A Sunburnt History: NOT Gallipoli

Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Trades Hall, The Whitlam Room. Mar 28 – Apr 19, 2015.

It’s 2015 and everybody is talking about Gallipoli. But Charlie and Spanky give us a very different perspective – not everything can or should be compared with Gallipoli.

This talented duo trains their laser wit on many of our conventions, such as sport as a metaphor for war. Is the Anzac Day football match really like the Diggers storming the Turkish beaches? In this centenary year how far will the commentators take that analogy? Charlie and Spanky take that thought to an uncomfortable extreme.

The Three Mikados

Directed by Russell Fletcher. Melbourne Comedy Festival. The Famous Spiegeltent, Arts Centre Melbourne. 26 March - 19 April, 2015

The Three Mikados turned out to be far more entertaining than I expected - I confess I’m fairly ignorant about Gilbert & Sullivan, and having once fallen asleep during a live performance of The Mikado (for my 13th birthday, so I can argue I was too young to appreciate it), I approached the idea of this multi-character tale being performed by a cast of just three with some trepidation.

360 Allstars

Directed by Gene Peterson. The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. 31 March – 2 April, 2015.

A modern circus, 360 Allstars is an appropriate name for these guys because they turn 360° a lot. On a BMX bike, in the centre of a huge hoop, on their heads with their legs straddled, the Allstars will leave you dizzied. What links the four acrobats, two musicians and Basketball Man is their virtuosity. Each one of the team is at the top of their field. As a modern circus performance this was as slick as it gets.

Les Misérables

Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg. Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer. Original French text byAlain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel. Additional Material by James Fenton. Adaptation by Trevor Nunn and John Caird. Directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell. Capitol Theatre Sydney from March 26, 2015.

The first reaction is relief that all the principals are such glorious singers. Having sat through Russell Crowe’s top note strains in the movie following, its elongated opening number, this production was liking a soothing antidote.

Once over the comparisons to the movie, then commenced reflections on how the musical has changed since it first burst onto Australia’s shores in the late 1980’s.

Piece of Cake

The Kransky Sisters. Palms at the Crown. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. March 27 – April 18, 2015

The Kransky Sisters are a unique part of Australian entertainment landscape and the mention of their name raises some intriguing questions - How did this supergroup from Esk, Queensland come by their prodigious musical talent? What is the true nature of the relationship between Dawn, Ava, Mourn and Eve? Why did they choose a career over husbands and what happened to the Kransky Brothers?

Damian Callinan: The Lost WWI Diary

Melbourne Comedy Festival. Melbourne Town Hall (Old Met Shop). Mar 28 - !pr 12, 2015

Damian Callinan uses his many talents as comedian, writer, and actor and his obsession with World War 1 to create a funny yet moving glimpse into the life of Paddy Callinan, a soldier in the AIF from 1914 to 1918.  We follow Paddy and his mates through basic training, the voyage to the other side of the world and the fate that awaits them. 

Retro Vampt

Dracula’s Cabaret, 100 Victoria Street, Carlton. MICF 2015.

For over 30 years Dracula’s has been entertaining and feeding Melbourne locals and visitors. The latest offering Retro Vampt continues this tradition and takes us back to the funky 70’s. The action starts while you wait in line and there are not too many shows that require the audience to reach their seats by ghost train!


By Spiegelworld. Under the Spiegeltent on the Rooftop at Crown Melbourne. March 21 2015 – April 26 2015

Seamlessly and expertly put together, Absinthe is a wild and wonderful erotic romp made up of a variety of individual and group routines by international Circus performers and Burlesque artists.  From Chair Stacking (Oleksandr “Sacha” Volohdim) to breathtaking High Wire (Frat Pack), this show for adults taps into the inner child’s amazement for and love of The Circus, in a very grown up way.

The Sound Of Nazis

Writer, composer and musical accompanist: James McCann. Trades Hall, Old Council Chambers. 26 March - 19 April, 2015.

On the 50th Anniversary of Julie Andrews running across an Austrian hill top it is perhaps appropriate to review a slightly different version of the Von Trapp story.


By Samuel Beckett. Directed by Sam Strong. MTC. Southbank Theatre. March 21 – April 25, 2015

There is a moment in Beckett’s play about the “End of Days” where blind, wheelchair bound Hamm says “I was never there. It all happened without me,” and we should feel the pain of self -awareness in our chest at the realisation that we spend most of our lives disengaged from life itself, until it is too late and there is nothing left. We SHOULD – but we don’t, and that’s the weakness with this production. We don’t feel anything.

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