LIA LOVES... THEATRE. DANCE. CULTURE. EVENTS.

Follow her adventures as Adelaide's premier theatre buff, arts contributor, educator and ambassador!

February 19, 2021

Review: Carlotta – I’m Not Dead Yet Darlings!

I’m slightly embarrassed to say that this is my first time seeing Carlotta live, although the legend’s career is not lost on me. Australian cabaret performer and icon, Carlotta began her career as an original cast member of the long running Sydney based male revue, Les Girls in 1962. With an international [and celebrity!] following, Carlotta performed spot numbers as a singer and comedian before becoming the show’s lead attraction and known as ‘The Queen of the Cross’. Her life and story became the inspiration for the film ‘The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ The living legend and now Member of the Order of Australia, bids us adieu with her acclaimed, and final show, I’m Not Dead Yet Darlings!, before retiring later this year. Staged in the newest, coolest Fringe venue, The Queens Adelaide, which is all dolled up for the occasion, Carlotta’s loyal fans are waiting patiently for their queen to hit the stage. And hit the stage she does, with her glittering COVID safe mask and glamour persona ready to sing, […]
February 19, 2021

Review: Club Queens – Opening Night

When the recommendations say mature audiences, not family friendly with occasional coarse language and mild sexual references, you know you are in for an insatiably good night! Billed as the late night after party to tickle your fancies, Club Queens really will be the place to be seen on a Friday and Saturday night during Adelaide Fringe season. Opening night hosts, cabaret doyenne Amelia Ryan and arts royalty Mitchell Butel set the tone with their parody song about Covid, cabaret, clubs, and the Clare Valley, all to the tune of ‘I will Survive’. After welcoming the dignitaries and special guests, all formalities were thrown out the window for a night of unencumbered fun, unpredictable laughs and a teaser of shows that played earlier in the night or are yet to premiere. The show began with Australia’s favourite Cabaret performer and icon, Carlotta, who taunted and heckled the crowd, much to their delight, all the while smashing out dazzling show tunes leaving the audience wanting more! Jo Lawry was up next with her soothing, velvety and […]
January 25, 2021

Review: Moana Jr by Adelaide Youth Theatre

It’s no secret I am a big fan of youth productions in South Australia. In the words of Whitney Houston ‘I believe the children are our future…’ and the sensational cast and crew of Adelaide Youth Theatre’s production of Moana Jr are testament that the future of theatre is in good hands! Moana Jr is a 60-minute musical adaptation of the 2016 Disney animated film, bringing the adventures of Moana and her village of Motunui to life onstage. Moana Jr features all the beloved songs from the film, written by Tony®, GRAMMY, Emmy, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa’i, and Mark Mancina, including “How Far I’ll Go,” “Shiny,” and “You’re Welcome.” This delightful and heart-warming coming-of-age story follows the strong-willed Moana as she sets sail across the Pacific to save her village and discover the truth about her heritage. Moana and the legendary demigod Maui embark on an epic journey of self-discovery and camaraderie as both learn to harness the power that lies within. With empowering messages of bravery and selflessness, Moana Jr […]
January 18, 2021

Review: Les Misérables at the Adelaide Youth Theatre

Celebrating their first big show in their 10th anniversary year, Adelaide Youth Theatre [AYT] marks this occasion by restaging of one of the most famous, grim and difficult musicals of all time – Les Misérables. As a recap, the story follows former prisoner Jean Valjean, who, after being released from the watchful eye of Inspector Javert, is unable to find work because of his status as an ex-convict. He eventually steals from a local church, but when apprehended, the priest claims that Valjean was given the valuables. This triggers a change in Valjean, and he constructs a new identity for himself as a pillar of society and a local businessman. Years later, he adopts a young girl named Cosette, whose mother Fantine, a former employee of his, became a prostitute and died a horrible death in the gutters after being fired. As the years progress and the French Revolution begins to foment, a grown Cosette falls for a passionate revolutionary named Marius, while Javert begins to close in again on Valjean’s secret past. Upon entering […]
October 22, 2020

