Hugh Jackman - Broadway to Oz

Sydney Entertainment Centre. Presented by Paul Dainty and Robert Fox.

It was his home town. His father, wife, daughter and close friends were in the audience. Hugh Jackman sang and spoke as if he was in a small cabaret venue, not a vast arena filled with ten thousand disciples.

His rendition of I’ve Been Everywhere Man was most apt. His father took his family on endless road trips around Australia as children. The song’s lyrics includes the suburb where he was raised … Turramurra.

The Sleeping Beauty

The Australian Ballet. Sydney Opera House. Nov 27 – Dec 16, 2015.

Classical ballet is surely desperate for a new picture book.  The Australian Ballet’s new The Sleeping Beauty, the first full production choreographed by its long-term artistic director David McAllister, is the company’s fourth version. 

After showing in Melbourne and Perth, it has just opened in Sydney.  And like so many re-workings around the world, this Sleeping Beauty closely honours the original Marius Petipa choreography so acclaimed back in the Tsarist days of 1890. 

King Lear

By William Shakespeare. Sydney Theatre Company. Directed by Neil Armfield. Roslyn Packer Theatre. November 28 2015 to January 9, 2016.

We were teased by the pre publicity into thinking that Geoffrey Rush (King Lear) would strip down on stage – revealing his crown jewels in public for the first time since jumping on that trampoline in the movie Shine. It would spoil the experience for me to reveal if this was false advertising or not.

What was naked for the whole production was the stage. First black in the first act. Then a  brilliant foggy blinding white in the second, as a metaphor for having everything taken away from you.

The Listies Ruin Xmas

Creator/ Performers: Richard Higgins and Matthew Kelly. Set and Costume Design Consultant: Marg Horwell. Lighting Designer: Amelia Lever-Davidson. Beckett Theatre, Malthouse: 25 November to 13 December, 2015

The Listies are presenting a lovely fresh and very engaging Christmas show for everyone, except perhaps ‘old grumps’.  No, seriously, it is a very funny, joyful, silly and heartwarming show for everyone.  Grown-ups of all ages and kids can have heaps of fun and laughs together.

This show continues the tradition of Malthouse Theatre putting on a children’s show every year.


Written by Will Eno. Directed by Alice Darling. Red Stitch (Vic). 20th November-19th December, 2015

In keeping with the old adage “save the best till last”, Red Stitch ends its mixed bag 2015 season with a stunning Australian premiere from American playwright Will Eno.

Eno is one of those writers you either love or hate. Fabulously witty, on the surface his work can seem almost absurdist and trite …but it’s the weight of what is beneath the words that makes him special. His writing is narrow but deep, and he may well be the first absurdist existentialist since Samuel Beckett…..

Grey Gardens

By Scott Frankel, Doug Wright and Michael Korie. Squabbalogic. Seymour Centre, Sydney. Nov 18 – Dec 12, 2015.

Oddly enough, the story of Jackie Onassis’ ultimately reclusive aunt and cousin living with cats in an East Hampton mansion makes a good musical.  At least in the first half.  

Stage-struck Edith Bouvier Beale, the older, loves to dominate her parties with a song, even as she plans the 1941 engagement do of her daughter, Edie, and promising Joe Kennedy junior (Simon McLachlan).  Beth Daly plays Edith as a fine patrician bulldozer and Caitlin Berry brings a desperate grace to young Edie who longs to leave Grey Gardens and hit the boards as well.


By Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Manly Musical Society. Nov 20 – 28, 2015

Manly Musical Society’s final production of the year, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s powerful bio-musical Evita, played at the Star of The Sea Theatre in Manly.

Having only ever seen the 1996 movie staring Madonna and Antonio Banderas, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the stage show.

Walking into the theatre and seeing a pretty blank set with a projection screen intrigued me.

Putting it Together

Music & Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim. Direction: David Austin. Ipswich Little Theatre Society, Incinerator Theatre, Ipswich. 29 Nov – Dec 5, 2015

Putting it Together first saw the light of day as a Stephen Sondheim song review, strung together by a paper-thin plot, in a 1993 Off-Broadway production with Julie Andrews, who was making her return to the stage. Julia McKenzie followed with a London outing and then Carol Burnett took it to Broadway in 1999. The songs are fine but as a show it depends on the talent of the performers.

Ipswich Little Theatre chose to mount it as their first ever musical, an ambitious choice indeed for a theatre group whose audiences are most comfortable with farce and thrillers.

A Man of No Importance

Music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and a book by Terrence McNally. Playlovers. Directed by Andrew Baker. Hackett Hall, Floreat, WA, Nov 20 - Dec 5, 2015

It would be difficult not to love Playlovers' A Man of No Importance. Billed as a 'heartwarming Irish musical' it is certainly that and more. It is a beautiful production with an enormous heart.

Very much an ensemble production, every performer is involved at almost all times — and all performances are excellent. Central character Alfie Byrne is played outstandingly well by David Gardette. Alfie is an awkward, unlikely and unassuming hero and David wins the audience's affection in an exquisitely sung, consummately acted performance.


By Caitlin Richardson. Three River Theatre. Earl Arts Centre, Launceston. Director: Peter Hammond. 12 – 15 November 2015.

Three River Theatre presented the premiere of a new work written by Caitlin Richardson at the Earl Arts Centre in Launceston in November 2015, a psycho-drama/historical play with a big theme. Disclosed is an investigation into the effects of isolation on those in captivity, in the new form of prison where ideas about the exercise of power were appearing in the colony of Tasmania and around the world. Physical violence was being replaced with more subliminal methods of bureaucratic control.

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