On the Harmful Effects of Tobacco

By Chekhov, Bach, Berio and Tchaikovsky. Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord / Sydney Festival. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. January 22 – 25, 2014.

Chekhov’s solo monologue, On the Harmful Effects of Tobacco, begins with an old man, a smoker, berated by his wife to give a free lecture on that subject.  Nioukhine instead wanders through tangents about his bullying wife, his petty jobs slaving at her music school and his, typically Chekhovian, yearning to escape. .

By adding Nioukhine’s three daughters onstage, as a singer, pianist and violinist, France’s Theatre des Bouffes du Nord transforms this tale into a theatrical and musical gem. 

Loving Repeating

Music by Stephen Flaherty. Words by Gertrude Stein. Adapted by Frank Galati. Directed by Jason Langley. Vic Theatre Company. Chapel off Chapel. January 21 - February 8, 2015.

Once in a rare while a show comes along that somehow transcends the sum of its parts  and creates true magic on the stage. For 2015 (even this early in the year) that show is Loving Repeating, a boutique musical built on the writings of Gertrude Stein with a beautiful score by the award winning composer Stephen Flaherty, with Stein’s writing adapted by original director Frank Galati, serving as lyrics and Galati creating the book.

Venus In Fur

By David Ives. Black Swan (WA). Directed by Lawrie Cullen-Tait. Studio Downstairs, State Theatre Centre of WA. 15 Jan - 8 Feb, 2015

Black Swan's first production of the year is the theatrically conscious, cleverly written, Venus in Fur, written by David Ives. Part of the Black Swan Lab - Black Swan's workshop and more experimental arm, it is performed at the Studio Underground at the State Theatre Centre.


Michael Griffiths. 45 Downstairs, Melbourne. January 21 - February 1, 2015

It’s Midummer and Midsumma in Melbourne and that means all kinds of marvellous entertainment. Australian performers do cabaret so well (they have to diversify to keep working) that it’s no surprise to discover that Michael Griffiths’ new show, Adolescent, is a little gem.

The Fastest Clock In The Universe

By Philip Ridley. A Four Letter Word Theatre production directed by Robert Chuter. The Loft – Chapel off Chapel, Prahran (VIC). 21-31 January 2015.

It’s Cougar Glass’ twelfth ‘nineteenth’ birthday.  In a moldy flat in a crumbling building, this sociopathic narcissist pretty boy refuses to acknowledge the passage of time and thus his real age.

13: The Musical

Book Dan Elish and Robert Horne. Music and Lyrics Jason Robert Brown. National Academy of Performing Arts Summer School. Helensvale Cultural Centre, Gold Coast. Director / Choreographer: Kim Reynolds. January 21st – 24th, 2014

13 – The Musical was an ideal vehicle to showcase the talents of an amazing group of triple- threat teenagers. Director/Choreographer Kim Reynolds and her production team of Assistant Greta Brinsley and Musical Director Matt Pearson presented a very entertaining show. I found it refreshing to see all characters being played by performers of that age.

Jim Morrison: Kaleidoscope

Written and performed by Luigi Lucente. Directed by Nicholas Christo. 45 Downstairs, Melbourne. Jan 21 – 25, 2014.

Luigi Lucente…if you don’t know that name then make a note of it. Lucente is a MAJOR (in capitals) world class performer who never fails to delight; whether it’s as the lead in a musical (Pippin, Parade) or, currently, in cabaret with a show devised and written by himself.

After Dinner

By Andrew Bovell. Sydney Theatre Company. Wharf 1 Theatre. January 15 – March 7, 2015.

Sydney Theatre Company had its first production at the Wharf in1985. It’s fitting then, that it has chosen to open its 2015 season with an Australian play written and set in the 1980s.

After Dinnerhas lost none of its touching exposure of human frailties – nor its hilarious humour. Five clever and very experienced actors, and an intuitive director, find every poignant nuance of Andrew Bovell’s very recognisable characters, whilst still making the most of the comedy with which he softens the blows of insightful social comment.

Disney’s Alice in Wonderland

Ballina Players. Director: Geoff Marsh. January 16th – 25th, 2015.

Following the Ballina tradition, their first production for the year is their Junior Production of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland and in the same tradition most of the work on this production is done by the young members themselves under the guidance of their senior players members: Gold Coast Area Theatre Award Nominees and Winners.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

Written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield. Directed by Rebecca Elise Lamb. Brisbane Arts Theatre. 10 Jan-14 March, 2015

It's great to see Brisbane Arts Theatre tackling even more adventurous shows after all those many wonderful years of contributing to the rise in the arts and theatre in Brisbane, and I was happy to revisit a show I enjoyed seeing many years ago at the Criterion Theatre in London. What follows is therefore partly based on this initial viewing and the fact that I was able to see only the first act due to an on-going assignment.

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