Review: Scotch College Stop the Presses! at Scotch College, Adelaide

In today’s current climate, getting to see live theatre is an absolute treat, so when the opportunity to review Scotch College’s Stop the Presses! came along, I snapped up the chance! I was completely bowled over by their production of Les Miserables in 2019, so I was excited to see what they present this time around. I. Was. Not. Disappointed. Stop the Presses! is essentially a showcase of songs from popular musicals over the years. This gave the students, ranging from years 7 to 12, an opportunity to shine across multiple roles, with characters and stories. At first glance, it looks like a random compilation of musicals, however delving deeper, each musical has a common theme of hope, resilience, strength and support. Traits these kids had in spades! The opening number, Welcome to the Rock from Come From Away was gritty and true, with fabulous accent work. Jim Martin lead the charges with his strong stage presence. ‘Stop the World’ was full of fervent intensity, especially from Adele Hubmayer and Jack Raft; exceptional young performers […]
October 20, 2020

Review: Grease at the Arts Theatre

Well, Grease certainly is the word! And for our first foray back into theatres, being welcomed by Rydell High is a treat! We are all familiar with the cult film Grease, however this version is based on the Broadway musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Set in 1959 at fictional Rydell High School, the story follows ten working class teenagers as they navigate the complexities of peer pressure, politics, personal core values and love. With a score borrowing heavily from the sounds of early rock and roll, Grease was initially a raw, aggressive and sometimes vulgar show, but subsequent productions sanitised it and toned it down. The show references social issues such as teenage pregnancy, gang violence, sexual exploration and rebellion. All which are still current issues the youth of today face. The musical’s basic plot is a subversion of the common trope of 1950s cinema, where instead of the male lead being transformed into a more sensitive and sympathetic character, it is the woman who is drawn into the man’s influence and transforms […]
March 18, 2020

Review: Two Crews at Space Theatre

I was lucky enough to gain a personal invitation by acclaimed director and choreographer, Nick Power to his third independent work, Two Crews. And who else better to come and witness this hip hop battle work for the Adelaide Festival, than my own little B-Boy, my middle son. Two Crews is the collision between France and Australia in the form of Parisian, all-women hip hop dance company, Lady Rocks, founded by choreographer and dancer Lea Cazauran. Representing Australia is Sydney based Riddim Nation, a collective who bring all styles of street dance fused with elements of their traditional culture into the ring. We arrive to see the vast open space, ready for the crews to battle it out. As they enter, they warm up in their respective corners, silently staring down their opponents. The way the stage was set, felt like the audience was pitted against each other! Clad in leopard print shirt with braids, Clairea is the first to take to the stage with a light-footed, almost lyrical popping and locking sequence, before the […]
March 11, 2020

Review: The Artist at AC Arts

A typical artist’s studio. Paint splattered floor. A wooden, ricketty shelf with finished canvas’ tucked away. A window for natural light. A red table with a white chair. A red ladder leans casually against the shelf. We see a pair of yellow socks poking out from underneath the easel, where The Artist himself is hidden behind his canvas, deep within his creative process. So preoccupied that he often dipped his paintbrush in his cup of tea, and drank from his paint water! My eye, and ear, is drawn to a leak in the ceiling. I am a little concerned, as it is very close to the lighting rig, but my concern soon turns to relief as the annoying drip is all but part of the show. There is a chuckle-inducing scene involving the drip, his cup of tea, and a teabag. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination… Thom Monckton is a New Zealand born, Finland based physical theatre artist trained in circus arts at CircoArts in Christchurch and then at the famed mimodynamics school […]
March 7, 2020

Review: How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at the Goodwood Institute

‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’ the Pulitzer Prize winning book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert and Tony Award-winning musical with Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser, is a story about the triumph of the typical man amid the mockery of big business. Once again, March Productions brings a quite adult-themed musical to life with a young cast, and while the wordy and 1960s dated show proved a little challenging at times with some stumbles over monologues, producer Alice Kennett should be very proud of the modern and sophisticated end product. The stellar production team of Michelle Davy, Mark DeLaine and Brady Lloyd should be highly applauded for their fabulous work on this little gem. When a restless, ambitious and charmingly manipulative window washer named J.Pierrepont Finch (that’s spelt F.I.N.C.H) comes across a book entitled ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’, he decides to begin his climb up the corporate ladder. Guided by the Voice of the Book, and a dose of his own canniness, Finch begins his […]
March 6, 2020

Review: Luminarium: Daedalum at R.C.C, Adelaide Fringe Festival

Architects of Air (AoA) are really onto something. Alan Parkinson, founder and designer and artistic director has built and toured over 500 exhibitions in more than 40 countries, sharing his ‘sense of wonder at the phenomenon of light’. Inspired by natural forms, geometric solids, Islamic and Gothic architecture; each new creation is a maze of winding paths and domes where visitors may lose themselves in sensory bliss. A luminarium takes between 4 to 6 months to build entirely by hand by a workforce of around 6 people. Built entirely in AoA’s Nottingham workshop using a custom-made PVC unique to AoA. A luminarium will last for approximately 300 days of exhibition spread over 4 years, after which it is cut into pieces to be recycled. The luminarium structure is designed with functionality in mind as a temporary building to include portability, accessibility, stability and a modularity to allow the structures to be reconfigured for different sites. Daedalum takes it’s name from Daedalus. In Greek mythology, he was the father of Icarus and the architect of the […]
March 6, 2020

Review: Cold Blood at the Ridley Centre

I don’t like to read about a show before seeing it. I much prefer to go in unaware and come to my own conclusion. With all the hype surrounding Kiss & Cry Collective’s Cold Blood, it was difficult to shield myself from the talk. However, I managed to observe opening night only knowing I was watching dancing hands in a tiny set. The brainchild of husband and wife creative duo, dancer and choreographer Michele Anne De Mey, and acclaimed director and screenwriter Jaco Van Dormael and texts by Thomas Gunzig, Cold Blood takes us on a whimsical and entrancing ride. It is the story of seven unpredictable and startling deaths through a multitude of scenarios, using human hands and tiny, child-like toys to demonstrate the silly but fading feebleness of life. This fascinating mix of art forms – dance, film, text – is true genius and is nothing short of original fantastical theatre. As we sit and see a large projection screen, below is the live activity of dancers, camera crew and technicians that create […]
March 5, 2020

Review: Frankenstein: How to Make A Monster at RCC

Debating whether to sit in the elevated section or centre front upon arrival with my guest, I’m glad we decided centre front. We were up close and personal with all the action. Making it’s Australian debut at the Adelaide Fringe Festival, the Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) Beatbox Academy all the way from the UK, lead by the coolest cat Conrad, are a bunch of uber talented youth presenting Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in an innovative and electrifying combination of beatbox, theatre and song – all live and all made from the mouth. We begin the evening hearing about BAC’s collaboration with our own youth arts centre, Carclew, and Conrad introduces three incredibly raw, but oh so adept kids; Ocean, T-Dog and Eemes, as a curtain raiser to the evening’s performance. They had been workshopping beats, jamming, raps and writing lyrics. Except Ocean. She had no lyrics and was going to freestyle with words the audience threw at her. Chicken, Madhouse, Rabies, Sausage. Yep, she killed it! Conrad then turned the audience into a Beatbox orchestra by […]
February 28, 2020

Review: Blanc de Blanc Encore at the Fortuna Spiegeltent, Garden of Unearthly Delights

