The 52-Storey Treehouse

A play by Richard Tulloch
Adapted from the book by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton. Sydney Opera House. September 20 - October 8, 2015 then touring Australia and returning in January 2016.

The long line of young children patiently waiting to have their books autographed after the show by children’s author superstar Andy Griffiths made you realise what a phenomenon this writer has become.

The book signings – advertised in advance on his website - are well drilled, no selfies, no personal messages and the line will only go for one hour.

Time is short when your imagination is always running wild and you are working on the next blockbuster.

The Fall of the House of Usher

Adapted from Edgar Allan Poe’s short story by Jack Neary. Castle Hill Players. The Pavilion Theatre, Castle Hill. Sep 25 – Oct 17, 2015.

Cobwebs hang from heavy rafters pushing down on a mysterious, dark room. Grim family portraits stare from a murky green wall. Wisps of smoke trail over worn, dusty furniture. An atmosphere of bleakness hovers and invades …

City of Angels

Book by Larry Gelbart. Music by Cy Coleman. Lyrics by David Zippel. Rockdale Musical Society. Directed by Christie Wykes. Choreographer: Joseph Nalty. Rockdale Town Hall. Sep 18 – 27, 2015

Cy Coleman’s score for City of Angels, a fusion of Broadway and jazz, is a real treat. Splendid voices and band do great justice to the music of this rarely performed musical at Rockdale Musical Society. Very occasionally the Matthew Reid’s bold, brassy and thoroughly enjoyable orchestra overwhelms the voices, though it’s basically only an issue where music underscores spoken passages (some of it seemingly pre-recorded, and spoken too quickly).

Gruesome Playground Injuries

By Rajiv Joseph. Melbourne Fringe Festival. L1 Studios - 1/377 Little Bourke Street. 21 - 25 September, 2015.

This play provides substantial emotional challenges for a performer; Kayleen (Katarina Viva Schøller) and Doug (Nicholas Jaquinot) are troubled individuals whose relationship is based on their self-destructive natures. The story is cleverly vignetted at various points in their lives, moving backward and forwards chronologically to give a glimpse into the minor and major catastrophes that frequently bring them together.

Much Ado About Nothing

By William Shakespeare. Canberra Repertory. Directed by Cate Clelland. Theatre 3, Acton, A.C.T. 17 September – 3 October 2015.

This universal Shakespearean tale, generally classed as one of Shakespeare’s comedies, has a strong element of emotional seriousness that challenges acting ability every bit as much as its comedic moments do.  Light moments certainly exist in profusion; but jolly camaraderie between superior and inferior officers holds an uneasy truce with military requirements of obedience, and lovers’ suspension of disbelief in magic easily yields to mistaken jealousy and rash response.  The balance between levity and gravity is a challenge; adversity easily becomes melodr

MKA: Bounty

By Eric Gardiner. Presented by Darebin Arts’ Speakeasy as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Northcote Town Hall, Studio One. September 16 – 26, 2015

It is always a refreshing adventure to catch an MKA offering.  Bounty is, as described in the Darebin Fringe Festival booklet, ‘(an) absurd collision between modern Queensland and ancient Rome’, absurd being the operative word here.

This wild, somewhat messy work, a little on the thin side as far as content, is slickly directed by Tom Gutteridge and performed with energy and aplomb by Conor Gallacher, Matilda Reed, Zia Zantis-Vinycomb and Artemis Ioannides.

Mother, Wife and the Complicated Life

Book, music, lyrics and production by Amity Dry. Directed and designed by David Lampard. The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. 15 – 27 September 2015

Anyone who has had the misfortune—excuse me,  blessing—of having a baby will relate to this wry, funny and poignant cabaret about the sheer horror—sorry, joys, challenges and disillusions—of marriage and parenthood. It's possibly the world's worse kept secret that having kids sucks sometimes. Yet still we persist in procreating, and this is the subject of Amity Dry's  musical Mother, Wife and the Complicated Life. The story is familiar, and that’s because the experience is almost universal.


Created and Performed by April Albert. Northcote Town Hall, Vic. 6 to 26 September, 2015

Affecting, lyrical and entertaining Hildegard/Knef is a enlightening musical theatre/cabaret piece that is very transportable and should have quite an extended life as a touring piece.  It is reminiscent of Drowning in Veronica Lake staring Alex Ellis, also a one-woman piece about a movie star - that has recently been touring and I caught in Kyneton earlier this year. Both works touch on the very human vulnerability behind the stylish public lives of their subjects.

The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow

By Rolin Jones. Boutique Theatre at Brunswick Arts Space. 17 September – 3 October 2015.

Jennifer Marcus (Tegan Jones) is 22, a scientific genius, an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder sufferer, an agoraphobic, Chinese born but adopted by an American couple and living in California.  She yearns to meet her biological mother, the mother whom she thinks must have rejected her.  But how can she find this mother when the woman is somewhere in China and Jennifer cannot leave the house – not even to take out the garbage?  Such is the dilemma which provides the narrative impetus for this family drama meets sci-fi play.  The play’s primary problem is that it

Kinski and I

Devised and Performed by CJ Johnson. 505, Newtown. Sydney Fringe. September 16 – 27, 2015

An award-winner last year at the Sydney Fringe and a hit recently in Adelaide, ABC Radio movie critic CJ Johnson is back at the Sydney Fringe with his shocking revelations about German film star and sex addict Klaus Kinski.  With images of the star projected behind, CJ stands astride a lectern mostly reading from Kinski’s posthumous and banned 1993 autobiography. 

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