LIA LOVES... FASHION. FOOD. FAMILY. FUN.

Follow her adventures as Adelaide's expert shopper & theatre reviewer!

February 3, 2020
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Review: Seussical JR (Adelaide Youth Theatre) at the Arts Theatre

You’d think after seeing the older cast members perform Seussical, I’d be all ‘seussed’ out, but no, I’m back for more fun and frivolity with the younger performers in Seussical JR! Again, by rehearsing both shows at the same time, in the same time frame and performing in the same theatre, I’m surprised founders and producers Emma Riggs and Kerreane Sarti are still standing! Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat and all your favourite Dr. Seuss characters spring to life onstage in Seussical JR., a fantastical musical extravaganza from Tony-winners Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens. Well done to the talented production team of Director Ned Baulderstone, Musical Director Kate Neville and choreographer Teagan Fisher for navigating such elocutionary and rhetorical lyrics with such a young cast! Seussical Junior is a sung through musical based on the many children’s stories of Dr. Seuss, with most of its plot being based on ‘Horton Hears a Who!’ while incorporating many others such as Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!, McElligot’s Pool, The Butter Battle Book, If […]
February 3, 2020
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Review: Seussical the Musical (Adelaide Youth Theatre) at the Arts Theatre

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Adelaide Youth Theatre. In it’s tenth year, founders and producers Emma Riggs and Kerreane Sarti have created an incredible platform and learning ground for Adelaide’s young musical theatre talent; fostering the craft and building the foundations for a potential professional career. This summer school holiday show, Seussical, was put together in 2 ½ weeks with a cast from the ages of 12 to 21. Just read that again… Two and a half weeks. The incredible music of Stephen Flaherty and lyrics of Lynn Ahrens, based on the works of the formidable Dr. Seuss, was brought to life by the AMAZING production team of dual Director and Musical Directors Serena Martino-Williams and Jesse Budel and fabulous choreographer Nina Richi. Seussical takes us into the world of Dr Seuss, where we visit his beloved characters including The Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, Lazy Mayzie and JoJo. The Cat in the Hat guides us into the Jungle of Nool where we meet Horton, the kind hearted […]
January 1, 2020
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Review: Billy Elliot the Musical at the Festival Theatre

Billy. Elliot. Those two simple words fill my body with feelings of nostalgia, acceptance, tenacity, forgiveness and perseverance. When I first saw the film in the early 2000s, it made a lasting impression on me. Imagine my excitement, when Elton John wrote the music and Lee Hall provided the book and lyrics to turn this coming of age dance drama film into an award winning and global phenomenon musical. While Adelaide missed out on the original 2008/2009 tour, Universal Theatrical Group, Working Title Films, Greene Light Stage, Michael Coppel Entertainments and Louise Withers Presents are now bringing the 10th Anniversary Australian Tour to Adelaide for a limited run after a hugely successful Sydney season. For those who are unfamiliar with the story, the plot revolves around Billy, a motherless British boy who begins taking ballet lessons, which is polar opposite to his coal miner father and brother’s working class, union fighting beliefs. His ballet teacher, Mrs Wilkinson, recognises Billy’s potential, and suggests he audition for the Royal Ballet School in London. The story of his […]
October 27, 2019
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Review: The Village at the Festival Theatre

On an unexpected wet and windy Adelaide night, Stan Lai’s The Village provided a heart-warming and comforting night at the theatre. Set at the end of the Civil War in 1949, in a Military Dependents Village in Chiayi, Taiwan, the story crosses a span of 50 years and three generations – the Zhao, Zhu and Zhou families. From the first generation fleeing mainland China after the Kuomintang was defeated, yearning to go back home, to building temporary homes which become their permanent homes, The Village traces the lives of these families and explores themes of identity, belonging and community. Drawing from real life stories in such villages, acclaimed legendary director, Stan Lai has captured poignant experiences and crafted an epic and masterful theatre production that depicts a true, touching history of Taiwan. We are introduced to the first generation, who settled into their makeshift village home, Formosa Village One, after fleeing to safety in Taiwan. It was presumed to be a temporary refugee exile, but transformed into a permanent communal melting pot that would vibrantly […]
October 18, 2019
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Review: Techno Circus at the Dustan Playhouse

