Written by James Hall. The Basement Theatre. Spotlight Theatre Company – Gold Coast. Directed by Clem Halpin. 12th – 27th April, 2024

It speaks volumes when a community theatre fosters - and even discovers - new writing talent. Even at its most frugal, the budget for mounting a full-length play puts considerable strain on the company. And yet, without these productions, how is new talent ever going to be nurtured? Spotlight knows this and, for the sake of future theatre, gives new talent every chance it needs to grow.

Woo Woo

Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Bard’s Apothecary. April 18 – 20, 2024.

Improvisational comedy is unpredictable, relying on audiences to spur on gags. In turn, it builds up a friendly camaraderie with punters and creates a fun atmosphere.

Woo Woo is an improv show, it is more than just laughing at the skinny -weird guy Damien Vosk who kindly introduces himself as your average insignificant blend-in-the-crowd-type, as he stands behind the microphone on the makeshift stage in the cellar of a chic bar with a cool name such as Bard’s Apothecary, located down a side street somewhere in the CBD.

Anne and Gilbert: The Musical

Book and lyrics by Jeff Hochhauser. Music and lyrics by Bob Johnston and Nancy White. From the novel by LM Montgomery. Hobart Repertory Theatre. Directed by Anne Blythe-Cooper. 17–27 April 2024

Director Anne Blythe-Cooper and the Hobart Repertory Theatre bring us the musical Anne and Gilbert, sequel to their successful production of Anne of Green Gables last year. Many principle and ensemble performers reprise their 2023 roles, alongside a few new faces and the very welcome addition of a live band (replacing last year’s prerecorded accompaniment). As a sequel, written around 40 years later, the plot is self-contained, however, the musical (like the first) is unashamedly written for those who already know and love LM Montgomery’s original novels.

Billy Elliot: The Musical

Music by Elton John and book and lyrics by Lee Hall. Free-Rain, directed by Jarrad West. The Q, Queanbeyan. 11 April to 5 May 2024

After a quiet opening introducing protagonist Billy Elliot (Fergus Paterson in the children’s cast of the session we attended) and his best friend, Michael Caffrey (Charlie Murphy in this children’s cast), we meet Billy’s interesting family: his strongly principled unionist miner father, Jackie (Joe Dinn); brother, Tony (Lachlan Elderton), also strongly unionist and a miner himself; and outrageously irreverent Grandma (Alice Ferguson).

That’s One Damn Sexy Ape

Writer and Director: Gavin Roach. La Mama Courthouse. 349 Drummond Street, Carlton. 16 -21 April 2024

The director Gavin Roach has chosen an approach which caricatures the zoo personel (Perri Cummings, Rupert Bevan) and the PR company’s two workers (Dax Carnay, Asher Griffith-Jones). There is sudden, incomprehensible shouting, hardly believable motivations and an awful lot of overt sexualised behaviour which would lead to instant stand downs in any workplace. Unfortunately, while being somewhat funny, and perhaps wanting to draw a parallel to animals, this approach undercuts the very real issues being addressed.


Written by Joe Orton. Directed by Jennifer Flowers. Ad Astra Theatre, 4 – 27 April, 2024.

Joe Orton loved to shock and challenge people, so he’d surely be glad to know some of the black humour in Loot still has the power to raise a few modern eyebrows. Penned by Orton in 1966 during the vibrant era of the Swinging Sixties, “Loot” stands out as one of his most renowned farces.

I Have No Enemies

Devised & Performed by Christopher Samuel Carroll, Lloyd Allison Young, Brendan Kelly & Rachel Pengilly. Bare Witness Theatre Co. Theatre Works’ Explosive Factory. 10 – 20 April 2024

Christopher Samuel Carroll – the director, lead performer and probably lead devisor – says in the closing moments of I Have No Enemies, ‘This is a play about surveillance.’  It is - and as this witty, subversive, rocket speed, and superbly performed show demonstrates, we are all under surveillance.  You might say, ‘Me?  Surely not.  I have no enemies!’  Maybe not, but should you acquire some or just an algorithm (and not even know it), your data is being collected every moment and could be used against you.  Watch ca

The Lisbon Traviata

By Terrence McNally. Directed by Barry Park. Garrick Theatre, Guildford, WA. April 11-27, 2024

The Lisbon Traviata has a strong, well-directed and strongly performed production that steps a little out of Garrick’s usual comfort zone.

A show that premiered in 1985 at the height of the AIDS crisis, the threat of AIDS is a sinister backdrop to a show that is about much more.  The Lisbon Traviata is the story of two opera fanatics who use opera to escape their troubles - whether that is loneliness or a crumbling relationship. 

The Trout

Ensemble Q. Concert Hall, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC). 14 April 2024

Ensemble Q kickstarted their 2024 season as Company in Residence at QPAC with the first of three specially curated concerts. The Trout was a considered and thoughtful program by Paul and Trish Dean, Ensemble Q’s co-artistic directors, who also perform on clarinet and cello. Collated to bring to light underappreciated and underperformed works, the five quintets by Reicha, Beach, Skipworth, Glazunov and Schubert all added up to pure musical afternoon delight in what felt like an intimate family affair.


By Nathan Maynard. A Queensland Theatre and Melbourne Theatre Company co-production. Bille Brown Theatre, Brisbane. 11 April - 4 May, 2024

If one wanted to create an original play with an Australian theme, what better than to choose the subject of Aussie rules football. But to mould it into a more intriguing opus why not include current issues that ask questions, explore characters in depth and touch on elements of Australia's complicated history. First Nation person, Nathan Maynard has successfully achieved this in his play about a failing football team in a small country town, which includes two Aboriginal cousins, and all the pros and cons of rising to stardom and being accepted as a team member.