The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow

By Rolin Jones. Boutique Theatre at Brunswick Arts Space. 17 September – 3 October 2015.

Jennifer Marcus (Tegan Jones) is 22, a scientific genius, an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder sufferer, an agoraphobic, Chinese born but adopted by an American couple and living in California.  She yearns to meet her biological mother, the mother whom she thinks must have rejected her.  But how can she find this mother when the woman is somewhere in China and Jennifer cannot leave the house – not even to take out the garbage?  Such is the dilemma which provides the narrative impetus for this family drama meets sci-fi play.  The play’s primary problem is that it

Kinski and I

Devised and Performed by CJ Johnson. 505, Newtown. Sydney Fringe. September 16 – 27, 2015

An award-winner last year at the Sydney Fringe and a hit recently in Adelaide, ABC Radio movie critic CJ Johnson is back at the Sydney Fringe with his shocking revelations about German film star and sex addict Klaus Kinski.  With images of the star projected behind, CJ stands astride a lectern mostly reading from Kinski’s posthumous and banned 1993 autobiography. 

John & Jen

Music by Andrew Lippa. Lyrics by Tom Greenwald. Book by Lippa and Greenwald. Directed by Mark Taylor. Pursued by Bear Productions. Chapel off Chapel. 18th-27 September, 2015

Some shows come with lots of hype – all sequins and glitz. Usually they fail to live up to the hype. Then there are the perfect little diamonds which you need to have pointed out or you will never see them. John & Jen is a diamond; bringing us two marvellous performers, directed with genuine love, a delicate sung through score full of poignancy, charm and wit. It’s a little show, but it packs a big punch, and continues to affect you long after you leave the theatre.

FAG/STAG & Minnie and Mona Play Dead

FAG/STAG, written and performed by Jeffrey Jay Fowler and Chris Isaacs & Minnie and Mona Play Dead, by Jeffrey Jay Fowler, directed by Kathryn Osborne, performed and devised by Gita Bezard and Arielle Gray. The Last Great Hunt / Melbourne Fringe. North Melbourne Town Hall. 18 Sept – 3 Oct, 2015

The theatre company The Last Great Hunt is a living and breathing example that men and women can just occupy an empty space and effectively create visually stunning and engaging theatre. However, the two plays are not only driven by Brook’s principle; in both these plays the simplicity and comradery of the two-hander is also employed to challenge conventional narrative structure and audience address. The experiment is largely successful and establishes itself as a fascinating creative development for these enormously talented theatre practitioners to investigate.

The Nerd Extravagant

Doublemask Youth Theatre Co. Murwillumbah Civic Centre. Artistic Director: Lachlan Glasby.Sept 18th – 19th, 2015

The Nerd Extravagant was like a breath of fresh air! What a talented group of teenagers!

Doublemask is a group of teenagers who create their own shows: select the topic, write, direct, cast and produce an idea and the end result is amazing.

Bock Kills Her Father

By Adam Cass. La Mama Theatre – A part of Melbourne Fringe. September 16 – 27, 2015

The title Bock Kills her Father, with its suggestion of parricide, immediately had me thinking of The Cenci by Percy Shelly,a disturbing work about incest and murder that was lauded and directed by Antonin Artaud.  I wondered if this aspect of Theatre History inspired writer Adam Cass or perhaps it is the more current sensational stories of the sexual abuse of students by teachers that has informed his intense and weighty piece.


By Jack Hibberd. Gold Coast Little Theatre, Southport. Director: Dorothy Henderson. Sept 19th – Oct 10th, 2015

Dimboola – the epitome of the Country Aussie Wedding - was a great hit when the play first burst forth in the early seventies in the form of Theatre Restaurant Entertainment: where the audience were the invited guests at the nuptials of ‘Reen’ and ‘Morrie’ and partook of the wedding breakfast along with the Bridal Party on stage.

They Saw A Thylacine

Created & performed by Justine Campbell & Sarah Hamilton, with Matthew Lutton. Beckett Theatre, Malthouse, Melbourne 15 September – 4 October 2015.

They Saw A Thylacine tells two stories of Tasmanian tigers.  One is in the Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart – her story told via the eyewitness account of Alison Reid (Justine Campbell), the zookeeper’s daughter.  Interwoven – or, more accurately, interspersed - with Alison’s tale is the account from an earlier time by a tough, no nonsense bush woman, Beatie or Beatrix (Sarah Hamilton), of her attempt to capture a solitary tiger so as to save and protect her.

Arms and the Man

By George Bernard Shaw. Sydney Theatre Company. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. September 14 – October 31, 2015.

In his program notes director Richard Cottrell uses extensive quotes from TS Eliot and Bertolt Brecht to affirm the talent and prescience of GB Shaw  - but it is just two sentences from Brecht that sum up Cottrell’s production of this insightful satire on false heroism and vanity – “He (Shaw) furnishes the theatre with as much fun as it can take. And it can take a lot”.


Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by George Furth. Directed by Kat Henry. Watch This Productions. 45 Downstairs. 17th September – 4th October, 2015

Sondheim’s writing is like an iced burnt cake. The bottom may be hard to swallow and bitter, but the icing on top is there for a reason, to make the cake palatable. Sondheim’s writing is so layered, so full of subtext and nuance that he deliberately uses the icing for a sweet mouthful, so that you won’t taste the bitterness lying just underneath until you’ve swallowed it. Company, the first concept musical, is the epitome of the iced layered cake. The sweet idealism on top…..the burnt bitterness of cynicism and failure underneath.

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