After seeing the inceptive Blanc de Blanc two years ago, my expectations were high. I was hoping this wasn’t going to be like a bad sequel following a great original. I wasn’t disappointed. Strut and Fret’s gutsy and uninhibited blend of comedic cabaret, dynamic dance numbers and awe arousing aerials will leave you applauding like mad and wanting for more. Seated in the round, the stage is set with champagne on ice, and large circles, or balls if you will, creating the backdrop. The opening Gatsby-inspired party really got the crowd fired up and in the mood for what lay ahead. Our incredible and wacky hosts for the evening, Felix …. and Remi Martin took us on a journey to Parisian glitz and glamour, transported us through vintage French flavours and fantasies and opulent times of the City of Light. Their interluding gag shows were an absolute highlight for me, as was their chemistry, banter and connection on stage together. Scenes of the cast lip-synching to various songs about drinking while a spotlight followed them […]
February 27, 2020

Review: Maho Magic Bar at The Garden of Unearthly Delights

Set in a bespoke pop up bar, with all glittering, neon Tokyo lights on the outside and cool cherry blossom elegance on the inside, Maho Magic Bar will give you and your friends an intimate night of magic and illusion. Leave reality at the door, and be consumed by the wonders of magic and wicked delectation. Direct from Japan, Broad Encounters bring these four masterful enchanters and their zany host, for a world premiere in The Garden of Unearthly Delights. A brilliant celebration of Japanese culture – both contemporary and traditional, Maho Magic is a shimmering hour of delights, drinks and dazzling magic. We are ushered to our table where we join with another raucous group of four and are introduced to our first up close and personal magician, Shohgo Yamashita; a pioneer of eye-popping tricks (so says his business card). He takes our drink order then proceeds to perform a series of card tricks that will literally blow your mind. A sweet boy wonder of a charmer, don’t let his innocence fool you! As […]
February 26, 2020

Review: The Will to Be at the Bakehouse Theatre

I’ve always had a soft spot for The Bakehouse Theatre, having performed there myself many years ago. It is a casual, intimate space, perfect for the one man play, The Will To Be. Written, produced and performed by an incredibly creative and talented young man, Mark Salvestro, The Will To Be is a thought provoking, one act exploration of sexuality, societal suppressions and shame laced with the words of Shakespeare. We first meet the character, William O’Halloran, sitting atop his desk reading a letter to himself as we take our seats in the studio theatre. The eloquent, historical set implies this is the office of an intellect; with books, certificates and work scattered across the room. A carefully placed coat rack with jacket and hat strategically placed, and a melancholy late 50s early 60s soundtrack playing in the background. Salvestro articulates the nervousness, flustered and overwrought O’Halloran with such a befitting authenticity of someone dealing with an indecent homosexual discretion being discovered in the 1960s. He tells us he has been fired one month before […]
February 21, 2020

Review: The Choir of Man at The Moa, Gluttony

Entering the hustle and bustle of the fab venue, The Moa, with one of my all-time favourite nostalgic tunes, ‘You Call Me Al’ blaring, you know you are in for a good night when you are invited up on the stage to enjoy a beer as you walk in! The Choir of Man is the international success from the hitmakers, Andrew Kay and Nic Doodson. And what a hit it is! Put a pack of 9 twenty-something young, talented men together to sing, drink and talk for almost an hour and a half and what you get is incredible adrenalin, high voltage energy and pure, undiluted entertainment! A cast of seemingly ordinary guys will blow you away with their incredible choreography, tight vocals, sweet poetry and dynamic instrumentals featuring songs from rock, folk, pop and Broadway! The scene was set with the opening number ‘Welcome to The Jungle’, which also happens to be the name of the pub the show is set in. After this bolt of lightning initial scene, we get to meet the […]
February 19, 2020

Review: Frank Woodley – *@#!KING CLOWN at The Factory, The Garden of Unearthly Delights

When you walk into a theatre set with a banana on a ladder, a bunch of balloons in one corner, two microphones stands and an array of costumes set on either side, you know you are in for a traditional Woodley treat. Known as the goofy half of Lano & Woodley, Woodley has carved an incredible career for himself with his slapstick, slightly innocent persona. After working together for almost 20 years, Woodley and Lane decided to part ways in 2006, which led to Woodley performing a number of solo stand up shows, leading to his latest offering, *@#!KING CLOWN. Directed by Bob Franklin with sound and lights by Benny (well done sir), *@#!KING CLOWN (I love writing that), is the story of Woodley’s journey to France to present at a 3 day masterclass with European clown royalty, Balzakov (cough, cough). Here he finds he is demoted to only speak for an hour, as ‘comedian’ from Australia, Franc Woodle, not the 3 days, and then becomes a student in the workshops of mime and funny. […]
February 16, 2020

