Project: Hysteria

The Pretty Trap and Interior: Panic – two one-act plays by Tennessee Williams. TBC Theatre for Poppy Seed Festival. Trades Hall Ballroom, Melbourne. 10 November – 13 December 2015.

Heat, sweat, languor and frustrated – or arrested – sexuality in a 1930s ‘south’ of the USA.  That’s the immediate and powerful impression on entering the theatre.  We know the show is by Tennessee Williams, so we’re primed.  The wide playing space – with iconic period furniture in pools of light and naked hanging bulbs - occupies fully half of the Trades Hall ballroom.  The cast, in costume and in various poses, are already on stage.  A neatly dressed young fellow stands rigid to one side.  A woman in a clinging neglig

Once Were Leaders

Presented by Wander Productions in association with QPAC. Cremorne Theatre, Brisbane. 18-20 November, 2015

This is an evening with well-known Australian political satirist and impersonator Max Gillies.

Harvey Milk: The Opera in Concert

Music by Stewart Wallace / Libretto by Michael Korie. Left Bauer Productions. Sydney Town Hall. November 15, 2015.

This opera on the life and murder of America’s first elected openly gay official was staged twenty years ago in Houston and New York and, after revisions, in Harvey Milk’s hometown of San Francisco.  It’s hasn’t been seen since.

Now this staged concert version with a cast backed by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir, a one-off at Sydney Town Hall, follows a season at Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival. 


By Stephen Sondheim, Jule Styne and Arthur Laurents. Beenleigh Theatre Group (Qld). Directed by Steven Pimm. Crete Street Theatre. November 13-28, 2015

This show is a good choice for a local community because it requires a large cast from a wide range of age groups and a backstage staff with a multitude of talents, including an orchestra with training, or else well-trained, musicians. It's also a suitable vehicle to show off local talent and give those star struck individuals a chance to sample the delights of being on the stage. 

And, interestingly, isn't this what this show is all about?

Frankie & Johnny in the Clair de Lune

By Terrence McNally. Directed by Colette Mann. 45 Downstairs, Melbourne. November 11 – 29, 2015

There may be some theatre snobs who won’t go to see this beautiful production because of a stupid misconception (as someone said to me) that “TV actors are never any good on stage”. It’s utter rubbish in most cases, and most particularly in THIS case. Yes, Director Collette Man and her two stars, Kate Kendall and Damien Richardson, are all regulars in TV “Soap” Neighbours, but all that proves is how incredibly versatile and talented all three are.

The Game’s Afoot

By Ken Ludwig. Javeenbah Theatre Co, Nerang, Gold Coast. Director: Jim Dickson. November 13th – 28th, 2015.

Like all good murder mystery/comedies, this show twisted its way to a somewhat surprising conclusion, while delivering plenty of laughs as it progressed.

Jim Dickson’s cast of Chris Hawkins, Marie Dickson, Nathan Schulz, Lilias Davie, Sophie Lawson, Andrew Barnes, Gai Byrne and Virginia Leaver well suited the characters they portrayed and complimented each other beautifully.

Musical of Musicals the Musical

By Joanne Bogart and Eric Rockwell. Directed by Allen Blachford and Kate McIntosh. Koorliny Arts Centre, Kwinana, WA. 13 – 28 Nov, 2015

Musical of Musicals the Musical might be better described as five musicals in one. Taking the basic story of a young woman who is unable to pay her rent, we see the story as if written by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Kander and Ebb.

The cast of four - Ruth Bennett, Rachel Monamy, David Wallace and Jesse Watts, beautifully accompanied by director (and occasional narrator) Kate McIntosh, are all superb and work outstandingly well as a team.

West Side Story

By Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim. Chatswood Musical Society. Director: Chapin Ayres. Musical Director: Kane Wheatley. Choreographer: Stephanie Edmonds. Zenith Theatre, Chatswood. November 13 – 21, 2015

Chatswood’s West Side Story works as well as it does because its latter-day ‘Romeo and Juliet’ love story matters, tugging at our heart-strings from the romantically heightened, danger-charged instant when star crossed lovers Tony and Maria lock eyes (and hearts) at the dance in the gym.


From the novel by Virginia Woolf, adapted by Sarah Ruhl. Sydney Theatre Company. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. Nov 9 – Dec 19, 2015.

Gender bending may seem a modern idea but 90 years ago novelist Virginia Woolf was creating Orlando, a handsomely hosed, favourite page boy of old Elizabeth I, who is later transformed into a woman and projected through the centuries. 

Woolf’s inspiration, back in the 1920’s, was her new lover, the shape-shifting lesbian Vita Sackville-West and her rather aristocratic ancestors.  


The Last Man Standing

By Steve Vizard. Music by Paul Grobowsky. Melbourne Theatre Company. Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. Nov 6 – Dec 12, 2015

The Last Man Standing is a rich opportunity to laugh, and laugh a lot, at the satirizing of one of our most treasured ‘holy cows’.  It is a motley, mottled mix of thoughts and ideas surrounding Anzac Day and our ever-burgeoning reverence for it.  

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