The Ruby Sunrise by Rinni Groff

Ensemble Theatre, Sydney

Sandra Bates, the Ensemble Theatre's long standing Artistic Director, joined her cast on stage at the end of the opening night performance of young American playwright Rinni Groff's The Ruby Sunrise. It was then that she received a large bouquet of flowers from star actress, Amanda Muggleton. The occasion was that the production of The Ruby Sunrise represented the one hundredth Ensemble production in which Sandra Bates has been involved.

Theatre of Blood

Newtown Theatre (NSW). Friday Evenings at 11pm.

Blood - the title and graphic publicity images promised it – but a single slit throat and a bloodied nose does not a theatre saturate. The show’s producer and linking narrator Steven Hopley raised expectations further, making much ado of issuing plastic raincoats to the front row of the audience – no need – no jugular gusher.

Missing Pieces by Shelley Wall

Damshell Productions. Tap Gallery, Darlinghurst (NSW)

Betrayal takes many forms. In Pinter's classic play of the same title, Jerry has an affair with Emma, the wife of his best friend, Robert. In local playwright Shelley Wall's first play, Missing Pieces, two married women, Jackie and Carla, begin a love affair whilst their husbands, social friends, continue to play pool and drink together each week. Victims react in different ways when a betrayal is discovered. Whilst Robert becomes sullen and withdrawn, Jed in Missing Pieces, acts out violently.

Bliss by Olivier Choiniere

B Sharp / Bareboards. Belvoir Street Downstairs Theatre. Until November 22.

Are you in the mood to see fast paced, vibrant, highly imaginative theatre? Then Bliss, the new production downstairs at Belvoir Street, is your ticket.

Mamma Mia!

Music by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaesus. Book by Catherine Johnson Lyric Theatre, Star City, Sydney.

As I sat down to watch Mamma Mia! the thought crossed my mind, if you enjoyed the original stage production and the recently released movie, what would make you want to see it again? When I first saw the stage production, the obvious lumpy bits where Abba songs are dropped in and don’t quite fit the narrative made it a slightly jarring evening for me. Like a shoe that has been worn in, I found myself enjoying the musical more this time. Be aware, though, this is a production which relies on the music, and the story rather than a flashy set.

The Man In Black – The Johnny Cash Story

Twelfth Night Theatre. Producers: Andrew Barker and Simon Myers.

Johnny Cash always opened his concerts with the introduction: 'Hello, I'm Johnny Cash.' His distinctive baritone voice was utterly unique and his demeanor and dark clothing earned him the nickname 'The Man in Black'.

Disney’s High School Musical

Whitehorse Musical Theatre. (Vic). Director/Choreographer/ Costume Designer: Scott Hili. Musical Director: Ben Hudson.

There’s trouble when Troy, the High School basket ball star, and Gabriella, a shy academically gifted newcomer, both want to audition for the High School Musical Juliet & Romeo. Add Sharpay and Ryan Evans, plus all the others who don’t wish this to happen, and there’s a plot and a half. A magnificent stage setting, the entrance to an American High School, changes to the various scenes were excellently executed. Costuming suited both period and country, with lots of changes keeping the cast busy.

What A Shock ‘N’ Shame

By Tony Taylor. New Theatre, Newtown (NSW).

Are you looking for a bit of fun, escapist entertainment?! Then the New Theatre’s current production of local playwright Tony Taylor’s What A Shock and Shame fits the bill exactly.

Invisible Stains

Faculty of the VCA and Music, Acting Company 2009 Graduation Season in collaboration with Production. Conception, co-creation and direction Tanya Gerstle; Set Designer Ellen Strasser; Costume Designer Zohie Castellano; Lighting Designer Rose Connors-Dance; and Sound Designers Joshua Ryan, Chrissie Koltai and Tanya Gerstle. Space 28, VCA until 30 October.

To showcase a graduating class, especially one as varied, talented and large as VCA’s Acting Company 2009, is no mean feat. Tanya Gerstle has more than successfully achieved this through the ambitious production Invisible Stains, a collaborative creation around twentieth century trauma.

Black Marrow

Chunky Move and The Melbourne International Arts Festival. Direction, Choreography and Concept by Erna Ómarsdóttir and Damien Jalet; Set and Costume Design by Alexandra Mein; Lighting Design by Niklas Pajanti; Original Music and Sound Design by Ben Frost featuring Oren Ambarchi; Sound Design/Operator Byron Scullin. In collaboration with, and performed by, Sara Black, Paulo Castro, Julian Crotti, Alisdair Macindoe, Carlee Mellow and James Shannon. The CUB Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne until 24 October.

Dance, perhaps more than any other creative discipline, has to work exceptionally hard to define, and maintain, its contemporary relevance in an increasingly cynical, impatient, overloaded and (dis)connected society: such is the burden of expectation and borrowed observation that increasingly litters the everyday dialogue throughout Melbourne's currently unrestrained creative democracy.

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.