Review: Brass Monkeys at The Factory

What a start to the fab Adelaide Fringe season! Beautiful weather, an afternoon out with the family to see the spectacular Brass Monkeys. Presented by Circus Trick Tease, this powerhouse trio of performers Kyle Raftery and April Dawson [under the pseudonyms of Jason and Kylie – love the Neighbours reference] and director Malia Walsh bring their new quirky, action-packed, comedy and circus show to Adelaide. After seeing their award-winning 2019 show, ‘Children Are Stinky’, I knew this was going to be a great spectacle. Walken in to the pre-show tune of ‘Weapon of Choice’ by Fat Boy Slim [see what I did there? Walken…], we are greeted by a set of giant coloured circles with musical notes; a nice bright stage to capture the youthful audiences imagination. Jason and Kylie are engaging, clever and highly energetic and have the young crowd enthralled from start to finish. So much so, that the children could not contain themselves in their seats and just had to join them on stage! The premise of the show had Jason and […]
February 3, 2020

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

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 […]
October 10, 2021

Review: Shrek Jr – The Musical by Adelaide Youth Theatre at Arts Theatre

The beloved story of an anti-social, territorial green ogre named Shrek, whose solitary life is interrupted after the diminutive Lord Farquaad of Duloc exiles a number of fairy tale creatures to Shrek’s swamp. Not happy with this new set up, Shrek decides to travel to Duloc to see Farquaad and regain his swamp. Along the way, Shrek rescues a talkative Donkey and he joins him on his quest. Back in Duloc, in order for Farquaad to become king, he must marry a princess, so after the recommendation from his Magic Mirror and his henchmen, Farquaad settles on Princess Fiona, who is trapped in a tower surrounded by lava and guarded by a terrifying, fire-breathing dragon. Upon arriving in Duloc, Farquaad is impressed with Shrek’s size and stature, and demands that Shrek must rescue Fiona on his behalf, and in return, will give Shrek the deed to his swamp. The two unlikely friends make it to the castle and fight off the dragon to escape with Fiona. Wanting to see her ‘Prince Charming’ in the flesh, […]
September 23, 2021

Review: Blood Brothers by The Princes Players at ANZAC Hall, Prince Alfred College

With book, music and lyrics by Willy Russell [of Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine fame], Blood Brothers, set in the 1960s, tells the story of a contemporary nature versus nurture plot, revolving around fraternal twins Mickey and Eddie, who were separated at birth, one subsequently being raised in a wealthy family, the other in a poor family. The different environments take the twins to opposite ends of the social spectrum, one becoming a councillor, and the other unemployed and in prison. They both fall in love with the same girl, causing a rift in their friendship and leading to the tragic death of both brothers. Inspired by a one-act play Russell read as a child ‘about two babies switched at birth. Originally developed as a school play in the early 1980s, Blood Brothers then ran for 27 years in the West End, before being reproduced on Broadway, with cult following. Making its way back to the school scene with The Princes Players, this production packs a punch with a complete cast and crew of high school […]
July 2, 2021

Review: Alan Cumming is Not Acting his Age at The Festival Theatre

When Scottish-American Renaissance man Alan Cumming agreed to become the 2021 Artistic Director of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival back in 2019, little did we know a pandemic named Rona was going to turn the world upside down and throw all plans for the arts world into a spin. As our first international Artistic Director, the whole city waited with baited breath to see what Mr Cumming would bring to the table. And what a banquet he served! From unusual and unconventional to downright unforgettable, this year’s festival is truly one to remember. Cumming has performed in concert halls across the globe; including the Sydney Opera House, the London Palladium, the Hollywood Bowl and Carnegie Hall. He’s played God, the Devil, Hitler, the Pope, a teleporting superhero, Hamlet, all the parts in MacBeth and of course the EmCee in Cabaret in the West End and on Broadway. To spend an intimate evening with him, on the closing night of what I believe to be one of the best Cabaret Festivals yet, was an absolute privilege and […]
July 2, 2021

