The Hatpin

By Peter Rutherford and James Millar. Directed by Graeme Johnston. Musical Direction by Paul Lawrence Olsen. Old Mill Theatre, South Perth, WA. 11-26 July 2014

This relatively new Australian musical by WAAPA graduates Peter Rutherford and James Millar is being performed for the first time in Western Australia at the atmospheric and era-appropriate Old Mill Theatre in South Perth.


By Lionel Bart. Eltham Little Theatre. Director/Choreographer: Amy Jenkins. Musical Director: Emily Crawford. July 11 – 27, 2014

There was much to enjoy in ELT’s production of Oliver! ELT generally perform straight plays and a junior musical each year. These have been very successful, but it is many years since they have mounted a musical for all ages.

The show opens with the kids singing “Food, Glorious Food”, and the singing was as good as I’ve heard from juniors in a musical. However, they could have been directed to show more expression and animation on stage. Other chorus numbers were musically just as good.

The Effect

By Lucy Prebble. Sydney Theatre Company and Queensland Theatre Company. Wharf 1 Theatre, Sydney. Director: Sarah Goodes. 10 July – 16 August 2014

You’ve probably seen Angie Milliken on the cover of the current Stage Whispers holding a gleaming human brain. The ‘alas poor Yorick’ moment is from Lucy Prebble’s adult investigation into love, depression and drug trials; and Ms Milliken engages the brain in a desperate conversation even more troubled than Hamlet’s.

The Sound of Music

Music by Richard Rodgers. Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. ICW Productions. Directed by Mark Barford, Musical Direction by Ian Westrip. Regal Theatre, Subiaco WA. 10-19 July, 2014

The Sound of Music opened to a deservedly enthusiastic reception at The Regal Theatre. This is a production with with distinctly professional production values and a wonderfully lavish feel and is strongly directed with warmth by Mark Barford.

Ettie's Boys

By Ian McGrath. Moore Books SA. The Arch, Holden Street Theatres, Adelaide. Director: Tony Moore. Designer: Shannon Norfolk. July 11 - July 27, 2014.

An Adelaide premiere is always a matter of interest for the local theatre critic. Courage is needed in order to present patrons with something new and unfamiliar, rather than relying on tried-and-tested properties. Has the risk paid off, the experiment succeeded?

Book of Days

By Langford Wilson. New Theatre, Newtown (NSW). Australian Premiere. July 8 – August 9, 2014.

New Theatre continues to impress with its choice of plays, directors, actors and designers. This production of Pulitzer Prize winner Langford Wilson’s Book of Days is no exception. It is as fast-paced as the script demands, and the tight ensemble under the perceptive direction of Elsie Edgerton-Till makes this production one that shouldn’t be missed.

Soweto Gospel Choir

Canberra Theatre. 10 July 2014 and touring nationally.

Singing-and-dancing troupes from exotic locations fall more or less, I find, into two classes: those from whom inner joy and vitality exude in song and movement, and those from whom it doesn’t. Perhaps not coincidentally, the skill, the range, the ability to have us gasp seem to correspond with that evident inner something.


The Incredible Book Eating Boy

By Maryam Master. Directed by Frank Newman. A CDP Production. Presented by The Street Theatre, Canberra. July 7 – 12, 2014

This production is based upon the much-loved book by Oliver Jeffers and it completely entranced the audience of children from about 4 years to 9 years old.  The three actors, Teresa Jakovich, Warwick Allsopp and George Kemp, engage effortlessly with the text and narrative, swirling from one character to another with cues that allow even the smallest audience member to follow the story arc. Henry's adventure with eating books and becoming the smartest boy in the world shows his cosy family (and adored cat), and fun at school.

The Wizard of Oz

Young Performers’ Edition. Young Australian Broadway Chorus. Director: Robert Coates Musical Director: Andy Coates. Choreographer: Alicia Haggar. Union Theatre, Melbourne University. July 10 – 12, 2014

I am well aware of the various tertiary training courses available to music theatre students, but less familiar with the options available for younger enthusiasts. So I was interested to see this offering from the Young Australian Broadway Chorus. They hold classes for five to eighteen-year-olds and obviously the advanced students end up participating in their major production.

And major it certainly was with a cast of “thousands”. Well it certainly appeared like that on the small stage at the Union Theatre. And what a talented bunch they were.


Conceived by Blake Bowden & Phil Scott. Director: Chris Parker Hayes Theatre Co. (NSW). 9 July - 12 July 2014

Beautiful songs from a legendary tenor

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