The Illusionists: Direct from Broadway

Concert Hall, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), Brisbane. 9 to 19 January 2019

Magic acts world-wide have lately been transformed into a fuel-injected rock and roll circus. Exhibit number one: The Illusionists: Direct from Broadway is an international group of performers, presenting an action-packed programme. With state-of-the-art sets and lighting, fabulous costumes and comedy, it is part music hall and part Steampunk stand-up – with the slick stagecraft that today’s audiences expect. Nothing in this show disappoints.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Based on the novel by Roald Dahl. Book by David Greig. Music by Marc Shaiman. Lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman. John Frost, Craig Donnell, Warner Bros Theatre Ventures, Langley Park Productions and Neal Street Productions. Capitol Theatre, Sydney. Opening Night: January 11, 2019

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has all the ingredients to delight a family audience. The musical begins with the well-cast Willy Wonka (Paul Slade Smith) singing The Candy Man, introducing the world-wide quest to find not just five winners of a competition, but a successor to run his famous chocolate factory.

Alice In Wonderland

By Lewis Carroll. Adapted by Penny Farrow. Boyd Productions. Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne, January 10 – 12, 2019; Frankston Arts Centre, Jan 13; Capital Theatre, Bendigo, Jan 15.

The perfect holiday treat!

An excellent new production of Alice In Wonderland is currently being performed at the classic Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne - a much loved timeless story by Lewis Carroll that is always a blast for the young and old.

Penny Farrow has adapted and directed an exquisitely animated production that ticks all the right boxes for any Alice aficionado. The madcap rhyming nonsense is cleverly meshed into this one-hour show, as zealously talented actors deliver marvelously eccentric and entertaining performances.

Pigalle and Rock Bang

David Spicer reviews Cabaret and Circus at Sydney Festival 2019


Sydney Festival

Hyde Park

Jan 8 – 27, 2019

Looking impossibly young, Marcia Hines strode out onto the cat walk, inside the beautifully lit Spiegeltent, with a gentle number to warm the crowd up.

This new show follows hot on the heels of the Disco Queen’s 70’s cabaret circus Velvet. Instead of being set in New York, this production is named after the Paris night-time Quartier Pigalle.

Alice in Wonderland

The Australian Shakespeare Company. Ripponlea House & Gardens. Ripponlea Estate, 192 Hotham St, Elsternwick VIC. 3 - 27 January 2019.

This is a very resourceful production that fully exploits the range of talents that are involved in this performance. The spectacular setting is a wonderfully enchanting environment for the creative set and costume design as well as the energetic and enthusiastic performances. Alice (Ayesha Gibson) expertly conveys the innocence and naivety of her character which contrasts well with the bizarre and eccentric characters she encounters.

Blanc de Blanc Encore

Strut and Fret. Sydney Opera House, Studio. January 4 – March 9, 2019

Not recommended for persons under 18 years, this performance contains adult concepts, nudity and references to alcohol consumption”. Of course it does! It’s local production company Strut and Fret’s Blanc de Blanc returning to the harbour city to add some saucy circus cabaret pizazz to the summer festival buzz!


By Geoff Sobelle. Sydney Festival. Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay. Jan 9 – 18, 2019.

Home is a ’grand scale’ theatrical experience that both astonishes and amuses. Whilst it makes one think about what makes a home, it also makes one think about just what makes theatre.

Conceived by Geoff Sobelle, after discovering different layers of floor covering in the kitchen of his one hundred-year- old Philadelphian house, the production is a tribute to innovative contemporary stagecraft, meticulous choreography and timing and the creative inspiration of collaborative theatre-making.

La Passion de Simone

Music by Kaija Saariaho. Libretto by Amin Maalouf. Sydney Chamber Opera. Directed by Imara Savage Carriageworks, Sydney. January 9-11, 2019

The high-concept and difficult work La Passion de Simone has been described as at the cutting edge of the operatic form. Written by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho as a meditation on the life of French philosopher Simone Weil, it consists of a solo singer Jane Sheldon with the backing of a 19-piece orchestra and four vocalists. It’s fitting that it’s staged at the Sydney Festival, where new ideas can be shown to limited, adventurous audiences.


By William Shakespeare. The Australian Shakespeare Company. Director: Glenn Elston. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria (Melbourne). Dec 21, 2018 – Feb 23, 2019.

The Australian Shakespeare Company production of Macbeth is well and efficiently presented within the beautiful environment of the edge of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens.  Stunning huge trees including a magnificent pine serve as an excellent backdrop.  When expertly lit they enhance the simple set - mostly comprising an offset castle structure that also serves as wings. All the action is smoothly presented on a simple open-air stage.


Jersey Boys

Music: Bob Gaudio. Lyrics: Bob Crewe. Book: Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice. Dodger Theatricals, Rodney Rigby, TEG Dainty, Joseph J. Grano, Pelican Group, Michael Watt, Tommy Mottola in association with Latitude Link and Anita Waxman. Director: Des McAnuff. Musical Director: Luke Hunter. Choreographer: Sergio Trujillio. Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. Opening Night: 5 January 2019.

Jukebox musicals may come and go but Jersey Boys is still the gold standard. Five years after the original Australian season ended, the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons is back in Brisbane again in a new highly-polished production. With a cast of new and old faces, this doco musical with more than a touch of The Sopranos about it is still a fantastic blast of 60s doo-wop heaven.

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