Orpheus in the Underworld

By Jacques Offenbach. Updated by Jonathan Biggins and Phil Scott. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. February 28 – March 27, 2013.

“Life’s a bore without amour” agreed – and in the present political climate, a bit depressing too. Thanks be, therefore, that Opera Australia brought Jonathan Biggins and Phil Scott in to rework their 2003 adaptation of Orpheus. It’s bright, fast, funny, colourful and very topical.

Picnic at Hanging Rock

Carol Burns’s stage interpretation of Joan Lindsay’s novel. Brisbane Arts Theatre. Feb 22 – Mar 16. 2012.

More than a premiere, this is a once-in-a-lifetime theatrical event!

The story obviously burned in Carol Burns’s mind for a long time until she created her own true-to-the book interpretation of the Lindsay novel. Shane Rodwell’s brooding set exudes either mystery or reality according to Alan Lawrence’s ingenious soundscape and Geoff Squire’s illuminations.

Angela Tonuri’s costumes establish the early 1900s and the actors convince us how cumbersome they were, even for girls in a relaxed picnic situation.

The Farndale Ave Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery

By David McGillvray and Walter Zerlin Jnr. Directed by Tanya Ryder-Barnes.. 1812 Theatre – Ferntree Gully (Vic). 28th Feb – 23rd March, 2013.

With an impressive cast, excellent direction and a wildly funny play, 1812 has started its new season with a fabulous production that even outdoes its last offering of 2012 – The 39 Steps.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

By Tennessee Williams. Belvoir. Director: Simon Stone. February 16 – April 21, 2013.

Simon Stone’s decision (explained at great length in the program) to use a contemporary setting and local accents for this very American play seems to work for the first half hour or so. As Maggie “the Cat” (Jacqueline McKenzie) hits the revolving stage through a cascading curtain of crepe paper streamers, complaining about her brother-in-law’s children to her off stage husband Brick (Ewen Leslie), while she tries on and discards a wardrobe of dresses, a local setting is believable.

You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown

Book, Music, Lyrics Clark Gesner. Spotlight Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Director: Darryl Vine. February 22nd – March 16th, 2013.

This is the second production of Charlie Brown I have seen this year and both have been enjoyable.

I was surprised to find that this was the first show in the creative capacity for each of the production team: Director Darryl Vine, Musical Director Liam Cruz and Choreographer Brad Wilmhurst and the end result was full of humour and pace.

Under Liam’s baton, the orchestra was one of the finest I’ve heard for a long time and didn’t overpower the performers. Brad’s routines brought the best out in the young cast.

An Aussie Affair

El Rocco, Kings Cross. Performer: Florian Korty. Director: Naomi Livingstone Musical Director: Clare Heuston. Choreographer: Clancy McWaters. 14 Feb – 1 March, 2013.


Florian Korty has devised a fast paced, funny and poignant cabaret show based upon his own story of a young gay man travelling from his small home town in Germany to Sydney – the glittering LGBTQ capital of the southern hemisphere. Upon arrival he’s somewhat surprised, but very pleased, that there’s not a kangaroo to be seen in Oxford Street or Newtown.

Fiddler on the Roof

Book by Joseph Stein. Music by Jerry Bock. Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. Director: Don Gay. Friday 22nd February – 9th March 2013

When director Don Gay suggested staging Fiddler on the Roof at the Playhouse Theatre, the Hobart Repertory Theatre Society board said the space was not large enough for the large cast. However, 31 cast members, and a full and changeable set representing various village scenes, did fit onto the stage. With over forty years in theatre, experienced director Don Gay extracted the most from the cast, providing great entertainment with the much loved musical.

God of Carnage

By Yasmina Reza. The Stirling Players (SA). Stirling Community Theatre. 22 Feb – Mar 9, 2013.

Hayley and Malcolm Horton’s (set design) aspirational middle class living room is signaled by a coffee table groaning under piles of trophy books and a cubist display cabinet sparsely inhabited by a few mementos. French playwright Yasmina Reza has written a brace of extremely popular major award-winning plays – this one was produced by State Theatre a couple of years ago.  You may notice the similarity to David Williamson in the lampooning of the tussle between the left and the right, and an exposé of pretension and suffering in the suburbs.

Breaker Morant

By Kenneth Ross. Redcliffe Mousetrap Theatre Company Inc. (Qld) 15 Feb – 2 March 2013.

Second exposure to Ross’s revised script alerted me to more evidence not included in the film, which supports Morant and Lt Hancock’s case. It appears they merely followed orders ‘from their British superiors’ to shoot Boer prisoners.

The Motherf**ker With A Hat

By Stephen Adly Guirgis. Director: Adam Mitchell. Studio Underground, State Theatre of WA Jan 17 – Feb 3, 2013

While I don't consider myself a prude, I wasn't particularly excited about seeing The Motherf**ker With A Hat. The title and the promises of extremely frequent course language, explicit sexual descriptions, drug use, adult themes and possible nudity, didn't seem likely to be hiding great theatre, but I would urge people with similar misapprehensions to go.

Writer Stephen Adly Guirgis produces dialogue that is profanity strewn but at times has the clever humorous dialogue of Coward or Wilde.

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