You know you are in for a zany night out when critics have described this show as ‘multi-layered hyperactivity for the stage’. Bringing my 11 year old son as my date/fellow critic, we walk into the theatre to see a parade of audience members having their photos taken on stage in various states of crazy poses. We discover these photos are then used as part of the shows finale. More on that later. Techno Circus is presented by SIRO-A, a group described as ‘Japan’s answer to the Blue Man Group’. Personally, I loved these guys more! SIRO-A are renowned worldwide for their spectacular performances that combine special effects, incredible projections, mime, dance, puppetry, comedy, illusion and high energy techno music. They have wowed audiences of all ages with their Golden Buzzer winning act from America’s Got Talent, attracted millions of views on YouTube, sold out shows across the globe, and now are ready to take Adelaide on a ride as part of the Adelaide Festival Centre’s Oz Asia Festival. This show is a feast for […]
October 13, 2019
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Review: Hairspray Jnr at Adelaide Youth Theatre

When asked to review Adelaide Youth Theatre’s (AYT) production of Hairspray Jnr, I jumped at the opportunity. This ain’t my first AYT rodeo, and most definitely won’t be my last. AYT are widely known to produce world class productions for youth performers, and this show reinforces their reputation. Hairspray is an American musical with music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman, and book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, based on the 1988 John Waters movie of the same name. The songs include 1960s-style dance music (my favourite!) and ‘downtown’ rhythm and blues Set in 1962 Baltimore, generously sized teenager, Tracy Turnblad’s dream is to dance on The Corny Collins Show, a local TV dance program based on the real life Buddy Deane Show. When Tracy wins a role on the show, much to the current star Amber Von Tussle’s dismay, she becomes a celebrity overnight, wins the heart of the local teen idol, Link Larkin and leads the town to social change as Tracy campaigns for the show’s integration. I absolutely […]
June 17, 2019
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Review: Paul Capsis with Jethro Woodward and the Fitzroy Youth Orchestra at The Famous Spiegeltent

Paul Capsis. The man, the myth, the enigma. I have been a fan of Capsis’ since I watched him explode on the screen in ‘Head On’. Then seeing him as the totally mad, flamboyant reincarnation of Rumpelstiltskin in the State Theatre and Windmill collaboration – I was smitten. An award-winning, versatile, original and seasoned performer, he knows how to turn it on and turn it up. And he has been non stop since. Making a dramatic entrance and belching out the Skyhooks 70s classic ‘Ego is Not a Dirty Word’, we realise that this will be a night full of unexpected eccentricities and rip-roaring, emotion charged entertainment. And not only with Capsis out front, but with the marvellous and musically gifted Jethro Woodward and The Fitzroy Youth Orchestra supporting, we knew we were going to be witnessing something of a rarity. Wrapped in leather, fur and jewels, Capsis informs us he received a call from Julia Zemiro to be part of the Ad Cab Fest in 2019, after a five year absence. However, she had […]
June 15, 2019
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Review: Bobby Fox The Irish Boy at the Dunstan Playhouse

Settling into the Dunstan Playhouse on a cold and dreary night, the only thing we needed to warm the cockles was a pint and a good story. Thankfully, we got both. Entering dressed in a kilt to wolf whistles from the crowd, the stage slowly lit up each musician as they joined in the opening song. And what an eclectic mix of musos it was! After learning the correct Irish way to cheer for a song you like (Yeaow!, if you are curious), the audience went wild when the dazzling talents of the fantastic Mr Fox were unveiled. A remarkably charming, charismatic and captivating stage performer, Mr Fox (I enjoy referring to him in this formal manner) brings his distinctive storytelling, song, dance and limericks all wrapped up in his delectable Irish accent, to Adelaide for the first time. If it sounds like I’m crushing on Bobby, you’d be right. What’s not to love about a handsome, blue eyed, tap dancing, kilt wearing Irish man who sings songs about loving Bonnie lasses and his ma’m? […]
June 12, 2019
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Review: Unsung at The Space Theatre

