By Joanna Murray-Smith. Villanova Players. Director: Bruce Parr. Ron Hurley Theatre, Seven Hills, Qld. 21-23 August 2020

In her advancing years, author Patricia Highsmith has retreated to her hideaway in the Swiss Alps. A notoriously difficult woman who rails at the New York literary establishment and most racist groups and religions, she’s an alcoholic, lesbian, and prone to withering put-downs.


Music: Alan Menken. Lyrics: Jack Feldman. Book: Harvey Fierstein. Director: Jeff Calhoun. Musical Director: Michael Kosarin. Choreographer: Christopher Galletti Streaming at 21 August 2020, from 7.00pm ET US.

I defy anyone not to have a euphoric high after watching this video version of Newsies. The excitement of the performance simply jumps out of the screen making it the best musical theatre stage performance captured live.

The Merry Widow

Ballet by Robert Helpmann. Music: Franz Lehar, Based on the Operetta by Victor Leon & Leo Stein. Choreography: Ronald Hynd. Guest Repetiteurs: Mark Kay, Marilyn Rowe. Arranged & Orchestrated by John Lanchbery. Costume & Set design: Desmond Heeley. Australian Ballet. Streaming 6-20 August 2020

In 1975, The Merry Widow was the first full-length ballet commissioned by the Australian Ballet and was such a success it was seen in London, New York, Washington and Manila within its first eleven months. Since then it has been regularly revived, the last in 2011.

The Wholesome Hour

By PO PO MO CO (Kimberley Twiner, Lily Fish, Ell Sachs, Angela Fouhy & Jack Lewis). La Mama Children’s & PO PO MO CO. Streaming online at the La Mama Facebook page. 11 – 31 August 2020

Watch this with your kids.  Please.  Kids 5-10 (that’s the target) will love this fast mix of crazy, funny, silly, rude and rough; it has weird live humans, puppets, cartoons, crazy colourful costumes, and nutty songs, all zapping across the screen at blurring speed.  This isn’t just static filming of live performance; PO PO MO CO understand and make the online thing work.  A shout out to La Mama, sponsors and supporters for getting behind this and allowing PO PO MO CO to splash out on costumes, props, music, rehearsal time plus filming and edit.

SpongeBob SquarePants

Music & Lyrics: David Bowie, Cindi Lauper, Sara Bareilles, John Legend, Panic at the Disco, Steven Tyler & Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Yolanda Adams, Lady Antebellum, They Might Be Giants, Jonathan Coulton, Plain White T’s, Tom Kitt and others. Book: Kyle Jarrow. Director: Tina Landau. Musical Director: Tom Kitt. Choreographer: Christopher Gattelli. Amazon Prime Video

This sensory and psychedelic overload of Nickelodeon’s monster hit animated cartoon series is a playful and imaginative romp through the underwater world of Bikini Bottom.

Designer David Zinn, who created the sets and costumes, splashes the stage with color to create the most fabulous watery three dimensional and theatrical wonderland, with pink plastic umbrella jelly-fish and dozens of lime green pool noodles that approximate sea kelp, amongst other ingenious inventions.

NIDA Digital Theatre Festival

Tuesday 4 August - Sunday 9 August, 2020.

In response to the devastating effects of restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic on live performances, NIDA has pivoted to a digital theatrical response. The festival includes a collection of original works designed especially for a digital context and are all performed by 2020 NIDA graduates.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

By Truman Capote, adapted by Richard Greenberg. Harbour Theatre. Directed by Shaun Griffen. Camelot, Lochee St, Mosman Park, WA. Jul 31 - Aug 9, 2020

Harbour Theatre’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s was originally slated to open on March 20, and was cancelled hours before its Opening Night. With its set sitting in situ in a closed Camelot Arts Centre (and borrowed briefly for a short season of Love Letters), this show was much anticipated and long awaited.

The Bodyguard

Adapted from the screenplay by Alexander Dinelaris. Spotlight Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Directed by Clem and Shelly Halpin. 31st July to 22nd August, 2020

Spotlight is the first Gold Coast community theatre to reopen and what a great production with which to greet their patrons.

The Halpins have gathered an incredible cast and crew together for a thoroughly entertaining piece of modern musical theatre.

Brighton Beach Memoirs

By Neil Simon. Canberra Repertory. Directed by Karen Vickery. Canberra REP Theatre, Acton. 30 July – 15 August 2020.

What an ingenious observer Neil Simon was of human foibles, the trouble we get ourselves into, and, especially, the complex negotiations we undertake in meaningful conversation.  And how apt, with its characters boxed in together without let, both its performers and its audience found the play to our times.

Decameron 2.0 (Episode One: Those Who Make Sacrifices).

State Theatre Company South Australia. ActNow Theatre. Streaming from 10 July 2020.

The original Decameron was a series of one-hundred novellas, structured as if being told from a secluded villa, in order to distract both its tellers and its listeners from the reality of the Black Death that was ravaging nearby Florence at the time. A most apt analogy for life at the present time.

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