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.

Moonlight and Magnolias

By Ron Hutchison. Directed by Loretta Bishop. 1812 Theatre, Upper Ferntree Gully (Vic). Nov 19 – Dec 12, 2015

There can’t be anyone who doesn’t know of the blockbuster movie “Gone With The Wind”, particularly among theatre-lovers. 1812 ends its 2015 season with a blockbuster production of its own. Ron Hutchison’s play is a farce – and the events it is based on (in Ben Hecht’s autobiography) are farcical in themselves. Hecht was a legendary screenwriter of the 30s, 40s, and 50s….the Golden Age of Hollywood. When David O.

Social Climbers

By Roger Hall. Gold Coast Little Theatre, Southport. Director: Helen Maden. Nov 21- Dec 12, 2015

What do you get when you take 6 women (in varying stages of their personal journeys), an isolated bush hut, alcohol and 4 days at the mercy of the elements and wild life? A hilarious piece of theatre!

Helen Maden has taken this play and talented cast and created a memorable piece of theatrical magic. The séance scene (pictured) is a fine example.

The ensemble cast bounce of each other (and everything that they bump into) with flare and take the audience along for the experience.

The Nun and the Highwayman

By Simon Farley. La Mama, EXPLORATIONS, 205 Faraday Street, 26, 27 & 28 November, 2015

This is an intriguing premise for a play and allows for a variety of religious, moral, ethical and political themes to be explored. Farley describes it as a weird play but the encounter he imagines is not unlike that experienced by the soldier John McBurney (Clint Eastwood) in the film The Beguiled (Seigel 1971). Rescued by his enemy McBurney is forced to use his charm and wits to survive his ordeal and, in doing so, in some ways discovers the depths of his depravity.

The Medea Project

A collaboration by Perri Cummings (director), Carol Cumming (filmmaker), Kristina Benton, Sally McLean & Hannah Gott (performers). Spark Productions, Auspicious Arts. Brunswick Arts Space (VIC). 25-28 November 2015.

On a huge screen, across the whole upstage wall of the tiny Brunswick Arts Space, twenty women – wildly different in life experience, attitude, age, ethnicity, profession and appearance – answer questions about life, work, happiness, love and children.  This is filmmaker Carol Cumming’s contribution to the piece.  The women are (mostly) unself-conscious, engaging and ponder the questions seriously.

When I Grow Up

Writer/Performer: Anne Gasko. The Butterfly Club. Nov 25 – 29, 2015.

Anne Gasko is a music theatre graduate branching out into Cabaret, and this was her first venture into writing and performing her own show.  A big ask and a big task.

It dealt with the frustrations of childhood, which she expected to dissipate when she grew up. However, as an adult, she finds life is not what she was expecting. She has the freedom to make choices, but these choices have consequences.

It was very well written and there was no hesitation in her delivery. Her timing was excellent.

Big River

Book by William Hauptman. Music and Lyrics Roger Miller. Players Theatre, Ballina. Director/Musical Director: Paul Belsham. Nov 13 – Dec 5, 2015

In reviving Big River, Ballina has presented a seldom seen musical and what a joy it is.

Paul’s staging of the story based on Mark Twain’s loveable characters including Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, is full of wit interwoven with Roger Miller’s music, a fabulous set including the raft “floating” down the mighty Mississippi is certainly a force to be reckoned with: so much so it has received 3 short list nomination’s for this years Gold Coast Area Theatre Awards to be announced next month.

Don’t Dress for Dinner

By Marc Camoletti. Directed by Walter Learning. Canberra REP, Theatre 3, Acton, Canberra ACT. Nov 19 – Dec 5, 2015

Don’t Dress for Dinner is a fast and funny farce, and an amusing evening of mind-twisting fibs, truth entanglements and wit.  It is set in a renovated farmhouse in France, where Bernard the philandering husband is sending his wife Jacqueline to her mother’s house for the weekend. His plans are messed up by the early arrival of Robert, his friend, as well as the arrival of Suzy the caterer, and Jacqueline changing her plans.

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