The scene was established the moment you walked into The Space Theatre. Filled with orchards and peacock feathers strung from the balcony as well as the iconic peacock chairs from the era of the 70s sitting near the front of the stage. A beautiful setting for an incredible show. The crowd was full of baby boomers, and some youngins like myself, ready for the music of the night…a celebration of the music by the women in Australia during the 50s, 60s and 70s. We first saw a projected video of Merle Thornton and Rosalie Bognor who famously chained themselves to the bar at the Regatta Hotel, Brisbane in 1965, not only to gain women’s right to drink at a bar with men, but to bring to light the real issues women were facing at the time – equal pay, equal treatment and a revision of the sexist laws that plagued Australia. The very talented Amelia Ryan, of Simply the Breast and The Breast is Yet to Come fame, cleverly brought to life the unsung women […]
June 10, 2019
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Review: The Hot Sardines at The Famous Spiegeltent

When I was a young performing arts student living in Perth, I frequented the jazz bars and underground clubs scouring the city for the hip, sweet sounds of the ragtime blues. My housemate at the time was a jazz muso, so I had big band rehearsals in my house all the time. It’s safe to say, I have a soft spot for this style. Tonight, as part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, we were packed like sardines in The Famous Spiegeltent, to see The Hot Sardines. With the house full sign out front, we were ready to be dazzled by this New York based jazz ensemble. Co-led by lead singer Elizabeth Bougerol and pianist Evan Palazzo, she tells the story of how they met at a jazz jam advertised on Craig’s List. She was looking for a piano player, but not just any piano player. One who knew and understood a particular song, Fats Waller ‘Your Feet’s too Big’. She asked Evan if he knew the song and the rest as they say, is history. […]
June 6, 2019
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Review: End of the Rainbow at The Royalty Theatre

Like most little girls, my first memories of Judy Garland have something to do with a yellow brick road, an emerald city and red slippers. I watched in awe of this young girl skipping and singing her way into my heart and I too wanted to be part of her seemingly magical and perfect life. But End of the Rainbow doesn’t paint a pretty picture of Garland’s last days; instead it rips you through the bright lights and dark pits that tormented her, enabled her, and eventually killed her. The regal, old Royalty Theatre provided the perfect backdrop for The Ritz Hotel London, 1969, where Garland was preparing for a 5 week stint at Talk of the Town nightclub. Orchestrated and managed by her fifth and final husband, Mickey Deans, with her long suffering accompanist, Anthony Chapman, we watch the relationship between the three characters bounce between banter, comedy, hatred, power, joy, pain, love and truth. And bear witness to the mental and physical decline of the world’s darling. Peter Quilter’s worldwide smash brings to […]
May 27, 2019
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Review: Katie’s Birthday Party at the John Bishop Room, Adelaide Festival Centre

Bringing my nearly 11 year old son, who has just moved schools and is making new friends, to a one woman show about the trials and tribulations of a young girls journey from childhood to adolescence, seemed very timely and opportune. I remember my twelve year old self as slightly sensitive, hopeful, emotional and enthusiastic and I suspect, after a few personal conversations with my own pre-pubescent son, he feels the same. Internationally acclaimed solo performer, Mary-Frances Doherty gives a remarkable and real performance of 12 year old Katie, who is very happy we all could attend her birthday party. She is disappointed her best friend, Tracy, couldn’t come – she was busy making an appearance at another party. To begin with, Katie is very flippant about Tracy not being able to be there, but by the end, she is openly and visibly upset; the least she could do was answer her calls, like her posts or share her videos! In a vulnerable, exposed and intimate horseshoe setting, we are thrown together to celebrate Katie’s […]
May 27, 2019
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Review: The Gruffalo at Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre

