraught characters within the political world include ambitious top dogs and repressed underdogs, together with hard workers and the not so inclined. Tim Firth’s delightfully funny comedy The Flint Street Nativity demonstrates that even among seven- year-olds in any junior school, ‘political’ power play and even similar characters are also present.

Tarantara! Tarantara!

By Ian Taylor, using songs by Gilbert and Sullivan. Malvern Theatre. Director: Andrew Ferguson. Musical Director: Jan Hall. October 26 – November 10, 2018

Malvern Theatre’s Tarantara! Tarantara! was a most enjoyable experience. I caught one of the shows towards the end of the run, and it was a slick, well-oiled production.

The small stage was well used, with three trucks being rolled out swiftly to change the scene and keep the action moving. As one piece of dialogue or song finished, other cast members were in place to move the show forward.

La Bohème

By Puccini. Opera Australia. Director: Gale Edwards. Revival Director: Hugh Halliday. Conductor: Pietro Rizzo. Arts Centre Melbourne. Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre. November 7 – 24, 2018.

There was much to like about this old war-horse. Updated to the 1930s, the set was half an octagon and the sides spun around for different scenes, allowing for smooth transitions.

The opera was very colourful with a great variety of disparate characters inhabiting the chorus. There was a lot of activity in the second act, with an upper level in the café.

Hello My Name Is…

OzAsia Festival. Co-produced by Biennial of Contemporary Arts. Using text by Edward Bond from Choruses After the Assassinations. Directed by Paolo Castro. Nexus Arts, Lion Arts Centre, Adelaide. 7-9 Nov, 2018.

It is a compliment to be able to say of any show that it inspires a reviewer to delve further into personally researching and investigating the events it depicts and the issues it raises, even if the show in question fails to fully satisfy as a complete dramatic experience.

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