By Neil Simon. Galleon Theatre (SA). Domain Theatre, Marion Cultural Centre. November 19-28, 2015.

American playwright Neil Simon wrote his first farce, Rumors, when his marriage was breaking up in the 1980’s. It is interesting therefore that the farce he created involved a group of married couples and the theme revolved around a wedding anniversary.

Simon’s subsequent British version of his comedy, Rumours (note the different spelling), is the one Galleon Theatre Group is now premiering in Adelaide. The popular local theatre company has developed a very fine production indeed, filled with dry humour, wit and well-drawn characters.

A Bad Year for Tomatoes

By John Patrick. Castle Hill Players. Pavilion Theatre, Castle Hill. November 20 to December 12, 2015.

It’s nice to end the year with some fun, and there are lots of laughs in this almost-farcical comedy set in a country town west of Hollywood around the 1970s. However, it hasn’t been all that much fun in the two weeks leading up to opening night! Annette van Roden, who plays the leading role of Myra Marlowe, broke her arm, necessitating quite a few changes for both the cast and the backstage crew – as Myra has many costume changes, runs up and down stairs several times, and is involved in a little bit of a scuffle with one of the male actors.

Heavenly Bodies & Beautiful Souls

Written and Directed by Sven Swenson. Co-director: James Trigg. Producer: Ro Taylor. Brisbane Powerhouse. 18-28 November, 2015

How would you feel if you were trapped in the lift of an old building with one or more strangers and/or old friends or colleagues? The emergency button doesn't work, there are no mobile phones and there's a fire raging outside somewhere, where, you don't know. 

This was not the setting of these two one-act plays but moreso the psychology behind the impact this kind of situation could have on relations between each character right then and there. 


Ladies in Black

Music & Lyrics: Tim Finn. Book: Carolyn Burns based on Madeleine St John’s novel The Women in Black. Additional Lyrics: Simon Philips & Carolyn Burns. QTC & MTC Production. Director: Simon Phillips. Musical Director: Isaac Hayward. Choreographer: Andrew Hallsworth. Playhouse Theatre, QPAC. 14 Nov - 6 Dec 2015

QTC’s first original musical in 16 years, Ladies in Black, is appealing in its evocation of an era (the late 50s), but lacks emotional conflict to make it really engaging. Not an easy book to adapt, most of what is in the pages of Madeleine St John’s wisp of a novel is on stage in Carolyn Burns’ episodic adaptation of it which has been stylishly staged by Simon Phillips using revolves.

Only An Orphan Girl

By Henning Nelms. Adelaide Repertory Theatre. Directed by Pam O’Grady. The Arts Theatre, Adelaide. November 19-28, 2015

With Only An Orphan Girl the Adelaide Rep have put together a lively pastiche of ye olde music hall variety shows, in which a nonsensical melodrama unfolds episodically, interspersed with snappy stand-up comedy routines, spirited singalongs of standards like “Long Way To Tipperary” and “My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean”, with some simple magic tricks thrown in for good measure.

The Yellow Wave

By Jane Miller collaborating with director and cast, based on the 1895 novel of the same name by Major General Kenneth MacKay. 15 Minutes from Anywhere Company for Poppy Seed Festival. The Butterfly Club, Melbourne CBD. 17-29 November 2015.

Take a racist, paranoid, melodramatic novel of the late 19th century about a Chinese invasion of Australia, masterminded by evil Russians, but resisted by some dinkum blokes.  Add an agile writer, three highly talented cast and a bold, inventive director.  Mine the novel for every cliché, stereotype, stock character and situation. Note the disturbing parallels with contemporary racism and paranoia. Improvise, rehearse and, I assume, fall about laughing. 

Born in Sawdust

Directed by Gavin Robins. National Institute of Circus Arts Australia, 39-59 Green Street Prahran. 18-28 November 2015.

The Russian phrase to describe someone born into the circus is wholly illustrated in this production. The show ties all the segments together around the life of a circus performer who faces heartbreaking choices to further his career.

A Lady Shot

By Girls Act Good, performed by Sarah Clarke, Lisa Dallinger, Lee McClenaghan, Jennifer Monk, Sarah Plummer, Constance Washington, and Kelley Kerr Young. La Mama, EXPLORATIONS, 205 Faraday Street, 17, 18 & 19 November 2015

This performance pays homage to a range of important female figures that have made a contribution to feminism and represent the power of femininity in one form or another. It is a great reminder that ordinary names such as Julie, Joan, Juliet, Helena, Beatrice and Diana can evoke a rich and powerful history of women who have demonstrated extraordinary courage and strength.


By Johannes Luebbers and Nicholas Christo. Directed by Nicholas Christo. Roundhouse Theatre, WAAPA, Mt Lawley, WA. 13-19 November, 2015.

The World Premiere of Melba, written by Johannes Luebbers and Nicholas Christo and performed by WAAPA Postgraduate Vocal students, reveals an exciting new biographic 'operatic drama' about an Australian icon, which is beautifully performed.

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

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