If you have children, and perhaps even if you don’t, you have almost definitely read The Gruffalo. A children’s classic by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler which has sold over 13 million copies, won several prizes for children’s literature, has an Oscar nominated animated film, it is now also the play which has had sell out seasons on Broadway and London’s West End. The story of The Gruffalo is based on a Chinese folk tale of a fox that borrows the terror of a tiger, however Donaldson was unable to think of rhymes for ‘tiger’ so instead invented a word that rhymes with ‘know’. And the rest, as they say, is history… The mouse’s tale is one that unfolds in two phases; whereby the mouse uses crafty tricks to circumvent danger. On his way through the deep dark wood, the mouse encounters several dangerous animals (a cunning fox, an eccentric, sergeant-type owl and a maraca wielding snake). Each of these animals, clearly intending to eat the mouse, invite him back to their home for a […]
March 18, 2019
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Review: Barnum at the Goodwood Institute

March Productions debut musical offering, Barnum, is a night of triumph, energy and monumental talent. With a perfectly simple, but effective set we are transported to the 1800s, where Anna and Amy Beecher take us on a historical journey with pictures and artefacts of Barnum’s life as we take our seats. P.T Barnum truly was an intriguing man, with a knack for promotion and humbug. This sets the scene for the extravaganza we are about to experience. Our first introduction to Barnum is him running through the audience with gusto, to end up on stage and immediately breaking the 4th wall to narrate his story. I am instantly drawn into Jayden Prelc’s portrayal of Barnum – charismatic, magnetic, dynamic, not to mention his natural comedic timing and prodigious voice. He navigated the wordy script and musical numbers with such relish. A true and rare performer of his age, I anticipate a professional career in his near future. Watch this space. His Charity Barnum, played by Alana Iannace, was sublime. She had steely strength and independence, […]
March 17, 2019
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Review: Grand Finale at the Adelaide Festival Centre

Knowing nothing more than the title and its origins prior to the performance, Hofesh Shechter Company’s Grand Finale is a spectacular blend of electronic soundscape, live classical musicians, evocative lighting and choreography that is part contemporary, part trance and part traditional. We open to a bleak, dark stage, where huge black blocks, which resemble tombstones, shadow the musicians playing in the background. Ten culturally and artistically diverse dancers portray the survivors, if you will, of the sinking Titanic; while the quintet of musicians continue to play in sweet harmony, oblivious to the disaster that surrounds them. The mini orchestra is seamless as they move around the stage, inconspicuously and almost magically, with as much grace as the dancers themselves. The dancers. Oh the dancers. I’ve never seen an ensemble interpret the idiosyncrasies, nuances and manic silence of choreography quite like these incredible artists. Their language of movement, authenticity of storytelling through their bodies..it is quite the experience. One I’ve not felt like this before. While Shechter’s choreography has repetitive phrasing, it never feels monotonous. Quite […]
March 2, 2019
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Review: Woman at the Bally at Gluttony

Looking for a night out to celebrate all things women in a man’s world through the storytelling of cabaret? Then head on over and catch Woman by the vocally talented chanteuse, Jodie Stubbs. She will take you on a historical journey through time; from the Garden of Eden, to the turn of the 20th century to modern day motherhood explored through song, story and comedy. Using music from Broadway, 60s classics, R&B, pop; you’ll enjoy this one-woman show as she navigates what it’s like to ‘have it all’. Jodie makes her grand entrance with strong opening vocals, before walking us through the long history of female oppression, beginning with the story of Florence Nightingale. She first sings ‘What’s Up?’ by 4 Non Blondes, and this becomes her theme song for the night…before she is interrupted by her ‘ringing’ phone – the babysitter. She then strives to get through her one hour show recounting how you can be a mum, cabaret star, wife and career woman – without having to check on the kids! The systematic […]
March 1, 2019
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Review: Paul McDermott and Steven Gates at the Garden of Unearthly Delights

