A Chorus Line

By Marvin Hamlisch, Edward Kleban, James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante. Miranda Musical Society. Sutherland Entertainment Centre. September 21 – 25, 2011.

First impression as I settle into my seat is the audience reflected in the upstage wall of mirrors on the empty stage, enforcing the allegory of A Chorus Line. This is a show about everyone’s dreams, not just a group of dancers auditioning for eight places in a musical theatre chorus.

That said, it is, of course, the ultimate backstage dance musical.


Can an amateur cast meet the challenges of A Chorus Line?

Clybourne Park

By Bruce Norris. Melbourne Theatre Company, Victoria. MTC Theatre - Sumner, Southbank Boulevard, Melbourne. Director: Peter Evans. Set and Costume Design: Christina Smith. Lighting Designer: Matt Scott. Composer: Jethro Woodward. Sound Design: Martin Kay. 17 September – 22 October, 2011.

Sure, Clybourne Park is a play about race, and how little we have travelled since the 1950s, but it also offers insight into humanity’s territorialism, and the lengths we will go to protect our patch.

John and Jen

By Andrew Lippa and Tom Greenwald. Sidetrack Theatre. Sydney Fringe. September 20 – 24, 2011.

Got an embarrassing sibling, or a soccer (baseball) mum?

Someone you just love to hate?

You’ll find plenty to identify with.

John and Jenis an affecting two-hander musical following the story of Jen (Naomi Livingston), and her relationship with the two Johns in her life, her brother, subsequently killed in Vietnam, and her son (Edward Grey). At the core is the guilt Jen carries at going to college, leaving her brother in an abusive home.

Hold the Pickle

Written and performed by Rachel Berger. The Arts Centre, Fairfax Studio September 20 – 24, 2011.


Writer / Performer: Keira Daley. Sydney Fringe 2011 / Twisted Melon. Seymour Centre Sound Lounge, Chippendale (NSW). September 15, 29 & 30, October 1 at 7pm.

I don’t know about truth being stranger than fiction, but it’s certainly just as entertaining in this witty, affectionate look at smoldering, high-achieving women.

What a delightful hour or so of entertainment and, dare-I-say-it, education!

Hotel Sorrento

By Hannie Rayson. Bankstown Theatre Company. August 26 – September 4, 2011.

As Bankstown Theatre Company (formerly Bankstown Theatrical Society) adjust to their terrific new black box theatre at Bankstown Arts Centre, their second production in the new venue sees them returning to a play for the first time in many years. Given the nature of their new home, and the conversion of Bankstown Town Hall into a library, one imagines that the company’s immediate future lies very much in plays and intimate musicals.

Pains of Youth

By Ferdinand Bruckner in a new version by Martin Crimp. The Artisan Collective. Director: Ben Pfeiffer. The Malthouse Theatre (Vic). September 9 – 24, 2011.

This is a curious, intriguing, engaging and well produced work that ‘showcases’ a beautiful, spirited and talented group of young actors.

In a drawing room with an atmosphere of decadence and display, combinations of young, self serving individuals work through their intimate relationships and close friendships, play with their personal power and indulge their neuroses. 

The Mousetrap

By Agatha Christie. Centenary Theatre Group, Chelmer, Brisbane (Qld). September 3 – 24, 2011

Sixtieth year of its West End run! Agatha Christie’s estate released amateur performance rights to this legendary whodunnit for 2011-12 only. Little theatres rushed to cash in.

Full-house scheduled performances this middle week of Centenary’s run is a tribute to their slick professional production. Centenary board wasted no time negotiating with the company to perform extra matinees. So I managed to catch it.

Four Flat Whites in Italy

By Roger Hall. Ensemble Theatre (NSW). Director: by Sandra Bates. September 16 – October 15, 2011. Street Theatre, ACT - October 25 - 29, 2011.


By Joe Orton. Sydney Theatre Company. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. September 16 to October 23, 2011.

This production of Joe Orton’s famous play Loot is a rollicking ride directed by Richard Cottrell who clearly understands the art of the farce and fortunately for the audience so do his cast.

This is just good old fashioned fun, lots of laughs, quick witted humour and stage fighting which is quite well executed.

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