Porcelain Punch The Travelling Medicine Show

Melbourne International Comedy Festival. La Mama Theatre. April 2 – 13, 2014.

“Rejoice as you partake in the phenomenon of the Porcelain Punch Miracle Cure, the extraordinary elixir of Immortality. Curer of incurable conditions, bestower of beauty and extender of the under endowed. Experience amazing acts, fantastic feats, exquisite oddities and old fashioned integrity.”

Suspend your modern disbelief and go back to your great grandmothers day (no current affairs programs outing frauds), and the travelling medicine show comes to town. You are innocent and believe what these people say.


Oscar Theatre Company. Director: Emily Gilhome. Musical Director: Dale Lingwood. Choreographer: Dan Venz. Visy Theatre, Powerhouse, Brisbane. 3-19 April 2014

BOY & GIRL is sexy, filthy, and outrageously entertaining. This raunchy gender-bending fusion of cabaret, musical theatre and pop has buckets of musical muscle. With its mix of a little bit of Weimar Republic cabaret, a little bit of Café de Paris, and a whole lot of Broadway, these boys and girls deliver on every level in song, dance and nudity.

Centrelink The Musical

Conceived by Rohan Harry, written by Adam Wilson, original music by Nathan Leigh Jones and directed by Greg Ulfan. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Mechanics Institute, Brunswick (Vic). April 1- 12, 2014

Centrelink the Musical is a glimpse into the world of four people who are in the queue at the Centrelink office and their interaction with one of the staff.

It is billed as a musical but vocals were not a feature of the night. Jacqueline Cook as Janine, the officious Centrelink case worker, took both the singing and acting gong. Her timing and vocal work stood out. Praise also toDylan Lloyd playing Gary, the Centrelink veteran, for his 110% effort in his song despite a lack of singing ability.

Twelfth Night

By William Shakespeare. Canberra REP. Directed by Ed Wightman, Theatre 3, Acton, Canberra ACT. March 28 – April 12, 2014

This charming production of an old favourite is a pleasant way to spend an evening.  Set in an undetermined time, the costumes are both bright and appropriate to the characters (credit to Heather Spong and her team), and the set design by Quentin Mitchell creates a modernist space lined with shiny, folded plastic for us to project our own imaginations on.

A Midsummer Night's Dream

By William Shakespeare. Garrick Theatre. Directed by Peter Clark. Marloo Theatre, Greenmount, WA. April 1 – 26, 2014 (in repertory)

The Shakespeare Anniversary Festival is being held to commemorate the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare; three theatre groups in Perth's hills are working together at the home of Darlington Theatre Players, to present three strikingly different Shakespeare plays.

A Midsummer Night's Dreamis presented by Garrick Theatre. Set on the reproduction Shakespearian era stage - the standard setting for all three festival shows; simple additions help to establish the Palace of Theseus and a wood near Athens.

The Government Inspector

By Simon Stone, with Emily Barclay; devised by the cast. Featuring a short musical by Stefan Gregory. Inspired by Nikolai Gogol. Belvoir. Mar 27 – May 18, 2014.

Actor Robert Menzies enters first with the true story – we are not seeing The Philadelphia Story as planned because the estate of a recently discovered co-writer withheld the rights. And, no doubt, objected to the radical reworking you’d expect director Simon Stone to inflict on that classic spoof of New York high society. 

Bernadette Peters in Concert

Australian Tour 2014. Theatre Royal, Sydney, April 2 – 4, 2014, Jupiters Casino, Gold Coast, April 5 & Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne, April 7 & 8.

We were not so much part of an audience – more a congregation to worship at her feet.

Bernadette Peters shimmered and sparked onto the stage. She flirted and flitted those long red juicy curls, still impossibly attractive, for the age which Wikipedia dobs her in for, but a gentleman would not publish.

The sermon was musical theatre at its most sultry, beautifully wrapped in delicious lighting and musical accompaniment.


By George Orwell. Created by Shake & Stir Theatre Company. Riverside Theatres, Parramatta. April 1 & 2, 2014 and touring.

The task of taking any novel from the page to the stage – especially the touring stage – is never easy. To attempt to re-create the monstrous, oppressive regime of George Orwell’s 1984 would seem doubly daunting. Yet Queensland’s shake & stir company have done so brilliantly. This play is on tour across the eastern states during the next three months. You shouldn’t miss it!

Lady Windermere’s Fan

By Oscar Wilde. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. Director: Allan Jeffrey. 28 March – 12 April, 2014

One hundred and twenty two years on, is Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan still relevant?

Yes, if you see the Hobart Repertory Theatre Society most recent production, under the direction of Allan Jeffrey. As a fine example of the Comedy of Manners genre, a witty, ironic form of drama that satirizes the manners and fashions of a particular social class or set, LWF shows that there are still hypocrisies in society. Gossiping is bullying, and we still have that.

Tres Miserables

Seemingly Evil Productions. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Downstairs Lounge@The Swanston Hotel, Grand Mercure, 195 Swanston Street, Melbourne. Nightly at 9pm Mar 27 – April 5, 2014

Tres Miserables; 50 songs, 30 characters, 3 performers and 60 minutes. It’s every Les Mis fan’s dream isn’t it? This is by no means the first time that a long and ambitious work, musical or otherwise, has had the edited comedic treatment; from Forbidden Broadway to The Complete Works of William Shakespeare it’s a tried and tested formula. What makes it work is strength of the writing and the performers themselves. So, does Tres Mis carry on the tradition admirably? It does.

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