Tonight’s Fortuna Spiegeltent, the most elaborate and superbly air conditioned tent at The Garden of Unearthly Delights is the home of Paul McDermott and Steven Gates’ Go Solo (Together, as they say) for the next ten days. McDermott and Gates became friends in 1999 after meeting at the ARIAs, but this marks the beginning of their musical duo, after singing together privately for 5 years. Two of Australia’s most adored and revered comedic singer-songwriters, McDermott, from cult musical comedy group Doug Anthony All Stars and Good News Week (my fave) and Gates, one third of Tripod, bring Adelaide a show of old friend barneys, reminiscing, witty banter and spontaneous drivel scattered amongst their genius lyricism and songbook catalogue. We begin with Shopping Mall, Paul’s tongue in cheek ode to finally understanding common life after his high roller times with DAAS, followed by a rock, Chilli-Pepper-feel rendition of White Man Prison (loved it!). A beautiful Be My Queen, by Gatesy, with comical vocals by McDermott lead into an impromptu heckle of a 13 year old audience […]
February 23, 2019
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Review: Djuki Mala at the Garden of Unearthly Desires

Tonight’s sold out, highly anticipated, award winning show, Djuki Mala are quirky, high-voltage, compelling, cheeky and joyous. And that is just the crowd warmer! Direct from Elcho Island, Djuki Mala (meaning bird mob) perform an incredible fusion of traditional Yolngu culture, contemporary dance and storytelling. They achieved overnight success when Frank Djirrimbilpilwuy (Big Frank) uploaded a clip of the ‘Chooky’ boys dancing to Zorba the Greek back in 2012. Lionel, Big Frank’s son, created this special video as a thank you to the Greek nurse, Liliane, who cared for his sister while she was sick. From the success of the video, which has had over 2.5 million views on YouTube, they have toured all over the world with their exuberant and effervescent interpretation of dance, song-lines and pop culture. Beginning with a history of colonisation, we see an opening of the four dancers in traditional costumes and ochre, with Gara (spears) and Galpu (spear thrower) and are introduced to Margaret, Big Frank’s wife, via the multimedia projection on stage. She tells us about Big Frank, […]
February 21, 2019
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Review: By a Thread at The Peacock at Gluttony

I like seeing a show without expectation, so I do minimal research beforehand and be led purely by what I see on the stage. And what I saw this evening, By a Thread presented by One Fell Swoop Circus, was nothing short of magical. A thick, white rope strung between 2 large pulleys suspended from the top of The Peacock in a spotlight, greeted the audience as we took our seats. Soon, there were bodies clad in jeans and white tank tops entering the arena to take turns in pulling one end of the rope to unravel it upwards. Our attention is then drawn to a scream as a young woman, Ellen, swings on the other end into the crowd. This performer astounds me. She looks as graceful as a gazelle and delicate as a rose, but the strength her body has is incredible! All the performers are spectacularly powerful, agile, elegant and athletic. And there is no prejudice between the roles the performers play. Women being lifters and the base at times, while the […]
February 20, 2019
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Review: Eddie Ifft at Adelaide Fringe

As a mother of 3, with 2 jobs and 1 husband, I love a night off to have a good belly laugh. So while my huz looks after the kids, I take my dad to see Eddie Ifft Walking on Eggshells. I can hear some of you chortle right about now…I have a cool dad who is not easily shocked or offended, so he was the perfect date. The US comedian has performed to sold out crowds around the world, hosts the successful Talkin’ Shit podcast and has released 3 DVDs, including one titled ‘I Love Pussy’, and 3 CDs with songs such as The Vagina Room and Freeze Enough Sperm, this guy is not afraid of a little over sharing [when I say a little, I mean a lot] or shock value. Ifft lives up to his reputation as a boundary pusher, being politically incorrect at the same time as being super funny. I found myself laughing at jokes and face palming at the same time. This is Eddie’s thing. Making ‘people laugh at […]
February 19, 2019
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Review: All Change at Bakehouse Theatre

All Change [Phrase/British/Spoken] – Used for telling people on a train or a bus that they must leave it because it is not going any further. This is quite the metaphor for this play in so many ways. The fact that the train symbolises the end of the road for both our main characters, Ivor and his daughter Lily. That trains occupied a huge part of Ivor’s life, the notion of one’s train of thought and how dementia breaks this and the fact that no one actually likes change. Smokescreen Productions starts the conversation with their affecting and sentimental work, All Change. Produced with support of new Adelaide company, STARC Productions, All Change first began as a project based on a family experience of writer and actor, Tim Marriott. It had a limited but very well received run at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2018 and this reception encouraged the team to reinvigorate and adapt to this year’s Fringe. Director Nicholas Collett was very lucky indeed to have the talented Stefanie Rossi and Tim Marriott as his […]
February 17, 2019
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Review: Blackrock at The Arch at Holden Street Theatres – Adelaide Fringe