Review: Adelaide Tonight with Bob Downe and Willsy at The Spielgeltent

Bringing my mum as my plus one to Adelaide Tonight with Bob Downe and Willsy brought back lots of memories [for her!], as we were ushered into the glorious Spielgeltent with old Safcol ads playing [bless Bert and Patti Newton] and Scott Bonner lawn mower commercials featuring Ernie Sigley, the original host of the variety show ‘Adelaide Tonight’ back in the 60s and 70s. Opening the show was host Bob Downe; the all singing, all dancing, all teeth comedian and media personality who sang up a storm with ‘Sweet Caroline’. His mile-a-minute, side splitting gags had the crowd entertained the second he stepped up on that stage. Then out comes Willsy. The walking disco ball. The most loved personality in South Australia. And winner of 19 Logies. Singing ‘Walk Right Back’ by the Everly Brothers was a lovely tune that they harmonised so beautifully together. In true Variety Show form, Adelaide Tonight has a number of diverse guests each weekend of their show, so you can literally come every weekend and enjoy an entirely different […]
June 16, 2021

Review: The Variety Gala at The Festival Theatre

It is always a thrill to be in the audience for the opening of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and this year is like no other; the fact that the festival is back after the year that was, and the incomparable Alan Cumming is at the helm! The Variety Gala, a highlight on the entertainment calendar brings together a smorgasbord of local and international talent that makes up the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. A sold out event, the foyer of the Adelaide Festival Centre was an eclectic mix of theatre lovers, drag queens and Cabaret stars. Hosted by the sparkly, dazzling and quick witted German international superstar Hans, the night was carefree, wicked, and slightly unscripted, which was refreshingly fantastic! Singing ‘Willkommen’ atop the fully functioning bar, Alan Cumming set the tone of the night and the whole Cabaret season, and had the audience in rapturous applause! The stars of the Variety Gala were all seated appropriately in Cabaret style and made their way to centre stage to spruik their show by giving a teaser taster of […]
May 30, 2021

Review: Chess the Musical at Her Majesty’s Theatre

Capitalising on the success of the Netflix hit The Queens Gambit, StoreyBoard Entertainment bring to life a semi-staged concert production of the much loved, and listened to, Chess the Musical. With music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus of the pop group ABBA, lyrics by Ulvaeus and Tim Rice, and book by Rice, the story involves a politically driven, Cold War–era chess tournament between two grandmasters, one American and the other Soviet Russian, and their fight over a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other. Chess symbolically reflected the Cold War tensions present in the 1980s. The musical has been referred to as a metaphor for the whole Cold War, with the insinuation being made that the Cold War is itself a manipulative game. As with other productions such as Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, a highly successful concept album was released prior to the first theatrical production. In the case of Chess, the concept album was released in the autumn of 1984 while the show opened in London’s West End […]
May 30, 2021

Review: Matilda the Musical at Wyatt Hall, Pulteney Grammar School

Matilda the Musical is a stage musical based on the 1988 children’s novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. Adapted by Dennis Kelly with music and lyrics by Australia’s Tim Minchin, Matilda is a dark comedy, with the musical’s narrative centering on Matilda, an extraordinary little girl with extraordinary powers. The daughter of offensive and belligerent parents, Matilda finds refuge in library books, which she reads with lightning speed and creates her own stories. Things are no better at school, where Matilda must face the tyrannical and cruel headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, who believes in Crunchem Hall’s motto: ‘Bambinatum est Magitum’ or ‘Children are Maggots’. She finds companionship in her teacher, Miss Honey, though well intentioned, is cautious and fragile. Brave little Matilda knows she has to stand up against the adults in her world, and in doing so, discovers her own remarkable powers. Matilda’s bravery teaches Miss Honey and her classmates an important lesson – that even though life can be hard, ‘nobody but me is gonna change my story’ or ‘sometimes you have […]
April 27, 2021

Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Influencers Theatre

This is the fourth production for Adelaide Youth Theatre [AYT] this year and we haven’t even hit the month of May yet! Premiering the spectacular musical, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the enormous Influencers Theatre must have been a huge undertaking, but these seasoned professionals took it in their stride. The classic tale, founded on the 1964 children’s novel by famed writer Roald Dahl, was written by playwright David Greig, with original score composed by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman. Based on the Broadway version of the musical, the show presents a more contemporary version of the original story. Eleven year-old Charlie Bucket, his mother, and four grandparents all live in poverty in a small house outside of town. In his second major role, young Harrison Thomas expresses the heart and soul of young Bucket and is a delight to watch. Charlie’s Grandpa Joe tells him about the legendary and eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka and all the wonderful sweets he made until the other chocolatiers sent in spies to […]
February 28, 2021

Review: FANGIRLS

FANGIRLS is a brilliant new Australian musical with book, music and lyrics by the absurdly talented Yve Blake. First produced by Belvoir and Queensland Theatre in association with Brisbane Festival and Australian Theatre for Young People in 2019, FANGIRLS premieres at the Adelaide Festival with much hype and new cast members. A musical based on societies fascination with reckless, uncontrollable, and feverish teenagers and their frenzied infatuation with their celebrity boy worships. It’s not the first story of delusional or uninhibited female obsession, but it is the first to completely encapsulate the very real way the world tries paint young women – that they are ‘weak’ and ‘uncontrollable’ and their passion make them ‘crazy’. Yet their male counterparts are celebrated and revered for showing similar enthusiasm for their football heroes. FANGIRLS is a compassionate celebration of young women, their excitement, and their influence. A show not just for teenagers, but for their parents, grandparents and basically anyone who has ever had a celebrity crush. The story centres around 14 year old intellect Edna [portrayed to […]
February 26, 2021

Review: The Pulse by Gravity & Other Myths

Every now and then a work comes along to challenge our perception of human connection, strength, tenacity, and resilience. Out of the apocalypse that was 2020, Gravity and Other Myths [GOM] created their most ambitious work yet – The Pulse. Their highly structured international touring model was in tatters and they had to reinvent themselves for a new world. A world where touching each other was taboo and where people and communities were constantly readjusting and responding to the changing environment around them. I was privy to seeing some rehearsals and work in progress, but nothing prepared me for the behemoth I was about to witness. A cast of 30 strong acrobats and 30 young female vocalists brought The Pulse to life. Upon being seated, adorned with masks, the membranous soundscape, designed by Mik LaVage, strikes you in the core – reverberating through your soul with its ominous and palpating tones. With the house lights still shining bright, the curtain rises ever so slowly to reveal a bare stage, set as a rehearsal space – […]
February 25, 2021

Review: Playback – 80s Pop Show at Loverboy

What I love most about the Adelaide Fringe is the diversity of shows on offer; there’s cabaret, comedy, theatre, magic, circus, music, dance…and as a punter, to have to pick a few to see based on photos, a blurb and a ticketing link is not an easy task. That’s where I come in – I get to see a plethora of shows and tell you, the punter, what I recommend. And Playback, by emerging South Australian production company, Cocktail Creative, is one I highly recommend. Set in local west end nightclub, Loverboy, you enter via a rear laneway; all dingy, with graffiti on the walls I almost expected to see a group of guys huddled over a fire pit beat boxing similar to New York in the 80s! We are taken to an outdoor bar to enjoy a bevy or two before our pre-show host Big Sash Daddy took us through our paces with a game of ‘Name the Song, Artist, Movie and Year’. I’m not gonna lie. I LOVE these types of ice breakers, […]
February 21, 2021

