Mack and Mabel

Book by Michael Stewart and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman. Northern Light Theatre Company. Shedley Theatre. Oct 14-22, 2016

Andrew Hawkins, director of Northern Light Theatre Company’s musical Mack and Mabel, states in the program that he found the story to be “compelling and fascinating”. The audience on opening night were also immediately drawn into the era by the set and silent movies screened at the overture, promising a fun-filled ride.

The Color Purple

Book, Music and Lyrics by Marsha Norman, Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray. StageArt. Directed by Robbie Carmelotti. Chapel off Chapel (Vic). 13th Oct – 6th November, 2016.

Once again StageArt brings us a musical that 99% of us would never have the chance to see a professional production of otherwise, and we’re all the better for that.

Most of us are familiar with Spielberg’s film and Alice Walker’s book, and we know that this was a huge - in terms of staging - Broadway hit a few years back. But this year it won the Tony award for best revival in a more streamlined, cut down version – thus allowing StageArt to mount the show in the limited space of The Chapel.

The Wiz

Adapted from L. Frank Baum’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. National Academy of Performing Arts. Director: Lynn Dyer, Choreographer: Kim Reynolds. Bi-Centenial Hall, Nerang, Gold Coast. October 13th – 15th, 2016

With a cast of over 90 young performers, The Wiz was the end of year production for the junior students of N.A.P.A. and they all performed like seasoned pros. This academy prides itself on producing triple threatartistsand the stage was literally “jumping” with munchins, monkeys and winkies.

Lynn Dyer, Kim Reynolds and Musical Director Steffi Kriz, rehearsed the cast to perfection and the capacity audience loved it.


By Ayad Akhtar. QTC/MTC Production. Director: Nadia Tass. Playhouse, QPAC, 14 October – 6 November 2016

Disgraced is an explosive, taut piece of drama and as pertinent today as when it was first written in 2012. Filled to the brim with hot-button topics; Islam, radicalization, faith, identity and culture, Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer Prize winning play could not have been more contemporary.

The Wedding Singer

Music: Matthew Sklar. Lyrics: Chad Beguelin. Book: Chad Beguelin & Tim Herlihy. Playback Productions. Director: Monica Cioccia. Musical Director: Lorraine Anne Salvador. Choreographer: Grace Maddern. Theatre Works, St Kilda. October 14 – 23, 2016.

The Wedding Singer is a musical based on the film of the same name. It did not get a long run on Broadway. After seeing this excellent production, I was surprised.

The highlight was the amazing chemistry between Leighton Irwin and Katlin O’Keene as Robbie, the wedding singer, and Julia, the girl he wanted. There was a touching vulnerability about their performances which was engaging, and they both sang well.


Windmill Theatre Co and State Theatre Company of SA. World Premiere. Dunstan Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. October 11-30, 2016.

They say there’s nothing more delightful in theatre than an old-fashioned fairytale brought to life, yet last night I experienced the World Premiere of Rumpelstiltskin and discovered there’s something even more wonderful - a truly modern fairytale, graced by the enhancements that exquisite use of technology can provide.


By Bizet. Blanke Knochen Opera. Director: Kate Millett. Musical Director: James Penn. Pianist: Pam Christie. Howler Arts Hub and Bar, Brunswick. October 5 – 9, 2016

There is a plethora of semi-professional opera companies in Melbourne. Now, to add to the mix, we appear to have an amateur company, and doing things differently. It is so needed.

Only in an amateur company can young singers hope to get the opportunity to perform major roles and learn so much from the experience.

My First Time

Written by Ken Davenport. Directed by Helen Ellis. 1812 Theatre UFG. 6th-29th Oct, 2016

Director Helen Ellis does a sterling job with an excellent cast on Ken Davenport’s compilation play My First Time – an offering about losing one’s virginity.

Plays constructed from real life conversations are not new, and some of them have become classics.

The Laramie Project and The Vagina Monologues, along with The Exonerated, are at the upper echelon of this kind of amalgam. My First Time drifts somewhere down at the bottom of the scale.

Who Speaks for Me?

National Theatre of Parramatta and Performance 4A. Riverside Theatres, Parramatta. October 12 – 15, 2016

Performance 4a is a “professional arts company dedicated to making exceptional contemporary Asian Australian work for all audiences”, their vision being “to inspire artists and audiences to demand, embrace and realise the full potential of a richly diverse and inclusive multicultural Australia”.

12 Angry Men

By Reginald Rose. Matt Byrne Media. Directed and Designed by Matt Byrne. Holden Street Theatres, Hindmarsh, Adelaide. 12-29 October, 2016.

It takes a quality production to win over a critic who goes in harbouring doubts over the quality of the text being performed. MBM’s 12 Angry Men, despite its flaws, is a quality production.

For those unfamiliar with the premise, these 12 in question are jurors, presiding over an American murder trial. The men are not named, only numbered. An accused boy’s life hangs in the balance, and they must all come to an agreement before he can be either freed – or condemned…

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