Blackrock and Nick Enright have been customary with drama school auditions around the country since the mid 90s, and with good reason. Inspired by the true events of a young girls murder on Newcastle’s Stockton Beach in 1989, Enright was asked to write an education piece that examines the world of adolescence, mateship, violence, and relationships. He was then commissioned by Sydney Theatre Company to expand the play into a full length work, and Blackrock was debuted in 1995 to critical acclaim. The town of Blackrock is shook when the body of a teenage girl is found the morning after a party, raped and murdered. The play does not depict the murder itself. Instead, the focus is on a teenager, Jared Kirby, torn between the choking culture of mateship and misogyny and the effect of Tracy’s death on her friends, the parents of those involved and the town. Although the play is now over 30 years old, Enright’s depiction of Australian youth culture is still front and centre today. The objectification of young women, binge […]
February 17, 2019
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Review: Michael Griffiths – By Request at Le Cascadeur at Adelaide Fringe

Cabaret is not like anything else. Packed in like sardines, up close and personal, audience interaction. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But if you want to experience cabaret, there is no better introduction than Michael Griffiths. A seasoned performer, musical theatre trained, Helpmann Award winner, Michael brings his vivacious personality and captivating voice to Le Cascadeur at The Garden of Unearthly Delights with his show, Michael Griffiths: By Request. He delighted us with Sweet Dreams, In Vogue, Adolescent and Lucky. Blew us away with his Cole Porter tribute show and now brings all his favourites back for a rollicking rendition, this time with a band (the very talented Felicity on bass and Josh on drums). A casual but exuberant atmosphere, we are taken back to the 70’s and ABBA with Knowing Me, Knowing You, and here Michael explains his love affair with music began. He talks about his very first concert experience with his dad, seeing A-ha, which was the segue to Take on Me. Other favourites from Peter Allen, Barry Manilow, Queen (so […]
February 16, 2019
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Review: Amelia Ryan – Simply the Breast at Le Cascadeur

On a balmy Saturday night, we packed ourselves into Le Cascadeur at the Garden of Unearthly Delights to see cabaret darling Amelia Ryan’s new show, Simply the Breast. Accompanied by Michael Griffiths, she takes you on a journey – an emotional, captivating, hilarious and honest one at that- through her life and the ‘breast’ of her previous shows, Storm in a D Cup, Lady Liberty and The Breast is Yet to Come. To set the scene, she waltzed onstage with a breast pump (my poor husband was mortified when tasked with holding it for her), and immediately broke the fourth wall with candid satire and jest. Taking us from her unique childhood in small town Bombo, to her stripper university days, meeting the love of her life and bringing her son into the world, Amelia lays all her cards on the table and leaves no stone unturned. And what a show this makes. I cry laughed (yes, there was bladder leakage) and got teary, I gasped at her honesty, I was gobsmacked at her life […]
February 16, 2019
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Review: Neon at the Corona, Adelaide Fringe

The buzz and excitement of opening night at the Adelaide Fringe was palpable tonight. The Garden of Unearthly Delights was its usual vibrant, eclectic self, host to some of the best Fringe acts the world has to offer. With a full house at the Corona, Circus Oz’s Neon delivered on all the promised trashy, glitzy, gaudy and tragic celebration of the 80’s. Starting with John Farnham’s You’re the Voice blaring out of the sound system (which inspired an audience sing a long while taking our seats), followed by some Spandau Ballet Gold , we were taken on a glorious ride through a decade of music, bad dancing and some incredible feats of fancy. From the opening number, we knew we were in for a treat of serious proportions.These guys and gals have talent. And of course they do. Circus Oz have been creating extraordinary shows for 40 years – touring successfully nationally and internationally. Circus Oz celebrate breathtaking stunts, Aussie humour, and an all human ensemble. I especially adore their motto of promoting the best […]