Review: Parlour Games at Holden Street Theatres

I absolutely adore the Holden Street Theatres, and The Arch is the perfect backdrop for this tale of murder, mayhem, and mystery. Parlour Games, presented by The Green Guys Company, plays fact with fiction, as a voiceover announces that crime-writer Agatha Christie has gone missing. This was in actuality, a true fact. Christie went missing on December 3 1926 and was not located until 11 days later, in circumstances so strange that they raised more questions than they solved. Christie herself was unable to provide any clues as she remembered nothing. Or did she? Meanwhile, the play depicts eight of her biggest fans coming together in the hope to meet their literary hero for a book signing, at a little English tearoom, only to discover that during an innocent round of Parlour Games, one of them has killed Christie herself! What ensues is an hour of hilarity, classic ‘who dunnit’ interrogations, suspense and pandemonium. Was it The Hostess [Luca Sardelis]; the hard working, but nervous wreck owner of Munkwell Manor, convening the book signing? How […]
February 21, 2021

Review: Disco Wonderland – Dancing ‘Til Dawn

When Paulini and Timomatic were announced as the headline acts for Disco Wonderland: Dancing ‘Til Dawn, I knew it was going to be one of Adelaide Fringe’s biggest shows in 2021. The show’s creators, boutique producers Release Creative, along with Andew Kay, have reimagined their original orchestral version of this show [which debuted at the Festival Theatre with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in 2018] into a bursting party celebrating the world’s most infamous, and most short-lived, discotheque, Studio 54. A hypnotic voice-over takes us back to when the Vietnam war is over, and New York is a hub of sex, drugs and rock and roll. We go behind the velvet ropes and into the seedy world of the 70s, where atmosphere, grit and disco take over. Joining Paulini and Timomatic on stage are South Australia’s crème of talent; Philippa Lynas [who has just returned from New York after touring with Cirque du Soleilas featured vocalist], quadruple threat Mark Stefanoff [Kinky Boots, Hairspray, The Voice] and the sultry and stylised Amelia Sanzo. Lynas opens the show […]
February 19, 2021

Review: Michael Griffiths – Greatest Hits

What a way to kick off opening weekend of the Adelaide Fringe with Michael Griffiths’ ‘Greatest Hits’. This Adelaide superstar, Helpmann Award winner and cabaret darling has curated his best of the best hits from his solo shows from the past 10 years. A self confessed eighties tragic, ‘Greatest Hits’ will take you from Madonna to Kylie, A-ha to Annie Lennox and some Cole Porter thrown in for good measure. Usually a one-man show, ‘Greatest Hits’ includes local musicians Felicity Freeman on bass and Steve Leske on drums, Michael tinkling the ivories at his showman best. Set in Adelaide’s newest Fringe hub, The Queens, Michael’s quirky and fun style perfectly suited the venue. From delivering his own introduction [a Fringe institution] to his final encore, Michael is a true entertainer. The epitome of cabaret; raconteur, audience engagement and collaboration, Michael delivered his ‘Greatest Hits’ with wit, enthusiasm, passion and showmanship. He was on absolute fire! As he took us on a journey through the late 70s into the 80s, he peppered his show with stories […]
February 19, 2021

Review: Carlotta – I’m Not Dead Yet Darlings!

I’m slightly embarrassed to say that this is my first time seeing Carlotta live, although the legend’s career is not lost on me. Australian cabaret performer and icon, Carlotta began her career as an original cast member of the long running Sydney based male revue, Les Girls in 1962. With an international [and celebrity!] following, Carlotta performed spot numbers as a singer and comedian before becoming the show’s lead attraction and known as ‘The Queen of the Cross’. Her life and story became the inspiration for the film ‘The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ The living legend and now Member of the Order of Australia, bids us adieu with her acclaimed, and final show, I’m Not Dead Yet Darlings!, before retiring later this year. Staged in the newest, coolest Fringe venue, The Queens Adelaide, which is all dolled up for the occasion, Carlotta’s loyal fans are waiting patiently for their queen to hit the stage. And hit the stage she does, with her glittering COVID safe mask and glamour persona ready to sing, […]